Bring your camera and get ready to take some of the best photos of your life. We’re thrilled to be partnering with renowned photographer Kerrick James on this special photography workshop and hiking tour through the Italian Alps. Designed for amateur photographers of all levels, you’ll learn a variety of techniques to improve your photography skills from Kerrick, all while enjoying a world-class hike through Italy’s Dolomites region. This is an active adventure, with 5-8 mile hikes daily, and 2 nights spent high in the mountains in remote mountain inns, but also with plenty of time to seek out picturesque viewpoints, pick up different tips and techniques, and to learn from one of the best in the field. You can read more about Kerrick James below.
This tour includes all meals, starting each day with a continental buffet breakfast at our hotel or inn – delicious fresh baked bread, local cheeses, cereal, fruit, coffee and juice – which gives us the energy needed for a full day of hiking and photography. Each morning, you’ll be handed a lunch to carry, and at a mid-point along the way we’ll choose a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy our picnic. We get a lot of compliments on our imaginative lunches – making them something to look forward to as well! We should finish our days by mid-afternoon, giving you time to wash up and relax. Each evening we’ll enjoy dinner together at our inn. These are multi-course feasts, featuring local specialties, and will definitely be hearty, filling, well-earned and very delicious.
You’ll have your own room every night except 1 (Locatelli hut), with 6 nights in 3-star village hotels and 2 nights in simple mountain inns. You’ll have luggage at each of the village hotels, but for the 2 mountain inn nights we will bring an extra set of clothes with us for a night away from our main bags. Note this tour has a minimum of 4 people, and maximum group size of 8.
About Kerrick James – Kerrick James has photographed the American West and Pacific Rim for over 25 years as a travel journalist, with more than 200 magazine and book covers and hundreds of features illustrated. His credits include Natl. Geo. Adventure, Arizona Highways, Sunset, Popular Photography, Conde Nast Traveler UK, Alaska Airlines Magazine, VIA, Delta Sky, EnCompass, Outdoor Photographer and many more.
In the past decade Kerrick has taught nearly 50 photo workshops in a wide variety of locations in Arizona, Alaska, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Hawaii, California, Baja California, Costa Rica, Panama and Zambia. He’s taught for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops, on cruise ship based trips sponsored by Pentax, and now, his own company, KJ Photo Safaris.
Kerrick has used Pentax cameras and optics his entire career and is a Pentax Brand Ambassador at trade shows and in numerous ads and videos. Kerrick also writes features for travel media, samples on request.
Kerrick is an active member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), TEOE (Through Each Other’s Eyes), and president of TJG (Travel Journalist Guild). He resides in Arizona with his sons Shane, Royce and Keanu.
Val di Funes – Meet in Bolzano, the cultural heart of the Dolomites and home to the Otzi ice man museum. After our introductory meeting, we’ll take a one hour taxi ride to the gorgeous Funes valley. This is a tiny valley with just a couple of simple inns, and no major development, has managed to hold onto a mellow off-the-beaten-path vibe. But it’s one of the most scenic places in the Dolomites, and photos of this place can be magical.
We’ll spend three nights here, giving us a better chance for great photo conditions, and will take a variety of short hikes through the meadows to unbeatable viewpoints. Relax in the evening in a comfortable 3-star hotel.
Val Gardena – Today we’re off to the famous Gardena valley. A short taxi ride brings us here and up to the Alpe di Siusi, known as the the largest “alp” (or high mountain meadow) in the Alps. We’ll take a moderate hike high above the valley to the majestic Schlernhaus mountain lodge.
The Schlernhaus is one of the original mountain lodges, built in the late 1800’s, it holds a commanding position on top of the Schlern mountain. We’ll have rustic private rooms with bathroom down the hall, and will enjoy an unforgettable night high in the Alps.
Val Gardena – Hiking down from Schlernhaus, we’ll use alternate trails to cross the Alpe di Siusi, stopping at a mountain restaurant for lunch. The Siusi is filled with wildflowers and surrounded by mountains on all sides, and there are numerous scenic trails across it.
Ortisei is perhaps our favorite village in the Dolomites, with a nice, walkable pedestrian-only village center, great hotels, and pretty architecture. It’s surrounded by mountains and meadows, and you could easily spend a week just exploring from here. We’ll stay in a comfortable 3-star hotel in town.
Lago di Braies – Another 1 hr taxi ride takes us further east, to a small lake. Lago di Braies is a beautiful blue-green lake tucked at the base of huge mountains and ringed by forests. It’s the traditional start of the Alta Via 1, a popular (strenuous) inn-to-inn hiking route, although we’ll find much to photograph and see right around the lake.
If you are up for a bigger hike today, we can hike up to the Sennes plateau, which is beautiful, but even sticking around the lake is very nice. We’ll stay at an historic hotel on the lakes’ edge.
Tre Cime – If there is a signature shot of the Dolomites, it is of the evening or morning glow on Tre Cime mountains near Cortina d’Ampezzo. We’ll travel from Lago di Braies in the morning to a trailhead where an easy walk takes us around this famous group of mountains.
The rifugio Locatelli is a typical mountain hut. Bustling with daytrippers during the day, it becomes marvelously quiet in the evening, when we can enjoy some of the most stunning views of the mountains. It’s a rustic stop, with shared rooms and only one shower for the whole hut, but is sure to be a memorable night.
Cortina d’Ampezzo – We’ll spend the morning and most of the day hiking around the Tre Cime before transferring by bus to Cortina d’Ampezzo. Cortina is the main village in this part of the Dolomites, with a distinct Old World feel and a cobblestoned, pedestrian-only main road.
We’ll reach town in the afternoon, and perhaps spend some time on the outdoor terrace of our central hotel, taking in the ambiance of town and reliving a beautiful and thrilling week. A final, celebratory dinner caps the night.
Depart – After breakfast at the hotel, we say arrivederci, and head out for our post-trip destinations. There are regular busses leaving Cortina for Venice, a 2 hr journey, and that makes a great departure airport if you are heading straight home after the tour.