Sleepless In The Dolomites

Travel Video (Italy / 2017)

There is no way to truly capture the beauty of a starry night ... but I tried
The excursion to the Tre Cime Di Lavaredo (a famous mountain range in the Dolomites) is one of my favourite memories from the past few years. It all started as a completely random idea from my friend - the photographer Fabio Marciano - which he had while browsing the internet for images. His idea was to organize a trip to nature and to try astrophotography, something neither of us had tried before. I have to admit that initially I was not extremely keen on the prospect of a mountain hike and to spend the night there, slowly freezing to death while waiting for the camera to complete the necessary shots for the time-lapse. My hesitation partially stemmed from my belief that while it would be easy to capture some stunning photos up there, it would be difficult to gather sufficient material for creating a worthwhile video.
Even on the evening before our planned departure (we timed our trip according to the lunar phases so we could be sure to have a moon-free night and thus perfect conditions to see the milky way) we were not very convinced of the idea. It was only on the next morning that we agreed that it was “now or never”, loaded our equipment into the car and departed for a short but intensive adventure.
 
We got lucky and indeed had a really beautiful, vast and clear sky, as well as mild weather. Under normal conditions, the climb up to the Tre Cime Di Lavaredo is not at all challenging, but due to the heavy equipment (camera, tripod, drone) in addition to our food and water rations, the climb turned out to be rather exhausting.
A star trail photograph taken from the short film "Sleepless In The Dolomites" by Tiemo Weidemann.

An image of the star trail timelapse from the video

As soon as we arrived at the right spot (a couple of hours before sunset) I began to set up my camera for some time-lapse shots and scouted the location for some nice setups for later. Throughout the evening the view was very beautiful, however, camera work only became difficult after the sunset and the darkening night slowly revealed its incredible stars. I knew that for creating a nice video I would require at least 3 different astro time-lapses and that each time-lapse should have a duration of around 10 seconds (even though I did not include all of it in the video, this length was necessary for the editing process). For each time-lapse I needed material of a length of between 90-120 minutes and, as a result (and because I did not want to leave my equipment unattended), I had to stay awake the whole night. Fortunately, there was a guest house close-by, allowing me to warm up whenever I felt too cold (at night the temperature fell to a brisk -4°C). After a really long night, the sunrise brought back some long-awaited warmth and bathed the scenery in beautiful colours. After some final time-lapses and drone shots, we celebrated with a hot cup of coffee, packed our equipment and returned home. 

Overall, it was an incredibly uncomfortable, yet extremely beautiful trip. The experience sparked in me a surprisingly deep love for the mountains and nature and I still reflect on it quite often. If you should ever have the opportunity to visit Italy, I deeply recommend you to stay awake and lose yourself in the jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring and cathartic beauty of a starry night in the dolomites.

Behind the scenes

  • Mountains to be seen during the hike to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. "Sleepless In The Dolomites" behind the scenes.
  • Tiemo Weidemann taking a selfie in front of a mountain range. "Sleepless In The Dolomites" behind the scenes.
  • Tiemo Weidemann trying to stay awake during the night. "Sleepless In The Dolomites" behind the scenes.
  • Pre-sunrise at a lake behind the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. "Sleepless In The Dolomites" behind the scenes.
  • Hiking the mountains to go to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.  "Sleepless In The Dolomites" behind the scenes.

    Recognition

    "Sleepless In The Dolomites" was featured on the Facebook page from National Geographic Travel

    National Geographic Logo

    Credits

    FILMED and EDITED by Tiemo Weidemann
     
    Special thanks to Fabio Marciano
     
    MUSIC (licensed through premiumbeat.com):
    Against The Clock - Peter McIsaac Music

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