Lighting the dark

Let’s start these summer chronicles with the night spent locked in a mountain house during a storm

The following couple of updates (which I hope will be hitting your screen very soon) will cover the summer adventures of the last two weeks, and I honestly think it will be a shame to start with the story of how I spent an abundant 30mins following an ibex at ~2500m a.s.l. or talking on the hunt for Pleiades at 4.30 a.m. or even just mentioning the time a chamois mom plumbed in front of me with her her puppy as I was climbing at dawn the ridge of a mountain. Why not to just start with the night I spent trapped in the mountain house due to a freakin’ huge storm.

So, on the first week of vacation I had the chance of hiking my beloved Northern Grigna, carrying my furred pal with me. The shelter town, clinged on the small valley between the cliffs and the lake of Como, is the same I spoke to you about some updates ago.

As we went up on our first ascent passing by goats, donkeys (you’ll see them in the third update of the series), cows and a considerable amount of chamois, the weather quickly fought us back home.

Chill before the storm

Trapped here, there was nothing to do at all, and of course I didn’t bring anything to keep me busy since the plan was just to hike to death. Moreover, Crumb wasn’t cool anymore due to the thunders, and sheltered under the bed.
I did the only thing left to do, open the tripod and start experimenting.

Fractured lights

This first picture is a pure non processed-photograph. To create an hybrid long exposure like this one you need to have a sturdy tripod and a manual zoom lens. Focus on infinity and set the camera to a shutter speed of at least 5 seconds with the self-timer trigged. As the camera exposes the picture, zoom in with a constant torsion on the lens and regularly stop for some fractions of second when you want to fix the picture without any dragging, then quickly repeat the zoom in at the same pace of before. Seems like a lot of things to manage in just a bunch of ticks.


This last picture is a classy “zoom effect” on a long exposure. I really like the steeple staying straight and only slightly stretched while the streetlights create this sort of englighted stairway (to heaven?)

Note to self, fix the caption issue with permalinks

Hurried retreat

Suddenly, a storm hit pretty close to my position and I had to pack everything up in the blink of an eye because the carbon tripod is a great conductor and I didn’t want to get cooked yet.

What remains from this howling night is a series of picture shot as the storm was approaching my position. Stealing some composition technique from the great Duane Michals I made a storytelling panel grouping 8 frames capturing the incoming rain.

Gliding storm

For this last picture, I suggest you to right-click the picture, and select “open picture in a new tab”, in order to have it at full resolution. It will take a while to load (~40Mb folks), but will be worth the time.

Stay tuned, the beasts best is yet to come!


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