My feeling with the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi and Monte Falterona will never stop. And this is a fact. How could this wonder end? This place always gives me new emotions, especially in this period of the year when changes are so evident that you feel honored to live them with Mother Nature.
Every year the national park organizes a rich program of events dedicated to the Autumn in the park, called Autunno Slow. A couple of weekends with trekking for families, photographic events, learning shows for children and also a special calendar of local fairs dedicated to fruits of the underwood, truffles, chestnuts and more. The park is a living creature that must be respected but also lived with happiness.
That is why this campaign is the top event you should not miss!
Photographing the nature
This year, for the first time, I was invited by the Park to live e special and unique experience: a two days workshop dedicated to the Fall Foliage organized by Pixcube in partnership with Nikon. In recent years, my interest for photography increased more and more. And not only because being a blogger means storytelling using photos, but also because photo is a story in itself.
The approach to nature of specialized photographers is completely different: they are patient, experienced from a technical point of view, and know how to catch the moment or the detail. For a non-professional photographer like me, this was the best experience I could live.
Sometimes, it’s easier for a blogger to shot with a tablet, but this time I decided to leave it aside and practice with my camera.
A new place to visit: Campigna, where the eagles fly
Meeting point is at Hotel Lo Scoiattolo ( the squirrel). Giorgio, the owner, is a nice man, passionate for animals. At the walls, entering the hotel, a lot of photos of wolves, birds, deers and many more. Just the time to meet the group and the leaders, Saul and Marco, and here we go.
Everyone with their equipment: objective, tripod, filters.
Light is important when you decide to shoot the nature. Our first step is a place near the main street with a little waterfall. I have a basic camera and don’t even manage it so well as I should. This will be the chance for me to try and learn. My first approach to the technical language is really hard. I barely understand what they are talking about. But this are my first shot with the new approach.
Photographing nature is more similar to do some trekking itineraries, except for the fact that you normally carry a lot of things with you. But what you really need is always with you: your eyes and your sense of beauty that comes from what the forest shows you.
After a few hours, we decide to catch the last lights of the day. The sound of silence is around us while the colors of the forest change in front of us, hit by the sun. This is the perfect moment to enjoy the forest and everyone try to find the best set and the best shot.
Sunset is in front of us, and going back to the Hotel, we find a spectacular view I will never forget in my life. Photography is not just a technical issue. And this are the shoots I did with my camera.
What I did not expect was the deep cold of the late afternoon. I will remember to take something warmer with me, and this is a true advise for all those who wants to do a photographic walk.
It’s time to get to the hotel. My companion will go out at night for another session. I will go to bed and rest.
From the sunset to the dawn: the lights and colors of the park
It’s five in the morning. Cold outside. Winter is here, at 1300 mt on the sea level. I wear everything that I have. Today we will wait for the dawn, up to a panoramic Belvedere we found yesterday. It’s a slow, slow coming of the light. As if nature is stretching itself while awakening. Silence. Only some birds launching their call. And everyone is preparing the tripod and the cameras.
The violets, orange, blues turn into yellow, gold and light blue. It’s amazing! I think In will never look at dawn in the same way from now on.
And I realize that the best shot is always the next one, even if I will probably never get into this way of thinking.
It’s time for breakfast, the chance to know my photo mates, have some nice talks and some laughs, before leaving for the last part of the workshop. We will walk until San Paolo in Alpe, a wonderful place with a lot of inspirational spots.
It’s a long, slow walk. I discovered that this workshop connect two of my favorite activities: walking and photographing. Along the itinerary nature reveals as it is in this time: colored, amazing, spectacular. At the end we arrive in a large green flat where a group of cows lazy stay, eating the grass and living their life in peace.
Sometimes I do think I would like to retire here and be a cow shepherd!
San Paolo in Alpe has a tiny church, almost a ruin. Until some years ago, it was used for the local feast and transformed in a Osteria, regardless as it may seem. Now this place is completely abandoned and maybe seem scary at night. But during the day is the perfect place to rest for a picninc, enjoy the green grass and eat something before going back.
It’s time to go back. I’m tired but happy. I learned more than I could imagine and lived my Fall Foliage in a different way.
Disclosure: I would like to thank Federica Bardi and the National Park of Foreste Casentinesi, Monte Falterona and Campigna for inviting me. Thank you to Pixcube for organizing this event, to Saul Ripamonti and Marco Carulli and to all the lovely people I met there. Thank you to Giorgio, our lovely host at Lo Scoiattolo.