The Italian Dolomites Photography Workshop

Sept. 22 - 28, 2020

The Durrensee (left) and the Piz-Popena in the Cristallo-Gruppe looking over Lago Landro near Cortina D'Ampezzo

Workshop group shot from 2015 taken from Rifugio Locatelli near the iconic "Tre Cime" or "3 Peaks" (background) that is the Half Dome of the Dolomites.

Rifugio Lagazuoi (left) will be our hotel for the last two nights. You simply will not believe the view.

The Italian Dolomites Photography Workshop
Sept. 22- Sept. 28, 2020


6 days/7 nights in the Cortina D'Ampezzo area of the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy,
some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in all of Europe.

We have room for only 10 students for this special workshop! Two spaces were gone before the workshop was publicly announced! This workshop will sell out, so don't wait!

The Italian Dolomites Photo Workshop! 7 full days shooting the dramatic, awesome Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy. We'll be in the Ampezzo Valley region of the Dolomites (Cortina D'Ampezzo) for some of the most beautiful mountains in Europe.      The weather changes constantly, creating some of the most incredible landscape photography in the world. We only have room for 10 students in this special workshop, with food (breakfast and dinner) and lodging included.

Falzarego Pass, Passo Giau, Lagazuoi, Lago Misurina, Tre Cime, Sesto, and many other shooting locations only a life-long local guide will know. We only have room for a total of 10 students and only 8 spots remain.



As the dawn creeps across the mountain peaks of the Dolomites, the light from a lonely Rifugio can be seen.
Shot from Rifugio Lagazuoi where we will stay the last two days.


Twilight view of the small village of Sesto.


Sunset view from Rifugio Lagazuoi where we will stay for two nights.



Sunset view from the balcony of Rifugio Lagazuoi where we will stay for 2 nights.


As the sun sets behind the various peaks of the Passo Falzarego area of the Dolomites, shot from Rifugio Lagazuoi. 


Even middays are spectacular in the Dolomites; shot from Rifugio Son Forca



You'll learn
Concepts of exposure; the histogram and how to read the graph.
ISO speeds, aperture and shutter speed, how to ignore the numbers and get GREAT shots.
Composition; learn the rules and then how and when to break them.
Use of polarizing filters.
Use of neutral-density filters.
"Dragging the shutter"; extended exposures (motion blur), even in full sunlight.
How to make sure you got "the" shot in any given situation.
Learn the value of patience; how to read the weather.
Night photography; shooting the Milky Way, stars, and moonlight.
Shooting for black and white conversion.
Wide angle and telephoto lens use.

We will be based for the first four nights at Lago Misurina, (Lake Misurina) about 30 minutes from Cortina in the heart of the Dolomites.
Outside your hotel, Hotel Lavaredo, will be 9,000 foot peaks in all directions, plus a beautiful lake to help frame your shot.

View of Rifugio Son Forca

A sunrise view from your hotel room at Hotel Lavaredo in Lake Misurina where we will stay the first 5 nights.

This view is 5 minutes from the hotel
 The backside of the famous geographic formation known as "Tre Cime", the Half Dome of the Dolomites as seen from our hotel in Lake Misurina.  Shot by workshop student Danny Yin.

The "Half Dome" of the Dolomites, "Tre Cime" or in German, "Drei Zinnen". From Rifugio Locatell .

The Durrensee (left) and the Piz-Popena in the Cristallo-Gruppe looking over Lago Landro.

After a freak 8" snowfall, students at Lagazuoi are waiting for the sunrise.

Gary and his wife Deborah at Passo Giau from 2019

The "back side" of Tre Cime. Shot from Lago de Antorno near Misurina.




See our Facebook page for more photos from the 2019 trip.


The Tentative Schedule, Weather Permitting.

Special Note;
If you have a fear of heights do NOT sign up for this workshop. We will be shooting incredible vistas from precarious locations, and will be frequently traveling in ski lifts and cable cars, and drive twisting mountain roads at extreme elevations. In order to be fair to the group we cannot accommodate those with a fear of heights.

Day 1 Monday Arrive at Hotel Lavaredo at Lake Misurina, welcome and orientation meeting at 6pm. Dinner at 7pm, independent shooting around the lake afterward if desired. Each student will have his or her own private room! No double occupancy requirements or single supplements!
Day 2 Tuesday Sunrise shooting beginning at 5am, then breakfast at 8am, 9am first meeting to adjust camera settings and assess weather for remainder of the day. Easy day to allow for jet-lag recovery. Nearby (walking distance) ski-lift ride to Rifugio Col de Varda for lunch and shooting the spectacular grand vista of Croda del Banco and other spectacular mountain peaks. Shooting around Lake Misurina and nearby Lake de Atorno. Dinner after sunset.
Day 3 Wednesday Rise early for the short drive to Rifugio Auronzo to shoot the sunrise, then back to Hotel Lavaredo. Breakfast at 8am. Most of the afternoon in this area shooting. Possible trip to Passo Giau or Sesto for sunset. Dinner after sunset.
Day 4
Post-Processing workshop at our hotel; we'll cover RAW conversion software, Photoshop, Lightroom and proper storage and archiving practices. We'll cover preparation for print, internet use, etc.
Day 5
Excursion to the Rifugio Son Forca for spectacular views of the Dolomites. Possible trip to Passo Giau for sunset shoot, back to Misurina for dinner.
Day 6
Check out of hotel Laverado and head to Falzarego Pass for the reknown Rifugio Lagazuoi where we will spend two nights. Pause along the way to shoot various vistas of the town of Cortina and other scenes as they appear. Detour to Passo Giau for the spectacular 360 degree vistas, then on to Passo Falzarego. Board the cable-car for the 90-second, 2,000 foot ascent to Rifugio Lagazuoi. Check in, break, dinner and shooting the sunset at Lagazuoi. NIght shooting!
Day 7
Up early (5am) to shoot the sunrise, incredible breakfast, shooting around the Lagazuoi area. Image critique. For those who wish, excursions to Val de Funes to shoot the St. Magdalena chapel; touring the WWI tunnels and artifacts, shooting late afternoon and sunset, dinner, then night shooting. It is entirely possible we will spend the entire day shooting from the deck of Lagazuoi; the view is that compelling and the conditions change rapidly.
Day 8
Up early to shoot sunrise, breakfast, check out of Rifugio Lagazuoi, last-minute shooting for those who wish and home. Check-out time at Lagazuoi is 10am, but for those of you extending your trip you are welcome to hang around the rifugio and surrounding hiking trails until the last cable-car goes down at 5pm.

To leave a $1,000 deposit
Total cost is
per person, single occupancy; two students sharing a room receive a $200 per-person discount. Non-shooting guests are allowed; please add $2,200 for each non-shooting guest. Email me and let me know this is what you want to do.
includes breakfast and dinner, lodging, cable car and park fees
All food, lodging, cable-cars, ski-lifts, park entrance fees for 6 days and 7 nights is included.
Please note; For lodging, there is NO single supplement! Each student will have his or her own private room. If two students traveling together wish to share a room, take $200 off the price of the workshop each.
Please let me know if this is the case when you sign up.


We will be staying at the Hotel Laverado at Lake Misurina (elev. 5,750 ft) for the first five nights, then to Rifugio Lagazuoi (elev. 9,030, well above the tree line) at Falzarego Pass for two nights.

This is where we will be staying the first five nights

Hotel Laverado at Lake Misurina for the first five nights
Lake Misurina is just across the street.
We will be right in the middle of spectacular mountain peaks and a beautiful lake at the 5,750 foot elevation. As seen from Rifugio Auronzo.

The last two nights will be at Rifugio Lagazuoi, accessible only by hiking or cable car.

This is where we will be staying the last two nights

Photo by Guido Pompanin
At elevation 9,030 ft, Rifugio Lagazuoi is one of the highest in the Dolomites accessible only by hiking or cable-car. The view is indescribable! See my FB page at
Use the top bunk for your luggage; it's a small room, you'll have it all to yourself and the beds are very comfortable. Friendly people, you'll make new friends and enjoy a warm, comfortable place to eat and enjoy a cappaccino.


Breakfast and dinner will be provided.  Breakfast will be a typical Tyrolean continental breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, breads, cereal, cheese, speck, coffee, juice and fruit. Lunch will be your personal choice. We'll have sandwiches to eat in the field, or maybe a small cafe. Dinner will be the at the Hotel Lavaredo, or various restaurants in Cortina or Lagazuoi Rifugio. We will enjoy incredible Tyrolean/Italian fare
!! Alcohol is student's responsibility and should be paid at the time of service.


You are responsible for getting to Hotel Lavaredo at Lake Misurina.  You should book your flight to Venice, the closest international airport with the most flights. (Don't waste your time with Venice. It's a terrible, hot-and-humid Italian tourist trap, crammed with people. Think Myrtle Beach or Daytona Beach on the 4th of July.) Cortina D'Ampezzo is about a 2.5 hour drive from Venice straight north. It is STRONGLY recommended you rent a car with GPS in order to insure a stress-free drive to Misurina.  I have found that once in a while participants have to leave early for family emergencies, sickness, etc and so as not to disturb the agenda for remaining participants, your ability to travel independently is important. We will carpool to the various shooting locations and utilize two-way radios to coordinate last-minute changes in itinerary and sudden shooting opportunities. Past students of my workshops can attest to the fact that the weather dictates our daily activities and plans can change quickly. We'll have an incredible adventure! 

Items to Bring

Although it does not matter what equipment you have, you will get the most out of it if your camera has manual settings and shoots RAW and the ability to connect a cable shutter release. 

Obviously, bring your wide-angle lenses.  Bring telephotos as well if you have them; you'll use them more than you think.

Best tripod you can muster w/ extra clamp plates. You'll be very disappointed if you lose your one and only tripod clamp plate...
(This happened one time)

Cable release

Polarizing filter

Neutral density filters; one .6 and one .9 if possible.  We will do some motion-blur photography, mostly with clouds.  You will need at least 12 stops of neutral density.

Don't forget your lens shades

Extra memory cards and spare camera batteries

Bring your camera's owner's manual; this will help solve problems with settings, especially if you are a Nikon or Sony shooter.

Bring several lens cloths and cleaning liquid; I will have liquid, but bring your own cloths, if possible please.

Be sure you have a wearable photo backpack for daily hiking trips.

Laptop computer with spare batteries.  Don't forget your CF/SD card reader!!  People forget these all the time!

Rain and cold weather gear, both for your equipment and for you.  Shooting could involve standing out in the rain or snow. Water-proof hiking boots would be very useful.

Terms and Conditions

In the unlikely event that the workshop does not fill enough spaces to warrant continuing, the class will be canceled and a full refund given. You will be notified at least thirty days in advance if a workshop is not going to take place.  The Italian Dolomites Photo Workshop is not responsible for non-refundable airline reservations in the event of workshop cancellation.  
We strongly recommend you get trip insurance.

Participant-initiated cancellations of the workshop received prior to 90 days before the workshop will receive a refund minus $300 unless the spot can be refilled, in which case 100% refund will be given.  Due to the unusual complexity and extensive planning required for these workshops, no refunds will be offered for participant-initiated cancellations after 90 days prior to workshop date unless the spot can be re-filled. (It should be noted in 8 years I have never cancelled a workshop). No refunds will be given for conditions arising out of Acts of God or conditions beyond my control. Credit for a future workshop within two years will be given.

Workshop liability insurance provided by Great American Insurance Group

2019 Phil Hawkins Photography
5132 N. Palm, #118
Fresno, CA 93704

The "Bill Me Later" PayPal arrangement is better than stretching out the payments on your credit card; it features no payment AND no interest for six months and if you take longer the interest rate is only 19%.