7.00 a.m | Brenta Dolomites

This is certainly one of my best known and appreciated 6x6 photographs ever. A series of favorable conditions, a moment, an intuition and, as always, the technique that gives you the opportunity to tell exactly what you want to tell. Here is the story of "7.00 A.M."

The story behind
That morning in July 2010, my dear friend and alpine guide Sandro Vidi and I left early from Tuckett & Sella Mountain Hut, in the Brenta Dolomites. We wanted to take us quickly to the middle of the "Via Ferrata SOSAT" before the clouds arrived from behind the Sfulmini Group. Not to avoid them, but just to photograph them around the Crozzon di Brenta that, shortly afterwards, we would have had right in front of us.

(Sulmini Group and clouds from Ferrata Sosat)

I needed those kind of photographs for the book that would be published two years later: "Dentro e fuori le cime. Dolomiti di Brenta tra l'occhio e il passo" (Inside and outside the peaks, Brenta Dolomites, between the eye and the step"), Il Margine Editore, 2012 - Tn). The day seemed appropriate.

At 7 A.M. we had already passed the first part of the path, beyond the junction that leads to the Bocca di Tuckett, beyond the valley below the mountain hut, and we were going up halfway between the large blocks of rock under Punta Massari, half an hour from the start of the real ferrata. Sandro was ahead of me, I was fiddling with my Rolleiflex 3.5T to check how many photos I still had in my Tmax 100 kodak roll. I also wanted to mount a light yellow filter to pull out those few streaks of clouds that I saw in the sky in front of me

Me and my Rolleiflex 3.5T on Ferrata Sosat (2010)

At a certain point the trail makes a small curve and disappears behind a group of stones. And so did Sandro. While I was still fixing the camera I raised my head and I saw Sandro reappear from the trail, walking towards me and putting his hand on one of those stones.

That was "the moment" I saw clearly my photograph in its totality and expressionI saw his profile against the light as if it were one with the blocks and stones in front of me. I saw those light clouds in the sky, the Presanella Peack in front of me and I saw that beautiful light that only mountain mornings can give you.

I immediately shouted to Sandro to stop and hold that position for a second and I took one photograph, just one. Even though I could make a whole roll of it.  But so I did. Because I felt it. I already knew, at the time of the shot, that I would find it exactly as I had seen it. And so it was -|

Making the photograph
First of all I wanted to have that Sandro and the stones composed a little diagonal between one side and the other of the frame. Then I tried to have in the photograph both the sky and the Presanella in the background, and the clouds. As if they were two situations, two overlapping photographs.

With the yellow filter on to enhance the small cirrus, I exposed pointing to the sky with my Gossen Lunasix 3 so that the landscape was perfectly visible, but Sandro and the stones were totally backlit, nothing but a silhouette, a shadow line that gave the sensation of moving, of going in and around the mountains


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Eight years after | End of the story
Eight years after that photograph, Sandro and I found ourselves walking again that same trail, passing through that same point. We found that same stone and I asked Sandro to take a picture of me with his smartphone in the same position in which I saw him that day.

Friends, friendship and mountains.
The beautiful things in life. :-)

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