We’re extremely excited about our Journey Through Italy + The Image Flow tour being offered this July that includes a special collaboration. Our Dolomiti Photography Workshop brings Journey Through Italy’s Director Lorenzo Acciai together with California-based instructor/ landscape photographer Leanne Hansen for a rare opportunity. Join us and experience, learn and photograph some of the world’s most spectacular mountains, the Italian Dolomites (Dolomiti in Italian) – with the incredible instruction, fresh ideas, and assistance from an American and an Italian photographer with two distinctly different, but complementary styles.
“Out of joy comes great photographic artwork”
Located to the south of the main chain of the Alps, the Dolomites are at a geographic and cultural crossroads between Italy to the south and Tyrol to the north. In the First Century, the Romans invaded the Alps, and remnants of their culture, particularly in the Ladin speaking villages, still remains. Comprising over 90,000 acres of mountainous terrain, the Italian Dolomites offer a unique corner of the Alps with distinctive geology and a fascinating blend of cultures. As you wander among the picturesque villages and rolling green pastures, you may notice a sturdy Italian Gothic tower and an onion-domed Tyrolean steeple vying for ascendancy with the looming walls of dolomite. In many places, evidence of the grueling battle between Italy and Austria is still highly visible. It is an irresistibly fascinating, beautiful, and photogenic land.
Check out this inspirational and thought-provoking interview with Lorenzo and Leanne as they share their rich insights and ideas about how this trip exceeds any other photo journey through the Dolomites; this is certainly a not-to-be-missed opportunity to spend 10 days with these two exceptional photographers.
What are your thoughts about this unique workshop in the Dolomites?
Leanne Hansen: Photography is a record of the experiences of our lives, and this workshop is designed for photographers who want personalized access to the wide variety of cultural and natural wonders that the Dolomites have to offer. For this trip, I will bring my popular Image Flow workshops on the road, and participants will have the option of participating in all of them while in Italy. We will make time for discussions covering light, composition, camera technology, and creative process. The beauty of this workshop is that we will be able to put our classroom learning to work every day in a stunning mountain setting, and thanks to our in-country photographer-guide Lorenzo, we will be in the right places at the right times of day. Daily image editing sessions and feedback will help each photographer to develop both skills and ideas, and all will bring home a personal and beautiful portfolio of images from our adventure.
Why do you think the Dolomites is an ideal place for a photo workshop?
Lorenzo Acciai: The Val Gardena is a splendid valley which offers a myriad of things to see, trails to hike and landscapes to photograph. From our Hotel in Selva di Val Gardena it is just a short drive or hike to the many activities we will be doing. Whether it is a cooking lesson or waiting for the perfect light to photograph breathtaking landscapes–the Italian Dolomites are absolutely magical.
Leanne Hansen: Mountain landscapes are my favorite for their drama and scale, and I love the awe-inspiring light and the changing weather that surrounds them. Their powerful shapes and rough textures are a perfect foil for changing light and weather, and for the delicate wildflowers that carpet the hillsides at lower elevations. Steep mountainsides can provide backdrops for wide angle landscape compositions and are wonderful reflectors of light for more detailed photographs of moving water and reflections. Photographing light in the mountains is a meditative practice for me, and whether I am in the Northern Rocky Mountains in Montana or in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, I always leave a mountain photo shoot refreshed and inspired.
What will a typical day look like in terms of timing of hiking, photography, cultural experiences, etc?
Lorenzo Acciai: Here’s an example of Day 1: Leaving the hotel at 9AM we hike 30 minutes to Vallonga, a pristine beautiful green valley where we can begin to warm up by taking our first photos. From there we can take a short, but steep, hike to Bolkestein Castle. A spectacular view of the valley awaits us from the castle’s lookout. Around noon, we take a nice short walk towards lunch at a delicious tea house where they serve exquisite lunches made from local fresh produce. After lunch, we will visit and photograph a local wood sculptor. Wood sculpting has been a tradition in Val Gardena since the XVII century. We will have time to shower and relax a bit in our hotel before heading out for dinner. The daily hikes will vary from 30 minutes to 4 or 5 hours. One reason we chose the Val Gardena is that it is very well connected with chair lifts and roads that allow us to reach wonderful lookout points without having to hike too long.
“Photography is a record of the experiences of our lives”
How do your skills, talents, and experiences complement each other?
Leanne Hansen: Lorenzo is a gifted and experienced portrait photographer, and while I can make portraits of people, I am a little bit shy! As a result, I have developed an expertise in landscape photography and I have a wide range of experiences photographing urban landscapes as well as mountain landscapes in the Western United States. I am excited to work with Lorenzo because together, we can give workshop participants a well-rounded week of instruction. And thanks to Journey Through Italy’s connections and experience in the Dolomites, we will have access to both interesting people and sublime landscapes to photograph.
Does one have to be an experienced photographer to join?
Lorenzo Acciai: This tour is open to anyone who has a passion for the outdoors, good food, nature, and photography. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use, nor the photography level you are familiar with.
What are you ultimately hoping to achieve on this trip and for your guests?
Lorenzo Acciai: It’s true that there are lots of photo tours out there, but none that combine our two unique perspectives. Leanne is an exceptional photo instructor and I will provide freshly made picnics and guidance, as well as photography support and lectures. Essentially, it will work as a traditional Journey Through Italy tour experience built around a photography workshop. We aim to provide a high-quality experience, but one that will be sure to provide lifelong memories.
Leanne Hansen: I learn something new about photography every time I work with other photographers. There is a joy in sharing a common love of visual art and cultural experiences with other people, and there is nothing like having the opportunity to travel with other photographers. As most photographers know, traveling with friends and family who are not photographers can be hard on everyone — only other photographers understand the need to move slowly and stop often to compose around beautiful light or an interesting scene. My agenda for the trip will be to experience this joy with other travelers, and my hope for our guests is the same. Out of joy comes great photographic artwork! In addition, it is my sincere hope that each guest has a personally exciting and fulfilling adventure, learns something new about photography, and develops their potential as a creative artist.
The scoop on Italian photographer Lorenzo Acciai:
Born and raised in Italy by an American mother and an Italian father, Lorenzo moved to San Francisco to attend a Waldorf middle school. He returned to Italy for high school and then back to the Bay Area to study Global Environmental Sciences. While living there he came in contact with photographer Macduff Everton who introduced him to the basics of photography and influenced his life’s path. Returning to Florence, Lorenzo got certified as an Adventure Travel Nature Guide to help out his father Mario Acciai, a well-seasoned private hiking guide with over 30 years of experience and a strong following. Lorenzo earned a degree in photojournalism from the Accademia Italiana/University of Whales and created Journey Through Italy, a travel company that carries on the family tradition organizing private, customized hiking tours throughout Italy. The Dolomiti Photography Workshop is a beautiful blend of Lorenzo’s passions and talents.
See Lorenzo’s photographic work here.
The scoop on American photographer Leanne Hansen:
She works as a commercial and fine art photographer in Marin County CA and Bozeman MT. She has participated in numerous group shows at The Image Flow, the O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, and Marin Open Studios has been published in the Bay Area Where Guestbook and Edible Marin and Wine Country, and her fine art prints are included in private and corporate collections across the country. Leanne has taught several popular workshops at The Image Flow including Language of Light for Photographers, Motion Blur for Expressive Images, and Still Life Photography: Lighting Technique for Flowers.
See more of Leanne’s work here.