Autumn In The Alps - Episode I (Heiligenblut, South Tyrol, and the Dolomites)
[Music] [Music] [Music] There's something magical about visiting the Alps of Bavaria Austria and South trole in Autumn after the summer crowds have gone home. The leaves begin to turn, there's a chill on the air as you leave on your morning hike, frost begins to appear in the meadows, and snow begins to fall again in the higher elevations. Even though I was pretty trashed after my 12,000 Mile road trip to Denali, Canada and Colorado, I knew I wanted to return to the Alps before the Fall colors were gone for the year. So on October 13th, I dropped what I was doing and jumped on a Lufthansa flight to Munich, and from there, made my way South through Bavaria into Austria. First on my list was a return trip to the beautiful mountain village of Heiligenblut which sits at the foot of the highest mountain in Austria. It was pouring rain when I arrived at the Berg Crystal Hotel on the 14th and it was still coming down when I woke up on the following morning. Even though it hurt to get up early while it was still raining,
I was glad I made that decision as the storm broke apart revealing misty peaks in all directions. I'm in Heilgenblut and it's very rainy. October 15th. I'm staying in the Berg Crystal Hotel and I'm just going a little walk before breakfast. Some of the higher Peaks have snow. Leaves are changing. It's a very beautiful place to be today. That peak just opened up.
Some clearing conditions Still a little bit of fog and mist [Bells ringing] I didn't put up the GoPro yet. I just wanted to get this...Tthis is how I 0:03:59.680,1193:02:47.295 [Music] got out of my hotel. There's a little tunnel through this apartment thing. So I'm on my way out of Heiligenblut and um heading to Lientz first... I still don't have any volume on this thing... what the heck ...uh and then from there to Issinger Wehr [Music] [Music] ...right in front of me this year I'm on the second floor last window [Music] Some of these colors here looking really nice. On the way up to Val Di Funes. Not too crazy about those clouds up there. It might be covering the peaks in which case this will all be for naught.
[Music] in Autumn of 2019, I accidentally drove up the small walkway that you see in the foreground and summarily got yelled at by some of the local farmers. They had changed the rules since my last visit in 2017 and the town of Santa Magdalena had since built a new public parking lot to handle the crowd since this valley had become so popular after photos began appearing on social media. Val defunis is easily one of the most beautiful and bucolic locations in all of South Tyrol. If you're thinking about simply driving up there and taking some photographs, be prepared to park at one of the parking areas at the edge of town before hiking up a few kilometers above the village for better views. [Music] [Bells ringing] It was clouded over and very hazy when I arrived on the evening of the 15th so the light wasn't that great but here's one of my shots from 2017 to give you a better idea of how this Valley can look on a typical evening in Autumn. [Music] On my trip to the Alps in 2019, I spent some time shooting around the towns of Seis, St Valentine and San Cipriano. I made the trip South mainly to get a reflection in a
little Lake above San Cipriano called "Wuhnleger." The mountains above the lake are known as "Di Rosengarten" which is German for "Rose Garden". The title comes from the way they light up in red at Sunset especially in Autumn. [Music] While I was exploring this area I kept looking for a particular Church in Seis but never managed to find i. Since 2019, it was featured in a recent film called "A Hidden Life." After seeing the church in the film, I promised myself I would track it down on this trip, but finding it turned out to be a bit more complicated than I had anticipated.
...this church of this town. It's nice, but it's not quite as um... landscapey as.... where do they want me to go here? as...um the others but it's cool then...cuz... it's perched right on top of the Town ..."continue straight then make a u-turn" Whatever the **** that was from Google I went up like a little goat path trying to get to this church and it's wrong! It's either the wrong church or the wrong way to that church. It's down there below me... right there! But that doesn't look like the right one... that's the wrong church! That is the wrong church! It's a COOL church, but it's the wrong church.
... the apartment...um after getting blocked off..." 50 kmh speed limit Camera Head please watch your speed" um from uh St Valentine.... "50 kmh speed limit Camera ahead 50 kmph speed limit Camera ahead" ...afternoon evening light. It's almost 6 PM, and these uh yellow and orange leaves really light up nicely uh ...On my way back to Lientz. Val de Aurina... or Val Arina val... whatever uh Big Shadows. Not a good place for Sunset. Did not go all the way up that
Valley. Need to look at that again. Trying to figure out what I was after um...but I know I passed dozens of fortresses and churches on my way here and one of them was across the way. There's two or three churches that I saw that were way up in the Hills. ...this thing is just like perched on the edge of a cliff what the actual frick it's a hotel! Wow... cool! I'm on my way up to Baita Segantini. That's my car it's right down there. Tiny little bit of color down here in the corner so I'll try to come back with a better Sky if I get a chance. These peaks are crazy So here's the view...Baita Segantini. It's going to be better with a sky,
and is the wide angle with the iPhone. You can come down here and you get low...you can pull the mountains further down into the lake so it's kind of like that. [Music} I'm taking off from Baita Segantini. I had more footage facing it but I got to get out of here it's an hour 40 minutes pack to Bano I got to do some shopping. Another view of all the um... yellow...vineyards. [Music] [Music] [Music] As you may have concluded from my earlier search for the St Valentine Church, one of my main goals on this particular trip was to focus on finding chapels that are scattered throughout South Tyrol, often perched in high and remote locations. One
of my favorite chapels in this area is the Chiesa Di Santa Barabara which is located at the top of a small and sketchy mountain road in the San Genesio province of Bolzano. [Music] The chapel dates back to the 15th century and was constructed by mine workers from the Valparola Valley. The views from this tiny little church are stunning and well worth the white knuckle drive on a road that is more suitable for golf carts than automobiles. I have to uh interrupt my time lapse if something really exciting happens but these clouds just rolled in. It's like the perfect night to be up here. There's
supposed to be nothing going on tonight according to all of my apps so I'm glad my apps were wrong. I don't know what's wrong with my voice... I sound like Clint Eastwood. One of the greatest challenges when shooting in the Alps in Autumn is finding the right weather conditions for the area that you're hoping to shoot in. In 2017, I couldn't BUY a cloud over the 10 days that I was shooting in five different countries. [Music] in 2019 there were several days where the sun didn't come out at all and I just sat in my apartment watching the rain pour down in buckets. This year proved to be challenging in a different way as storms would break and clear skies would appear with almost no warning at all. So on October 22nd, I had my fingers crossed as I set out on my second attempt to find the St Valentine Church in Seis.
Okay so I'm trying to get to the church before all the clouds disappear and I got a really bad feeling that is not going to happening. Look at that! I'm not going to make it, am I? I'm going to get to the top of this Ridge there's a couple of farms. Hopefully won't be a big deal if I walk down [Music] In spite of the odds, the low clouds lingered over the town of Seis as the Schlern Massif towered above. I was able to spend a couple of hours shooting photos and time lapses before the Sun finally slid behind the clouds in the West [Music] [Music] [Music]