Over couple of years back I had gleaned through an image of Santa Maddalena, Val di Funes. Though at that point of time I had very little knowledge of photography, the striking contrast in the landscape, form and light of this place had consumed me wholly. And thus began my relentless research. I don’t drive and it quickly dawned on me that navigating the Dolomites isn’t easy. As I combed through some local photographers from the area who shared my passion, I accidentally stumbled upon my biggest find of the last several years – Federico Antonello. A brilliant photographer, thorough gentleman, well spoken, empathetic and yet gritty at the same time. We developed a great bond during the trip and I have never ceased to admire his intricate knowledge of the terrain and light conditions alike. I’d probably someday get back to the Dolomites just to share a toast with him as much I would for the great scenery around.
A story that’d always give me courage and hope was from this trip. As we traversed through the path to Tre Cime, it turned out to be embroiled by a record snowfall, with the hiking ridges being almost non-existent through the 5 km onward journey and overlooking a nearly 9,000 feet relentless drop into a pitless gorge. The first thing that we noticed was that both of us were pretty much the only ones attempting this daredevil feat. We subsequently slipped, clawed, risked and survived it to the summit. And then several fairly awesome shots ensued. However, the road to perdition was far from over. Soon after one of my favorite pictures was clicked, the magnificent golden light was snubbed out of the skies as the satanic clouds took over and left both of us in utter darkness, with no navigation and signs to guide us back. Our eventual celebratory toast at 2:00 a.m. was over some fine Italian grappa and I'd always owe this successful journey to my dear friend Federico Antonello - one of the best photographers on the continent and a righteous man. If you have him by your side, I guarantee you memories that you’d cherish lifelong.