Winter silence

“Winter silence”. The alarm clock rings almost two hours before dawn. In the Abruzzese village of Rocca Calascio, not so far from the “Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park”, the temperature is definitely below zero. After a few brief preparations I go out and reach the car, in the light of the lanterns; proceeding very slowly, along the road that climbs the mountain and leads almost to the fortress, I park at about three-quarters of the way, to avoid not being able to continue in the event of an icy section. I continue on foot, in the silent darkness, warming up as I approach the destination: I pass the tiny ancient village, all made of rock, including the completely frozen paths and stairs, and then find myself walking along a snowy path. The headlamp allows me to clearly see to my left the massive grandeur of the peak and the fortress that rises there and to my right an escarpment of dense trees.

Before long, I find the small church of Santa Maria Della Pietà in front of me, a beautiful Renaissance work with an octagonal base and a large solid wooden door. It looks like a gem, there on the mountainside, microscopic compared to the vastness of the surrounding landscape.
So I decide to represent the impression that this small and fascinating architectural treasure has given me: I go up a little further along the path and find a suitable composition. In the meantime, the first light of dusk marks the beginning of the morning blue hour, revealing the white geometric shape of the church, facing an immense mountainous panorama. The nearest hills are mostly bare and with soft and sinuous shapes but, on the horizon, you can see the silhouettes of the highest and snow-capped peaks, including the unmistakable Corno Grande, the highest of the Gran Sasso, and all the Apennines.

The silence is surreal and, at this altitude and with such a clear sky, the little diagonal light is enough to make all the details of a natural landscape as wild as it is delicate shine.
A place and an experience that have remained indelibly in my heart.

To take this shot, I used a 2-stop graduated ND filter to slightly darken the sky, balancing the lighting with the foreground. The central area of the frame is thus more illuminated, from the church to the horizon.

Camera: Pentax K-3
Lens: Sigma 10-20mm 3.5 EX DC HSM
Focal lenght: 14mm
Shutter time: 89 s
Aperture: F/7.1
Sensitivity: ISO100

This photograph has been awarded at the following international photography competition:
– Honorable Mention in the 2020 edition of the ND Awards: “Winter silence” – Category Landscapes


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