Summer nights on Majella
After deciding on exploring Majella’s plateau at night I started walking on the trail at noon and met the last people at 5 in the afternoon: after that the mountain was all for me. I walked on and on; explored ridges and crossed saddles; looked down to the deepest valleys of the massif and up to the fast-moving clouds. When I took a break on a stone, a flock of loud white-winged snowfinches oblivious to my presence was combing the ground in front of me, searching for seeds among the dried out alpine plants.
At sunset, I had the purest and simplest light. When night came, I was tired but exhilarated, so I kept on. I dropped my backpack in a little cave and took only a bunch of nuts, my camera and tripod with me. Wind came in full force and didn't leave until the morning. At 11 at night I was still shooting the landscape, holding fast my tripod to not let the wind toss my equipment to the ground. The moonlight gave the round, barren mountains a touch of indefiniteness. Dark shadows and silvery colors. Deep contrasts and vague horizons.
All of sudden, what looked like a crawling shadow revealed itself for a small herd of chamois moving in the distance. Helped by the wind, blowing in my direction, I slowly moved toward them, able to reduce the distance between me and the wary animals and sit down some fifty metres from them. All the chamois were laying, some ruminating and some even dozing in the dim light. It was a surreal moment: me with them, all alone above this big mountain in the night with the lights of towns and villages indifferent in the distance. I felt really privileged to share such a intimate moment with those animals and desperately tried to record it with my camera. Thanks to the new technologies, the digital sensor allowed me to take pictures with a 5” shutter speed: with some luck, enough to get a sharp image. What came out was beyond my expectations and closely represents what I saw that night.
It was after midnight when I went back to the cave, crawled into my sleeping bag and dropped dead. At sunrise, I enjoyed the most perfect stillness. The moon, still high, was now competing with the first sunrays. All around me just blocks of blue, pink and gold. A flock of choughs flew by distant, breaking the silence with their croaking calls.
At 6.47 am, I spotted the first two hikers and then I realized how much exhausted, dehydrated and hungry I was...
All images and texts © 2009-2012 Bruno D'Amicis Photography
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