We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Elisabetta Piantoni (@foxsbackpack) shares her favorite photo adventures from around the world. Originally from Italy, Elisabetta has traveled through Europe, across the United States, and to other parts of the world, too. Here, she shares some of her favorite memories from various locations.

Val Gardena Gröden

I grew up in the mountains; they are part of my DNA. Every year, at the end of July, my family and I spend a week hiking in the Dolomite Mountains to celebrate my birthday. I never wanted big parties — just time in nature with my family and my dog, Ben. During those weeks, there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be than in the mountains, with an inexplicable feeling of freedom and peace.

 

Lake Thun

Many people criticize social media because it has seemingly ruined the tranquility of certain formerly-hidden destinations around the world. On one hand, I find myself agreeing with that. On the other hand, it is because of social media that I was able to discover places I never would have found on my own.

For example, to get this particular shot, you have to hike up a hidden side street and park quite far away. If you continue hiking, you’ll reach an old monastery among the rocks (now used as museum). I drove all the way around the lake just to see this view and I never would have known about it if it weren’t for Instagram.

Piazza Del Campidoglio

It was around 7 a.m. on my first day back in Italy after living in Vancouver for several months. The jet lag was killing me, and all I really wanted to do was to go back to bed and rest a little — and I almost did!

When the sun finally came out from around this building, it was like a call — a call for new adventures and unique moments, for a new beginning back home in Italy.

 

 

Seceda

I took this shot after a horrible night. We started to set up our tent at Seceda while it was raining and a huge thunderstorm was approaching. When we finally finished, we realized that the pavement was actually inclined toward one side. At first glance, everything seemed fine, but as soon as we entered the tent and started sliding toward my dog, Ben, we realized it was going to be a long night. We may have only gotten about two hours of sleep, but the sunrise the next morning was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

 

Val Gardena Gröden

The thing I love the most about photography is the way it makes you look at things differently and the way in which it changes your perspective. Whenever I see something I want to photograph, I make a concerted effort to envision a new way to capture that moment.

In this instance, I remember sitting with my eyes closed, my hands feeling the multitude of flowers surrounding me, the freezing breeze of the night becoming slowly stronger. Ben suddenly ran toward me and, as I opened my eyes, still laying on the ground, I saw this wonderful perspective of the mountains, flowers, and my friend making his way up the hill. I knew right away that I had to grab my camera as fast as I could and capture the moment before it disappeared.

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Passo Della Manina

This little church might not say a lot to you but, for me, it evokes shocking amount of history. Located in the valley where I grew up and where my family is originally from, this church is a building my own grandfather helped build many years ago. I had always heard so many stories about it, but last year I finally had the chance to hike up the mountain and see it in person. Located high between two valleys, it offers a breathtaking 360 degree view from the top.

 

 

L‘Oratoire Saint-Joseph du Mont-Royal

I usually shoot at sunset and sunrise, and like to walk in the rain but not shoot in it. Except for this day.

It had been raining all day, but I still decided to grab my camera and go explore the city. When I finally reached the Oratoire of Saint Joseph, the sky was a bit cloudy, but sunset was just around the corner. As I made my way back home, a warm light suddenly appeared and made all the fall colors even brighter around the church. On the way, I noticed a puddle and snapped this shot. As I look at it on my screen now, I feel so grateful for that day’s rain.

Cannon Beach

I remember sitting in a café with a few friends waiting for the rain and heavy wind to calm down. We had driven about five hours to Cannon Beach, but unfortunately the weather was not on our side. Time passed and the rain was not even slightly calming down.

All of a sudden, I grabbed my light rain jacket and ran outside. As I reached the beach, I instantly knew that I had made the right decision. The strong wind was creating beautiful drawings in the sand, and the rain summoned a soft fog just above the horizon. I saw two other brave adventurers with bright red jackets and followed them along to snap a quick shot of this incredible and unique moment.

Brandywine Falls

We spent a long weekend hiking in the Canadian mountains near Vancouver, and all I wanted to do was to go home and rest with some hot chocolate. But a friend of mine suggested we stop on the way home in the middle of nowhere — he’d heard that there was a hidden waterfall somewhere nearby. I was a little reluctant at first, but as the scenery opened up and this utterly breathtaking waterfall appeared, everything in my mind changed. I could not stop staring at it — the way it was surrounded perfectly by trees and nature, the peaceful sound of the water crashing on the rocks. Sometimes beauty can be found anywhere, even in the middle of nowhere.