A couple of weeks ago I went on my first trip to Tuscany, and particularly the Val d’Orcia, which must be one of the the most photogenic locations you can imagine!
Tuscany has been photographed time and time again, and so presents a real challenge to capture and present in your own way. It’s an excellent area to photograph because the hills and open vies allow you to maintain interest right through the foreground, middle and far distance, something I struggle to achieve near home (a dawning realisation cam over me listening to Simon Roberts last week – that’s why I’m not happy with the photos near home)!
Thankfully the light always has its own way and gave us subtly different lighting each morning. The challenge with hazy mist was low contrast, thankfully something digital allows plenty of scope to manage in colour as you would have done on a mono print in the darkroom. I use Lightroom to catalogue and do my intial RAW processing, and make extensive use of local adjustments to exposure, contrast and clarity; it doesn’t have quite the same local control possibilities as photoshop (which definitely is the way to make the best B&W conversions).
I can’t finish a blog on Tuscany without something on the olive trees and vineyards, which carpet the hills around Montalcino. The lovely grove above was close to Sant’Antimo, the elevated position of the road allowed the olives to give a strong foreground whilst allowing you the see the vineyard and hills beyond.
There are some great views close to the main roads around Val d’Orcia, but the best require local knowledge (we had the benefit of local knowledge!) to get off the beaten track a bit.