A Journey in Tuscany
Many years ago, when I started taking landscape pictures, I would just stroll around a nice place, keep my eyes open, and when I saw something "nice" I would snap a picture. This did not lead to many memorable images.
To really capture the soul of a place takes times.
Now, I spend a lot of time preparing, before even going to a place. I use Google Earth to research the topography of a place, looking for the most promising viewpoints. I scour the web in search of inspiration from other photographers that have visited the place. I use apps such as The Photographers Ephemeris and PhotoPills to predict where the sun and moon are going to be in the sky.
Once on site, it takes still more time to absorb via osmosis what makes a place special. What are its unique characteristics. What visual would make you say: "this is this place, and nowhere else". That can take me a while to do, sometimes days or weeks. My visit in Tuscany last summer was really useful to get to know the place, but I didn't get any pictures I liked out of it. But from this visit, after I was back home, I figured out which images I *should* have taken.
Then, after I have figured out exactly what I wanted to capture, I still depend on the light and the weather, which are changing and not always predictable. I use meteorology apps such as Dark Sky and Clear Outside to see what the sky has in store, but there's no guarantee the conditions will be ideal when you want them to. That's why I like to give myself several days to get the shot I want.
Finally, I go to the spot I want, and I wait, often hours, for the sun to rise or the light to change, or the clouds to move in just the right position. It's a great opportunity to take the time to really enjoy a beautiful landscape.
The question I get asked the most by people walking by and seeing me standing by my tripod is "Are you doing a timelapse?". "No, no, I'm just waiting for the light to be right", I answer. "Oh", they reply, walking away with a quizzical frown and probably thinking "what's wrong with the light now?"
I'm happy with the images I got this time. I think they do a good job of capturing what Tuscany is all about. Of course, it's still only one view of it. Landscapes and light change with the seasons, so I'll have an excuse to come back and visit again at different times of the year 😀