The Lie of the Land, Tuscany, Italy by Sarah Howard

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Picture Story

One of the biggest challenges I find is when presented with a big sweeping landscape, is how to effectively capture it's beauty or majesty. There are times when no photograph can adequately capture what we saw with our own eyes and it is especially hard with 'big views'. This image started out as part of one such view. It was a late September afternoon in the Val D’Orcia region of Tuscany. The light was low, accentuating the folds of the land and the shadows were long. One particular tree, standing alone, caught my eye in amongst all this beauty and I found myself gazing out across the landscape, trying to take it all in. My instinct was to try to capture as much of it as I could, so I chose my shortest focal length on the lens I had at the time, struggling even then to include everything. When I saw the result on my laptop…what a disappointment! It was what I call a 'nothing image'; one of those photographs that you look at and wonder what you were even thinking of at the time! To say I was disappointed was an understatement.

A few days later, I returned to look at my photograph again, I remembered what had particularly caught my eye at the time - that small tree, complete with its shadow, standing quite alone in amongst the delightful curves of the land. There was my image! It was just lost in amongst everything else as I'd sought to capture it all. A drastic crop allowed me to discard a large part of my photograph and thereby allow the tree and those wonderful textures and shapes to be the focus of the image. All of a sudden there it was!

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