Galleria Winner • Yvan Bedard
San Quirico d'Orcia, Tuscany, Italy

This was my second trip to Tuscany, a highly photogenic region of Italy. Every day I noticed this lonely tree and its shadow on this small hill. It was early spring and the hay was barely starting to grow, offering a color to the fields that differs from the traditional photographs of Tuscany.

Using my Nikon D800 and various focal lengths of my 80-400mm zoom lens, I took a few handheld pictures of this tree every time I passed by at different times of the day. I did so because the sun position and the weather were changing fast and impacting on the ambiance of the location. When I made this photograph, there were many clouds disseminated in a slightly hazy sky. I waited about 30 minutes to have the sun reaching the tree thru the clouds. When it happened, the sun was weakened by the haze and very thin clouds. However, the valley behind the hill was shadowed by thicker clouds. The resulting subdued light, the low contrast between the hill and valley as well as the pale color of the slightly greenish field, gave a unique feeling to this photograph.

Almost no post-processing was needed. This special light at this time of the year resulted in a photo that reminds me of early Italian paintings. I also like the fact that it differs from the usually colorful and luxuriant Tuscany photographs seen on postcards. Going a few times to the same spot at various times during a trip can be highly beneficial.

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