A New Experience
Having never visited Italy before, this trip was a totally educational one for me. I had no idea that food could taste this good, that wine could be this delicious, that there could be so much beauty in any country anywhere in the world. The experience was a totally new one for me. Everything I saw, encountered or tasted was interesting, different or new, and I loved every minute of it.
Capturing All That Beauty
Visually, Tuscany is simply stunning. When you look in almost any direction you are greeted with a view so perfect it almost seems surreal, as if it had been set strategically in place for a film set. The rolling greens hills, the yellow buttercups, the perfectly symmetrical cypress trees, fields of red poppies swaying in the breeze, the gently decaying buildings, the morning mist – they all come together to produce the perfect setting. All of this posed a question for me during my shooting time there – how can I possibly capture all of this beauty and translate it to an image? Tuscany is so beautiful to see in person; translating that beauty to a captured image was the challenge.
I’m glad that my first trip to Italy was to the relaxing Tuscany region so that I could see how slow-paced and enjoyable life could be. If my first Italy trip had been, say Rome, I may not have experienced the calm that Tuscany exuded. Vince and I will journey to Italy sometime within the next couple of years and, knowing what I know now, I would very much like to start in the beautiful city of Florence.
The Italians are lovely people. From the experiences I had on this trip I found they are among the warmest, kindest, most sincere people you’ll ever meet. I’ve always loved the what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature of Italians; there are no false or concealed emotions and you always know where you stand.
After a day or two in Italy, I became aware Italians tend to favour form over function. By this I mean that personal safety seems to be sacrificed for beauty – i.e. the dangerous step leading out of the bathroom in all our suites; no non-slip device on the floor of the extremely slippery shower stall; the killer bench behind the hotel which is not secured to the ground with concrete: a member of our group fell down on our first day here when the unsecured iron bench tipped over backwards. A few days later a member from another tour group also accidentally pulled the bench over, fell, and smashed her tripod. If a potentially hazardous situation like these occurred anywhere in North America or the UK, the situation would be attended to and resolved or, at a minimum, there would be caution signs posted. Just sayin’.
Light & Land
This Tuscany trip with Light & Land was a busy one. The Italian custom for eating the evening meal is what, in North America, we regard as “late” – most restaurants in Italy don’t open until around 8:00PM or later, and a meal is more than just eating food – it’s an hours-long social event. On our tour this resulted in late nights/late meals coupled with very early morning departures (5:15AM) every day in order to capture the sun rising over beautiful Tuscany. There’s not much in this life that can possibly get me out of bed at that God-forsaken hour of the morning, but good photography opportunities will. So, as you can surmise from our schedule there was not a lot of time to blog the trip, which is why I left it until I got home.
A tour with Light & Land is as much a social experience as it is a photography tour. Having a good personality mix on a tour enhances the whole experience. We had a great team this trip and everyone got on so well together.
While thinking about how I would close this Tuscany blog, I came across this quote which, for me, seems to sum things up:
We all have our time machines, don’t we. Those that take us back are memories. And those that carry us forward are dreams
For me, this time in Tuscany has created so many fond memories of people and places, and created new dreams to carry me forward. I waited four years to take this trip, and it was all worth it. I enjoyed every minute and regret none of it.
Thank you, Tuscany, London, our tour Leader Phil, and all my wonderful Light & Land tour-mates. It was quite an adventure! 😊