Sunday, January 12, 2014

When to take my Photogaphy tour of the Val d’Orcia

Choosing the right time for your photographic tour of the Val d’Orcia is very important. The Val d'Orcia has ever changing colors depending on the farming cycles. The classic photos of green fields are taken from March to May. Then from June to mid July we have the gold of ripening wheat, and from mid July through October the less interesting time of brown ploughed fields. Be sure to keep these aspects in mind before booking your tour.

 As we all know, the best time for landscape photos is early morning and late afternoon.  Due to work commitments, I can’t offer these times. We instead arrive in the area about 11:00am, and leave around  5:00pm. The tour is therefore a compromise, If you’re looking for the dramatic scenes of the professionals, this isn’t the tour for you. By the way, even the professionals sometimes need weeks to get the perfect picture.

The photos below are all taken by me with a compact digital camera. They were taken between 2:00pm and 4:30pm and represent what to expect if the weather is favorable.
Classic photo of the Val d'Orcia from March to May
Another important aspect to consider is; most of the famous sites have the sun looking into the camera in the morning, so the best landscape photos are to be had during the afternoon. How many scenes we photograph depends on how long we stay at each site. We can spend longer getting an alternative viewpoint, or be happy with the first shot. This choice is up to you and you may decide freely.
Classic Val d'Orcia photo mid June to mid July
Many people ask me about photos of Poppies. Well they bloom throughout May, but rarely do they grow in the same place twice, so I don’t know in advance where we’ll find them.
Classic Val d'Orcia photo in August
Another common request is for sunflower scenes. Unfortunately sunflower scenes are not part of the Val d’Orcia, the crop here is wheat, plus a small area of vineyards around Montalcino. We may however find some fields on our way south from Florence, and if the farmers have been kind to us, we may still get that much desired picture.
On the way to Val d'Orcia we found some sunflowers
So why take the tour with me? Well firstly there aren’t many offers for this type of tour…so you’re sort of stuck with me anyway. If you’re looking for professional results, I can't help you, however I believe there are a couple of professional photographers who may be able to help you, and they can be found on the net. If on the other hand you’re just a person who enjoys taking photos from time to time, then I’m the man to contact. I don’t profess to know every corner of the Val d’Orcia, but I’ve hunted down a number of the best scenes over the years and I’ll give you the benefit of my experience. You’ll get more with me in an afternoon than in several days on your own.

You could even turn your photography tour in a wine and photography tour. Take a look here:

Last but not least, be prepared for some discomfort, mud, dust, heat and the sharp cutting edges of the wheat when harvested. Bring comfortable but dispensable footwear.
The price of a good photo in Val d'Orcia

Sergio Ceccherini