Time for a relaxing week this week.....my holidays!
Two weeks in Tuscany with nothing to do but enjoy the company, food and red wine. This first week was shared with local and distant family with the highlight being the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations of my parents.
I spent virtually every summer moment as a child here visiting and staying with family but excluding one visit for a wedding it's been a lengthy absence which thankfully has now been quashed. It all came flooding back though as I drove my wife and kids along the familiar roads from Lucca to Castelvecchio Pascoli, remembering all the fun and adventure my cousin and I had while we filled our long summer days together. It quickly became apparent though that I was seeing this place through very different eyes.
The landscape was still the same but each shadow or glint of changing light falling on it was giving the impression of a new found land, filling me with that excitement experienced when you walk over the brow of a hill to see a vista you know you are going to spend many years returning to, trying desperately to capture it's magic.
With all this going on in my mind I also realised this was not going to be the time for prolonged wanders or discoveries, I would be limited to the the odd evening family stroll, short early wander or shots from around our accommodation. Luckily this property ( I Cedri in Albiano) made the latter a pleasure with it's glorious setting of grand vistas and stunning grounds.
It was on my first morning walk around the grounds as the sun crept over the surrounding mountains that I discovered a gorgeous sweeping track and fence that lead conveniently towards the main mountain peak of the area, La Pania which uncharacteristically on this occasion was smothered in soft low morning cloud. As the sun eventually fell on the attractive small olive trees to the side I took a shot handheld with the wee Sony Rx100ii.
I expected to be able to replicate or better this scene with the Nikon later but as you'll see the light and drama in the sky never quite reached the desired heights again. So it was off to make breakfast for my late rising girls.
As I'd mentioned the weather was to settle with mostly clear sky's at sunrise and sunset. I did manage to scout a couple of corresponding locations though, from high in the mountains that hopefully I will return to in the not too distant future.
Here I watched the sun rise and light La Pania from a hilltop town which had a bit of a hairy road to get to it. Unfortunately it was crystal clear and most of the warm light had gone when it eventually fell on the other hilltop towns and slopes of the mountain. The dramatic clouds from the day before would have produced glorious light and colour to play with but I'll just need to wait for another time.
This was a little town I'd noticed and wanted to know how the warm setting sun would fall on it and the large cliff face behind it. Again it was clear on this visit but it was more about when the light would drop behind the cliff and how I expect it to fall if I return in autumn. And by my calculations, going down further south (left) the sun will possibly give nice side light to both the town and cliff in a few months time with hopefully a little more colour in the foliage and sky, we'll see.
I did manage to capture a little light and colour above La Pania one evening as I set up the D810 and Nikon 135 AIS 3.5 next to the the BBQ as I cooked the dinner and jumped between viewfinder and tongs.
By the end of the week the temperature had risen and it was no surprise a storm was to arrive to clear the air, a common feature to summers in these mountains. I took a few shots when it did before horizontal rain forced a retreat.
These storms don't last long and duly I was back out wandering the grounds in no time hoping for some post storm light. Being mid afternoon the resulting light proved too harsh when it did break back through but still a welcome change from the clear blue sky's of before.
This brought the first week to an end and it was time to say most of our goodbyes as most of us went our separate ways. We moved only a few miles along the Garfagnana valley to Casteligione Di Garfagnana where I wasn't as familiar. The views were equally impressive but it was in the old town itself we would spend our time exploring with little details and ICM with the wee Sony being my fix for the day and night.
And that was that, a wonderful week reuniting with family and locations had gone but with the benefit of a quieter second week ahead there was lots to look forward to.
Thank you if you have stuck with this post and I do hope at least one person gets some enjoyment from it. I'm enjoying sharing my weeks and hope you are too, they aren't filled with thrills or adventure but hopefully there is enough for you to get something from it.
I do hope you will return and feel free to leave a comment, all are very much appreciated.
Until next time....................