BACKSTORY: Cortona Sun

Cortona Sun [Italy – 2013]

Cortona is a small wine-producing town in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. While living in Ireland for 5 years we had the opportunity to visit this area a few times between 2010 and 2013, and always in the summer.

As we were on holiday and based ourselves in nearby Lucignano, each day around noon my wife and I would look at each other and say “where do you want to head today?”  On this day in July 2013 we picked Cortona.

So we headed out at midday and decided to drive our rental on the country roads in order to get there, as we typically favor the country roads over the autostrade (Italian equivalent of the Interstate).

After about 45 minutes we were slightly lost and ended up at a lonely intersection of sorts in the middle of nowhere near an abandoned farmhouse.

I stopped the car and we got out to get a better look at the ruins. It was hot. I somewhat remember having to jump over a bit of a muddy ditch or some obstacle in order to get a better view, ending in this shot below.

Near Cortona, Italy [2013]

The sea of yellow provided by the never-ending sunflowers and the charming Tuscan countryside was irresistible.  Taking pictures with the sun high in the sky is usually not something I favor. However there was no way I was going to let our “lost in Tuscany” situation get in the way of taking a few shots.

The intense yellow color and contrast from the overhead sun seemed to wreck the brain of my digital camera. It seemed to not be able to completely handle the situation vs. shooting film. I under and over exposed liberally to compensate for the complex situation. However it is precisely because of this challenge that I tend to like the end result. It’s not the usual dawn, dusk or sunset landscape shot, but a full-on midday sun shot of the Tuscan countryside in the middle of summer. The original shot is a wider angle, but I cropped it square as I think it fits better with the two large trees.

As the day cooled and waned I found additional yellow flora to capture as my wife wandered the fields off the side of the road.

At that point the sun is starting to go down and our mood swings to thoughts of an alfresco dinner and some lovely local Tuscan wine!