Car Problems

Car Trouble – May 2012

I should be in the Dolomites now, instead I am sat in my office with rain lashing down onto the windows. This time last week, Julia, me and the crew on my Tuscany workshop were enjoying an Italian meal overlooking the Piazza del Campo in Siena, prior to some night time photography, capturing the wonderful ambience of the piazza famous for its Palio horse race.

That thespian phrase, ‘The show must go on’, came to light on the trip down to Italy. As I write this, my car is still being repatriated from somewhere in France. It took us less than 24 hours from Blighty to reach the point where we handed it over to the breakdown people. Now, two weeks later it is still not back! A hired vehicle was taken for the rest of the trip to Tuscany, and we are now bereft of all our camping gear and other paraphernalia necessary for the planned extended photo shoot in north Italy, post workshop.

Luckily, although losing a day, we arrived in Tuscany in time for the recce in preparation for the clients arriving. Although this was our fourth visit to the area, we still had to make sure new roads weren’t built; buildings hadn’t been knocked down; and all accesses were clear to ensure the smooth running of the workshop and the shoot locations were as we had planned. I was assisted by Jim Pascoe on this trip to add a new dimension particularly regarding people photography, but he was needed to be shown round as well.

Staying in the UNESCO world heritage area of the Val d’Orcia we thankfully were blessed with stunning landscapes and the desired misty morning weather on all but one day. On that day, there was no mist at dawn and it was a touch overcast, which caused the guests to wonder whether I was mad dragging them up with the alarm set at 4:50a.m. There we were, stuck high on a hill overlooking a drab grey field of vines and I was getting ribbed rotten. There are only so many times one can tell people to hang on in there, the light is coming! Thankfully, after a couple of hours, shafts of sunlight emanated from the clouds to highlight Rocco d’Orcia fleetingly. But that fleeting shaft produced magnificent images for all those who had waited patiently.

For the other dawn shoots the mist played ball exceptionally. Those classic ethereal swirling mist images so typical of the area were all recorded by the guests. Add in some fantastic poppies amongst an olive grove, renaissance villages, warm evening sunlight over the rolling Tuscan hills and for the photographers, it was all served up Image reviews and critiques helped hone the skills and gave opportunities to discuss photography techniques and that all important composition.

Most guests were joined by their partners on this trip and although they didn’t join us for the dawn shoots, we met up for all meals and there was always the siesta in the afternoon where lounging around the pool with a bit of shut eye seemed de rigueur. With sumptuous local food and wine, (even a trip to a vineyard), great company and the copious laughs along the way, altogether a great trip.

Now, where hell is my car?