As I write it’s April, quarantine time. The days when I could take my car and travel 1000 kilometres up and down Italy seem so far, nowadays it’s great if I have a good reason to go out of my town, filling in a self-certification. Luckily that my balcony overlooks a beautiful garden, so I live in a golden cage that I don’t complain about.
I this article I wanted to collect three photos that, despite the huge differences, places different and far from each other, very long and very fast shutter speeds, are linked by the common theme of an unreal atmosphere. These images are not what the naked eye can see, but I played with the light imagining different realities.
In the first photo I was in Principina a Mare, Tuscany, a tourist destination that is almost desert in february, around sunset you meet only fishermen and a few people strolling. Walking south, my attention has been captured my a trunk stranded on the shore, which despite the waves was perfectly static. What better opportunity for a landscape with silky water effect?
To obtain this photo I mounted my camera on a tripod and I took three shots with different shutter speeds: one for the sky, one for the trunk and the last by mounting an ND 500 filter, which reduces the amount of light entering the lens to 0.2% and allowed a 60 second exposure; I then merged the images dividing along the horizon line and bringing out the details of the trunk.
The second place is the valley of the Ombrone river in Tappola. I was driving back to Grosseto at dusk and I pulled over because from the road I saw these bonfires in the semi-darkness. There was a majestic silence in which only the buzz of combustion was heard.
Stubble-burning of plant residues is an ancient and still common tradition in Tuscany, where typically the branches of olive trees are burned. Since 2016, the local authority has identified periods at risk in which there is a strict ban, and in any case it is not allowed in the woods, except for special derogations. Burning can be done when there is no wind, and the column of smoke rises vertically.
In this picture, the long exposure of 30 seconds allowed to highlight the orange coloured haze of smoke on the dark blue sky.
The third place is located 700 km further north, in Montespluga, immediately before the border with Switzerland. I was walking on the frozen lake at a temperature of -3 °C. At 2:00 p.m. the sun was already setting behind Mount Cardine.
Here I saw a symmetry and I chose to shoot the sun in a perfectly central position at 1/8000 seconds, making the silhouette of the mountain completely black and the clouds gloomy, with a small glimpse of blue in which the white sphere stands out.