A Tuscan Sunset is often a wonderful sight to witness. There seems to be something magical about watching the warm Tuscan sun setting behind the mountains and lighting up the clouds as it departs.

This is the second article about the story behind the image. This article tells the story of how I managed to capture this Tuscan sunset and again there was a bit of luck involved. Well, it was actually a mixture of luck and planning, but nature had bigger plans.

The image was taken during a workshop in September. All that week nature had twisted and turned me as I tried to capture one of those famous Tuscan sunsets. I would plan to visit a specific location one evening to capture the sunset. However, as I drove to the location, I could see the clouds had moved and would no longer be lit up by the sun from that angle. So, in a mad frenzy, I would drive to a different location in an attempt to capture the sunset. Normally I’m quite good at judging these things, but this week nature was having her fun with me and running me ragged.

So, on the Tuesday of that week in Tuscany, we went to a spot that has a grandstand view over the nearby town, confident in capturing a wonderful Tuscan sunset. The plan was that the town would be lit by the setting sun while the clouds behind the town would be painted with the red and orange hues from the low sun. As we drove to the spot, the clouds were gathering perfectly in behind the Tuscan hill-top town. It looked as though we were going to be treated to the perfect Tuscan sunset and photograph. However, nature had other plans!

The clouds continued to gather and gather until they had very quickly formed themselves into rain clouds. Rain clouds that were moving towards us and dumping a tropical amount of rain. So much rain that it would have been impossible to get any picture at all. Plus, there was the problem of keeping all our camera equipment dry. “Oh well, that’s nature for you”, I thought as we packed up and heading for dinner.

So there we were, sitting in the car driving back up the hill for dinner when we began to see the clouds dissipating every bit as quickly as they gathered. As I drove a bit further, I could see the sun would find a gap at the base of the clouds and would light them up. It was evident that this was going to be a fiery Tuscan sunset and that I just had to stop the car. I had to stop almost anywhere and get out and grab a shot because the sun only had a narrow gap. It would only take a minute or two for the sun to move through the gap at the base of the clouds before ducking behind the mountains. But the road is narrow and busy(ish) at this time of the evening. There is also the added difficulty of high trees lining the route of the road. Where to stop? I could see the sun entering the gap and the clouds slowly lighting up in a deep shade of red. I had to stop! Anywhere with a gap in the trees! I had to stop now!

I saw a tiny in-shot off the road and screeched the car to a stop. The car was now sitting at an angle, with its front wheels tucked in off the road but with its back wheels still sitting on the tarmac of the road. All the doors were left lying open from where we had each jumped out, trying our best to grab a shot before the sun hid behind the tallest peaks of the Apuan Alps.

The sun found its niche between the base of the clouds and the peaks of the mountains and, for the briefest of moments, produced a memorable Tuscan sunset . Then all to quickly, the sun slipped behind the mountains leaving the clouds to return to their own shade of grey.

The shot was hand-held and I had to use a high ISO to ensure I didn’t have any camera shake. Had we known, we could have anticipated a better viewpoint and had tripods set up. But that’s nature and landscape photography! It’s not always serene and a gentle pace.