Early autumn is a wonderful time to photograph in Tuscany, because of the ability of the freshly turned earth to pick out and reflect the other hues in the landscape. The rest of this October day proved heavily thundery, but at dawn I was greeted with rising anvil cloud, which acted as a giant reflector to bathe the whole landscape in astonishing puce – an effect at its most intense for perhaps two minutes or so, as the sun pushed up past a distant ridge.
It is atmopsheric haze at dawn that can give you this effect – intensifying the pinks and reds at the moment of sunrise. The conditions which gave rise to the peculiarly strong effects of this morning were the heavy damp air preceding a thunderstorm coinciding with the dawn.
Knowing a range of locations in an area always increases your opportunities. When I had awoken, the lower val d'Orcia was all already under heavy cloud, so I had driven the 30km or so north to this location before sunrise – heading for where cloud met clear – and this was my reward.
Sunrise before thunderstorm, Crete Senese