Provence just before lavender harvest season is an amazing experience. Wherever you travel the air is filled with the smell of lavender, and the beautiful violet flowers contrast amazingly with the natural golden stone of the region. Combine this with the famous golden light that skims across the surface at sunrise and sunset, and you have the subject matter of countless artists, including some of the most famous painters in the western world, like Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Vincent van Gogh.
While the seemingly endless fields of lavender around Valensole provide an infinite number of compositions, finding the exact composition you want takes quite a bit of research. In addition to the usual research I do before every trip, I spent days driving and walking around the fields in search of spots where compositions would line up just right and the angle of the sunlight would fall across the scene just the way I wanted.
As the sun sets in this image, the rim light it casts across the field not only illuminates the lavender in radiant glory but it also casts shadows across the undulating earth, providing texture and contouring to the even rows of lavender. Contrasted with the straight line of the horizon, the foreground texture adds depth and interest to the evenly divided frame. Likewise, the organic shapes of the silhouetted trees reaching above the horizon into the clouds refracting the rays of the setting sun joins the sky to the earth.
This time-blended VAST image was created by combining tilt and shift optical movements on a medium format technical camera with panorama stitching. The result is an image that is not only colorful but sharp from the rocks and flower blossoms in the foreground to the trees along the horizon.