The Search for the Perfect Olive

Its always useful to have one or more photographic searches going on as you shoot. For a landscape photographer this is often in the form of the perfect light or the perfect clouds for a given shot. In the case of the image below, it was the search for the perfect olive tree. Olive trees have a gnarly, bonsai quality about them that make them an ideal subject for shots that could almost be thought of as portraits. However, they travel in packs, and it can be quite difficult to isolate your picturesque olive against a clean background, instead of a snarl of other olive branches.

After a few years of searching for just the right subject, the olive tree below finally presented itself, within sight of the hotel often used during the search. The first image below is the envisioned shot. Full sun, full color, high detail, right down to the individual olives, most suited for a print about two meters high.


However, its always a good idea to study your subject from all angles. The shot below is the same tree, from the opposite side. It offers a different perspective of the tree, a different feel to the image, and a vignette of the hills, valley, and village of Pienza in the distance, rather like the background in the Mona Lisa. While it is not the intended image, it may well be more salable than the full color shot above.


C. David Tobie