Posted in Blog, Color Shape Space, OUT & ABOUT

Weekly Photo Challenge Green Autumn Color and Texture Tarn South West France

How Green – How Green this walk has been! Such a lot of green moss on the trees – I have no idea why – OK, the time of year is November, in the depths of Autumn here in South West France, but not particularly wet. In fact when we went on this local walk, we had bright blue skies and a temperature of 19 degrees.

OK, I know the photo challenge is green, but I couldn’t resist adding a little red – just as important during this autumn time – and so complimentary to the color green!

Posted in Blog, OUT & ABOUT

An Afternoon Walk—Espinas to the Abbaye de Beaulieu, and back again

L’Abbaye de Beaulieu, in the valley of the Seye, a few kilometers to the north west of us, were hosting a summer exhibition, “Les nomades du silence” by the celebrated sculptor, Jephan de Villiers. We wanted to visit so organised a little walk one afternoon with our neighbours, stopping off at the Abbaye along the way.

L'Abbaye de Beaulieu

 

“Even during the holiday periods, you can walk for miles and rarely meet other folk” —

Since moving to this area 20 years ago, we have been spoilt by all the wonderful walking right on our doorstep. You never see any discarded litter and the byways are usually well signposted.
When planning a new route with the map in unfamiliar country, you tend to focus upon the printed rights of way, but in reality, when you don your boots and hit the trail, you discover more routes and pathways that exist, that simple look like odd lines and squiggles on the map.

Here’s a map of the area, and some photos to give you an idea of the countryside—we’re in the Tarn-et-Garonne, department 82, north east of St.Antonin-N-Val.

Espinas & Abbaye de Beaulieu mapWoodland near Espinas
map-balisé
The village of Verfeilleafy laneEmpty countryramblers

Posted in Blog, OUT & ABOUT

An Evening in Biarritz — with an ipad

biarritz eveningIt was Denise’s birthday recently. What to get her? Since the release of the ipad3, there was never any other solution. I knew this was right up her street. I was always hogging the camera, so this was the ideal present.

AND, I got to grab the old ipad, he,he!

So here we are in Biarritz—for the first time. Weather hot and sunny. The hôtel was just a few strides from the beach, by the Casino, and we could walk leisurely around the old town, through the narrow streets full of little trendy gift shops backed by impressive victorian villas and grand apartments, down to the old harbour, with its boats, and old fishermen’s cottages.biarritz-night02

biarritz-night04As night fell, I was tucking into sole while Denise had chosen fresh tuna and risotto.The breeze had dropped and the lights made it all very picturesque.

Taking night-time shots with my SLR digital I’ve never found satisfactory—I don’t like to use flash as it always seems to ruin the ambiance and delicacy of the view—but without flash, the long exposure time means blurry images.

The ipad was very simple to use—you do need to try to be as still as possible when shooting—we dumped quite a few images that were way too blurry—but considering the lack of light, I really liked the results. They give the right atmosphere and “feel” to the evening.

“a picture is worth a thousand words”

In common with all images that we post on the web, these photos have been “corrected” — I always open my images in a photo editor and check overall exposure, crop if necessary, size down to 1000px wide, then sharpen a little before “saving for web” to get the final file size down to around 120kb.  I use Photoshop, but smaller, simpler editors will all handle these functions equally well.

But I do feel strongly that it is worth taking a little extra trouble to learn a few simple photo-correction techniques before uploading images to the web—as the saying goes—”a picture is worth a thousand words” and it’s a shame to spoil well-written content with underexposed, or poorly cropped images.

“Le Port des Pêcheurs” is wonderfully photogenic, with the boats in the harbour, backed by rows of “crampottes” —  little fishermen’s cottages, colourfully restored, each sporting its owners name painted over the door. I’ll be posting some more photos of the old fisherman’s port soon. Meanwhile, we’re looking to revisit Biarritz when we’ve more time—there’s a lot yet to see and do in this lovely little corner of South West France.

Posted in 3rd SHELF FROM THE TOP, Blog, Paper Ephemera

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside – The Old Suitcase

I love the flea markets that are in our region of South West France during the summer months. I found this battered old suitcase at one of them the other week. What a surprise  when I opened it up and found inside……..

All these books!

old French books

I just couldn’t resist – especially as the price was only 5 euros. OK, it was very heavy, but I hauled it back to the car, put it in the boot, and carried on looking around the rest of the Flea Market (‘brocante’ in French).

Can you see the maps in the background? I bought them at the same market – what a good mornings work!

And what was inside the books?

What a surprise! When I was delving into these old French paperback books, what did I find?

letter postcard envelope in old books

Bookmarks

Bookmarks for most of us usually end up being the nearest piece of paper we can find at the time. And so it has been for most readers for many a year. I found a lovely little collection of impromptu bookmarks in my suitcase of battered books:

I. An old postcard from ‘Le Havre’, France

2. An old envelope from Paris in 1927

3. And a love letter!

More of these at a later date. Oh the romance of old paper ephemera!