I was La Grande-Motte a couple of years ago walking around with my camera. A friend who was running some errands dropped me off for the morning. It’s a seaside resort town on the Mediterranean and in that respect has a lot of similarities to where I live in Florida. I was here in the off-season so it did not have the normal crowds.
I could be wrong but it seems like there are more sailboats in Europe than in the states. I’m no expert but I think we have more powerboats in the US. Nevertheless these long rows of docks are common in southern France.
The symmetrical leading lines of the rows reflecting on the water fascinate me. For that matter, leading lines and water always grab my attention. It’s something I’ve taken photos of over and over again. There is a good explanation for it, I’m sure.
I took this photo of Corniglia from a small boat travelling along the Cinque Terre coast. It was a very hot day so sitting in a boat was a good option. We passed several little villages just like this and I was thinking it would be hard to imagine a more picturesque setting. The villages look remote and isolated but in fact are connected by trains, roads and a hiking path.
In one sense it was a shame I only had a day here, but now I know where to come back for a proper visit.
When you look closely at these towns on the rugged slopes you realize they’ve taken centuries to build; the locations are most improbable. I believe they were originally properties of barons and such and the inaccessibility was a deterrent to pirates. Now they are communities with traditions, culture and hundreds of years of history. And based on the way they are built, I think they’ll be around for many more centuries.
I snapped this while walking through the streets of Calata Doria in Liguria Italy. Try as he could, this gentleman couldn’t remember what he had for dinner last night. I offered a suggestion but he said they didn’t have a Taco Bell nearby. This is my version fake news.
For some reason this man looks distressed but in reality I don’t recall that being the case, he was just taking a load off his feet and I happen to catch him with his hands just so. We all make expressions throughout the day that if taken out of context can send the wrong impression.
I feel a little like paparazzi when I take street photos of people. I prefer to have people look natural, but if they see me aiming they’ll react. The idea is to capture people unaware; it’s a more interesting study of human behavior.
The trick is to be as unobtrusive as possible. One technique is to line up a scene and wait for someone to walk through it. But if I’m too obvious folks stop and wait for me to finish, it gets a little awkward.
I recently arrived here in Monterosso al Mare by boat and spent the afternoon walking around, taking photos and tasting the local cuisine. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. Actually I was on a tour and so my time was not as leisurely as I make it seem. However I did have a couple of hours to enjoy a meal of antipasti and explore the village. I took this on a walkway that is carved into the rock overlooking the Mediterranean.
This image is comprised of 12 high-resolution photos in a six by two grid. Panoramas like this are extremely high in resolution and, as it turns out, can be difficult to work with. The reason for that is two-fold; first is the size of the individual images and second is that I shoot in RAW format which adds even more size and processing requirements. It pushes the limits of what we can do with normal computers and software. But as with all things technological, this is only a short-term problem.
Speaking of problems, the biggest one this day was the hour hand on my watch. I love tours but they only give you a taste. There’s a lot of information coming at you in a short period. Its like wine tasting, you sip of different vintages but never fully enjoy one. The taste I had of Monterosso al Mare was just enough to whet my palette and make we want to come back; for a full glass of course.
These are houses in the old city center of Collioure. I am aiming up with the lens to get the colors and sky, but just below the field of view is a busy marketplace with all manner of shops. While my wife bought a locally made dress I walked around the square taking it all in. In the end we both left happy.
These houses remind me of California or even Florida. In warm climates homes are painted and colorful. In cold climates we make houses out of brick and the effect is completely different. Of course houses don’t look just like this in California, but the colors remind me of how varied they are when compared to the east coast of the US.
We had just finished having a drink at a cafe by the water and were meandering among the shops. I think the atmosphere of the place got to us because we lingered way too long. By the time we got back in the car we had many hours of driving to go. However I wouldn’t change a thing, in fact I plan to come back here and stay a little longer. These mediterranean costal villages are worlds unto themselves.
On my last day in France I went for a morning walk on Carnon Beach. Like the beaches in Florida this stretches for miles in each direction. Unlike the beaches in Florida the shore is carved into large semicircles on account of the breakwaters that are built to prevent erosion. You can see them here and if you look at the scene from Google Maps you’ll see what I mean.
In Florida, we have quite a bit of beach erosion from storms each year, at least on the gulf side. In fact the local government repairs the beach every few years. By that I mean that they dredge up the sand from a couple hundred meters off shore and deposit it back on the beach until it erodes again. In France it seems they take a different, less costly approach. The result is mile after mile of these large semicircle beaches. It creates more shore line and perhaps accommodates more people.
Both approaches to maintaining beaches have their pros and cons. However I’m more interested in taking pictures than trying to figure which is better. I spend a lot of time at the beaches in Florida so I have ideas on how to take pictures there. The beaches in Carnon however present new ideas and challenges that I only began to explore. Next time I go back I’ll explore that a little more.
This is the harbor at Carnon in southern France. I stayed about a mile from the east of this harbor and thought I’d walk around to the west side. Only I didn’t realize that once I arrived on the east side there was no bridge close by and so I had to walk another two miles to get to the west side. By the time I got back home I estimated I walked about five miles and took five photos. So in reality I took one photo for every mile. That’s a very low miles to photos ratio.
Its safe to say the beach was quite deserted this morning at dawn when I showed up to get a few pictures. This is in Carnon along the Mediterranean in the south of France. But, just like back home in Florida, there are still people showing up to walk or run the shoreline. As well there were a few fishermen plying their trade. Some things, regardless of the location, seem to be universal. Beaches are places were people come to play or work along the shore.
This little costal town along the French mediterranean has a harbor, restaurants, shops and miles of beaches. It’s no wonder the population grows from eight thousand to one hundred thousand in the summer. It reminds me a little bit of my home in Florida, though only a little. The mediterranean culture and French sensibilities are what make this a unique destination for european vacationers. I was fortunate enough to be here in October when the streets were relatively empty and we could just walk into any restaurant without a wait. For me the experience was indeed unique.
Yesterday we stopped in Collioure which is a French village on the Mediterranean just north of the border with Spain. It’s a lovely little place with views of the sea and many cafes and shops. There is a cathedral right at the edge of the sea and then extending out is a smaller chapel. Perhaps a place to wait or pray for mariners, I’m not really sure. Nonetheless the clouds were dramatic so I captured this as I walked out from the church to the chapel. Once out there the wind was brisk and you would surely lose anything not held tight, yet back in the village there was only a breeze. A perfect place for an afternoon.