Urban Beach

Here is another image I took on the beach in Barcelona. I photoshopped out most of the people, and believe me; there were a lot.

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Urban Beach
The beach in Barcelona

We stayed at the hotel in one of the tall buildings for a couple of days before a cruise. Walking up and down the beach is entertaining, especially with all the outdoor restaurants and bars. There are so many it’s hard to choose.

beach gallery

Nevertheless, the heat forced us into the shade of a bistro that served icy pitchers of Sangria. And there we sat the rest of the day, savoring the flavors, recovering from jet lag and enjoying the sights and sounds.

Carnon Visit

My recollection of the last time I visited here in Carnon is a little spotty. I seem to remember something about fresh croissants every day.

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Carnon Visit
Along the Mediterranean in Carnon, France

That, and the scenery and the excellent food and, let’s not forget the wine. My memory of the trip is a string of highlights all tied together. I’ve been thinking about it lately because I’ll be heading back in a few months.

More from France in the gallery

I have no agenda other than to get reacquainted with the customs of that region which, as I recall, are quite reasonable. I’ll be taking a lot of pictures, of course.

Collioure

This picture is from a drive we took from France to Spain along the coast; we made so many stops that it was a minor miracle we made it anywhere.

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Collioure
A street scene from Collioure in the southern tip of France

One of our favorite stops was Collioure. We intended to stop only for a few minutes but lingered half a day. We walked around, sat in outdoor cafes, and mainly enjoy the Mediterranean way of things.

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This is a street scene along the main road through town. I was walking around taking pictures of the side streets. The buildings are painted every color of the rainbow which made it even more fun to take pictures.

Angry Seas

Isn’t it funny how we anthropomorphize all things? Here are some defiant colors against the angry Mediterranean.

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The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona
The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona

I do it all the time with animals, but between you and me, I think most animals have emotions, so it doesn’t seem like such a stretch. However, sometimes I do it for the weather or inanimate objects; then I’m surely projecting my own feelings into the world. The sea can’t really be angry, can it?

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As we journeyed out into the North Atlantic, things got worse. There was a hurricane a long way off that roiled the ocean. The winds across the deck were seventy-five miles an hour, and the swells fifty feet high. At that time I looked out at sea from the comfort of a massive cruise ship and tried to imagine myself on a small ancient craft crossing the ocean in the midst of a storm. Admittedly I had feelings, but I’m pretty sure the sea had none at all. And that was maybe, just a tiny, bit, scary.

Sailboats in La Grande-Motte

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.

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Sailboats in La Grande-Motte
Sailboats in La Grande-Motte

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.

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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.

Corniglia

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.

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Corniglia
Corniglia in Cinque Terre Italy

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.

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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.

Streets of Calata Doria

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.

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Streets of Calata Doria

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.

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I suppose if I were real a member of the paparazzi I’d know how to do these things real well and not feel awkward. Then I maybe could get on board with the whole fake news thing, …or not.

Monterosso al Mare

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.

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Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare in Italy

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.

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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.

Houses of Collioure

Houses of Collioure
Houses of Collioure along the Mediterranean coast of Southern France                        Buy a fine art print

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.

Morning Walk On Carnon Beach

Morning Walk On Carnon Beach
Morning Walk On Carnon Beach along the French Mediterranean                                          Buy a fine art gallery print

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.