Impressions of Belle Ile

Belle Ile, France

Belle Ile, France

The island of Belle Ile in France has been a popular location for artists. Octave Penguilly L’Haridon’s 1859 painting Les Petites mouettes (“Little Gulls”) (1858, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes) depicts the island. It was praised by Maxime du Camp and Charles Baudelaire, who referred to the sense of the uncanny, as though the rocks make “a portal open to infinity…a wound of white birds, and the solitude!” During the 1870s and 1880s, French Impressionist painter Claude Monet painted the rock formations at Belle Île. Monet’s series of paintings of the rocks at Belle Île astounded the Paris art world when he first exhibited them in 1887. Most notable are the Storm, Coast at Belle-Ile and Cliffs at Belle-Ile both rendered in 1886. The first time Auguste Rodin saw the ocean off the Brittany coast he exclaimed, “It’s a Monet.” 1 CONTINUE READING…

Standing Tall

Standing Tall, Lighthouse Perros Guirec, long exposure

Standing Tall

The last one from my “lighthouses series” and another one from “Red Rocks” or, as the locals call it “Men Ruz” at Ploumanac’h near Perros Guirec. As usual, a long exposure (22 seconds) in order to get a nice blur in the sky and “dreamy” waves. This way I also got rid of a few tourists who were lingering around the building. You can read more about this series here and here.

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Cap Fréhel

Lighthouse at Cap Fréhel, Brittany, France

Cap Fréhel

A long exposure photograph of “Cap Fréhel“, a famous cape (and lighthouse) in France. There are  a lot of people in this image, but all most of them are invisible because of the use of long exposure time. If you look carefully you can still see some “ghosts” near the right edge of the photo, just right to the old 17th century lighthouse.

Most of the time I use shorter focal lengths, or even extreme wide angle lenses, but this one was done using a 70-300mm zoom lens. I couldn’t get a nice viewpoint closer to the lighthouse and I wanted to enhance the clouds behind the building. The “compression effect” when using a longer focal length accomplished this very well.

 

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Red Rock

Perros Guirec, September 2012

Perros Guirec, September 2012

This is the lighthouse of “Men Ruz”(“Red Rock”) in Ploumanac’h, Brittany France. I already talked about this building in my previous post (you can check it out here if you like). In that post I rambled about how the scene reminded me of the famous computer game “Myst”.

Anyways, as I explained, it was quite difficult to take a picture without people in it. This place seems to attract a lot of tourists at anytime of the day! There were always at least two or three people “walking through my photo”. To solve this problem, I applied my preferred technique: long exposure. If you use an exposure of 15 seconds or longer, moving people (or objects) will effectively disappear. As soon as people stand still for a few seconds however, you’ll see “ghosting”, so you have to pick the moment you press the shutter very carefully. Everybody has to be moving! I guess Henri Cartier-Bresson’s concept of the “decisive moment” is also valid when using long exposures…

It was a bit awkward, but I was able to take a few nice pictures without having to wait for all the tourists to leave. I used a ND400 neutral density filter which gave me an exposure time of about 20 seconds in broad daylight. Cool! I just zapped everybody! At the moment I took this photograph, three of four people were crossing that bridge while another person was walking around the lighthouse… they’re all gone…!

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Ploumanac’h

Black and white, Ploumanac'h, Men Ruz lighthouse

Ploumanac’h, Men Ruz lighthouse

This photo of the lighthouse of Ploumanac’h reminds me of a famous computer game of the 90’s called “Myst” with it’s mysterious buildings and structures. For those of you who don’t know it, here’s a short description:

Myst is a graphic adventure video game. It puts the player in the role of the Stranger, who uses a special book to travel to the island of Myst. To complete the game, the player must explore the seemingly deserted island. There the player discovers and follows clues to be transported via “linking books” to several “Ages”, each of which is a self-contained mini-world. Each of the Ages—named Selenitic, Stoneship, Mechanical, and Channelwood—requires the user to solve a series of logical, interrelated puzzles to complete its exploration. Objects and information discovered in one Age may be required to solve puzzles in another Age, or to complete the game’s primary puzzle on Myst. A very mysterious world indeed…

To get to this lighthouse you have to go down a winding path carved through pink granite rocks and cross the beautiful bridge in front of the building. This can be a dangerous undertaking when there’s a storm blowing, because the waves will go over the path and crush you against the rocks. You’ll probably die (well maybe not.., but there’s a sign that says you will…!)

I got lucky for this photo. When I arrived in front of the bridge there was nobody near the lighthouse. I quickly snapped two or three shots and then the people started to arrive. I stayed for almost an hour, and at least twenty tourists were surrounding the lighthouse or walking on the bridge at any given time. Impossible to take more pictures… CONTINUE READING…