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…

Long gone glory

Pier Scheveningen, The Hague, Netherlands

Pier Scheveningen, The Hague, Netherlands

A long exposure shot of the “Scheveningen Pier”, a decaying Dutch landmark…

Scheveningen, the coastal resort town of The Hague, boasts the largest pier in the Netherlands, completed in 1961. A crane, built on top of the pier’s panorama tower, provided the opportunity to make a 60-metre (200 ft) high bungee jump over the North Sea waves. The present pier is a successor of an earlier pier, which was completed in 1901 but in 1943 destroyed by the German occupation forces 1.
Unfortunately this structure is closed to the public since October 2013 because of serious safety issues and it’s future is unknown…
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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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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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Rock don’t roll

Black and white long exposure photo rockpiles, pebbles, île Grande, France

Rock don’t roll (Rockpiles, île Grande, September 2012)

This one was taken on Île-Grande in Brittany, France during our latest trip. We walked around the island and we were pleasantly surprised: it is beautiful. There were not much tourists when we were around, but I guess there must be a lot of them during the summer months judging by the number of rock piles. These piles of rocks covered a whole beach, an impressive sight! I’m sure they’re made by people with a lot of time on their hands (tourists?) because it’s not as easy as it looks to make a stable pile. Anyways, these piles have become very typical of  Île-Grande and it yields great photos.

I went in with my ultra wide angle lens and got really close to the pile of rocks on the right. The distance between the lens and the pile was about two feet (60 cm). I used a long exposure to get those blurred clouds in the sky.

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