Friday, 25 March 2011

Col de Caux

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Wednesday is market day in Die.  The market expands as the weather warms up and we always try not to miss it.  The rest of the day reminded us that whenever we are working in the office most of the time is spent on what seems like pointless administration, working for them, not us. 

This morning, another gorgeous day so we packed our cameras in the backpacks, along with a light lunch and drove about 12 Km back to Chatillon to walk a well known circuit:  Chatillon to the Pie de Boeuf, then to the Col de Caux and back to Chatillon via the Vallee de Bain, a 14 Km round trip and a 600m climb.  We're getting fitter after our winter's computer work but that was far enough for today.

This is truly magnificent countryside.  The trees and the shrubs, the rocks and the flowers are all superb and the backdrop of Glandasse, with a few patches of snow still clinging to the slopes, is breathtaking.  The paths weave up and down the mountain side and at each bend there is a new and different vista.  Look back and it all changes again.  The Pinus Sylvestris (Scots Pines) are the most striking of their family with reddening trunks and branches as they age and an endless variety of shape and form.  

All this perfection seen by the eye and registered by the brain is very hard to capture with a camera.  We've often wondered whether it's the limits of photography or the photographer, but very often we can take our cameras and lenses, tripod etc. on a long and rewarding walk and return with very few pictures.  Perhaps the photographer's problem has a lot to do with atmosphere and we will have to satisfy ourselves with cameos.  Then perhaps the walk is a progression and, like a jig-saw puzzle, the whole can be very satisfying but it would be a waste of time to photograph the pieces.  Some locations work better than others especially graphic landscapes and simple vegetation, or landscape under snow which can be the most rewarding of all.

The walk to the Col de Caux was under glorious sunshine all the way with clear blue skies.  Great for walking but our most successful fine art images were shot in wild, atmospheric or even gloomy conditions.  Idyllic brightness makes better calendars than long-term art to enhance a room.  Threatening skies, impending doom and shafts of dramatic light work best for us.

On top of the Pie de Boeuf looking out over the Diois

On the path leading to the Col de Caux with the Roc d'Ambane, part of Glandasse, dominating the view


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