Sunday, July 27, 2014

finally France again, a visit to Saint-Malo on the coast of Bretagne [Brittany]

post #200 !!!
      Here is the promised second post from my week in France in May, with French friends and with the family I lived with for a year in high school. The photos I show today are from Saint-Malo in northwest France along the English Channel. We also visited nearby Dinan. My friends live in Rennes, about an hour's drive from the coast, all in Bretagne. That day was the only really touristy outing I did all week, and it was fascinating and fun.  St. Malo has been a port city forever, with its big, thick wall that we walked along, all around the old section of the city.  (Much of the city and the wall had to be rebuilt after a big fire in 1944, during WWII.)
       Some photos:
before going into the city and onto the wall

walking the wall, with my friends

on the wall, seeing a curve in the wall ahead.....The white shapes and sticks are from sail boats resting on the beach.

looking over the wall at the beach -- and gull --  below
several views looking over the other side of the wall into the middle of the town

views from wandering around the inner city, within the wall

oldest building in town....

I call this photo The Beautiful Blue Window.

shop window, traditional regional designs

Then there's modern French life among the old buildings

and inside a restaurant, we agreed to split a fantastic crepe desert, a specialty of Bretagne.  This photo shows my share -- we were brought two identical plates!
leaving the wall around the old city section of Saint-Malo
 Thank you, Mariko and Christian, for taking me to Saint-Malo, since I know you have been there many times before. It was a great day. Thank you, too, as always, for your generosity and your friendship. And all the delicious Japanese and French food!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

before more France, moments from the past week

post #199
       Well, I have recently been out in the world.  And our grandson has been here for several days, all on his own, even though he is only three and a half.  Today's blog post is just sharing some of my images from here and there.  Next week, I promise, more France.
      Oh, a reminder.  If a reader of these blogs clicks on a photo, they all show up at the end of the post, in a row, and can be clicked on to be seen in a larger size. Cool!

The front door of where I stayed with my friend in Marin County, California.  On one side of her house is a huge redwood!  All this on a small lot - or at least it looks small to me since I live in acres and acres. The front "yard" consists of three raised beds, a lemon tree and a plum tree, just now getting ripe.  Delicious!!

the same bougainvillea, from inside the house looking out
In her back yard, there are more raised beds for vegetables - we dined on such treasures as fresh kale, lettuce and raspberries.  It is usually too chilly to eat out there in the evening, but I hit a good night!

      We also visited her friend whose entire lot is filled with flowering this and that and fresh all kinds of things.  She sent us home with a basket of fresh juicy FIGS, and showed us how their bees love this relative of an artichoke plant -- whose name I can't pronounce or even remember.

      The reason we were in California was for a wedding!  I wasn't any kind of official photographer, so I just made photos that interested me. Love it. The morning activity for the everyone was a half hour run in an amazing nearby park: Montana de Oro State Park.  The bride and groom are in white in the middle of the first photo, and seen from behind in the other group photo.  Beautiful place and such a beautiful, happy day.


Can you see the TWO GULLS?  From their behavior, we all figured the sitting gull is on a nest!! 

         Since returning home in eastern Kentucky, we have been having a good time with a curious kid who is now old enough to visit us for a few days solo.  Luckily the lawn needed mowing and the deck needed a new branch to be attached for the birds who come to the feeder, etc.  To all appearances, the visit is going well -- and it sure helps that there are two grownups and only one three year old....

      But even so I have to finish now, and any parent or grandparent will know why... Enjoy your younger kids while you can, before they grow all the way up!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

back to France and a weekly market, in May

post #198
        During my recent trip to France, I spent my first two days with close friends in Rennes.  The first morning I was there, they were willing to take me to a small neighborhood open market, one of the features to love about France.  My friends had already laid in a generous number of culinary treasures, so they were not needing to buy anythingThe huge well-known weekly market in the center city is only on Saturdays, and I was there on a Tuesday.
       I am just going to download a bunch of images, some with titles if there is something to explain.  Otherwise, just get out your francs and think about what you would like to be able to buy if you were there.  Merci beaucoup!

Here are my friends, standing by patiently while I explore and snap my photos....


There was a bit of drizzle that morning, and some discomfort perhaps from a stranger with a camera.  I asked permission when I could, and always got it.

My friends know this merchant, so I took these three photos for her.  But she is fast, works hard, and never had an extra moment to "pose"!

The carrots with sand, and the potatoes, too, are to show they were grown in actual sand. They tell the world that therefore they are of a higher quality.

These merchants are very proud of the quality of their offerings. They were glad I was taking the photo.

A second fish monger shows off his crabs and shrimp,

and uses a side counter to prepare more fish for sale.
CHEESE, knives but, sadly, I didn't get a good photo of the nice guy behind the counter.

What is a French anything without very fresh BREAD, much of it sold by the time we got there.
        I am actually finishing up today's post by using the wifi at a McDonald's in California, with the final game of the WORLD CUP SOCCER TOURNAMENT, almost over, on the TV, and everyone nearby speaking Spanish.  Maybe this isn't the best combination of place and topic, but I am glad I finally have this chance to share these photos.  I don't often make photos specifically for my blog like I did that morning in France. 
       So, for now, adios -- and I hope one of the teams soon wins this big deal match!  Oh, and bon appetit....

Sunday, July 6, 2014

a meditation on a photo

post #197
       When I began this weekly blog, in October 2010, I wrote that my posts would primarily be about Appalachia and about photography.  And I would keep each post simple and not too long.  I thought, correctly, that imposing a reasonable structure on the effort would keep me from burning out too quickly.  I also, over time, didn't want to overburden my readers.
       I can see that I have done the best on the Appalachia part.  I love this place where I live, for one thing, and, to me, what is here is ever fascinating and beautiful.  Where else would I have neighbors who put up hay, kill hogs, have waterfalls, barns, tobacco, sorghum, and so much else plus a genuine willingness to let me hang around with my camera?  No surprise that I show more about them than I do about myself or my family, apart from the fact that I am a privacy nut.  I am grateful to them all.
      Today, however, I plan to share some of how I might decide what to photograph, when to do it, and even a bit about how -- though I am certainly no technique guru.  I am more of a practice, try it out, practice kind of learner -- when I am not just being a "hope for the best" and "making do" kind of person.

OK, Friday, two days ago: last week I had put off long enough going down to our waterfalls area to check on the rhododendrons so I was determined to go this day.  They usually bloom by July 4!  I waited until late afternoon to walk down there so since that means a better chance for better light.  It's all about light.  But it's also about being there.
         One year, maybe 2007, there had been an abundance of blooms.  No hint that was happening again this year.  However, I carry with me the memory of how thrilled my photographer friend John and I both were that day we worked surrounded by so many blooming rhododendrons along this creek and the falls. 
         Sure enough, Friday I saw only the occasional bloom.  But at least there were some!  They are each beautiful deep in the woods like that.  Of course I don't know the best way to show both the beauty of the bloom and the location of the bush in a single photo!  It may look at first like I made the photos in someone's suburban yard weeks ago! 
         I had been skeptical enough about any blooms still being there on the 4th not to bring my tripod.  I ended up locating a fallen branch with a fork, like the victory sign.  I put the trusty wash cloth I always carry with me in that fork; I was able to rest the camera in there to help steady it once I located a bloom at about the right height.  I did have two lenses with me at least.  It was soon 6 pm, and time to head home.
         I am sharing just one image for now.  Of course for me it comes with the whole place, the being there by myself, the figuring out stuff and seeing around me as best I can. Actually I did have many moments of wishing the whole world were with me experiencing the worth of this forest area and of all the unique diversity in these Appalachian forests. All of us human beings should have a stronger resolve to value the true richness that is our shared wilderness, rich and irreplaceable. And life giving.

        Next week I'll finally get back to May in England or France with some travel photos -- I hope you enjoyed this different kind of journey in today's post.  Best wishes from me for good adventures anywhere you are.  Ann