Kafka’s shadow


Prague is a city of weird statuary including that of Franz Kafka’s “description of a struggle” a short story I unfortunately didn’t read, unlike most of Kafka’s major works, which I read extensively when I was a young man. Some have even found his statue to be sexually explicit, I’ll let you decide about that. I have preferred to walk behind the statue and take this picture from a distance, showing the shadow of the Kafkaesque character. 

Boundaries in the Pyrenees

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We have a house in the Pyrenees. A region we love, in the middle of nowhere, and very few people to spoil it. It’s a country of wild open spaces where we love to wander, cycle (uphill) and ramble. Even though it’s full of open spaces, it’s also a place of boundaries. This piece was inspired by the Friday photo challenge.

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Like the balcony on this traditional house, that of our neighbours, René and Martine, two arty people from the North who came to live near their children and grand children in this small village of ours (Augirein).

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René is not only arty, he is also very gifted and he helped us with the new wicket gate. Another boundary.

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Our other next door neighbours, Paula and Philippe have designed this beautiful boxed garden next to our house (the one in the background). More boundaries.

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In the fields, boundaries are everywhere, and farmers aren’t keen on seeing people trespassing. By law, we have right of roaming but they don’t like it that much.

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Last but not least there are the Pyrenees themselves, natural boundaries, which often emerge from the mist.

Change Challenge


Last Friday’s photo challenge was about change. Not an easy subject even though I tend to deal with it on a daily basis in my job. Maybe that’s the reason why it’s all the more difficult to depict with photos. So I went for some recent pictures taken at the very end of August on a full-moon werewolf-like night. Not only is the state of the moon changing from day to day, the end of August – at least this side of the planet – tends to be a rather serious period of change too, both from a work and a climate point of view. This year, it was about the time it started getting pretty cold and rainy after almost three months of torrid and dry weather. 


Unfortunately, I had left all my tripods behind, in the office. I couldn’t get back there and grab them, I had to hold on to my new D810, and I used these shots to test its ability to stomach extreme low light. So I raised its ISO level to 12,800 and gave it a try with my 28-300 mm lens. I can’t guarantee the grain is fine of course, but the result isn’t too bad and it would probably be even better on paper as I often realised. The size of my sensor is so big (a 36 Mega pixel raw job) that it enabled me to crop photo number one like mad and it’s still big enough.

monochromatic photo challenge

Last week’s Friday photo challenge being about monochromatic pictures, I chose green as the leitmotiv for today’s post.


Green as in the marshes of the Landes in Seignosse.


For some reason, this reminded me of a Peter Gabriel record.


Exotic plants in a greenhouse.


Box in the garden of a chateau. 

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French beans, of course.


On a wet day in the mountains.



Today’s photo challenge is “connected” in all senses of the term. Roads and paths can connect you (as in La Roche Guyon, with the above network of paths in the public garden taken from the top of the medieval castle).


People can be connected too, with the ubiquitous Smartphone, as in Versailles (above). This tends to turn people into robotised zombies who pay little attention to the world around them. Will these 2 women above be run over by the young gentleman on the righthand side, with his ear glued to his phone?


Phones connect us. In the past (a long long time ago), there used to be fixed lines too. The above vintage 1980s Alcatel fixed phone is a relic from the past. A modernist past when objects were given round shapes and improbable colours.


Sometimes, people choose to be dis-connected, and here is what happens when they do.

A Good Day In The Country

Back from hols, and back in the saddle for more photo challenges. Catching up with the latest photo challenge entitled “today was a good day” I was slightly puzzled by the grammar but nonetheless will resolutely tell a story in the past tense, even though it’s a recent past.


A Frenchman’s house – pretty much like an Englishman’s – is his castle. What’s more when the house is a castle. We were invited to a party for the 60th birthday of a friend of ours. The family chateau is located in Persac, near Poitiers, an area I didn’t know very well. We took a train to get there and fortunately no gunman entered our carriage. It all happened in May 2015.


The chateau commands a nice view over the village of Persac in the Vienne (half-way between Poitiers and Limoges). 


Its stone staircases are old and worn.


A view of the village from a window in the keep.


The area is green and romantic. Not much pollution around there.


A view of Saint Savin sur Gartempe and the Abbey, in the vicinity of Persac. The Abbey has some of the oldest wall paintings from the middle ages. 


The Abbey. A mixture of Romanesque Art and many other styles including 18th century in the main building on the right-hand side.


And its wall (roof rather) paintings. 


An HDR view of the old gothic bridge produces a landscape reminiscent of Constable. Very little has changed since the 18th century in that area.


A closer look at the gothic bridge, its reflection mirrored in the Gartempe.


Small roads abound, in a area which seems to be unspoiled by modern life and its unstoppable desire to turn anything green into grey.


A good day was topped by a open day buffet with friends from all areas, some coming as far as Hamburg in Germany.


The party was thriving until late in the Night.


The party at the foot of the castle.


That was a very good day and the weather was really on our side. I hope this will convince you that you should visit the area of Persac and its little medieval castle, even though your motivation for taking a train to get there might be slightly hampered by Friday’s events.