Ambience And The Light Of The South (French Riviera)


Tonight’s challenge is “Ambience” and as Jeff Golenski suggested we choose pictures where Light was important, I went back to my latest pictures, those I took in Antibes, in the South of France, on the Riviera. And if I say the Light is something there, I really mean it. Boy, there is hardly a place, this side of the Mediterranean, where the light is so intense and beautiful. As in this picture of a bike in the port of Antibes.


Or this view at Dusk while looking towards the East. The lights at the end of the picture are those of the town of Nice.


Warm colours in Grasse. The Sun was so great we were in the lower seventies (20° celsius). In December!


Grasse again. No tampering, no tweaking. Pure sunshine. Fantastic.


This picture of a street in Antibes was a bit of a conundrum for photographers. Even though it was taken at Sunset, the light was so intense that there was no way of get the sky exposed properly as well as the foreground. I had to underexpose the whole picture and manually reveal the shadows. In this kind of situations, a pro DSLR is quite handy.


Even at night there was something about the light there and the ambience.


A panorama view of the area from Grasse.

Late Afternoon Stroll In Antibes (Without the Nasty Bits)

I don’t usually retouch my pictures even though there is a very useful feature in Lightroom which makes it possible for you to export them into Photoshop and then reimport them into Lightroom. It won’t destroy the original, it will create a new copy and you will then be able to keep both copies just in case you want to start all over again. 

Antibes - French Riviera ) Dec 2016

I took the picture above in Antibes two weeks ago. It was so balmy it was unbelievable. Freezing temperature in Paris, and lower 70s over there. A dream.  


What wasn’t a dream though was all these details I hated in that picture. I loved the lady moving fast on the lefthand side, I hated all the posts and signs. So I took them away (at least the more annoying ones). I left the manhole cover in the foreground because it didn’t bother me that much. It is obviously debatable whether one should or not do that. Traffic signs are a constant of our Cityscapes. I only wish sometimes they weren’t so ugly. Well, if you agree or disagree, just leave a comment.

What’s In A City Name?


Today’s photo challenge isn’t an easy one. It’s about “name”. As such I have few photos with names I can show. I therefore turned to brand names. First and foremost, the SNCF French railways logo of the 1930s, a really beautifully crafted logo, which is head and shoulders above its modern counterpart, even if it has been greatly improved. The beautifully designed logo and the intertwined ’S’ mainly is pure marvel. Obviously, in those days, advertisers could draw and not just click on a mouse. I like the way they fit all letters into a round shape and it still looks good in spite of this. It’s creative and elegant (here on a 1950s locomotive)


Then, my friend Hervé’s GetQuanty logo at his fund raising party at the beginning of December last year. Hervé launched his company 8 years ago and built everything by himself. He didn’t receive any money from the proceeds of his business before the 4th year. At the time, I thought he was completely mad. And then I did the same 6 years later. I once was his first customer and I’m proud I helped him with his then budding business. He is doing very nicely now. Behind that name is a true human story.


Vespa means ‘wasp’ in Italian. I found that ancient scooter near Montmartre a few years ago. Not in such a good state.

Grisy Les Plâtres - Vexin - France

Painted advertisements are few and far between nowadays. They are a sign of times when they weren’t plastered against walls but painted by hand on buildings, mostly in villages at a time when drivers could think of enjoying a glass of Dubonnet (an old-fashioned Vermouth-like drink from the beginning of the twentieth century) and live to tell about it. Those days of heavy drinking and mad driving are – thankfully – bygone.

Seattle, Wa USA

Well, at least I was able to spot a couple of names which weren’t brand names. Here in Seattle on this manhole cover, the name and picture of Chief Seattle, he who gave his name to the NW Pacific City.

Seattle, Wa USA

And lastly, this handsome late nineteenth century building (1892) which goes by the name of Maynard, a name mostly reminiscent of John Maynard Keynes as far as I am concerned. This Maynard type however, has nothing to do with the economist. He was an American pioneer and a nice person, much in favour of Native American rights. He is the one who proposed the City be named after an Indian chief. What’s in a City Name?



Today’s photo challenge is “Path“. I chose a selection of footpaths shot in Le Havre, in Normandy. 


Palm trees in Normandy. Hmm. Mind you I saw palm trees in Warsaw a few years back. 


Roses in Winter is even weirder but it happens. It’s very mild there, hence the palm trees.


An armchair for the ones tired of walking on the footpath.


That one is leading into the Sea. I know what’s on the other side. 

Anticipation : Looking Forward To Sunnier Climes


Today’s theme for the Friday Photo Challenge is ’anticipation’. Here it’s pretty grim at the moment, we are in the middle of Winter. Days are short and even though it’s mild and damp, kids may still expect to be able to go on the Ferris Wheel at La Concorde. We are looking forward to more pleasant and sunnier climes. 


In a little more than a week we’ll be on our way to the French riviera, to Antibes, where Nomade is waiting for us. 


Maybe the Sun will be out and we’ll be able to bask in the sunshine. OK, I don’t expect miracles, but it can get pretty mild down there, and I remember having lunch out in February for instance. This is unthinkable up North.


On Ste Marguerite Island off Cannes. 


We might even be able to sail the Mediterranean who knows. I remember a boat trip from Nice to Cannes in mid November 10 years ago when the temperature was 35°c (95°f).


 Cannes from the Sea. And I also expect to bring back a lot of nice pictures from the Piedmont behind Nice, Vence, Colle sur Loup and all these places. Can’t wait to be there.

Piscine Molitor 2

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

When we visited Piscine Molitor on Dec 3, 2016 it was nearly freezing. I wasn’t expecting to see people swimming in the outdoors pool but there were quite a few in fact.  

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

The 1929 Swimming pool (there are two of them, one indoors, one outdoors) was inaugurated by Johnny Weissmuller. Before he impersonated Tarzan, Weissmuller was a US Olympic swimming champion (he took to swimming after he contracted Polio in order to fight the disease). The pool is also famous for the introduction of the Bikini in 1946.

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

In the footsteps (or breaststrokes rather) of Johnny Weissmuller. 

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016

At night, the pool takes different colours. That didn’t exist in the 1930s.


[Photo (cc) Wikimedia commons: Piscine Molitor indoors pool in 2011, one year before it was destroyed and rebuilt]

The building was razed to the ground in 2012 and rebuilt from scratch. Even though it was a listed building, its exterior has been painted a garish yellow which hasn’t much to do with the original 1930s whitewashed walls. The original concrete was said to be too deteriorated and had to be taken down. Well, bottom line is that it’s neither a true 1930s building nor a true modern 21st century building. Both sides seem to be squabbling but at least it makes for nice pictures.

Piscine Molitor - Paris - 2016