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I shot the above picture in the Ariège four years to the day, while exiting the cave of Niaux, one of the world’s beauties in which one sees some of the earliest paintings ever made (dating from around 17,000 to 12,000 years ago i.e. the Magdalenian period). (picture on the right-hand side).

Obviously, I couldn’t take any pictures inside. And if I had they wouldn’t be worth anything so I wouldn’t want to show you. (The bison in the above picture was plundered from the jet-lag travel blog, whose authors had already taken it from somewhere else and this is why I didn’t pay too much attention).

Instead I pointed my camera at the view of the mountains beyond Tarascon sur Ariège. At the end of the cave was that hideous iron platform (on the lefthand side in the picture) but when I turned it into B&W I realised one only sees the perspective and the mountains and the snow which had fallen in the beginning of April. Searching for a new subject today, I chose to wind back to 2012 and tell you that story.

Overview

Dinnertime Photography

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Today’s photo challenge is dinnertime photography. It’s a fact that when on holidays in our beautiful Ariege (Deep South in the Pyrenees on the Spanish border) I always have my camera ready at hand to take a picture or two. Last August I rushed to the mountain torrent at the end of our garden and took a few pics at dusk. 

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Often, an insect like this giant locust pays you a visit while finishing your plate.

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One of my preferred chairs in which I can recline after dinner and watch our beautiful mountains.

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Sometimes I also rush around after dinner with my camera in order to take pictures like this one.

Gathering Photo Challenge

Today’s photo challenge is “gathering”. I went back to my archive and fished out a picture from 2009 but I’m sure it could have been taken at any time in the past 2,000 years or more. 

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This series of shots was taken in the Pyrenees, beyond the Col de la Core pass in the Ariège, a place famous for being one of the passages for refugees to Spain during WWII. From afar you can hardly see anything.

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As you get closer you start spotting these tiny dots on the mountain.

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Getting even closer, the flock can be seen but not the weird positions …

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which they assume while grazing on the mountain side.

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Get even closer and you will see how they are piled on each other in search of a cool patch of grass in the Summer heat. 

Col de la Core, 2009, Sony Alpha 100

Country Pageant in the Ariege (“Autrefois le Couserans”) – 1

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Couserans” is the name of a province within the district of Ariege, some sort of indomitable Gauls type of area in which things look, to the untrained eye, exactly how they used to be in the past. This is our safe haven in the Pyrenees, where we have our mountain house, a place which serves as an antidote to our modern and hectic life. Each year, a pageant is organised in Saint Girons (above), at the foot of our mountains, to show how peasants and people used to dress and live in olden times (hence the title of the outdoor show). I selected a few pictures from that pageant. Here is part 1 in this series.
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Geese were, I was told, the new guest stars of the pageant
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In Bethmale, a South-eastern valley in the Couserans, clogs aren’t to be trifled with!
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Some kind of “bombard” player from Bethmale
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Nice (thick) handlebar moustaches Monsieur!

The Great Bear In the Pyrenees

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Bears were reintroduced in the Pyrenees in 1996 (See Julia Stagg’s account here) and although our house is right there in the middle of “bear country” I must admit that I have never seen or heard one, even though I go out rambling and cycling a lot in that area. Yet, on a starry night, I spotted Ursa Major (a.k.a. the Big Bear).

> Read on: Julia Stagg’s novels set in a fictional mountain village of the Pyrenees named “Fogas”