Textures Challenge and The Chestnut Tree Woodshed in the Ariege

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Last night I was waiting for the daily post to be published, but unfortunately, nothing showed up. So I decided to get back to an earlier challenge when Ben Huberman caught me during a slow interval, that is to say during my 2-week zero connection Summer period. I chose the August 2, 2017 challenge and entitled “Textures”. One of my favourite subjects. I chose 2 pictures I shot this summer of a chestnut tree woodshed. The texture of that kind wood is absolutely fantastic. That is not the only advantage of chestnut tree wood. That kind of wood is able to stand out in the rain for ever, and God knows it rains forever in the Pyrenees. There is no need for varnish, nor paint, not anything else. You can leave it out there and it will never rot. The door to our house was made of Chestnut tree wood and it has been around for 150 years. With only a stroke of Walnut oil on it and I’m not even sure that was useful. Lo and behold!

Augirein, Pyrenees

Textures | The Daily Post

The juxtaposition of starkly different textures helped my attempt to capture a narrow strip of beach as if I were shooting a vast river estuary from a plane. The different colors and densities made it look almost like a living map of a faraway, unknown place. Photography is a primarily visual medium, but we can experience it with more than one sense. This week, focus on the tactile element of the objects you shoot, whether it’s one distinct quality — softness, smoothness, graininess, or any other texture you find interesting — or a combination of several within one frame. I look forward to your exploration of texture in your photos this week!

Source: Textures | The Daily Post

Collage

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Today’s challenge is “collage”. I have selected 3 pictures for this. The one above in St Girons, in the Pyrenees, with the old Zavatta circus. 

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On general election years, many posters are plastered on walls like here in 2012 with this picture of left-wing leader Melanchon (the large Mercedes behind was a somewhat feeble attempt at tongue-in-cheek pictorial humour)

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More of the same this year with, sometimes weird, posters from various activists groups. And in case you wanted to know what public loos looked like half a century or so ago, here is one of the only 2 left in Paris. 

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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.

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!

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