Monday, January 21, 2013

Orange crush on Les Baux



I try to keep the photoshop shenanigans in hand with all that I share with you here. No instagramy apps or lily-gilding. Call me old-school (by all means) but what motivates me, especially for this blog, is to share the abounding beauty of Provence. And honestly, that does not require any special effects. Just a simple point in any general direction and a click will do.

Hooowever. As we were whisking around our charming Australian visitor the other afternoon in the cold ("Olive groves to your left, vineyards to the right!"), some dial or other must have turned while I was pulling my camera in and out of my pocket. As we headed into the village of Les Baux, suddenly every little snap was tainted with a roguish glow and I didn't know what to do. I desperately pawed at various buttons with frozen fingertips to no avail. Could I have simply asked Remi what was wrong? Absolutely. But then I would have been met with "Did you read the book that I gave you about the camera?" and I would have pressed my lips together impishly, defeated. So I said nothing and clambered over the cobblestones, trying to keep up. 

I have written about Les Baux de Provence before, a few times actually and in various seasons. It is for most of the year one of the most frequented sites touristiques français in the region. Thousands upon thousands of visitors clamour for a hint of Les Baux's grand past replete with warriors and troubadours, all while being serenaded by the mechanical hiccups of ceramic cicadas Made in China. But not today. 

For we were completely and utterly alone. Surprisingly so. The shops were shuttered and only our footsteps echoed, bitten back metallic with the snap of the wind.

Stammeringly, I kept trying to explain how unique of a moment it was to our young Aussie friend but how could she understand? 

That doorway that so many seek had somehow opened for us. It seemed like a private joke between  Provence and I. So I kept the photos just as they are, me sweet on them, their little sepia lie and that indefinable something threading the in-between of time.










35 comments:

  1. These photographs are beautiful exactly as they are, Heather. And your words are lush.

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    1. Coming from you that is a mighty fine compliment, I'll take it and merci...

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    2. You captured Les Baux in a different light, in more way than one,
      meaning unlike the usual post cards.

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  2. Remi's comment about reading the camera manual sounds very familiar to me!
    What a magical experience to have this wonderful village to yourselves. I, like you, do not photoshop my photos, but the accidental hues of your images give the stone work an inviting warmth in a very cold winter. Bisous.

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    1. Bisous to you too EE! I miss hearing more from you and am hoping all is well, including with your French Folly. I must say that I do the basics of photoshop on my photos but only to give them the air of what they looked like when I took them. Plus, I have had an amazing teacher in Remi so there is no need to guess or exaggerate...

      xoxo!
      h

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  3. I love them! They have that look of sunset when there's that reddish light in the air.
    Just love them!

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    1. Well, that is exactly what it was! But somehow that mysterious button made it more so... :)

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  4. Sue at Naperville NowJanuary 21, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    magic. thank you.

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    1. Nothing better than magic, Sue--thank you so much...

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  5. Orange is a "warm" color yet somehow I can still feel the cold. What a treat to have the place to yourselves. Now the trick really is to figure out that button, so you can replicate this effect at will!

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  6. The colours are beautiful. They remind me of the colour of the buildings at sunset in my part of the world. BTW I read your previous post but have been unwell so I didn't comment. I wanted to say that it's a shame that your photos didn't get published but that you still take beautiful photos and just to have someone interested in them must already have felt like a reward.

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    1. Loree, I am so sorry to hear that you have been unwell. It seems that so many people have fallen ill this winter, please know that I am sending you strength to get better!
      And yes, it was a lovely, reassuring moment!

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  7. Funny, I was just reminding my daughter at bedtime tonight about our October visit to Les Baux. It was quietish when we were there, but you must have been able to hear the ghosts on this day. You're photos are lovely. Did you ever figure out which button you pressed?!

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  8. So beautiful Heather - who needs Photoshop in Provence???

    I had to laugh when I read that you wouldn't ask Remi about how to remedy it - and what his reply would have been to you about reading the books he gave you!! That's my husband! He's given me books about my camera - and I know I should look at them every now and again - but there's a big part of me that loves to make mistakes and then learn by them (and sometimes my mistakes - like your orange crush - make the pictures even better!).

    Great post!

    Linda

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  9. What wonderful pictures, I wish I could find a button on my camera to make a mistake & produce such great pictures as yours.

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  10. The golden glow befits such emotional stones - honours them almost. Sometimes, things are just meant to be, it seems. And I'm sure Henrietta would have seen them with a golden glow anyway! xx

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  11. Oh my gosh that last photo you took is positively breath taking. I love all the architectural photos as well. I am pinning away. You are so lucky to be surrounded by such beauty!!

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  12. GORGEOUS Heather.. and I agree.. some things aren't meant to be touched. The sepia tone is lovely.

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  13. I think I have been here!Your photos are loverly as you are...........................I must find out if indeed I have been there..............back in a flash as I FORWARD your comment on to one who would remember!Sits on a hill with a river down below?

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  14. Beautiful as always, Heather! Love the rose tint. Very evocative! It looks very quiet, almost like a ghost town! Did you feel that you had to whisper, as you tip toed through the town? Cheers, Deborah - Melbourne.

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  15. Simply gorgeous Heather, I love the artistry in your images and it is all put there by God and his guidance!

    xoxo
    Karena
    2013 Artists Series

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  16. Hello Heather:
    Gosh, the pinky tinge is really beautiful and makes everything bask in a comforting glow. It is rather like being in front of a fire burning brightly! And, how perfectly lovely to have had the place to yourselves, that makes it so very enchanting.You really have captured something very special here, dearest Heather and, of course, you describe it so cleverly too.

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  17. I'm so with you on keeping the photo enhancing to an absolute minimum. We ARE old-school..blame it on our generation ; ) !

    My camera acts up from time to time and I understand how frustrating it as you click every button and turn the dial ferociously to get the settings back to "normal". I think in your case, your camera's little temper tantrum worked out quiet well. The pictures are beautiful. It's as if a golden sunrise is reflecting off of the buildings which makes them really warm and as Jane and Lance said above, comforting.

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  18. Heather you live in such a stunning area of our wonderful world. I think your photos are perfect and I hope your visitor had as much fun as I did seeing them.

    XXX
    Debra~

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  19. Thank you so much everyone! I am out of town assisting Remi on a photo shoot so I hope you will pardon my not responding individually to so much kindness. :)

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  20. Oh, Heather....I know exactly what you're talking about, regarding this business of your French partner's asking "Well, didn't you read THE MANUAL??". the last time I was akseed this, I took advantage of my enterprisingly graceful grasp of both languages and replied "Non, Herve....je n'ai pas lu le F***ing 'manual'....got any more smartass questions, Buddy????"

    In my particular case, I have a perfectly fine excuse for not doing so. the dang thing is in FRENCH (so, once again and after having been certified as "fluent" long ago while finishing a doctorate), I can't deal with it. The same goes for conversations with French plumbers, electricians, and any number of professionals with specialized vocabularies. I should emphasize that I CAN, indeed, carry on for hours with French Deconstructionists, but that's "where", so to speak, I learned the language. Not that I spend a lot of time with literary crtics in France, these days.

    Personally?....I like your orange and sepia. I wouldn't change a thing.

    As for my all-too expensive and dauntingly complex new camera? The French in-laws gave it to me last year. Madame Paris (I know....an overwritten script, but this is true) is their superannuated, 87 year old housekeeper, whom they can't fire or retire. They all refer to her as "The Bionic Nanny" (she did, intially, work as the nanny for Herve and his brother, 35 years ago). Having cannily taken advantage of the French health system, she's had both hips, both corneas, both shoulders, and one knee replaced. She rides a BIKE to the house twice per week.....and the distance is at least a mile.

    They can't pay her in cash, since this would interfere with her pension or something. So?.....Madame Paris spends her days wandering through various rooms and making statements (to no one in particular) such as "I saw a pale blue cashmere sweater in the window of ______ store on ____ street. That would look so attractive on my oldest daughter-in-law. Her birthday is next week...she loves pale blue, don't you?".....and Herve's mother agrees that pale-blue is a lovely hue, and she resignedly makes a point of going out to buy the dang thing and leaving it somewhere VERY OBVIOUS in the house. This game goes on all the time. Madame Paris never has to buy presents for either of her sons, their wives, or her many grandchildren. the arrangement suits everyone just fine and is, apparently, perfectly legal. (to be continued).....

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  21. (continued) A year ago, however?.....Madame Paris apparently came in one day, saw the very expensive camera on the dining room table (the dining room has huge expanses of french-doors at either end), decided that "thieves might come in and steal it!"......and she put it away. For some reason, she "put it away" in the back of a linen closet on the second floor. Go figure....

    Herve's parents duly filed an insurance claim, got the cash, bought an even more expensive camera with the proceeds....and then found the first camera. They were so horrified at the prospect of trying to explain this (and their "arrangement" with Madame Paris)that they simply gave the damning evidence to low-tech me when I was there last Christmas, telling me to wrap it securely and put it in my suitcase NOW...."

    So, I now have this very expensive and somewhat frightening (I'm very clumsy and fumble-fingered) camera on my hands, along with its thick book of French instructions. Thus far, I've taken a few pictures of the dogs with it, but I generally avoid it (although it sits incriminatingly on my kitchen table).

    Just for the record?....no one's ever told Madame Paris about this entire debacle. I probably should emphasize that, for my very proper in-laws (a professor of 17th century literature and a physicist), this has been, indeed, a "Debacle!".

    I grew up (and, for that matter, still live) in the South and thought I knew all about "complicated" arrangements and dealings between employers and any number of inherited old-folks who work as household "help"......but this mincey French business takes the cake, as far as I'm concerned.

    amusedly yours as ever,

    david Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. I can only say that it is too bad Heather doesn't go on Facebook. If she did, she would see the many wonderful photos that you post, David. The last one was a study of white on white as in Westies on snow.

      And I never read the manual either -- something my engineer husband does first thing whenever he gets any new equipment.

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    2. Hey Miss Judith,

      I guess youknow that Herve is an epidemiologist. I do know that he does all sorts of wonderful things for the WHO and the CDC, but I cn also attest that he is not worth beans when it comes to EXPLAINING complicated things.

      Good luck to both of us, I suppose, and our scientifically-minded spouses....

      I do take a lot of photographs, but I do it with the small, comprehensible Olympus that Herve regards as too "limited".

      "Limited" suits my style (and technological capacities) just fine.


      ----david

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  22. Toujours magique une visite aux Baux.

    Amicalement,

    Manon

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  23. Your little sepia lie is enchanting x

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  24. I am liking the 'orange crush'... and I for one am happy to see a new version of Les Baux... It is a magical setting and how lucky to have it to yourselves... that is a rare and special treat...

    As for the manual.. it's simple... I don't believe in them... ;) And... more importantly, you would be letting the side down if you did read it! xv

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  25. Oh! The glow-Ness is completely gorgeous!

    Quelle divine.

    Waving from los Angeles while waiting for the spaghetti to be al dente.

    *camera empathy. We caved and will be going to a camera workshop on Sunday to Learn enfin what All Those Settings Do.

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  26. I love this place and seeing your photos makes me want to leave immediately. I doubt I would be lucky enough to have it all to myself.

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  27. the light is making me slightly delirious...in a good way ( dont worry)

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