Saturday, March 10, 2018

Getting Ready to Dive

A lovely spring morning last! Seems like it's been weeks, months since we've had a mild, blue sky morning. I walked the big loop to the river and back without a jacket...yay! Looks like someone is getting ready to dive. Below and underneath the little waterfall on the right is a big underwater grotto. People come from all over Europe to dive and explore the cave and the underground river that surges into the Lot River. I frequently see teams from Paris fire rescue here practicing their underwater rescue skills. I remember working with a nurse in Kentucky where we were both doing a traveling nurse assignment. She was certified in underwater cave rescue. Why anyone would want to dive into an underwater cave is beyond me. Obviously my sense of adventure does not extend that far!
Early in the season the water is very clear and takes on a turquoise tint.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Men at Work

Last summer a big chunk of the Chateau's balustrade fell onto the road below taking with it a couple of stones from the wall holding the whole terrace up. Today they're fixing it. I took this with my telephoto from the road in front of my house.
This is the view from my back steps. I try not to think what would happen to my house if the whole wall tumbled down! Let's just say it wouldn't end well for me, my house or the little road that winds up into the village behind me.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 7: Fill the Frame

I've missed a couple of weeks doing the 52 Weeks photo challenge, but jumped in early this week to complete the assignment. Fill the Frame with an up close and personal photograph. I take a fair amount of this type of photo, so it wasn't hard to complete. I did, however, sacrifice my fingers to gather enough fallen chestnuts to get this shot. It was worth it, though, as I quite like the texture of these spiny little devils!

Here are two examples that didn't make the cut for the challenge...
Dry stone walls are literally everywhere in this area; many are centuries old. This is a new one, though, that my friend, Eddy built as a garden enclosure around his pool. I love the shapes, colors and textures of the stones. He did quite a good job, by the way. Dry stone wall construction is a real art.
And it's always interesting to observe what grows in the cracks of those dry stone walls. Here is something that does. Different color, shape and texture in this hardy plant.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


I lost my best friend yesterday. This little girl was a good and faithful companion. I feel so privileged that she chose my back door to sleep in front of back when someone abandoned her in the Iowa countryside. I was reluctant to keep her (I already had a dog and I'm not a 'little dog' person...or so I thought), but the vet said she was healthy, estimated her age at a year or year and a half, and said she was a very nice dog. So she stayed. I've been blessed with her perky presence ever since!

She lived a good life. After all, how many doggies get to fly across the ocean and live in France? She loved everyone she met, but especially she loved children. She was calm and easy except when it was dinnertime or she saw the leash in my hand. Then it was a frantic jump-and-twirl show of energy. The time had come, though, to make that tough decision about end-of-life. It's a responsibility you take on when you welcome a pet into your life, but it was still hard. She died peacefully and respectfully yesterday afternoon as I stroked her silky black head.

I'm pretty sure she's jumping and twirling in heaven this morning!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Week 4: Quiet Moment

The photo assignment for week 4 is to creatively capture a 'quiet moment.' This chair sits in a tiny chapel along the Lot River. The chapel is dedicated to the river men sailed and poled barges up and down the river hauling goods from village to village and then onto Bordeaux and the sea. The chapel was gated with iron bars which I had to shoot between to get the chair.

And I'll confess....this is a photo I took a couple of years ago. Too many other things on my mind this week to get out with my camera. However, to be fair....I could drive into Cajarc right now and take this exact same photo. Nothing's changed, not even  the fake flowers on the stone..

Friday, January 19, 2018

Week 3: These Boots

This week's challenge for the 52 Weeks photo project is to only shoot in Manual mode. For non-photographers out there, this means choosing all the parameters for the shot...speed, f/stop, and ISO. No point-and-shoot allowed! I shoot almost exclusively in AV mode, so it's been both fun and a learning experience to have to choose all the settings for each shot. This was not a week of taking beautiful images for me. Thus the hiking boots. There's a reason for this particular image, though, which will be revealed in a couple of days in another blog post. Stay tuned...

Here's another image from the week that's a bit more representative of what can be done when you choose certain settings...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Week 2

This week's photo challenge was all about color composition, looking at the color wheel and playing with opposite or complementary colors in your photo. As you can see by what I chose to put in my photo what the other challenge was this week...the weather. Kind of hard to get out and look for suitable things to shoot in the rain! I ended up just sticking my umbrella on the stone wall. The warmth of the orange pops nicely against the cool color of the green.

Besides experimenting with color, I learned something else about my photography practice...I don't do planned shots or set-ups! I tend to look for spontaneous inspiration when I'm out and about. I think I'm really limiting myself by doing that. After all, no one is inspired or spontaneous all the time1