I woke up early and left the hotel with the intent to drive into Switzerland to connect with my original route. It meant that I wouldn’t get Mont Blanc, or a great castle on Lake Geneva, but I was a little ‘castled out’ anyway. I drove past Geneva towards Lausanne, where I turned north to head back into France. My first stop was shortly after Lausanne, so I turned onto smaller roads early in the day.
The first location I had chosen was imposable to find. It was a pretty cool cavern, but my marker ended up being on some dirt road in the forest. If I had a few hours, I probably could have walked around to find it, but my initial research done at home could only give me so much. Here is a look at someone’s photo from that missed location.
My second stop was a medieval looking city with a really cool bridge, but again, I couldn’t spot the location. I drove around a couple of times, but not knowing the area, I was out of luck. You can see it in this photographer’s photo, but I couldn’t even see the river. I headed to the third location instead.
I had found the third location early in my research and liked the possibilities. In the end, I don’t love the shot that I got (below), but it isn’t that bad. It would have been interesting to have taken this at night, but I had limited time and had to take what I got.
As I drove on, I came across twin castles on opposite cliffs. It was a great (yet obstructed) view as I drove up. Initially I tried to find access to the east tower since the west was where the castle was and shooting from the east would have given a better view. I couldn’t find how to access it, and having not found the location in my research, I had little to go on.
I turned around and drove up the west site to the main structure. The parking lot was deserted, but I soon found out it was because the castle was closed for renovations. Just my luck … again. As I walked back down, I spotted twin trees on a hill with a bench in between.
I really like this shot a lot, and I was able to represent the location perfectly in the photograph. I did a little post-processing to fix a few weird spots in the grass, but changed little else.
The next stop I had was an old aqueduct that looked pretty cool. As I started to get closer, I hit this great winding road (image below). I turned around to where I assumed was the best spot and took the picture. I like the way this image turned out. I like the lines, the sky and the composition. I had to touch up the road a little as there was a patch of new asphalt right at the beginning of the first curve. Other than that, it was untouched.
When I got back into the car, the GPS had switched directions and was sending me back the way I came. I followed it on to this crazy cliff side road overlooking huge trees. I assumed that I was above the aqueduct and would reach the road as I went down. When the GPS finally said I should turn off, the road was a blocked off trail down the mountain. Obviously not the right way. I decided to head back up the way I came so I could continue down the winding road. The GPS finally wised up and got me to where I wanted to go
I was still pretty tired and hungry, so as I walked down the very sloped path to the aqueduct, I started to think I probably wouldn’t make it back up. I reached the bottom, and the location didn’t disappoint. It was great. There was so much texture in the moss and brick, and the Canon 7D did a great job at picking it up. I find I have so much more detail in the images than with the Canon T1i. I was seeing the vibrant greens again with the camera, but the detail just blew my away. Almost all of the angles I took turned out great, but I stuck with the one below. I did try out the 10 stop ND filter, but it made little difference and added even less to the image.
I drove off following the GPS to the next location, which was a town I was looking forward to seeing. I hit the town, and found the best place to shoot was across the river. I parked the car and set up next to a bridge. I knew I was in a good place, as there was an artist sketching the location. The town was super quite and the river was nice and clear with a small waterfall in the middle (image below and main image of article). The shot really represents how the location felt to be there at that moment. I did have to take a crap load of leaves out of the water in post-processing, but that really ended up helping the image
I was pretty hungry, but it being around 2pm, nothing was open. I finally stopped in a town to take pictures and see if I could find a bakery open. The town had a great river running through it, and I took the photo below on my way back from the center of town. The tree/bush on the left is a little fuzzy, but the rest of the image turned out nice. I will have to test out my lens to see if the edges are out of focus.
My next stop was Besancon, a fairly large town with two locations. A series of buildings on the river, and a citadel sitting up on a cliff. I was pretty exhausted when I arrived in town and had a hard time finding parking around the locations. I just left and headed straight to Beaune.
I arrived in Beaune shortly afterwards and found my hotel. Beaune was a nice enough town, but nothing really worth photographing (from what I saw). I walked around for about an hour and then headed back to my hotel. The hotel was cute, but walls were paper thin. As I tried to sleep, I heard a German couple next door talking. They were watching Law and Order because every few minutes I could here ‘Dun Dun’. They finally went to bed and I fell asleep.
A Few Comments from the Shoot:
- Be ready to change your plans if you have to. Longer routes, shorter routes, totally different routes
- Scouting locations from thousands of miles away only gets you so far. Sometimes it doesn’t work out
- Canon 7D seems to be heavy on the green side
- This was a good shoot day. A had a decent amount of keepers, with the images being totally different subjects
- I have to test my lenses to look for distortion on the edges. It is about time I start running my tests. Before it gets to cold out
View Day 5 – Annecy to Beaune in a larger map