Wednesday, September 20, 2017

the vanishing point


Attention all art students.   Also any magicians who want to know how to make a train disappear.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

just a-ROUND the corner


I can't recall seeing a rounded home quite like this.  It certainly helps the visibility at the intersection.  And I'd love to see how the space has been finished inside.

Monday, September 18, 2017

apple season


Although it seems you can get apples almost year-round nowadays, it is truly apple season in France.  Last week I found this beauty in an open field near la Domaine du Château de Chanteloup (home of the famous Pagoda).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

the find


On my last bike ride, I discovered a path I had never ridden before.  It not only kept me off the main road into a nearby town but also revealed an array of interesting finds including this one.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

stick 'em up


This photo was totally inspired by a shot made by my 9 year old grandson when he and his family visited here in July.  I think this tree is right out of the Hobbitt.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

the photo op


This portal (ce portail) has everything a photographer could ask for: textured stone, weathered wood, and crusty roof tiles.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ready and waiting


I took a bike ride through the vineyards surrounding Amboise yesterday.  I saw many fields that looked like they're ready for the vendange (grape harvest).  Some were being harvested while others have already been so.  Due to the weather situation throughout the growing season, it looks like most will be harvested earlier than usual this year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

as close as I can get


Egrets (les aigrettes) are extremely skittish and this is about as close as I have ever gotten to one.  And this was with a telephoto lens.  They are such beautiful birds though.  Maybe one day they will inspire me to plunk down serious money for a longer telephoto.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

when planets huddle


This model of the solar system is on the grounds of the château in Amboise and is known as Da Vinci's planetarium.  I like models like this one but they don't really convey the enormous distances between the planets and the sun or their scale.  I figured out that if they were to scale, an earth the size of a regular globe (around 12 inches or 30 cm in diameter) would be over 2.2 miles (3.5 KM) away from a sun that would be over 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

the lull


Taking a moment to savor the sunset from on top of the levee.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

the bridge of gold to the Island of Gold


The early morning light gave the bridge Leclerc a nice golden glow.  Appropriate, as it leads to the Island of Gold (l'ile d'Or).

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

it's the season


One of our neighbors asked if we like plums and we responded "of course".  A few minutes later he returned with a market crate full of them that he had just harvested himself.  So my wife has been fully employed lately converting them to confiture (jam) and tortes. Some of which was happily returned to the neighbor.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

a land I heard of once in a lullaby


Or was it a guidebook?  Anyway for us, the dream that we dared really did come true.  But it took a lot of work.

Monday, September 4, 2017

time to say goodbye


It's return-to-school-day in France today (la rentrée) and it's Labor Day in the States.  I guess it's time to say goodbye to summer and the beach.  Perhaps these little figurines at a brocante (like a flea market) in Amboise will bring back fond memories of sunny days and happy times.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Friday, September 1, 2017

Theme Day - photographing the photographer


The first of every month is Theme Day for the worldwide bloggers of City Daily Photo and today's theme is "photographing the photographer".  To see how the others interpreted this theme click here.

As for me, I caught this photographer's reflection shooting a shop window on Place Debré back in March.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

two bees or ...


Sunflower season has come and gone for this year and I realize I have not posted a single shot of one.  So if the statute of limitations has not expired, here is one that just had to be.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

reflections on the Island of Gold


Reflections of the light of the sunrise on the Island of Gold (l'Ile d'Or as it's known here).

Monday, August 28, 2017

the classic French air conditioning system


We are currently in our third day (of likely four days) of exceptional heat (known in France as a canicule).  Most of the homes here do not have air conditioning (although many restaurants and larger stores do) because it is generally not really needed most of the time.  (Although this may be changing as the climate changes.)

This photo shows how the heat is managed when you don't have air conditioning (this is not our house). If it's not too hot, I open the shutters and windows and let the air flow in.  Often there is a breeze that helps. Augmenting with room fans also helps.  If the sun shines directly into the window, I pull the white curtains to block it.

But on days like today, when it's really hot (note that would be around 30 C / 90 F), I start in the morning by watching the indoor vs outdoor temperatures.  When the outside temperature starts to exceed that of the indoor, I close the windows to hold the indoor temperature steady.  If the sun shines directly into a window, I close the shutters as well.  Our house like many here are made of very thick walls of stone and concrete; ours are 45 cm / 18 inches thick.  These help to keep the excessive heat out and stabilize the temperature inside to a more average one.

Fortunately, these canicules don't happen very often and we normally leave the windows and shutters open all day for much of the year.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

the light stuff


Here's another shot from my recent tour of the château here in Amboise.  This one was taken in Chapelle Saint-Hubert where the remains of Leonardo da Vinci are entombed*.  The low angle of the sun at this time made a nice projection from one stained glass window onto the wall of another.  Along with the stone ornamentation it made for quite the complex mixture of form and color.

*Although there is some controversy over this.

Here's a link to the post of the window doing the projecting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

an inside look


Last week I went on a guided tour of the "underground" of the château here in Amboise.  We got to see some very dark and deep places that one cannot see with the regular entry ticket.  This shot is the inner core of the tower Minimes (seen here from the outside).  It was constructed so that horse-drawn wagons and carriages could climb a spiral ramp from street level up to the château.  To me it has a cathedral-like look on the inside with all those arched openings.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

No we're not quite ready for takeoff


Inflating a hot air balloon begins by just blowing air into it with a big fan.  Once it's about like this, the pilot fires up the burners to finish.  It's a bit of a delicate maneuver to aim the burners at just the right angle to avoid burning the balloon itself.  Here, the hot air balloons are known as montgolfières in honor of the two French brothers who built and flew the first manned and untethered balloon in 1783.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

summer wisteria


Several years ago I posted a shot of this same wisteria in full bloom.  But even in summer without the blooms, this vine is still amazing.  Note the size of its twisted base.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

château dancing


During my weekend visit to the château, I discovered there was a Renaissance interpretive dance performance accompanied by concert harp.  This dancer's leaps were amazing... especially considering that the castle's stone terrace is uneven and very hard.

Monday, August 21, 2017

shadows to château


This family is climbing the long ramp from Place Debré to the entrance to the château.  Yesterday was the perfect day for being outside and touring the old castle.

Monday, August 14, 2017

les obsèques à Saint Denis


L'église Saint Denis has been conducting Sunday services since the twelfth century.  Today there were the funeral services for a much loved French celebrity Gonzague Saint Bris.  He was a celebrated historian, TV personality, author of many books, and founder of an annual book festival.  He grew up at Clos Lucé (former home of Leonardo da Vinci) here in Amboise.