Category Archives: France

Farewell to After-Hours Access at Giverny

Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Sadly, the Monet gardens at Giverny have ended their program allowing artists, photographers, and writers to access the gardens before and after the public admission hours. I don’t know why this decision was made. All things must pass, and the only thing constant is change.

If you have been with me and my Photograph Paris in the Spring groups over the years, wasn’t it wonderful to wander and photograph in these gardens without the crowds? This is an opportunity that will not easily come again, so it is important to savor the time we did have, the photographs we made, and the memories.

If you are considering joining our group in Paris in the spring of 2021, don’t worry: there are many wonderful gardens and excursions in and near Paris, and we will find our way into some wonderful gardens and photographic adventures.

And keep in mind (in life as well as in photography) that since all things change, it makes huge sense to carpe diem.

Flowers at Giverny © Harold Davis

Flowers at Giverny © Harold Davis

Willow Reflections, Giverny © Harold Davis

Willow Reflections, Giverny © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Paris, Photography

Our Lady of Chartres

I recently was privileged to visit Chartres Cathedral with my group of Paris photographers. The upper two images were made inside Our Lady of Chartres with a fisheye lens and the camera on a tripod. You can see that the inside has been cleaned and looks almost new. On my previous visit, in 2013, some parts had been cleaned but the ceiling was untouched, and scaffolding was still up for cleaning and restoring the rest (as shown in the bottom image).

Our Lady of Chartres (color) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (color) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (b&w) © Harold Davis

Our Lady of Chartres (b&w) © Harold Davis

Chartres © Harold Davis

Chartres (2013) © Harold Davis

Click here for the blog story from my 2013 visit to Chartres.

Also posted in Photography

Giverny Afternoon

Flowers at Giverny © Harold Davis

I visited Monet’s wonderful garden at Giverny with my small group of photographers. In the late afternoon, we had the garden mostly to ourselves and were able to photograph in the golden light.

Giverny Afternoon © Harold Davis

Also posted in Flowers, Photography

Paris Landscape

With the storm receding, from the top of the Tour Montparnasse near sunset, Paris looked like it could be any other rain-wracked landscape (of course, it is not, there is only one Paris), with La Défense clustered behind the almost-toy Eiffel Tower.

Paris Landscape © Harold Davis

Also posted in Landscape, Paris

Notre Dame

How very, very sad to learn that Notre Dame is on fire. Here are some images I’ve made over the years with the thought that it is okay to remember the good things, and the hope that Notre Dame will be rebuilt to match. Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris is a 501(c)3 charity accepting donations to help to rebuild Notre Dame. This is a reminder that all things pass, so with good faith as one world let us join in the rebuilding—so we can help to make things better, not worse.

Crown of Thorns © Harold Davis

Crown of Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Spire © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Gargoyle © Harold Davis

Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Doors of Notre Dame © Harold Davis

Also posted in Paris

Last Day in Paris

This is my last day in Paris until the spring. I took the Metro into Concorde, walked over to the Orangerie, and sat for a while and marveled at the wonderful installation of Monet’s mammoth water lilies, abstractions created based on his ponds at Giverny

La Tour Eiffel © Harold Davis

Next, I wandered across the Tuileries to the Jeu de Paume. The most interesting exhibition there (at least to me) showed the work related to social injustice of Dorothea Lange. While not always the greatest photographer from a technical perspective (e.g. framing, composition, and exposure) she certainly had an eye for faces and telling details, and she cared. The caring may matter more than the technical considerations.

Manzanar diorama via iPhone capture © Harold Davis

What does a diorama of the World War II era Japanese-American internment camp at Manazar have to do with this? In a museum in Paris, looking at the contemporaneous photos of the camp by Lange, I was solipsistically struck with the thought that I had just been (a little more than a month ago) to the memorial museum on the site of Manazar in the arid Eastern Sierra. What a small world we live in, where one thing has consequences for other things, and there are no coincidences!

After I left the museum I wandered the banks of the Seine with my camera until it started to rain. Then I stopped into a restaurant for a late lunch, and made my way back to the hotel.

The car picks me up early tomorrow to get to Malta. I have enjoyed my relatively short visit to Paris, but I am also hoping for a bit warmer weather in the southern Mediterranean.

Also posted in Paris, Photography

Rainy Day in Paris

Last night as a lay under my quilt in my garret room I heard the wind in a racing howl across Paris. I fell asleep to the rhythm of the rain playing percussion on the roof.

Rainy Day in Paris © Harold Davis

Sure enough, in the morning it was indeed a rainy day in Paris, and the water drops danced on the glass of my window facing the Eiffel Tower. Yet somehow the new day brought light and promise beyond the storm, which washed the city at least a bit cleaner.

By midday the storm had broken, although the wind was still strong. Everyone seemed fresher and fortified in the new light from beyond the rain, even in the depths of the Metro where the music was more original and less lip-synched to Piaf. It’s hard not to admire Paris, although I have no real clue about what accounts for the existential magic.

Also posted in Paris, Water Drops

Abstracting Sacré-Cœur

High atop the hill of Montmartre sits the cathedral of Sacré-Cœur—which, as I’ve pointed out before, is emblematic (when constructed) of a hard-right quasi-fascism as encouraged by the Church. From a visual standpoint, it is kitsch and rococo, and just a bit weird.

Knocks against its politics of origin and the kitsch aesthetic aside, it is a hecka fun monument to photograph on the exterior (the interior not so much). The rear of the Sacré-Cœur exterior is shown here in an abstraction of wheels-within-wheels (arched arcades over arched arcades), and processed to look as much like a lithograph as a black and white photo.

Sacré-Cœur, exterior detail © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome, Paris

View of Paris from my room

My garret room in Montmartre is part way up the hill to Sacré-Cœur.  Under the hotel eaves, the room is on the sixth floor (fifth floor by European reckoning), and small. There’s barely room for the bed and my computer, and the wifi is pretty thin (so I am in the hotel common room writing this where connectivity is a bit better).

The room isn’t fancy, and neither is the hotel. But the location is fun, and oh that wonderful view over Paris in the ever-changing light—which makes it all worthwhile!

Paris from Montmartre © Harold Davis

Another view, made with my iPhone, is shown below!

View from my room © Harold Davis

Also posted in Paris

Relaxation in Rural France

Somewhere in Rural France © Harold Davis

Down the path to the Lot River from the Mas de Garrigue are a few rural homes on the bluff. I could easily imagine sitting here, perhaps reading a good book slowly, snacking on Pâté de Campagne, and sipping some nice local wine.

Also posted in Photography

Geometry

This is the ancient and magnificent Pont Valentre in Cahors, France and its reflections in the Lot River on a clear day with still water.

Geometry © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Morning at the Mas de Garrigue

Waking up at the Mas de Garrigue, out my window I saw the soft light of morning on the wisteria vine on the tower. Every detail here is close to perfection, what a wonderful place to be privileged to spend some time!

Morning at the Mas de Garrigue © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Carmelite Chapel Ceiling

I photographed the ceiling of the Carmelite Chapel in Toulouse, France with my 8-15mm fisheye set to rectangular fisheye mode (meaning the 15mm setting, at 8mm this lens captures a circular fisheye image). The camera and lens, mounted on my tripod, were pointed straight up.

Carmelite Chapel Ceiling © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography

Pont Vieux, Albi

Set on massive brick pylons, the Pont Vieux in Albi, France spans the River Tarn. This bridge has been in continuous use for a millennium. I’ll be taking a select group of photographers to Albi and other destinations in the southwest of France and the Pyrénées-Orientales in May, 2018. Please consider joining us. Click here for more information.

Pont Vieux, Albi © Harold Davis

Also posted in Workshops

Secret Garden

I composed this image to emphasize the arch within an arch effect. In post-production, I carried through on the same visual idea by adding an outer frame with slightly rounded corners.

Secret Garden © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome