Category Archives: France

Le Mont St. Michel – working a ‘photographic location’

MARCH 2019

In the early summer of 2015 I took my dear little Toyota campervan to France.

I headed to Mont St. Michel on the Normandy coast and found a quiet parking spot on the west side, that looked out across the marshes to the Abbey of Mont St.Michel.

A heavy rain cloud produced this image.

Dawn and nightfall are as useful for monochrome photographers as for colour photographers and as night was falling I got this with some mist lying along the shore line and just after the Abbey illuminations came on.

On another day out on the marshes I walked past a young couple, who sat down and started kissing.

Well we all are envious of French lovers so I had to capture them.

I photographed from various locations for about 3 days before settling at another spot on the eastern side.

As the afternoon past I sneaked a picture of what looked to me like a French farmer, who chatted on his mobile phone with the Abbey in the background.

I was photographing with a Leica Monochrom camera at the time and having been taking landscapes on a tripod, the camera had a strong red filter on it. In a hurry to capture a picture, I left the filter on and quickly took another stop off the exposure, as the camera meter misread the red filter.

Not sure which image I prefer…but the red filter turned the red trousers and shirt that this guy wearing…into a much more interesting (for black and white)… white!
Alas I wasn’t clever enough to realise that until I’d got the picture on the computer!

Knowing that evening was a good time and liking this spot I headed off along the track shown above. A pretty long walk but eventually, when it was now really dark I was able to get the image I guess that I had been waiting for. You usually know when a picture is worthwhile as you press the button.

It is obviously made by the ‘searchlight effect’ from the lights. I love it’s simplicity and think that even my hero Michael Kenna, who famously photographed Mont St Michel back in the ’90s, would have been pleased with getting it.

I felt able to drive away from this location…well until the next time I’m in France when I’ll try for another good image of it.

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