This photograph was taken during a trip to Northern Scotland in the winter of 2008. Earlier that day, while shooting on a frozen river, I fell through the ice and, alongside with being very scared, I lost my camera in the incident. As it was still morning, I went back to my hotel, almost naked because my clothes had turned to solid ice and I had to take them off! I took a warm bath and I went to the nearest city, Inverness, to buy a new camera and get back to work. Or else I feared I would never go back at all... And as I didn't want to get too close to the water yet, I decided to lose myself in the frozen fields of the mainland. Then I saw this one with its long tire traces, the clouds had this fantastic long shapes like a herd of sheep following each other in the sky. So I ran into the tire tracks so that my footsteps wouldn't show on the photo, installed my tripod and panoramic head (I'm getting better each year at doing this in a hurry...) and voila. Well... not exaclty though. It took me countless hours to postwork this as the shades were too dark in many places to stitch the various shots properly, and I really almost gave up because every little error would show on the field especially in large poster format. But now I see the result and I think that this was probably one of the most bloody tough experiences both in the shooting that day and the postwork but it's dear to me now. Arthuan is the celtic word for the winter solstice. Time of renewal and awakening. Hope you enjoy the photograph... :)
Last Ray of Light
In the far north of Estonia, glaciers have dragged huge boulders of rock that left deep and lasting scars in the wild forest. There is no longer any such thing as the "border of the world" but if ever I had to dream that I saw such a place, this would be it. Endless see of ice water, cristalline air and huge guardian trees, uncanny rounded rocks floating in the middle of ravaged land. And yet the sun sharpening the blade of the horizon reveals beauty all around on sea, land and sky that takes my breath away...
Walk on the Ocean
This photograph was taken on the roof of a department store in Paris on Christmas eve. Because it was my only chance to escape security and climb up there through the scaffolding which you can see on the right side, as security was too busy with the very intense crowd on that day. And also the clouds looked nice that night. Even though I pushed them beyond the border of realistic photography in postwork, they were nice to begin with... And I felt to be quite close to them from up there, with a lot of wind and the distant clamor of the cheering crowd filling the streets to get that last precious present for their loved ones. Quite a fantastic feeling... I hope you can get a little bit of it with me as all the other cats who walk the rooftops at night!
Seven Martyrs Chapel
Greece is a fabulous country and one of its characteristics is to have hundreds of small chapels on any of its islands, not to mention of course the thousands on the mainland. This one is the Seven Martyrs Chapel on Sifnos Island, at sunrise. At that time, I didn't have my tilt shift lens to preserve the perspective of the chapel in a wide angle shot, so I had to make a 360° spherical panorama, stitch it and reframe it... Quite an exhausting process but in return it allowed me to capture the entire small island which I don't think any single shot with a prime lens would have enabled me to do. All there is to do now is take the white path and proceed in our imagination... ;)
One Knight Stands
This is a photograph of St Louis statue taken from the stairways leading to the crypt, in the Sacre Cœur basilic of Montmartre in Paris. The weather was spectacular that day and from down there he did seem to be a true and glorious hero, a guardian. And then for the rest, just a little play with polarizing filters, HDR and perspective... ;)
Midwinter Night Dream
Calle del Sol
My parents now live half of the year in a Mexican mountain village called San Miguel de Allende. I join them there every once in a while and share their Mexican lives for a few weeks. Two years ago they invited me for the Easter Processions, which are quite awesome in themselves. But I had something else in mind... during this time, all cars are cleared from the village which becomes entirely pedestrian! A unique occasion to shoot the main street without all the cars... If I could get rid of the people. So this shot is actually a composition of three different exposures: an instant one for the shadows on top of the walls, a 2.5 minutes shot for the unique cloud in the sky that evening (so lucky!) and a 10 minutes one to get all the people to fade away. Such long exposure created a pitch black shade to the border of the streets because of the polarizing filter I was using to enhance the stones reflection, but somehow I find that it still works this way. Do you? :)
This photograph was taken in Sweden, where I stayed a few days in the Black River Valley to enjoy the wonderful nature there. It needed a 1 second exposure for the water to be perfectly mirroring, but then the slightest breath of wind during that one minute would move the higher leaves and blurr the shot, so I took 5... 15... 50... and could never get it right! Which is when I realized I needed to change my approach. So I programmed the remote control of my camera for a one second shot every second and a half as long as there would be some space left in my memory card... and installed an empty memory card. Somehow then it seemed that the almost perfect silence of the lake's border was breathing at the rythm of the camera tiny sound which I could still hear even though I had the mirror locked up. And I stayed for an hour or so, reading nature's calligraphy all around me. Later that night, I found only 3 shots were perfectly mirroring and still out of the many hundreds taken, and this was my favorite. A lot of my friends see a grasshoper when they look at this photograph... maybe you can too? :)