A day at Saint-Michael’s

Back in April, we took a quick trip to Normandy to visit Saint Michael’s mount, better known in France as “Mont Saint-Michel”. The mount and the surrounding bay are on the list of the World Heritage sites. The history of the mount is quite interesting, spanning from a vision of the archangel motivating the construction of the initial chapelto  the inevitable tourism (“en masse”, really). The mount’s history is marked by struggles for power as well as many battles.

The bay surrounding the mount is quite flat. We hired a guide to walk in the bay (at low tide!), all around the mount, barefoot. The wet sand can be surprisingly slippery and at places quicksand may form. The guide taught our group how to get out of these unsound spots. Suffice to say, kids love the experience of getting very slowly sucked into quicksands. What’s impressive is how deceitful the tides can be. The sea’s water may appear to be far away but it moves very fast. It’s very easy to get stranded on a small island or worse, to be washed away! The guide timed our hike perfectly so that we could experience the incoming tide close to our return point. It’s easy to understand the power of the sea and how easy it is for humans to be too confident.

We joined a tour to visit the abbey and understand a little more about its history, the struggles for power over the mount, the attempts by England to invade the village (failed), etc. The only disappointment was… the massive number of tourists, walking around, shoulder to shoulder, to join a tour or wait in long lines to get seated at a restaurant (none on the mount are particularly great and all are particularly expensive).

Here are a few pictures made during our visit, the mount,  its bay and the inevitable cows of Normandy.

 

 

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The Mount and wet sand

 

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“Panoscape”
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High tide

Taking advantage of an overcast day (Part of it anyway) and of the high tide to add to the set of pictures of the local boat cemetery.  Below is a series of long exposures to remove the water ripples so that the images are about the boat parts that tides have not yet completely worn away.

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An unexpected visitor

Meet Christina, a hen that we found in our front yard. Christina, so named by our kids, spent the day happily exploring exploring the yard’s grass, picking insects and seeds.

At the end of the day, Christina had left the yard, probably picked up by its owners. We’ve been told later this hen likes to explore the neighborhood. It’s been fun to observe this hen methodically explore bits of the yard and be a great model for a few photographs. Like other birds, Christina moves fast. Anticipation is key to compose an image and focus.

Now I confess I do not have a signed model release, but I don’t think Christina will mind.

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April weather

People say “never cast a clout till May be out” as the weather in April can still rapidly change. As the year progresses towards Summer, temperatures can still drop as low as 0-5C/32-42F and heavy clouds can bring rain and at times, hail.

Yesterday was such day, cold wind, low temps and rain. What a sight! The sky was constantly changing from dark clouds to rainbows to large blue patches before more clouds rolled in.

How not to be grateful for these moments?

 

A road trip for Spring Break, part #end

The last stop of our trip was in the city of La Rochelle, an old settlement on the Atlantic coast. This stop was short, for lunch and for a stroll in the old part of the city.

I do not have many pictures to share. Fatigue was in all of us and we still had quite a few miles to drive before arriving in Brittany, marking the end of this nice trip.

Stay tuned for the next blog posts!