Posts Tagged ‘green’

Silhouettes, lookouts, and a few regular photos to boot

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Since I arrived in Lyon a couple of months ago, I have picked up my old “Place in Silhouette” project that I began a few years ago while I was in a drawing class at Sarah Lawrence College. (You can see the two compositions I made at SLC here and here as well as the one I did in Hobart, Tasmania.) The idea of the project is to create a landscape of a place by (photographically) capturing its relevant or recurring (or just plain interesting) shapes, making silhouettes of those shapes (in a very low-tech laborious fashion in Photoshop – using none other than the “Legacy” Brightness/Contrast tool), and then compositing those shapes together to create a landscape that is abstract but hopefully still captures some essence of the original place.

So, I have been spending some time walking around Lyon on my own trying to gather as many shapes as I can before I have to leave. One part of the city that I have decided to possibly feature is the Fourvière Lookout. On the North side of the Basilica at the top of Fourvière Hill, there is a large lookout area that provides one of the best sweeping views of Lyon. Everyone who visits the Cathedral invariably makes their way outside to look down and usually take a few photos of the city below. (I would love to do a study of how many pictures are taken from that spot over the course of a single day, and I would love even more to somehow gather everyone’s digital images – perhaps over the course of a week – and composite them together to create an extremely detailed panorama of the city… Maybe someday, when wireless camera/computer communication is a bit easier and more ubiquitous.)

Ever since my “Art, Natural Environment and Technology” course at the University Tasmania, I have had a fascination with that sort of ‘scenic overlook’. I might also call such spots ‘visual sinkholes’. I don’t necessarily mean to convey scorn with that term; I just find it interesting how fascinated people are by wide views from high vantage points. Perhaps it is just because that scene is rare in our visual lives, or maybe it is something more intricately primal or psychological. In any case, I enjoy watching the mobs of people lean over the stone barrier. I wonder how much they are really in awe of the view, and how much they are just doing what people are expected to do and looking at what people are supposed to want to look at. (I also wonder how much time people will actually spend looking at the wide angle photo they take from that vantage point. My guess is that it will be forgotten fairly quickly…) I don’t mean to sound like a visual elitist, pitying the poor masses. I just cannot shake the feeling that a lot of inner dialogues at that spot are somewhere along the lines of, “Hmm… Pretty. Oh, there is that thing we saw. We really are high up… How long should we stand here?”

Well, somewhere in the midst of my self-satisfied chuckling, I noticed that the silhouette of such groups of people at the lookout could be compelling, so I decided to start capturing people (sneakily and stealthily, and hopefully not too creepily) as they gazed on. I’ve made it back to do so three times in the last week so far, and I’m excited about the potential.

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout (Nov 1, 2010)

Group silhouette at Fourviere Lookout captured on November 1, 2010.

While I have been scouring Lyon for shapes and repeatedly walking up and down Fourvière Hill (or funicularing up and down when I am lazy in a hurry), I have taken a few general photos as well. Visiting the lookout so often is a good excuse to regularly duck into the Basilica (which continues to my photographic nemesis) and stop by other nearby spots as well, such as the Cimetière de Loyasse. There is no shortage of photographic material in Lyon!

Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 29, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 1, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France between October 29 and November 1, 2010.

Day trip to Pérouges

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

After being sick for the better part of a week, I managed to get out of the apartment and into the mercifully-not-too-awful cold to make a second attempt at visiting the small medieval town of Pérouges. We tried to take the train again, but we found out last minute that it was cancelled, so we were directed to a replacement bus. We successfully (found and) rode that bus for about an hour until we arrived at Meximieux, a small city from which Pérouges is only a pleasant fifteen or twenty minute walk.

I didn’t know much about our destination before we got there, except that (as I mentioned before) it is a small medieval town, and it is completely surrounded by a wall. (Clearly, this was reason enough to visit in my opinion – perhaps related to my obsession with a certain board game.) It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful place to spend the afternoon, and I am considering going back to spend another since my available light started to fizzle by the end of our stay (and it was so dazzlingly brilliant nearer our arrival). It helps that the bus ticket is also delightfully cheap – only 10 euros round trip!

Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 23, 2010)

Photos taken in Pérouges, France on October 23, 2010.

Les rives de Saone

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Last Tuesday, Catie and I had planned to go with a small group of friends to Pérouges, a small Medieval walled town about an hour’s drive northeast of Lyon. Unfortunately, the trains (and subways, and trams, and busses it seemed like) were shut down due to the strikes currently going on in France (contesting a motion to shift the retirement age from 60 to 62). Things have actually gotten pretty intense here at times (as can be read in news articles and especially seen on YouTube), but Catie and I have avoided almost all of the rustle. In any case, we could not make it out to Pérouges, so instead we all decided to spend the afternoon walking up the Saône all the way to Ile Barbe, which happens to be the only inhabited island in all of Lyon. We were able to walk almost the whole way directly along the river, and the journey really was lovely with Autumn in full force.

Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 19, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on October 19, 2010.

Up the hill again, with a different lens this time

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

About a week ago, Catie and I met up with a couple friends and headed up Fourvière Hill once again to visit the ancient Roman Theatre and the Basilica. We took a different route along Montée du Gourguillon, a charming street that winds up the hill through the Renaissance neighborhood of Vieux Lyon.

I had been feeling lately like I wanted to shake my photography routine up a bit, so I decided to show some pity for my old 60mm macro lens and use it for the day. In fact, I used it exclusively and left the rest of my equipment at home. Sometimes it is nice to have my camera bag and its full contents with me for a trek as it provides the tools to ideally capture just about anything, but a lot of the time I find this ‘ultimate flexibility’ to actually detract from the quality of images that I generate. I get so consumed wondering if one lens might be better than another for the subject that I spend more time swapping lenses back and forth than I do actually shooting (and more importantly, looking). In the end, I almost always just get frustrated with myself and stick my favorite 70-200mm on the camera body and ignore the heavy backpack for the rest of the day. So, I have decided recently that I am going to try to leave the bag at home and commit to a single lens shooting experience over the course of a day as much as possible. This is what I did most of the time in Bangladesh anyway (because the weather was too hot to carry a bag, the air too dusty to switch lenses, and I too conspicuous to relish flashing expensive equipment to everyone on the streets) and I think my images were the better for it.

So far, this decision is working out great. Sure, maybe I lose the ability to capture a potential photo or two because I don’t have a long telephoto or extreme wide-angle with me, but I can focus my creative ability on making the images that I can create the best that they can be. I live here, after all, and I constantly have my GPS tracker with me, so I can always go back to some particular location another day with another lens!

Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 17, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on October 17, 2010.

What to do on 10/10/10?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

A few days ago, the date was October 10, 2010, otherwise known as 10/10/10. Some people may have thought this was cool, and others may have not cared or noticed. It meant something to me because 10 has been ‘my’ number for a long time. (I guess you could just call it my ‘favorite number’, although I think it has had a bit of a larger role in my life than that phrase might normally suggest.) I felt like I should do something dramatically impressive or fantastic (or at least something repeated ten times) to match the unique coming of this date in my lifetime. That thought was rather self-defeating however, as it put way too much pressure on me and I froze up and simply took an extra hour’s nap in the morning – during which the climactic time of 10:10 AM and 10 seconds unfortunately rolled on by… Woops.

The day was not lost though. In fact, Catie and I met up with some other Alliance Française students in Place Bellecour, and then we all headed up to Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is easily one of the most beautiful destinations in Lyon. I had a great time wandering about the park and taking photos of the first Autumn I’ve seen in two years. Upon looking at our GPS routes of this and our previous visit to the park, I was amazed to find that we still have only seen a very small portion of what it has to offer! Perhaps another tour is in the cards for us this weekend, while it is still relatively hot and there are more orange, yellow, and red leaves than green.

Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)
Lyon, France (Oct 10, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on October 10, 2010.