L'automne en Provence (part II)

Saturday, October 28, 2017 - Saints Simon and Jude Thaddeus

(continues from part I)

In spite of an early wake up, I am not rewarded with a golden morning. I have hoped for it, for a short time, as some parts of the sky were clear before the sunrise. But clouds filled it quicky, turning the weather to overcast for the whole morning. This unfortunately means almost no photos with the sky in the frame, at least for now; and no mountain peaks in the golden light. Fortunately colours are provided by the foliage of trees and bushes, here and there.

Matin nuageux sur le lac de Serre-Ponçon.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 20 mm, 1/50 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 200, hand-held.

L'automne à Saint-Apollinaire.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 30 mm, 1/40 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 200, hand-held.

An hour later, in the Forêt de Boscodon the atmosphere is perfect, as usual: no people around, a deep silence, the whole autumnal palette of colours around me.

L'automne dans la Forêt de Boscodon.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 200, hand-held.

L'automne dans la Forêt de Boscodon.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/4.5, -1.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

L'automne dans la Forêt de Boscodon.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/60 sec @ ƒ/7.1, -1.30 EV, ISO 250, hand-held.

By driving down again to the border of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon I hoped to find some landscape hints with the lake, but colours are still dull (even though the clouds look thinner, maybe things will change in a couple of hours). Yes, there is the Îlot Saint-Michel with its tiny chapel, but I've portrayed it many times in the past. Water reflection suggests a possible variation on the theme, even though I'm not enthusiast at this kind of shot. Some gulls and cormorants offer the chance of a bird shot, even though not exceptional.

Réflexion de l'Îlot Saint-Michel.

Sony α6300 + 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary 015 @ 302 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 200, hand-held.

Goélands et cormorans sur le lac de Serre-Ponçon.

Sony α6000 + 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary 015 @ 516 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 320, hand-held.

At a later time, as expected, the sun at last is breaking the cloud layer, creating some brilliant colours and shadow contrast. In the valley of the Avançon the road quickly flows among fields with pasturing sheep and rows of trees; after a few attempts I've found that the best way to depict them is from a bend of the road that climbs up to the sanctuary of Notre-Dame-du-Laus.

Dans la vallée de l'Avançon.

Sony α6300 + 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM | Contemporary 015 @ 150 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 200, composite of 3 shots, hand-held.

Returning on my steps, northbound, I'm rejoining the Durance river, but just before getting again to the Lac de Serre-Ponçon I'm turning to the right to enter a previously unexplored area. Now it's afternoon and the weather is fine, with a good clear sky veiled with clouds.

Paysage près de Remollon.

Sony α6300 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.70 EV, ISO 200, hand-held.

So some mountain shot is possible now - this is very good, because the road that goes through the Grand Vallon is surrounded by a number of diverse and majestic rocks (they are part of a geologic park), it would be a pity to miss them. It's a very interesting zone, that I wasn't able to visit in spite of a couple of attempts in the past, because of lack of time. Sure it will deserve a deeper exploration another time.

Le Jalinier.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/125 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 125, hand-held.

At the end of the Grand Vallon I am unsure about what road to pick - there are a number of villages that I don't know, but I have to take a quick decision because there's still a long drive up to the destination for today. I choose to go for Sigoyer, because the Michelin map signals a vista point.

Before reaching the village, the landscape is actually getting more and more interesting: wide views, highlands, “mountains with a character” on the background. I can spot a number of known mountains, such as the Montagne de Saint-Genis, the Montagne d'Aujour and the Crête des Selles, that are well visible from the flats just north of Sisteron, where I've been the past years.

Paysage avec la Montagne de Saint-Genis et la Crête des Selles.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 30 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/8, +1.00 EV, ISO 125, composite of 5 shots, hand-held.

Just a few bends before and after Sigoyer the landscape is breath-taking. I'm wondering why I am all alone and there are no crowds of tourists (not that I'm sad with that), because I can have a glance on the highlands east of the Durance valley, interspersed with woods, fields crossed by white roads leading to sparse farms. One could take photos for hours...

Paysage avec le Montagne de Saint-Genis at la Crête des Selles.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 26 mm, 1/200 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 125, composite of 6 shots, hand-held.

Paysage avec la Montagne de Saint-Genis et la Crête des Selles.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 70 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 125, composite of 2 shots, hand-held.

The wideness of the landscape really calls for some composite shots. But looking westbound I'm also caught by the smooth slope of the Mount Ventoux, whose meteo tower can be easily spotted with a moderate telephoto lens.

Paysage avec le Mont Ventoux.

Sony α6300 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/400 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Now there are only a couple of hours of light and still a few mountain passes to drive through. Along the road, that again finds its way among woods and small glades, there are so many interesting subjects, but I really can't stop for anything or I'll risk to be caught by the darkness when I'm still on the top of a mountain.

Glade et arbre.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS @ 16 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Passed Sisteron, I'm driving for the Défilé de la Pierre Ecrite and the area surrounding St. Geniez - a magic semi-deserted area that I first saw the past year. A few villages, pasturing sheeps, strangely-shaped rocks and a vague sense of mistery looming around.

Pâturage de La Bastide près de Saint-Geniez.

Sony NEX-6 + Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS @ 10 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.30 EV, ISO 100, hand-held.

Sony α6300 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 200 mm, 1/250 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

And now the last pass, Col de l'Hysope. Looking forward, I can see the vallée des Duyes perfectly light by the setting sun, which is strengthening the golden autumnal colours that here seem to be even stronger.

La vallée des Duyes vue depuis le Col de l'Hysope.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 22 mm, 1/320 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 160, composite of 2 shots, hand-held.

L'automne dans la vallée des Duyes.

Sony α6300 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 155 mm, 1/100 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

Paysage à Font du Roi.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 47 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.70 EV, ISO 160, hand-held.

After a good number of hairpin bends I'm at the bottom of the valley, near the village of Thoard. Now there are the last rays of the setting sun and the last shots of the day are for pasturing sheep with their long shadows cast on the ground.

(continues to part III)

More photos from this journey are available in the diary.

Thoard.

Sony α6300 + FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS @ 98 mm, 1/60 sec @ ƒ/8, ISO 100, hand-held.

Pâturage près de Saint-Martin.

Sony α6000 + Sony Zeiss Vario-Tessar T* E 16-70mm F4 ZA OSS @ 52 mm, 1/160 sec @ ƒ/8, +0.30 EV, ISO 160, hand-held.