Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Confiserie, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

You might be surprised to know that this particular patisserie & confiserie was still in business, judging by the state of the sign, but it is. It's in Chartres, just off the Place Des Epars, and splendid it is too.

L'Esperance, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

This sign feels like something of an icon to me, although there are many in this pattern all over the area of the Perche. Although L'Esperance is on the excellent Michelin road atlas of France, it was sadly missing from both Tom Tom europe and the (truly dreadful) folding map I bought on the ferry. We were fortunate indeed to encounter a motorcyclist in Remelard who was able to give us directions, and offer a cheery "Bonne Route!"

It stands at the cross roads where "Forest View" is, and as such marked the start of a lot of memorable trips, and the return to what felt like home for the weeks we stayed there.

Tour Group
Tour Group, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

This is the sort of candid I normally do, i.e. somewhat accidental, and largely due to people being in shot. I've spent a fair bit of time going through the shots from Notre Dame, trying to whittle them down somewhat. It's hard with such a spectacular location, so there'll be a few more yet, I'm afraid.

These arches are one of the many incredible features of the cathedral. The artistry and skill with which these individual pieces of stonework are carved boggles the mind.

Lastly, here's an addition to my "Best Side" set. People taking photos of other people fascinate me, and I've neglected that particular interest for a while lately. Hopefully I have a few more to add to the set on the memory cards from my travels lately.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

France, Digitally

Marked, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Just to show that it's not all film, here's a quartet of digital pictures from my holiday in France a few weeks ago. I enjoy digital sometimes, and like the D70 (with it's Agfa Optima custom curve) a lot.

The shot above was taken on a walk near Forest View - basically you turn left out of the entrance, and head up the hill to the road running through the forest. I was on foot here, but it's a great ride on a bike too, with an 8km run up to Bretoncelles available once you leave the forest, or a leisurely freewheel back the way you came. The markings are, I assume, something to do with forestry - I never saw anyone working in the woods while I was there, although there was a sign for a forestry company on the opposite side of the main road.

Meadow, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Walking up the road to the forest, you'd have passed this meadow, and the farm pictured below. The meadow is a shot I'm quite disappointed with, as I'm convinced there's something better to be had from this, although none of my shots captured it.

Ferme, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

You can see the same field pictured in "Meadow" in the lower part of this frame, I assume it belongs to the little farm you can see nestling in the trees. I love the colour in this one, I have to say, and it's a testament to the quality of the D70 that it renders this scene so nicely.

I've placed this shot with the one you see below to contrast the colour rendering used for each shot - I felt the forest needed to be more muted than the greens and yellows of "Ferme" (I'd have shot it on a neutral film like Astia, had we been doing things on 35mm).

Stop, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Pedants may wonder "Why not Arretez?" I don't know, is the honest answer. I'm very pleased with this shot though, I think the muted colour suits the light and tone from the forest really well.

Posting these was a bit rushed, as a 10 minute job I had to do for work at 8pm last night turned into an hour of head scratching and database querying. Prior to that, I had, of course, decided to re-wrap the handlebars of my bike (Bike Ribbon Cork Plus, and I went for C35, thanks for asking). In fact, I'd not only decided to, I'd already taken the old wraps off :/

Wrapping the bars didn't take too long, and as with any little bike maintenance job, I learnt a fair bit doing it (largely what not to do next time, sadly). I'd recommend Park Tools' repair how-to on the subject as an excellent resource for the first timer. (I wrapped using the method described for making the wrap self tightening on the dropped part of the bar, as I ride here a lot). The tape feels lovely to ride with - much grippier in the wet than the thin, shiny ribbon that was on the bars, and more comfortable because of the extra cushioning provided by the fairly thick, spongy tape.

Incidentally, I was unimpressed by Bike Ribbon's finishing tape - use electrical tape, as you'll end up covering the finishing tape with it anyway.

Today also marked my first commute with rain all the way - not as unpleasant as I thought it would be, although the gate in Bruntwood Park (a nice, traffic free cut through) was locked, causing me to have to retrace my steps, and cost about an extra 5-10mins on my journey.

If anyone's interested, my cycleometer (thanks Kellogs) shows that, including this morning's commute (3 journeys, as I only fitted the unit on Monday night), I've done 1hr 52mins on the bike, 24.53 miles, at an average speed of 13.14 mph, and a top speed of 23.71 mph (probably downhill, with the wind behind me).

Monday, September 3, 2007

The End

Place Des Epars
Place Des Epars, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

...Or at least, the end of the DVD Forums photo a day challenge, in any case. I could have completed this sooner, if I'd stuck to my original plan of dev'ing each film at the end of the week. It was the last roll, of HP5+ that threw me though - some unseasonably nice weather, (or a bit nice for shooting at 400ISO, anyway) and then a period of not having much time to shoot meant that it was finished very late. Anyway, the roll provides the last shot of this year's challenge, so perhaps the waiting wasn't all in vain.

The shot above is one of two considered for the 30th - this rather conventional view of the Place Des Epars won out in the end at least partly because of the desire to show off some APX25. The light this day was incredible too, making this a better choice perhaps than the other contender.

Lux, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

The last shot of this year's challenge is this, taken in the Gite at Forest View, largely to fulfil my 5 shot a day quota for the last day of the challenge. I do like the light and shade of this, and I'm a sucker for a lot of space in the frame, so this ends this July's shots from me.