“Paris est une fête” as goes the say (Paris is a party) ; I am not 100% sure about it but Paris in summer surely put me in a great mood, and I enjoy shooting in the streets that I am rediscovering after so many years.
— Asian tourist checking a Korean restaurant —
This is summer 2022, probably my 5th or 6th trip in a year, carrying the M6 (The old one) and the Summicron 50v5 and a roll of Kodak TMA100, my favourite film very appropriate (I think) to the summer time. This is my 16th film of the year, so I am now far from my past One-roll-a-week diet, but ok this is not a competition.
So holidays were not over by then and I was still in Biarritz with the Leica M6 and a couple of Summicrons (35 and 50) when I loaded my second roll of Cinestill XX ( purchased in Aperture UK shop in London).
I think I changed the roll around the market, so some pictures of this place can be found on my previous post.
Markets are different that in Asia a Singaporean friend told me, Same same but different I reply. Goods, people, food, money,… all the same.
I found this set a bit flat to my taste, although the light was great that day, and it was still reasonably early.
I made the mistake not to ask the lab to scan in high res, so this format is the one at which I got my negs. I will have to rescan them but probably not immediately. I think the low res scan adds to the grain, but maybe I am wrong.
Biarritz has a market and also a seaside famous for surfing.
Everything is nice in black and white, there was not other choice for pictures a few decades back anyway, nor for motion pictures. And black clothes have a sliming effect (oh I m being carried away, my goth side is speaking now).
That said the seaside is not necessarily associated with black and white photography, the sand and blue skies are far away from the gloom and doom of big cities.
This is part of the second roll of the year, still going through the 30 meters roll of Ilford HP5. It is a bit boring but I used the M6 classic again and all these pictures were taken with the 35mm Summicron Asph v2.
The Fiat 500 is associated to the Dolce Vita, a movie that was host in … Technicolor black and white.
In winter on the famous Croisette boulevard, not many stars nor sunbathers, but you can see the light is quite good.
On the seaside you can also so some street type shots.
Finally the sea, on this scene backlit by the setting sun (on the left), the old city of Cannes in the far right, hills of Tanneron behind and the Esterel range on the left.
Finally two random shots, trying to see what can be done a bit closer.
Oh my Oh my. We are in March already and here is my last B&W roll of 2021, where was I? Well not shooting for sure, as I just brought my first roll of 2022 to the lab. Well time flies, photography is one of the losers in the adjustment to my new life.
Anyway, last roll of 2021, shot in December in France, first 4 shots in Paris, next 5 in Cannes, the others in Antibes.
This is a single roll of Ilford HP5+, still hand rolled from the 30 meters roll I bought last year in Singapore. Pictures were taken with the M6 classic with the Elmar 50F3.5 or the Summicron 35 Asph v2. Oh by the way that’s not my last roll of 2021, no no no sir, I quickly shot a roll of expired Portra 400 at the end of December, but I am not sure there are enough shots to share on that one, or maybe yes I ll do next week.
After leaving Paris, I travelled to my hometown of Cannes, famous for its festival, the beaches and its beautiful weather.
Cannes also boasts two main harbours, filled with oversized yachts but also with fishermen’s boats as in the two pictures above showing some traditional fishing boats called “pointus”.
The end of the bay on the east side is called la Pointe Croisette and hosts the casino named “Palm Beach”, whose name is sometime used to designate the area. The casino is under renovation, and for those with a culture in French cinema, the crane you see is located where the famous swimming pool of “Melodie en Sous Sol” was located.
Cannes is not just for stars : locals still play the “petanque”
And not all drive Rolls Royces.
A tiny Autobianchi can be found on the harbour (in excellent condition)
There was a lot of activity along the beach this year. Some relax, some have to work, thats life.
All shots with Leica M262 and 35mm Summicron Asph v2 or Elmar 50mmF3.5 ltm, what else do you need?
If you read the last two posts, you get that I fell in love with Paris for the second time (or the third maybe, one shall not count when it comes to love).
So this is my last post of the digital shots made with the M262 and the Elmar 50 or the Summicron 35.
You guess by this last sentence that there are indeed some analogue shots of Paris but that will be for another post.
Goldilocks’ car a pre WWII Citroen Rosalie I think
6 or 7 weeks after these pictured le M11 is out and the M262 really feels like an antique. But I still really like it, faithful device, my goto camera.
I did not go camera shopping in Paris. Err, ok I went to the Leica shop on the Faubourg Saint Honoré, to check on the film MP prices in France. This camera is a beauty, but do I really need it? Ah let’s wait a bit longer…
Probably translate literally to “Boss pour us a little one, we are thirsty”. Paris and its bistro’s could fill a life of photography.
One of the new things I wanted to visit in Paris was the recently opened (Summer 2021) Bourse du Commerce. Very briefly : this building which was originally a place to trade grain, has been leased by French billionaire Francois Pinault to host the art collection of its group (well a part only as he also owns similar exceptional place in Venice, you can check back my post about the Venice Biennale of 2017 and also some of the 2011 Biennale).
Beside its exceptional architecture and location in the hear of Paris, the bourse du commerce as it is today, also boasts two major attractions to my eye. A work by Tadao Ando, under the form of the concrete cylinder at the heart of the main exhibition hall. I have made a few posts about Tadao Ando in the past, you can for instance read about the church of light in Osaka here.
But also in this same hall is a masterpiece by swiss artist Urs Fisher, that I already saw in Venice in 2011.
On the outside the concrete cylinder, forms a galley where work of arts by Bertrand Lavier
The glass ceiling
All shots were done with the Leica M262 and I think the Elmar 50mm F3.5 (otherwise that’s the Summicron 35mm Asph vII, but Lightroom tells me its 50mm). One of the constraints I feel when shooting in big cities it to limit the kit I am carrying : I feel like it is a bit silly (lack of style, overly touristic, …) to carry too much gear in such occasion so I often carry a single body and a single lens for the day.
I travelled to Paris in November last year for the first time in more than 10 years, the main reason being that I left the last 14 years on the other side of the planet. We were blessed with nice weather for the first part of our stay.
It was real fun being a tourist in a city I leaved for in the late 80’s. Like London, it takes me a little time to adjust and turn my eye to the local subjects and actually press the shutter, but there are really plenty of subjects here.
I carried my usual set in Paris, the M262 and the M6, but due to some luggae constraints I only carried two lenses : the Summicron 35mm Asph v2 and the vintage screw mount Elmar 50mmF3.5.
The Summicron is as always a great performer, and the Elmar is very pleasant. I must say the aperture adjustment at the front of the lens is a pain on a film camera without meter, but with the M6 or even better with the M262 set on auto mode, its no longer a problem.
Yes subjects are plenty in Paris, the sites, the people, the tourists, there is always something to shoot. I found there are also a lot of smaller shops that in London, which are making nice subjects.
Of course I was blessed being there during Christmas season where a lot of decorations are making the city even more attractive.
Below a few more random pictures. I have a couple more sets on Paris to come and in a few weeks, some analogue shots will come up.
If read until now you deserve me to whish you a happy new year, keep on shooting and may the light be with you.
One of the exciting bits of our small outing in France southern alps was going to the Lac d’Allos, a place I did not visit in more than 20 years. Allos is a ski resort 2 hours drive from the sea, situated at 1500 meters of altitude with highest slopes around 2500.
The side of the valley of Verdon opposite the resort is part of the Mercantour natural reserve and its highest pic, Mont Pelat is 3050m.
One of the popular walks is to go up to Lac d’Allos. This lake situated at 2300m is the largest natural high altitude lake in Europe. It covers 60 hectares and has a depth of 50 m.
From the last parking place, the walk is an easy 45 minutes uphill until the majesty of the lac and surrounding mountains appears.
When reaching the lake there is a high altitude refuge, providing food and drinks during the day and shelter for the night.
From the refuge, a lot of path are available, with various distances and difficulties, I walked a few of the in my teens. If you pass by the area and like hiking, this is worth your time.
You can have another hour of pleasant walk around the lake, admiring the scenery, flowers, drift wood, or marmottes (marmot in english).
Up the refuge is a small chapel.
The weather even in early July can be treacherous and we had some rain that day, forcing us to retreat in the refuge. Remember that as easy as this walk is, this start to be the realm of high altitude.
Inside the refuge you can always hope to make some nice encounters and engage in interesting exchanges. Here Gilles from Lille, was walking the mountains for a week. He likes to play music and use it to exchange with people he meets.
All shots Leica M262 + Summicron 28 asph or Summicron 50 or Elmarit 90mm F2.8
So this was the first day of the holidays; after the long-haul flight from Singapore to Nice and a night or rest, here I am driving up 2 hours from Cannes to Allos in the Parc of Mercantour in the southern french alps, a couple of boys day’s out with my son and my dad.
I had a couple of ideas of things to shoot on the way, including a stop at the railway station in Thorame Haute a stop on the “Train des pignes” that link Nice to Dignes-Les-Bains.
To our amusement, when we stepped out of the car a vintage steam train was parked along the station. It appeared it had to make a stop to let the regular train pass by as there is only one track in this area.
The people attending the train were very nice, happy to have a chat and camera friendly, hell they had 2 hours to kill
This train is kept by a non profit association it travels from May to October on Sundays.