Les Basses Combes, Provence

April 17, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Gîte Marronnier
18 mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 400

As part of summer trip to Spain and France in 2019, we spent a week in Provence before going to Paris. It was the best part of our trip. We rented a Gîte (pronounced /ZHēt/, roughly translated as a rural accommodation) for the week in the countryside near the small village of Vacheres. The address for the place was simply "Les Basses Combes," the Low Valley, and the house was situated in a small valley surrounded by lavender fields and forest.

Les Basses Combes
35 mm, 1/25 sec, f/8, ISO 400

We spent the days exploring the surrounding area, visiting a few of the larger towns on market day, and generally taking things very slow. This was specifically not a photography trip (nobody told me that, but I am smart enough to know), so I was not heading out at sunrise and sunset to capture stunning landscapes. But I did carry my camera with me everywhere and managed to get quite a few wonderful images. Most of my sunset photos were taken on our evening strolls around the valley. The only sunrise I photographed was out the window of our bedroom (we slept with the windows wide open every night).

Sunrise Through the Upper Window
28 mm, 1/8 sec, f/1.8, ISO 35 (Google Pixel 3a in Night Sight mode)

 

The Backyard
31 mm, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 400
 

A Provencal Storage Shed
22 mm, 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 400
 

Purple Field of Something Not Lavender
42 mm, 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 400

We took a walk around the valley each evening after returning home from a day of exploration. The sunsets were usually subdues and not too vivid, and there were often thunderstorms visible in the distance. The air was still and warm, and heavy with the scent of the lavender and other fragrant flora.
 

View from the Garden
24 mm, 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 400
 

Vacheres and Lavender
73 mm, 1/250 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400

The little village of Vacheres was only about a kilometer away from our house as the crow flies, but it was at least twice that far on the road. I'll make a separate post all about the village-the entire top of the town consists of abandoned stone houses, and someone has restored the partially collapsed old chapel into an art exhibit space. And the views of the valley and surrounding countryside are stunning from the top of the hill.

Poor Attempt at Milky Way and Lavender Field
12 mm, 2.0 sec, f/2, ISO 25600 (Samyang 12 mm f/2 lens)

This photo of the Milky Way is really the only one I wish I could try again. I waited until our last night to attempt this shot, and when I went out I realized I had my bearings turned around. I planned to shoot along the rows of lavender facing south, but that direction was actually east. When I realized my mistake, I just gave up on getting the image because of the light pollution in that direction, but I went ahead and took some test shots at ISO 25600. This was the best result, and looking at it now I think I could have come away with a really nice image. But for a two second exposure at ridiculous ISO, this one's not terrible.
 

18 mm, 1/25 sec, f/8, ISO 400
 

All images captured with Sony a6500 with the 18-105mm f/4 G lens unless otherwise noted.


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