Archive for August, 2010

Here Comes The Summer (Or Was That It?)

Sunflower in a field, Dienne, near Poitiers, France

So, that was summer then. Farewell, dear thing. You were rubbish. Again.

We went to France for our hols this year, visiting the Loire and Brittany. The weather was a mixed bag – some cloud, some rain, some perfect blue skies, but mostly the temperatures were on the right side of 70 and it was dry, which is all I need for a great camping holiday.

We returned last Sunday, pulling in to Portsmouth quay to lashing rain, misty grey dampness and news bulletins awash with flood warnings. The sun has since deigned to poke its way through the clouds occasionally to give a last blast of heat, but otherwise it’s been overcast and a bit chilly.

Fortunately, I’ve been stuck indoors for the best part of the last two days, working my way through mountains of washing while also transferring the contents of my kitchen out of storage boxes and into freshly fitted new cupboards.

Today I finally felt I’d earned a break, so took the kids bowling before beginning the long trawl through the too many photographs I had taken on our gallic sojourn.

I had briefly fallen out of love with photography as a pastime earlier this year, but really enjoyed snapping away during this holiday. I still find the task of sitting at a computer and post-processing them all a really boring chore. As a result I have limited my “photoshopping” to some amateurish fiddling about with a few sliders to increase or decrease the contrast, colours and brightness, plus a bit of cropping.

That said, a few of the pictures I took this trip are, I think, in their current unadulterated form, among the best I’ve ever taken. They are mostly of my beautiful boys but also of some of the places we came across, including “the most visited tourist attraction in France outside Paris”. But more of these another time.

In the first batch I went through today I stumbled across a set of sunflower pictures.

They were taken in Dienne, a small village 20km south of Poitiers, on a gloriously sunny morning. The temperatures here regularly hit the high 80s, and sunflower fields abound.

In this particular field, most of the flowers were already beginning to wilt and drop their pretty yellow heads. But from the roadside it was easy to see that one or two of the flowers were at their most majestic. I climbed across a ditch, camera in hand, to get up close to this particular specimen.

I love the way its head is straight and proud. One could almost believe it knew it was king of the hill, top of the heap. A bee buzzed in to join me in my admiration.

I’ve reproduced two of the images here, but also had a play around with those sliders in Photoshop to produce a couple of alternative super-saturated images, which appeal to the pop-art fan in me.

I hope they serve as a reminder that summer was here, if only briefly – and, fingers crossed, it might yet make a comeback before August is over and done with.