Among the birds

Arromanches, France – August 2020.

These people had been out sea fishing and were just returning their boats ashore. Apart from the reflections I was taken by the amount of Herring Gulls swimming around them hoping for any scraps. The image is cropped from the original as I only had the 35mm Summicron to hand that day.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800

Tails wagging

Honfleur, France – August 2020.

One of those days that was really far too hot to have dogs outside really as the temperature was up in the 90’s. Anyway this fellow had spotted my dog and along with the girl at the back of the group peering over at him made for a interesting street scene at one of the many Cafés in Honfleur.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

Retirement

Taken on another very warm day in Arromanches-les-Bains, France, 2020

Moments after I took the shot our dog Charlie barge in to make a fuss and luckily for me they where very accommodating to him but didn’t notice me taking pictures.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800

The Clarinetist

Must apologise to people who follow me, I been so snowed under with the house renovation work and moving that I lost touch with time.


Honfleur, France – August 2020.


Funny how you remember days like this one. My wife and I where trying to find somewhere to eat out on the harbour front in Honfleur and with Covid restrictions relaxed in France last August, you wouldn’t have realised there was any social distancing rules going on at all! Every outside table was full and with the temperature up in the nineties, we really wanted to be outdoors as many of these great restaurants unfortunately do not have any air conditioning. Making our way through the masses, trying to keep our distance I could hear a what I thought might be a Clarinet being played and eventually found the person standing in the middle of the street playing a very soulful tune.

I had to wait for the right moment to take this image as a some ladies with shopping bags kept standing beside him chatting (bottom right you can still see a bag) but not only that the little girl at the table behind was distracted by his music and looking around to see.

Only after I’d taken the picture did wife point out his face mask below his chin, which for my adds to the image the history of when this was shot.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

Messages

Bayeux, France. August 2020

I do like trawling through previous images I have taken but dismissed at the time. Looking at this picture, lord only knows why I discounted this one, I think flipping through the scans I failed to notice the reason I had taken the picture in the first place. Not only the two girls looking at the phone but up on the balcony above them was an lady doing the same. Did think about cropping the image to portrait, maybe some of you would of done, maybe it should be. Either way I’m happy with the picture final look.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

La Cambe cemetery

Last year I shelfed this post because I felt some might be offended by it’s latter content. As I found out, there is still some very strong feelings about this cemetery in Normandy, France.


I have an interest in the history of the second world war and Normandy of course was a battle ground during the months of June and July 1944. On the occasions I have been to France, I have seen and visited few sites where battles took place, museums and Allied cemeteries but I’d never been to the German cemetery in La Cambe. We stumbled across it by chance on our way back to the house we stay at in Vimoutiers.

 The Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof at La Cambe, Normandie

I’m always cautious and respectful when taking images around churches, cemeteries or graveyards. In the picture above, there’s a family ahead and when they passed me earlier at the entrance to the cemetery, I could clearly hear they were German speaking and wasn’t to sure how they might react seeing someone with a camera, let alone an Englishmen, but as the saying goes over here …“Keep calm, carry on”

Thankfully a Leica rangefinder is discreet, quiet and small although maybe some would say a bit sneaky! Years ago as I was taking pictures, I did have a woman take offence that I was using a camera in such a place, so I do like to be mindful of where I am and not to disturb others.


Before walking though the entrance a sign tells you, Until 1947, this was an American cemetery. The remains were exhumed and shipped to the United States. It has been German since 1948, and contains over 21,000 graves. With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.

I can understand why some in France still have ill feeling about the existence of this place.

As I start walking quietly though the main a gate your meet with a small marble hall with the large letters on the wall ‘HIER RUHEN DEUTSCHE SOLDATEN + ICI REPOSENT DESSOLDATS ALLEMANDS’ translated, Here lie German Soldiers.

Although very uniformed and tidy, unlike Allied cemeteries there are no headstones or white marble crosses, just stone plaques with the names of the fallen with roughly carved black stone crosses in groups of five dotted among the trees. On the overcast but very warm day I visited there where two national wreaths, one French, one German on stands in the middle of the cemetery. A few smaller wreaths lie on some plaques but no flowers or poppies but what stood out to me was among the bare graves, one plaque was covered in flowers and pictures.

Below is the grave plaque of one SS-Hauptsturmführer Michael Wittmann the German tank ace who was killed near Gaumesnil, Normandie.

Michael Wittmann grave in La Cambe cemetery

I was surprised that his plaque was surrounded by coins, some fresh flowers, some not so fresh as well as pictures of him in his wartime uniform. I am well aware of the exploits of this man, his achievements as a panzer commander and his subsequent demise in 1944. Although there is no record of Wittmann being involved with any crimes, he was still a member of the Waffen-Schutzstaffel who themselves carried out war crimes throughout the war and was born out of one of the worst authoritarian regimes mankind has ever known. I think one must forgive that some individuals still have the misguided belief of having a ‘cult’ status is ‘OK’ regardless of the crimes committed by the same organisation that this man belonged to throughout the conflict.


One final point, outside the La Cambe cemetery there are various plinths on which there are famous quotes. One stood out to me;

“The question of peace is not a globe question but a personal question for each individual”

Karl Jaspers

All pictures taken with my Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Ilford HP5 plus film in August 2020.

Fishing on the quay

Honfleur, France – August 2020.

I was rather amused when I saw these two elderly gentlemen sitting at the end of this quay in Honfleur fishing. Not only fishing among the idle fishing trawlers and trawlermen’s equipment along the quayside but in a area they were sitting, I believe is supposed to be off limits to the general public!

…also think they looked a little old to be trawlermen.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei

Greetings, on my post Testing, testing, I said…

“I’m coming around to the idea of shooting a little more colour in my photographic life”

Think my memory is getting a little short as I get older!

I shot colour negative film two years ago and this image below is from France.

I’d forgotten that I had taken this picture in the village of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, because it wasn’t a very interesting image to me at the time as a street photography image. Now with the all new 2021 lock down regulations in England, I’m unable to go anywhere other than an hours exercise or for work… shopping, that’s the wife’s department! So photography has gone out the window for the foreseeable and so I have been looking though previous negatives to see anything I’ve missed or discounted before. I found these colour negatives from our trip to Normandy in 2018.

This is the near the middle of Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei, Normandie France and it is said to be one of the most beautiful villages in France, small, not over commercialised with a couple small cafés this village well worth a visit. Located in the south of the Parc naturel régional et Géoparc Normandie-Maine and lies on the River Sarthe 13 km from Alençon.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 using my Weston Euro Master V meter and taken on Fujifilm Superia 400 film.

Life is Punk

Bayeux, France. August 2020

Don’t normally taken pictures of other peoples art work but this one was an exception with the kid crying behind the bars.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 50mm f/2 and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.

Fathers & Sons

Normandy, France August 2020.

Originally I shot the image for the reflections in the sand. Having processed the picture, not only have I captured the two men and the two little boys, the composition of the image is also most near perfect with the water running out across the sand out to the sea.

I’m pretty certain these are all members of the same family as further up the beach was mother and grandmother, in what was a glorious summers day at Lion sur Mer seafront.

Leica M4-2, Summicron 35mm f/2 ASPH and taken on Kodak Tri-X, rated at 800.