Friday, February 28, 2014

put on a happy face

This amazingly realistic face is on a gated entry to one of the local hotels.  On this beautiful sunny day in February, it seemed to me to be looking with joy at the blue sky.  Bon Weekend !

Thursday, February 27, 2014

a shutter with backbone

The low sun can turn some rather uninteresting objects into shadows of interest and beauty.  Here's a simple shutter with a chain to open its latch on an early morning in February.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

l'écume des jours

I couldn't help myself from stealing the title of this post from a 1940's era book (by Boris Vian) that was recently (re)made into a French movie (starring Audrey Tautou).  The title seems to me to be meaningfully untranslatable into English, but there are interpreted titles for the book and the movie such as "Froth on the Daydream", "Spray of the Days", and "Foam on the Daze".  In the case of the most recent film, they didn't even try to translate it and called it "Mood Indigo" (they used music by Duke Ellington in the soundtrack).

Anyway, you may ask what is this photo.  It was taken at the point where the Amasse river flows into the Loire.  For some reason there is a lot of foam (l'écume) and it follows the gentle flow of water from the smaller river into the larger.  The light and dark background is a result of a reflection of the cloudy sky overhead.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring in February

It's a good thing there's an ice rink in Amboise (see yesterday's post) so that we can remember that it is really winter here.  Sunday and Monday it was so sunny and warm (16°C / 60° F) that even the bees were out collecting pollen.  It's hard to complain about nice weather but I have to wonder what will happen to these confused plants if it does turn really cold again.

Monday, February 24, 2014

La patinoire

The temporary outdoor skating rink is in full swing in Amboise.  It's a small rink that is really for the kids but I can't help going over when it first opens in the morning and I have it all to myself... for maybe 30 minutes.  On this day, there was a cloudless sky and glorious sunlight and the kids were loving it.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

staircase at Château de Tours

Here's the third installment on my outing to Tours to a photo exhibition at the Château de Tours.  This stairway connects the two floors that hosted the exhibition.

The exhibition I visited is a retrospective of Vivien Maiers.  Only recently has her lifelong and enormous collection of photos (over 100,000) been discovered.  I am happy to report that I was blown away by the photos and I highly recommend Googling her to see some of her vast work.  As a head start, here's a link to the Wikipedia page.  I believe history will put her on par with all of the great street photographers.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Château de Tours

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I recently went to see a photo exhibition in Tours;  that exhibition was in the Château de Tours which was constructed in the 11th century.  It has had a long and sometime difficult history including being nearly completely destroyed.  But this remaining building has been meticulously restored and now hosts art and photo exhibitions.

Friday, February 21, 2014

the fountain at Place Général Leclerc

I went to see a photo exhibition in nearby Tours last week.  Passing through Place Général Leclerc from the train station, I snapped this photo of a wonderful fountain in the middle of the plaza.  Glass panels form the shape of an upside down boat hull and are sprayed by water jets from all directions.  I think it has a certain Jules Verne feel to it.  What makes it even more interesting is that it sits atop an underground parking garage;  from there one can look up to see the light coming through the glass while the water slides down the sides.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

où est la boulangerie ?

OK, all you former students of French, here's your chance to respond.

And on the subject of quizzes, here's the answer to yesterday's shadow challenge.  It's one of the face-to-face benches that sits atop the levee in Amboise.  Bravo to all my commentators.  Pretty much everyone guessed it was some kind of seating.

These two photos were taken on the same sunny day this February.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

the shadow

Who can tell me what is casting this shadow ?

(The answer tomorrow.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

le trottoir

On this rainy day, the wet paving stones of this sidewalk held a pale reflection of the gray sky overhead.

Monday, February 17, 2014

antique toys

This little shop in Amboise has an interesting display of antique baby toys in its front window.  It really is a reminder of simpler times.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

le cormoran

The cormorants are so skittish that I have not been able to catch one within a reasonable distance.  Well, for once, I had my telephoto lens in place when I scared this guy from his wading in the shallows of the Loire.  So at least I was able to catch him on his escape route before he flew away into the distance.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Saint Valentin 2014

Naturally, I wish Happy Valentine's Day à mon amour... and everyone.

Love from me (and PhotoShop) !

Thursday, February 13, 2014

winter's bounty

It takes some extra effort, but I'm finding that if I look for subtle things, there is actually a lot of interesting plant life to be found in the winter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

the pigeon house - le pigeonnier

Precisely 14 seconds after the photo in yesterday's post, I caught the two pigeons in flight.  The first one may be hard to see to the left and the second one has just left the front door of the pigeon house (if you click on the photo and maximize your browser window, you'll get a better view).

You may ask, what is a pigeon house?  Well, I have heard that the idea is to provide an attraction for them that would keep them away from greater downtown Amboise (as you can see this is right next to the Loire).  If it's working, I'm glad because there are still lots of them near my house.   I read a recent article in a local paper (La Nouvelle République), that to help control the pigeon biset population, Amboise is sterilizing some (but not all) of the eggs found here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

pigeons before takeoff

You can tell by the look on their faces that I've been caught.  I tried to sneak up on them but of course that was impossible.  The one on the left is already crouched down in preparation for lift off.  More on this story tomorrow.

Monday, February 10, 2014

how cold was it ?

It was so cold* in January of last year, that the moisture on the window of the train to Amboise froze over.  So far this year, it's been a pretty mild winter here... no ice, no snow.  Zut.

*With respects to Johnny Carson, whom some of you may remember.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Back to the attic

I've already posted one example of little treasures stored in the attic at château Chaumont; here is another which I presume to be a little statue of Archangel Michael slaying Satan in the form of a dragon.  I know this looks more like a snake but this is nonetheless my theory.  I love the soft light that comes in through the small windows into the very plain storage rooms.  Bon dimanche !

Saturday, February 8, 2014

the house on rue Joyeuse

This old house on rue Joyeuse has one of the more unusual facades in town.  It looks to me as if wooden beams have been covered with slate.  And then there's the contrast between the lower and upper floors.  It looks like two different houses were cut in half and re-assembled with floors from both.    Anyway, wouldn't it be great to live on a street named Joyeuse (joyful) ?

Friday, February 7, 2014

the front doors at Chenonceau

You might think that this is a door with it's door frame, but in fact this is just the bottom part of the left front door to the château Chenonceau.  The door was open and so it had a nice side light on it, but alas I couldn't get far enough back from it to get the entire door.  From the outside, I could get the right door in its entirety:

The detail in the hand carving of the wood is amazing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February sunset

Well this was easy.  I just walked out my front door and took this from our terrace towards the west and our neighbor's house.  These clouds remind me of one of my favorite artists.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

l'allée enneigée - the snowy lane

It's like waiting for Godot, the waiting for snow here.  This photo was take one year ago today when we had the "big" snow (maybe 3 inches / 8 cm).  Temperature-wise it's hard to complain though.  It's been very mild and I have been able to continue with jogging and even a few bike rides.  If you want to compare this view with the same one in July, take a look here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

up on the roof

I really enjoy the triangles and other geometric shapes that make up rooftop scenes.

(Title compliments of the Drifters, Gerry Goffin, and Carole King, 1964.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

winter window

The owners of this window have a nice view of the Place Debré, the main town square... and vice versa.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

l'anniversaire d'ADP

It's been a year since it all started with this.  When I began ADP, I wasn't sure at all that I had, or could take, enough decent photos to do a daily blog.  But I committed to myself that I would try it a year and see how it went.  Well, you've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, but at least I did manage to find something every day.  So there's hope that will continue to be the case.  Anyway, thanks to everyone for looking and special thanks to all those who have commented... it means a lot to me.

For the newcomers (and that would be most of you), here is how I began the blog: a calendar series of Amboise month by month.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

CDP Theme Day: "entry"

The first day of every month is theme day for the City Daily Photo bloggers, and today's them is "entry".  I was hoping to post something a little more original but I just didn't have the "right" photo (although as usual I had some really "different" ideas!).  Anyway, I found this entry-way into the grounds of a home in the center of Amboise to be impressive... and even a bit mysterious.  Click here to see how the other CDP bloggers interpreted the theme.