Long time witness in the forest

A huge old tree, guardian of the forest in La Colle-sur-Loup (France)

Long time witness in the forest
A huge old tree, guardian of the forest, La Colle-sur-Loup (France). Leica M (Typ 240), Summicron-M 28mm, f2 ASPH, 1/125 sec., f6.8, ISO 200

The Unexpected

It is said that walls have ears. They apparently know stuff we never suspect. True or false, this remains to be proven. I guess the same adage goes for trees in the forest. And this one (photo above) must have a lot of stories to tell. Just by the size of this tree you can imagine how many years it's been standing there, witnessing all kinds of things and stories. If only he could speak and tell us everything. In the meantime, here’s one story I speak of: you can never pretend to know everything about places you visit. There will always be some new stuff to discover. Surprises. The unexpected. That’s what I had when I was asked to shoot in La Colle-sur-Loup recently. My mission was to photograph the “spirit” of the village. That includes things people see everyday, but also things most people know nothing about. That’s what I’m talking about today.

Cemetery. Check. Looking For The Cemetery.

Everyday I ride my bike or scooter on the road in front of the cemetery. It’s a well known place, easy to see at the roundabout and certainly has a lot of “cachet”. You can image my surprise when I was asked to get some shots of the “old” cemetery. So there was another one and I was not even aware of it. Ha! A quick search on the internet and I knew it was at the other end of the village, in the mountain. I had to get there and this area was completely new to me. On my way I discovered a little chapel, the light was just fabulous when I arrived there and I spent some time photographing from different angle. That’s when I asked myself why I had never heard about it? After all, it’s only a few minutes from home. That was enough to reinforce my determination to come back with great shots so that others can see it and eventually want to visit the site themselves.

But that was just the beginning. The old cemetery was apparently a short distance from the chapel and I reached it a few minutes after. It just makes sense. A church or chapel always has a cemetery nearby.. Then again, the unexpected. A beautiful and very peaceful area right in the middle of nowhere. I had another target on the checklist : checklist: Bergerie des Crottes. But this time I had to walk on a trail, find my way in the woods. You really have to look for it, it’s well hidden in the vegetation after 20-25 minutes walk. I read somewhere that it was very easy to find. Just walk there, turn right and this and that. But my experience was different. Bergerie des Crottes is certainly a short walk, and easy one at that, but you should use some sense of direction to get there straight. But after a few trials, I reached it and it was a nice surprise. It’s always impressive to discover a 1500th-century building in the middle of the forest, up the hills.

Wait, What About This Old Tree Then?

Good question, my Dear Watson. Actually, that’s the whole point about all these details before. The tree was found simply because I took the wrong trail at some point and found myself right in front of it. I stop. Amazed. The size of this tree was just amazing. The colors truly awesome. I stayed there for a little while, humble and immobile, paying my respect to this “old time resident”.

What’s In The Bag

  • Leica M (Typ 240) + spare batteries x 2
  • Summicron-M 28mm, f2 ASPH
  • Summicron-M 75mm, f1.2 ASPH
  • Olympus VF-2 Electronic View Finder
  • Sony RX100 + spare batteries x2
  • 64GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards x 3
  • Lens cloth & brush
  • Glasses
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Do I Really Know Everything Now?

Yeah right! We never know everything. But I realize this photo shoot was a fantastic opportunity to discover things I haven’t heard of before. I know La Colle-sur-Loup holds a lot of these little “jewels” and I’m pretty sure I will discover more stuff in the weeks to come. Every time I find myself in places like that I keep wondering how it was back then, when all these sites and/or constructions were new and fresh. I’d like to see old photographs of these places and try to take fresh ones from the same angle, same season, same time. That would be awesome as a project.

You can find the whole picture set on my website at www.normandprimeauphoto.com

Good Light!


© Normand Primeau