3705 – Another Madonna

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Dec 112016

I’m afraid I don’t know which of the many churches and chapels this is. I delayed tagging the images until it was too late. I suppose I could find it on Street View, but I’m on the train now and my connection is flaky. Having an LTE plan is one thing, having LTE is another 🙂

… some time passes …

No, I’ve tried just that, I’ve walked the streets of Aix, I know the part of the city where it should be, but obviously I have made a shortcut or a deviation somewhere that I’ve forgotten.

I have made a non-distinct image a minute before, and the next images came only 15 minutes later. 15 minutes are a long time. Even one of them is, as we’ve learned in Yellow Submarine 😀

3703 – The Symbolic Top

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Dec 092016

There’s a story about the see-through clock tower helmet of Aix’ town hall. It’s something about a lazy bell ringer and the necessity of being able to see him at work. I forgot the details, but I can assure you, it’s not true. You see the same kind of towers all over Provence. It’s just an architectural style.

3702 – The Ghost of Brexit

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Dec 082016

You may have noticed, Austria has a properly elected president now, and to the surprise of many, it is not Norbert Hofer, the candidate of the “Freedom Party”.

It has caused a sigh of relief throughout most of Europe, and most certainly among those who still think the EU is a good idea.

Brexit was a shock, and after Brexit, we thought that everything is possible, regardless of how stupid it is. Populism seemed to reign surpreme, and Trump seemed to be the clear proof that the age of facts is over.

Is this a turn of the tide?

We can’t be sure of it. It was Everybody vs Freedom Party in Austria, and what we got was a clear lead of 53.8% vs 46.2%. That’s more than OK for a victory, but it is not a landslide for reason. The next time, in general elections, we will see each party campaign for itself, and only the most principled of them will be steadfast about their refusal to go into a coalition with a probably leading Freedom Party. I expect the Greens and the Neos (a neoliberal party, basically the modern conservatives) in this role, but the two biggest rivals, Social Democrats and People’s Party, are already “reforming” their programs to be compatible with any coalition that may be needed to stay in power.

What can we, the people, do?

Well, we can stop waiting for the next elections. We have to make it clear NOW that we don’t approve. The next time we’ll be asked, it will already be too late. If we don’t say no to populism today, tomorrow and every day, if we don’t insist on facts as the fundament of political decisions, then the rivals for power will all go the way of populism.

If we don’t want to be lied to and if we don’t want to be tricked cheaply, we must demonstrate that populism does not work. Populism depends on a gullible populace. In a society of independent critical thinkers it does not work. Let’s show them that we are responsible individuals and not voting material. That’s all we need to do, but we have to do it convincingly.

Nov 302016

Harmonizing colors is also problematic, and I don’t mean that from an ethic point of view. I’m unscrupulous as far as that goes.

No, you’ve got two problems to solve.

The first one is, that you have to find a standard, a color towards which you intend to harmonize your images. That sounds easy, but believe me, it ain’t. Basically you have to try processing every single image, and only then do you know where your target color is.

One reason for that is, that not all images are mallable to the same degree. Some can be changed in amazing ways, some seem to resist even small changes.

Of course you can throw away what tries to resist, but then you may have to give up on images that you really like for different reasons, for instance their composition. You don’t want to do that, and therefore the color standard is set by those images that are least mallable.

The second problem is, that you can’t work with color temperature alone. Lavender is not the only color. Even in tight compositions there is the green of the stems, and you soon recognize that you want to harmonize that green as well. And then there are the other flowers. Yellow and red, sometimes pink, and all that is under a blue sky that you want to look natural. The same can be said about the color of the earth.

It’s a processing nightmare. I’ve never in my life spent as much time with images as I did with these. Each of them has been changed over and again. I did it not to make all look equal (they are not), but instead to make them seem plausible. I think I did succeed to a certain degree and definitely to the best of my abilities, and if not that, at least to the end of my patience 🙂

By the way, in case you wonder, the second image of this post is not lavender. It is some kind of salvia, a flower that is also grown here, although to a lesser extent.

3682 – Place des Quatre Dauphins

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Nov 172016

In France the heir apparent was traditionally called the Dauphin, which means dolfin. I guess that’s why we see so many of those animals on fountains, even if they don’t look like dolfins at all 🙂

We had them on the Rotonde, and here we have four of them on a small fountain in the center of Place des Quatre Dauphins, a tiny roundabout lined by sycamore trees.

From the height of the first floor of a house on the southern side a madonna with child quietly watches over the place. On the other side, on the road towards west, an impressive building displays a stately array of windows.

Aix-en-Provence is an old town, an important town, and wherever you look, you see it.

3679 – On Cours Mirabeau II

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Nov 142016

Here’s the promised “bigger fountain” at the western end of Cours Mirabeau.

It’s called “La Rotonde”, and the article on Wikipedia has an image of the whole structure. I wanted to take one myself, but because of all the traffic in the roundabout, I gave up quickly.

No problem, I was more interested in details and in using my 40-150/2.8 anyway 🙂