We will end the highlights with our little adventure at Bibracte in France.
Annemarie writes here about it in her own experience.
As we arrived at Bibracte late november, the weather was cloudy with some drizzle. Not the greatest weather for photography but we decided to go up anyway and have a look. Since the actual Celtic village is on a hill (about 600 m) we decided to go up there with our motorhome. We remembered from last time when we were here that it is quite a steep slope but we thought we’d take the chance an go. And, as said, it was steep, so we had to drive up in first gear all the way, which took about 5 to 10 minutes. What we didn’t expect is that the drizzle turned in to rain and when we were half way the rain turned in to snow and suddenly we were in a completely different world. One of wet snow, wind and fog! The road became more white along the way and we were relieved to reach the parking without any problem.
Although the pictures don’t really show how bad the weather was in Bibracte, it felt really spooky and gloomy as we arrived at the end of the slippery and steep path. As we turned off the engine and looked outside into the foggy atmosphere, it felt pretty isolated and not attractive at all to go outside. A normal person would have turned on the engine again and driven off before it would become too icy and slippery to leave.. but not Lars. There is fog, which for him is the ultimate condition as you probably know by now :), so now is the moment to go out there and shoot these beautiful crooked old trees So, within minutes he’s out there in the wet snow and sturdy wind and as I see him disappear in the fog, armed with an umbrella to protect his lens, I turn up the heater and make a cup of coffee first before I go out there as well..
As I step outside the camper, fully equiped (boots, wintercoat, woolen hat, gloves and umbrella),
I see a figure looming from the mist. Lars had been gone for 15 minutes and as he returned he said that it had been a creepy shoot. He heard strange noises behind him as if someone was following him and he felt being watched at.. Even though he knew no one was there, the feeling of a certain presence didn’t leave him.
Apart from this it was almost impossible to take a good picture with an umbrella in one hand (to protect the lens from becoming wet) and operate the camera with the other. So here I come in as his assistant and help him to keep the lenses clean with two umbrella’s since this type of weather is not suitable for photography. It took about half an hour or more (we always loose track of time when shooting) before we had to stop because of the freezing cold and it was almost impossible to take a decent picture. We needed a lot of patience. Even with umbrella’s (which weren’t easy to manage in these conditions) the lens got spotted and had to be cleaned over and over. To give an idea: I had to keep one umbrella over the camera, really close, so no chance for snow to come near. The other umbrella I tried to keep above our heads. I had to lift up the umbrella slightly so Lars could make his composition. Then I had to lift up the umbrella real quickly and high, so it wouldn’t be visible in the image. So, we had to check every picture for spots and because of the wind we’d have to do the procedure again.. and again.. All together it became pretty frustrating… and very cold. Like when you’re forced to stop because your hands freeze off. You can’t operate a camera with gloves… nor with frozen fingers.
Back in the camper we were cold to the bone and soaked because halfway the shoot I threw one of the umbrella’s out as it became to heavy to use both of them, but we were already happy that we were able to do a shoot, hopefully with, at least, reasonable images. Occasionally you encounter these harsh conditions, but hey, that’s the deal :). And most of time Lars and I enjoy it, even though it can be pretty intense like this time in Bribracte.
And here the adventure didn’t stop
We still had to go back down the path and snowy road. The worst that could happen was that we’d slide off the road and with this heavy motorhome that would be a nightmare, so for a moment we were considering to stay on the parking in this cold and gloomy forest. But we were tired, cold and wet and had agreed to go to a small hotel in a village nearby, that we knew from last year. We were looking forward to a hot shower and the comfort of a dry, warm and spacious room. So the shower won over the gloomy forest and we took the risk.
Lars started the engine and drove off carefully, speeded up and pushed the break really hard to see if the wheels would slide. Fortunately they didn’t and we believed it would be save enough to go down. Since we had to take a different road down and we didn’t remember from our last time here how steep it was, we were pretty tense arriving at the beginning of the road, but after a short drive we noticed that the road wasn’t so steep nor slippery and a few hundred meters down the snow even turned into rain again and we could easily drive to the main road… and to the hotel. That was quite an adventure!
This anecdote is just an example of how the job as a photographer (and assistent) can be, and I can tell many more.
What I want to state is that Lars is a real die hard photographer who doesn’t give up that easily. Anything for a great picture!
In short, for anyone who has a romantic idea about photography, it is true to a certain extent, but most of time it’s just hard work. Nothing wrong with that, it’s probably the best job ever 😉
Anyway, just to give you an insight what effort, time, energy and also money it takes before a picture can be enjoyed online, let alone get it sold.