The first week in northern France was wet and chilly. Our schedule led us next to the sunny south, to Arles and the Bouches-du-Rhône. Here we found sun, warmth, and the last vestiges of the spring Mistral, the wind from the interior that blows to the Mediterranean coast. Last vestige though it was, the wind blew at 40-50 miles per hour.
In Arles, we found the great Cathédrale Saint-Trophime. In the afternoon, it was packed with tourists, so we went the next morning at 8:00 just as it was opened to find the church open and inviting. We had about 90 minutes alone to take our shots. This is a church that perfectly demonstrates the value of the 17mm tilt-shift lens. You can see the entire width and height of the church and sense the true scale of this great structure.
This shot shows the high narrow side aisles leading deep into the chancel and ambulatory. The side aisles reach all the way to the clerestory level and then terminate in a half barrel vault that supports the banded barrel vault over the nave. Saint Trophime is one of the great examples of Romanesque architecture of the southern style.
The chancel had a very interesting geometric floor pattern that worked well in this shot.
This is PJ’s shot across the aisle of Saint Trophime. This session was interesting because it is the first time that PJ and I have both spent the entire time shooting with tilt-shift lenses. They take quite a bit of practice to get the technique solid, but PJ’s photos came out beautifully.
Just outside the ancient city walls of Arles is the Roman necropolis, Les Alycamps. It is a great avenue of sarcophagi surrounded by cypresses and other trees angled by the buffeting of the mistral. At the eastern end of the avenue is the Romanesque Saint Honorat des Alyscamps, really just a vestige of what it was in the years of glory. There exists only a single bay of the nave. What was once the rest of the nave is now a walled atrium.
PJ likes Saint Honorat des Alyscamps because of its layering of history. It was constructed originally from Roman stones and statuary and then enlarged, We can see all of this in today’s church, a living archeaology.
Today we go to Saint Remy-de-Provence and Saint Gilles-du-Gard, and hopefully will have more shots to post soon. We have “only” shot 2,000 exposures so far. Enjoy the shots, and we look forward to our next post. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to see the posts automatically. We really have enjoyed the feedback.