Ile de Re

Some pictures of the salt marshes at the northern end of the Ile de Re one morning. Images taken with D750 & 24-70mm lens, double click to enlarge.

The area is quite flat with many small canals for drainage and salt pans some of which remain productive.

A dis-used salt lake, with the church at Le Gillieux in the back ground.

Snails cling to a post.

The area is a haven for wild birds D750 with 70-200mm lens.

Some salt pans remain in use and produce sought after Ile de Re salt.

Vente Direct, one of several salt producteurs.

Snail encrusted teazels.

Old winding gear on a sluice gate.

The 2018 Tour de France

Some 7 years on and Le Tour returns to the Vendee with the Grand Depart from Noirmoutier so we were waiting at Sainte Radegonde des Noyers some 47.5 Kms from the finish armed with the D750 & the excellent Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens along with D7100 with 70-300 to avoid lens swapping.
All pics click to enlarge for better quality.

Here we go, first the parade led by the Gendarmerie






Three breakaway riders lead the field


Closely followed by the peloton


Some of team Sky line up

Hundreds follow

Finally more support vehicles

Fontenay Le Comte

Fontenay le Comte & the river Vendee

D7100 12-24mm @ 22mm f11 1/100th

The church of Notre-Dame.
Sometimes I just point my camera and shoot, even with every thing is set to manual then think actually thats quite a good capture…
D7100 17-55 @ 25mm F7.1 1/320th

The spire of Notre Dame towers above the rooftops
D750 24-70mm @ 70mm f8.0 1/800 and the only blue sky on a rainy morning.

Baskets for sale at the market
D7100 12-24 @ 20mm F11 1/125th

Airing the duvet near the Rivalland tower, built by Gustave Rivalland (1824-1881) a former French naval officer and was completed in 1881.
D7100 17-55.0 mm @ 17mm f7.1 1/1000

Building near the Rivalland towerD7100 17-55.0 mm @ 48mm f7.1 1/250

Building near the Rivalland towerD7100 17-55.0 mm @ 38mm f7.1 1/200

An empty bench in Place VieteD750 24-70 f2.8 @ 24mm f11 1/200

The Pont des Sardines
Before the monks drained the Marais Poitevin the river Vendee was navigable to this bridge and here the catch of sardines was landed.
D7100 12-24 @ 24mm F13 1/200th

The medieval village of Vouvant

Just a few kilometers away at the northern end of the Mervent forest lies the fortified village of Vouvant which is very popular in summer. The village has several art galleries and cafes in the centre whilst the narrow streets with picturesque houses, surrounding views from the fortifications and large medieval church  make it a popular venue for tourists and photographers.

The keep according to legend was built overnight by the fairy Melusine with an apron full of stone and a mouthfull of water. It can be accessed by obtaining the key from the tourist office near the car park or the Cafe Melusine nearby for 2 euros per person.

The river is a tributary of the Vendee which forms a natural moat around the village

The abbey of Maillezais was commissioned by William V to build a church and monastary but it was not finished until the 11th century due to lack of money. Its a fair size with some intricate and amusing carvings around its doorway.

Le Jardin de Fournils a small 1920’s formal garden with topiary box hedging.

The roman bridge, to the right below

Vouvant is here

The Lot Valley

South of the Dordogne lies the Lot valley with Cajarc located between Figeac & Cahors. The countryside is unspoilt with cracking views just about everywhere you point your camera.

We stayed with our friends Martin & Simon who run Moulin de Lantouy A peaceful rural setting with several Gites just the other side of the river from Cajarc. We stayed in ‘Le Moulin’ which sleeps 6 and is very well appointed.

The ‘Gouffre de Lantouy’ or source of the river, which is a tributary of the Lot is nearby. Water emerges from limestone caves and is very popular with divers as its quite deep.

There are plenty of places to visit with Limogne en Quercy having a market & the medieval village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie being one of the prettiest villages in France.

The 2011 Tour de France

Shortly after we moved to France we cycled to see Le Tour pass through St Juire Champgillon.

There was a great atmosphere when we arrived and the crowds grew steadily as we waited, first to appear were the escorting Gendarmes followed by support vehicles crammed with bikes.

For more information on 2018 Tour de France see Le Tour
Also 2018 Tour de France Grand Depart 07/07/2018 Noirmoutier to Fontenay Le Comte – 189Km.

All shot with a Nikon D300 with 70-300mm F4.5-5.6 lens.
Love this shot, even though off focus, it conveys the long awaited appearance of the tour. Zoom to the reflection in the sunglasses.

Closely followed by the carnival parade of vehicles and assorted publicity floats,
Where do I apply for this job?

Pretty girls distributing sweets,

Looks like Michelin man

An ever growing crowd and sense of anticipation, even the gendarmes were smiling…
Or just wind?

The sound of helicopters pronounced the arrival of 3 breakaway lead cyclists along with a burst of frenzied cheering from the crowd:

Closely followed by the peloton in hot pursuit:

The crowd go crazy cheering, yelling: allez, allez, allez…

The streets crammed with cyclists at terrific speed

Then more support vehicles

And thats it till next year

Speed up your Nikon camera for action shots: Applies to most DSLRs.
The cyclists pass you in around 20-30 seconds, therefore speed is essential. Consider the following:
1. Use a battery grip – they generally add 1 or 2 fps, that doesn’t sound much but over 10 bursts of 5 shots or 10 bursts of 7 shots provides an increase of 20 total and hopefully more ‘keepers’.
2. Check you cameras memory speed the faster your camera writes to memory, the quicker the buffer empties ready for the next burst. Sandisk & Lexar are leading brands whose 95Mb/s SD cards & high speed flash really are worth it.
3. If you shoot raw on a 24Mp camera, a 6000 x 4000 14bit large image is around 26Mb. Consider shooting smaller images or even jpegs if the levels of PP will be minimal. If raw is essential then using 12bit instead of 14bit will provide more continuous shots.
4. Turn off the following settings in photo shooting menu, unless needed:

    Auto Distortion Control – only works with jpgs on Nikon anyway
    Long Exposure NR – noise reduction
    Auto ISO sensitivity

All impact on continuous frame rate when switched on.
Now press the shutter half way, observe the top display on the right an r with a number ie: r12 which is the number of continuous shots,
Experiment and test your set-up before you use it,
D7100 or D750 owners might like to save the setup to U1 or U2 for instant recall.

Focus: I set my autofocus to AF-C continuous with either 9 point dynamic area or Single. Group area may work to get a lock on the front runners.
Consider back button auto-focus using the AE-L/AF-L button so focussing is removed from the shutter release.
Finally, dont forget to select continuous high CH on the rotary selector et bon courage.

Any suggestions welcome, please comment & thanks for reading.