Friday, November 28, 2008

A very rainy May late afternoon at Aix-en-Provence

Various street scenes (taken on a rainy late afternoon in May)

Quiet restaurants on a quiet rainy Sunday evening before tourist season opens

The Mission Church
The oculus ("eye") at the top of the dome was quite dark, and I did not have a tripod. To salvage the picture, I have processed treated it as though it were a painting. I must return under better lighting conditions and take a proper picture.

Last summer we visited the historic city of Aix-en-Provence for one brief afternoon. Since the weather alternated--most unusually--between heavy and light rain, we were not able to see more than a gallery, one church, a restaurant and a few blocks of the city. There is much more to see and photograph. Since I did not want to get my larger camera wet, I used the little Canon G9, which can get 'noisy' in low-light conditions, but grainy pictures are better than no pictures. I want to return to the city in better weather and explore it more fully. I indicate that the restaurants were unusually quiet, but hasten to add that it is impossible to get inferior food in the many restaurants in Provence, whether visiting an establishment for the working class or the wealthy, one is never disappointed with the food.

We were intrigued with the story of St Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861, feast day is May 21st), the founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (1826), which has now become an international order of some 11,000 missionaries/priests serving the poor throughout the world (e.g., South America, India). This focus preserves Eugene's special call to serve the poor in Provence. Even after becoming Bishop of Marsailles, he preached in the local dialect rather than in the more learned formal French, so that ordinary people could understand his sermons.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Long Beach, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Young family walking on beach (click on picture to enlarge)

Sun starting to set (polarizing filter)

The evening's rising mists begin to hide the mountains

You often have to search to spot other people on these beaches in the fall

Fall mushroom in the rain forest

Unending sand ripples

Mineral patterns in the wet sand

Logging is British Columbia's No. 1 industry, and thousands escape

Kayakers end their labours

Low tide reveals underwater life

One of Canada's treasures is its Long Beach on the Pacific Ocean, midway between Tofino and Uceulet, B.C. If I ever manage to walk from one end of this complex of beaches to the other, I will need someone to meet me by car at the other end because the beaches stretch for 25 unbroken kilometers. These contiguous beaches include Pacific Rim National Park's Radar Beach, Long Beach (10 kms), Combers Beach and Wickaninnish Beach. You can simply refer to the whole group as the "Long Beach Unit". Since the Pacific Rim National Park is itself relatively isolated (only a single highway connects it with the eastern side of Vancouver Island), the beaches are always yours.

I stopped to watch some kayakers ride the waves, the occasional family take a stroll, surfers continue their unending search for the perfect wave, and to admire the wide flat beach of soft sand.