Photo Assignment: Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park

Parc naturel régional Livradois-Forez
Photo assignment by Kristel Schneider

Today, I signed a contract with La Maison du Tourisme du Parc Naturel Régional for a photo assignment.

PNR Livradois-ForezThe Auvergne has two regional natural parks (PNR):  The Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Natural Park  and The Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park.

In the course of conducting workshops, I have observed that – of those two – PNR Livradois -Forez (the subject of my photo assignment) is the least well-known by the public. This is, for me, another reason to be thrilled with this assignment, besides knowing that there is nothing more rewarding than to promote one’s own living area.  I also think it is great that – via my photography work – the public’s awareness of a  great nature location will increase.

Across the year’s four seasons, I will work in different areas of the park, and in close contact with the park’s main Information Center, several local Tourism Boards and local communities.

The themes for photographic reportage will be:
– sports activities (snow-racketing, hiking, fishing, etc.)
– heritage (Castles, village scenes, remains of historical places etc.)
– local festivals
– traditional gastronomy
– landscapes

Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park (French: Le Parc naturel régional Livradois-Forez)  is a protected area of woodlands and traditional farmland in the Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes regions of central France. Spanning the departments of Puy-de-Dôme, Haute-Loire, and Loire, the park covers a total area of 297,000 hectares (730,000 acres). (map /map) Within its borders, the park contains more than 150 small communes. The area was officially designated as a regional natural park in 1986. (Text Wikipedia)

The park’s main information center is located in Saint-Gervais-sous-Meymont.
(La Maison du Tourisme du Parc Naturel Régional is working on a new website,
ready in Spring 2013)

Montier en Der Photo Festival 2012

Montier en Der Photo Festival 2012
by Kristel Schneider

Between November 15th and 18th Montier-en-Der (and some surrounding villages)  was  full of life again. In the village the festival spread over many different locations, from the City Hall to the local schools and other halls. You also could enjoy some great outdoor exhibitions for free.

It was my 2nd visit to Montier and again I was impressed by the many inspiring images that were on display.

In my opinion a couple of exhibitions stood out,  especially those of :

  • Jim Brandenburgusing the camera to make a difference-
    A great exhibit with some renowned images. As I knew the background of some of the  pictures after interviewing Jim in 2011, they looked even more powerful in large prints.
  • Ansel Adamspreserving the land with a camera
    A very unique show: If you knew how old some photos were you could see that he really had a vision and a feel for photography, that many of us would wish to have now.
  • Elisabeth GaillardDouceur florale
    Very colourful and delicate exhibit. This photographer has a real eye for light and  detail.
  • Xavier Jamonet, powerful landscape photography : lots of great details and colour contrast. Moreover  the way he displayed his images was a real treat for the eyes.
  • GDT  – European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012-
    A selection of the contest winners of 2012.  I was very happy to see this one because many of the winning images were from photographers I know.
    Altough a lot of images could also be seen in the church of Montier en Der, in the show of 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year, I personally liked this one more as the  size of the images and their display were professional and clear.
  • Michel Lecocq -B&W images from trees
    Readers who visit this blog more often know how much I love trees. This show was, in a way,  ‘simple‘ but very strong. A  selection of trees put together in great compositions. Loved it!

A Photo festival provides you with not only inspiration but also good networking possibilities. This year again  I met some nice new photographers and I could speak to those I know from social media on the Internet. Nice to meet you in person finally !

New | Newfoundland Photography Tour

2013 Newfoundland Landscape Photography Tour
by Kristel Schneider and Kyle McDougall

Date: May 24th – June 2nd 2013

Featuring Photographers :

Kyle McDougall (Canadian) & Kristel Schneider (Dutch)
in cooperation with: McCarthy’s Party Limited from St. John’s

What to expect to see during this trip:

Lots of different scenery that will take your breath away. The island of Newfoundland is outlined with a rugged coastline of steep cliffs and rocky beaches. On top of this you will find numerous bays and with small communities called “out-ports” and lots of different restored old lighthouses. Newfoundland is one of the best places to see nature in an untouched way, with dramatic coastlines and ancient rock formations.

Although the main focus will be Landscape Photography people who like wildlife can expect to spot Whales and sea-birds from the shore or during the whale-watching boat tour. The icing on the cake will be the chance to view and photograph Icebergs.

Photography topics: 
Steep cliffs and rocky beaches, dramatic coastlines and ancient rock formations, old lighthouses, rugged coastlines, Icebergs, old fishing communities,
whales, colony of Northern Gannets, puffins  and much more”.

Tour Outline and more information:  click here

Image of the week at NatureScapes

I just found out that my image: Autumn wind -Auvergne Toscany,  has been  selected as ‘Image Of the Week’ at Naturescapes.Net (a photography forum) in the category, Travel and Culture.

Autumn wind -Auvergne Toscany

Late afternoon – early evening, sun going down, wind blowing in the valley.
Castle of Montmorin near Billom | Auvergne | France

Some feedback :

– Very nice and serene.

– Stunning view Kristel — lovely foreground, with the idyllic castle on the hill in the background! I would be tempted to give midtone contrast a little nudge. A terrific scene!

– Wonderful photo Kristel! and a fantastic and well deserved IOW!!!


The Path of the Giants

The Path of the Giants
by Kristel Schneider

Le Chemin des Sorcières |  l’Allée des Géants

The Path of the Giants or as the locals call it, the Witch Patch is a mysterious place in the  ‘Bois Noirs’ the forest  up in the Montagne Bourbonnaise, Auvergne, France.

The oak trees lining the path are more than 400 years old and back then people were afraid to use that path because they thought is was ‘bewitched’.  And I have to admit, when you walk on the path along the old trees, their different shapes create a spooky atmosphere. And I just can imagine how mysterious it must look in the fog and the cold cracking frost!

This week I was looking on the net for some new locations and came along the site from the Touristboard | Montagne-Bourbonnaise. The image they have published on the website got me interested in the place. Not because of the ‘striking’ image, but because the shapes and the age of the trees made me go all the way up there.

I left early morning, hoping to get some nice early morning light. But nature is such that  you have no say in this. The sky was totally ‘closed’ and I had hardly any light to ‘play’ with.
The only positive part was that the overcast sky provided me with a better colour contrast in the forest. The whole week we had a very heavy southern wind so this made it even harder to get a steady shot. I had to hang my camera bag on my tripod to prevent it to tumble.

I must say these trees were a photographer’s challenge especially under these weather conditions.  But by using a polarizing filter + ND filter I managed to get more contrast in the originally ‘flat’ scenery. And by pressing the cable release for a long time I could get the necessary light in.

– All the images of the Path of the Giants, visit my website | click here.

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