JULY 25, 2021
If you stand by the road long enough, a cool car is going to drive by
I've never been much of a sunrise or sunset hunter. For years, I was either not mobile enough, or lived in the wrong place. That's why, when I had a month in France by myself and a car to sleep wherever I wanted to take a photo, I vowed to make use of that opportunity. For the entire time, I set my alarm for sunrise every morning; and I had my camera ready for sunset every evening. You'd be forgiven to think that by now, I must have a collection of amazing images in my bag. Not the case. In almost a month, I had merely four sunsets and one sunrise. I'm not kidding. All this time spent around the most beautiful landscapes I've seen for a while was so rarely blessed with good light, always cloudy on the verge of rain - the dullest, most greyish light you could imagine.
It had all started so promising. The first evening was an amazing sunset at the cliffs of Yport, half of the village came down to watch and the atmosphere was beautiful. From then on, it went downhill. In the rare case the weather had been good during the course of the day, an hour before sunset clouds would show up. Not huge clouds, no, those small, shimmering grey ones that just dull the light enough to ruin a good picture. The locals I talked to all said the same thing - the weather isn't normal this year, it's been like this for two months. Sometimes, you're out of luck.
Last light on the Cirque de Navacelles
The very not representative first night
Despite all the whining, I got lucky a few times. On my last day in Bretagne, I had this perfect sleeping spot right along the coastline and the sun decided to turn up the mood to eleven. I just saw this picture in my head of a car driving along the road, so I stood there for twenty minutes hoping a cool car would drive by. To my absolute surprise, a VW T2 came around the corner. It faced the wrong way, and it's lights weren't on, but I was so happy. Two days later, I had a great evening on top of Puy l'Angle in Auvergne. The greens of these mountains really do well with the soft evening light - and it's so relaxing to have your bed on the mountain pass just half an hour down.
As frustrating as it was to have clouds snatch good light from me again and again, I enjoyed the chase. The sense of drive when you are somewhere beautiful, your camera is ready to go and you're just waiting for the light to hit - it's every bit as good as bringing home a good photo. I don't depend on sunrises or sunsets to take images I'm happy with, but from now on, I'll pursue more of them for sure. Even if it's just for the sake of the pursuit.
Shortly before the sun disappeared behind the ever present clouds
The view from Puy l'Angle