Logically I’m thinking that for my first guest blog I should be introducing myself. However, as Wiola set me a photographic challenge when she heard that I was going on a short road trip to France, now that I’m here, it’s all I can think about and so I’m going to blog about that first.
“What’s the challenge?” do I hear you cry? To take as many horse related photos whilst on my mini break. That in itself sounds more glamorous than it actually is – my husband invited me to keep him company on his business trip and it was words like ‘just outside of Paris’, ‘nice hotel’, ‘good food’, ‘shopping’ to name but a few that had me immediately thinking how nice it would be. In reality, we’re not that close to Paris but our hotel is tres chic, it looks like a traditional French chateau and is over looking the River Seine, in a little town called Rolleboise, in Normandy.
My first sighting was obviously going to be on UK soil and yes, there were lots of horses in the grassy fields adjoining the M25 and M20 but I decided that was too easy and to wait…..
Having boarded the Eurotunnel train I must admit I felt disappointed not to have found just one creative horsey shot to send to Wiola. Literally as the train trundled forward, I glanced out of the window and ‘viola, une cheveau!’ Whoops, not in France yet, and there it was, a horse in the hill. Challenge accepted!
I soon learnt that mobile phone cameras are not ideal for taking pictures when travelling at 130km per hour on French motorways, I missed two tourist signs with images of horses simply because the shutter speed was so slow and even when I had time in hand, for example when I spotted a life size sculpture of a jumping white horse and jockey on a bridge up ahead the result wasn’t brilliant!
Today has been more successful, I’ve found and photographed one live horse, two statues and whilst wondering through Carrefare supermarche, not one, not two or even three, but four different Playmobil horse sets; something every pony mad little girl must surely have on her Wish List this Christmas.
I love photography challenges such as this, for me they help focus the mind (no pun intended) and make me open my eyes to seek out and appreciate my surroundings, and, it’s fun! Less than 24 hours in to the trip and I’ve even got my non-horsey husband pointing out and finding photo opportunities too. Whilst channel surfing on French TV last night he came across the most fascinating documentary on Mongolian horse herders, their nomadic lifestyle, and their customs and traditions. Of course we couldn’t understand a word of it but we got the gist and I highly recommend looking up Mongolian horse herders on YouTube, which I’ll be doing when I get home.
I graciously gave up the use of the car the following day, so my quest for horse related matter has been obtained entirely on foot. I set out from our hotel, explored the grounds and then further afield down the surrounding lanes. 6,673 steps later I returned with my stash for the day.
I’d almost given up on finding anything horsey at our hotel, but hubby, who’d suggested a game of chess after dinner on the last night, was naming all the pieces to me and of course the rook piece is a horse!
The return journey home provided me with several more opportunities, including the white horse and jockey sculpture on the motorway bridge – the one I missed on arrival; a framed picture of Ascot on the wall into the ladies toilets at the Eurotunnel Duty Free terminal and the magazines were in WH Smiths.
Such fun and incredibly addictive!
Stay tuned – an actual introduction and more about Christine’s photography coming up soon 🙂