New Name

I couldn’t resist. I changed the name of the blog. I couldn’t stand the old one any more. Good thing I don’t have to think about branding.

French Country was only ever a placeholder name, trite, but all I could think of on the fly. When I started this I was not really thinking much at all, even less than now.

So here I am, in a country that, to be honest, I feel wildly ambivalent about. Some days it’s the best. Others I wonder what I was thinking. Oh yeah, I wasn’t thinking. So depending on the day, I could feel better about the new title or the new tag line, either one. For now, I think I’ll go with the idea that once you decide on something, you just go with it. Well, until you can’t stand it any more.

Roger’s Photo Workshop

A couple of weeks ago I went to a weekend photo workshop offered by my Vendee buddy Roger Stowell. You’ll find him on Instagram at roger.stowell.35. That’s Roger in the photo above and Roger in action — lots of action, so sorry for the blur — below.

We — I forget whether there were 5 or 7 of us, though clearly he likes to keep the groups small — had a great time. As you can guess from Roger and pomegranate, above, we spent some time on still lifes.

We took a walk through Fontenay on market day. They have finished some upgrades to the city center, so life is returning to the place. The photo below was taken from a new pedestrian bridge crossing the river.

We spent a lot of time on Photoshop, which I have yet to manage beyond the most cursory edits — most of what you see here was edited either by Roger on Photoshop or by me using Lightroom. However I now have a little-student-sized tablet, which is fine for photos, and I found Photoshop 6, the last version that you can use without a subscription, at Software Deal, which I highly recommend, for just under $100. On my iPad I use Darkroom, which is pretty cheap, but for photo editing on a computer, $100, once and done, no upgrades, that’s a steal. Roger made a good case for wading into this complicated program and gave us a starter kit of easy edits. I’m picking up more tips on YouTube. I think learning the program will be a good next step for me.

Anyway, we rounded things out with a stroll through Vouvant, an absolutely charming little village.

My little cat portrait above illustrates a Photoshop tip that I am sorry I did not implement. I edited on a medium gray background, the default, instead of switching to a white one. The deal is, with a darker background your eye can be fooled into thinking that the photo is lighter than it is. Oops. I guess the expert was right. If you ever see that cat again, he will be properly exposed.

Anyway, Roger offers a class every so often, maybe once a year. Everyone, including the non-photographer spouses, had a great time. The vibe was much more relaxed than the other “aspiring pro” type classes that I have taken. If you are looking for a reason to visit the Vendee or just a good reason to pick up your camera again — iPhones welcome! — keep an eye out for Roger’s classes.