Friday, 5 September 2014

A juicy peach of a place

After our elegant pit stop we hit the meandering roads en route to the peach farm. I am not entirely sure I knew what to expect…except for perhaps peaches. But it actually transpired that the harvest had been early this year and peaches were now in surprisingly short supply, certainly on the trees. No branches heavy with perfumed fruit, though we did find some apples and luscious grapes whilst exploring the fields and orchards. Luckily they had held back a stash of their velvety peaches as they were certainly the finest peaches I have ever tasted. And they make rather nice subject for a photograph or two too!

Our tutor has family connections on the peach farm and they certainly rolled out the red carpet for us. They were so hospitable and invited us to stay for supper. I had been introducing the joys of miniature photography with Marcel the balloon seller to their lovely son, who was most keen to practise both English and photography. I didn’t have another Marcel to hand, but luckily I had my emergency back-up penguin (naturally) and could donate that to the cause of macro photography. Perhaps a rare occurrence of a penguin going to live on a farm!


After we had admired their photobooks, created from photos of a recent exotic holiday, it was time to take some more of our own. We checked out their impressive vintage tractor collection and fired off some shots of the fruit pickers at work. Then we went investigating the furthermost orchards, hoping for some late fruit, but the nectarines we found weren’t so photogenic. Undeterred we soon started to explore the joys of a dandelion clock, a gold/silver coloured framed sun-bounce reflector and the dying rays of sun.


Firstly we thought we’d experiment with the different effects achieved by flipping the reflector whilst ‘plamping’ the dandelion clock to have the sky in the background. But then we were struck by a desire to destroy every single dandelion seed head in the entire orchard by attempting to capture an action shot of the individual seeds parachuting away after blowing on the said dandelion clock. I cannot recall how many times we attempted to capture this effect in a single shot, in the end I had to resort to burst shooting and stacking multiple exposures in post-processing. Beyond frustrating! But on the bright sight, they won’t be troubled with dandelions for the rest of this year and possibly the next.

After our weed eradication we returned to the farm for the planned supper and join their other guests who had popped by. It transpired to be such an unexpectedly special and unforgettable evening. Only one of our group spoke French, but even without English we could somehow generally follow what was going on. We enjoyed fabulous cured meats courtesy of the twinkly eyes pig farmer (who, I suspect had better English that he let on!), lots of other delicious food and of course finished off with more of those astonishing peaches. What lovely people and a sublime, convivial evening. It was very hard to tear ourselves away to return to our rooms in Curnier for one final time. Tomorrow we have to leave all this and head home.


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