one year ago; walking the Via la Plata

Shadows on the road; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015
Shadows on the road; copyright jmeyersforeman 2015 

One year ago we were walking the Via la Plata. the long dust road from Seville to Santiago de Compostela. I am having a lot of fun sorting, processing and remembering our time in Spain!

Full disclosure, we made it to Santiago de Compostela, by train! after walking for three weeks we decided it would be more fun to see Spain by train….

Shadows and Sun-flare; Monochrome Madness

shadow and sun-flare; copyright jmeyersforeman
shadow and sun-flare; copyright jmeyersforeman 

Last week we visited Bath England, early that morning we were out wandering the streets, only a few people were on the street headed to work, so the streets were quiet. Early morning can be a great time to wander the streets with a camera, while the contrast between the light and the shadows can be strong and ruin many travel photos, interesting details and shadows can be found.

The bike culture in big in Bath, with plenty of bike rentals available for both tourist and residents to use, bike lanes make it easy to bike around the city. It isn’t unusual to see them locked up to every railing and lamp-post in the city, but it is unusual to find one bike alone, the shadow so clear, and so beautifully framed. In fact 10 minutes later I was back down the street and the bike was gone! It was a great day, even if we were still looking for a cup of coffee!

I have submitted this to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness blog post. Once a week photographers from around the globe submit their favourite black and white image and Leanne Cole curates the images into a single blog post. There is so many great images I recommend you head over and check out the work.

Paris France, Oct 24, 2012

the eiffel tower and the carousel_Paris France

We have been in Paris for 5 days now, and I think that each day we have walked almost as far as we did while on the camino in Spain.  There is so much to see in the city.  Yesterday while we walked out to the Eiffel tower it was nice and warm, foggy when we got to the top, but a lovely day. The forecast was for good weather all week, but this morning as we headed out to Notre Dame Cathedral it was cool and cloudy, and remain so most of the day.

Notre Dame_Paris France
Notre Dame_Paris France_Angel and Shadow
Notre Dame Cathedral_Paris France

After Notre Dame we wandered through the Latin Quarter all the way over to the Musee d’Orsay, the back to the apartment for a rest. With everyone here with us it is busy with walking, visiting, eating and drinking, no time for processing photos or posting on the blog!

Bill and I are off on another adventure, One like no other we have had before……..

shadow of jet taking off from airport
Leaving on a jet plane, heading for another adventure

We are going to St.  Jean Pied de Port in the south of France to begin The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known in English as The Way of St James. A walk of approximately 800 Kilometers, there are some various in the route, so the actual distance varies.

For the modern pilgrim or traveller the camino seems to start at one of the many pilgrimage offices along the route, and while many routes have been regaining popularity the “French Way” beginning at St. Jean Pied de Port is the most famous and most popular. there is plenty of written material, guides, maps, and stories available to acquaint yourself of the route.

In medieval times a camino or pilgrimage began the moment a person left home, often there was a formal send off from the town square. Our journey also began at home, many months before we left home. Once the decision was made to walk the camino de Santiago de Compostella,  we had to decide on the route. Books, blogs, and internet discussion forums were read, information gathered. We decided that since this was our first camino we would take the road most travelled, the French route from St. Jean Pied de Port. through the Pyrenees, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon.

We researched and purchased backpacks, walking shoes, sleeping backs, and rain gear. We read about packing lists, training guidelines, and bedbugs. We reviewed flickr and goggle images to see the places we would travel through. We read about the legends, architecture and the weather. There was so much to learn. Bill and I are planners, learning everything we can before we go.

We set up a training schedule, one that is necessary for getting use to the weight of the backpack and breaking in our new boots. Unfortunately life gets in the way, our training did not go as planned and we did not get the training we had hoped for. That does not deter us, we are heading out anyway!

As a photographer I couldn’t image taking this trip without my camera, a couple of lenses and of course a tripod. I needed to find out if I could process and blog as we travelled, or purchase enough storage to keep all the images until I got home. I decide to carry a small laptop and portable hard drive so I could at least store my images, and if possible continue with my blogging when time, energy and internet would allow. With that decision we added to the packing list; battery charges, cords, and power transformers.

We had read that our pack should not be anymore than 10% of our body weight to be comfortable and safe over a long distance, we kept checking the weight of our pack. We are close, maybe a little heavier than they should be, but close.

We need travel arrangements from Calgary to St. Jean Pied de Port, and then home again. A flight from Calgary to Toronto, Toronto to Paris, train to Biarritz France where we will overnight. The a train to St Jean Pied de Port, where we will start the walk.

We leave home today. The time for training is over, and while the backpack feels good, and the shoes are broken in. We are looking forward to the adventure. I am sure there will be days that will be harder than we expected, I am also sure there will lots of wonderful moments, beautiful towns and interesting people along the way. I am sure there will be great stories to share, we will try to blog as we go and we hope you will join us as we travel.

Below is a list of some great sites for information, maps and guides:

Fredau, Poetry and Dancing.

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.                         Carl Sandburg

When working with Fredau we wanted to create some great shadow images, she was wonderful and exagerating her movement, her shadow was like another model on set.  It was a great excercise to experiment with light, movement and  personality.

images of from our workshop: Fredau