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At The End Of The Tunnel

Thanks for all your input and votes. Europe won! I did process an image of Central America I have been meaning to get to, and I will be posting in a couple weeks. I have quite a bit planned between now and then. On to today’s image!

The circumstances of this photo can only lead to a single conclusion. Before I get to what I concluded, let me tell you the circumstances of the photo. On a drive from Lamongie to Bordeaux to watch the finish of stage 18 of the 2010 Tour de France, my dad (‘pops’) and I decided to take the back roads. It was going to add a couple hours to our drive, but how many times do you get to drive through the wine country of France. On our way, I noticed the steeple of a church off in the distance. I felt compelled to visit. So much so, we actually turned around to go. The town was deserted. When we found the church this image was made at, the door was wide open. Inside the church no one was to be found. Out of respect we took our caps off and began to explore the sanctuary. It was a beautiful church, one that had been around for centuries. I was going to make an image of the emptiness of the sanctuary, however my dad suggested I shoot the image from the mezzanine. I had no idea my father was a church architect. Anyway, as I made my way up to the mezzanine I found the mysterious stairs you see here. I knew this was the image I came to make. Months later, after processing this image, I came to one conclusion. That’s not lens flare!

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

The Final Days Of The Tour

This year’s Tour is almost over and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself. I think my wife might be a tad bit excited to see it end. She likes the fact that I’m not a traditional sports guy. It frees up our Sundays since we don’t have to plan around the NFL. However, in July, its like I’m throwing a Super Bowl party for the entire month.

Starting Thursday July, 21st, The Tour will be won or lost in the high French Alps. If you haven’t watched it yet, make sure watch Thursday and Friday’s stages. You won’t want to miss what will be an epic battle unfolding against the backdrop of the Col du Galibier. Here is a quick TV schedule for the reader’s here in the states.

Andy…Andy…Andy!

Also, if you don’t know who to root for, root for Andy Schleck! He and is brother Frank will need all the help they can get to stave off the Attacks of Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador. Here is an image I made at last year’s TDF durning the final time trial in Bordeaux. Because of some bad luck, he lost to Alberto Contador. This year, with a little bit of luck, victory will be his!

Andy

Andy11

Chasing The Tour

If you missed it last year, or you are one of our new readers here at LightAsMagic.com, here is the movie I put together while chasing these riders around the French countryside in 2010.

The Tour de France: Stage 12

Col Du Tourmalet

As you know the Tour de France is well underway. However, the first big day in the mountains has yet to come. It will come to the riders this Thursday in the form of the Col du Tourmalet. Yep, that is the monster of a mountain pictured here. They will actually be ascending the Tourmalet from the other side, descending down this side, then finishing on the climb to the ski resort of Luz Ardiden. You can find the full stage profile here. Just to put things in perspective, this mountain is close to 19km of climbing, averaging 7.4 percent grade. I would probably put myself in the top 3% of the world’s population in terms of cycling fitness (by no means am I bragging, there just aren’t a lot of cyclists compared to the population of the world). If I were to give it my best shot, I might be able to ride this climb in about 1hr 45min (ish)? That is based on my run at it last year, but I did stop at the sports bar 2/3 of the way to watch the tour’s finish on the TV with a bunch of European friends. I spoke with the brother of one of top riders in this year’s tour, and he told me that in training, Andy Schleck was putting in sub 1 hour climbs up it. That is the difference between the rest of the world and the men who ride the tour.

There is a good chance I will be tweeting live from my living room during this stage, and possibly providing some TV capture/commentary on instagr.am so if you are interested following me on Twitter this Thursday morning.

Photographic Note: This image is actually a composite of 4 images I shot with my old Canon G11. All I did was turn on the ‘panoramic assist mode’, shot my images, then let Photoshop auto assemble them. I was surprised how good it turned out. My hands were by no means steady, I had just ascended the Col after riding Luz Ardiden and I was shelled. I now have a 7ft long print of this hanging in my living room to remind me of the beating my legs took that day.

The Lonely French Church

French Church HDR

This was the first image I made during a trip to France last year. Possibly one of my favorites. We were rushing to meet up with our group, but that didn’t stop us from making a couple images along the way. When you pass a scene like this, it’s impossible to pass it up. Always better to stop, then crash your car ‘gocking’. This little church sat on the hillside of small French town at the base of the Pyrenees. Behind those clouds is one of the great climbs of the Tour de France, the Col du Tourmalet.

Free iPad Wallpapers: I will be offering this image, along with 2 other images as free iPad Wallpapers to our monthly ‘Good Newsletter’ email subscribers. The email newsletter is totally free, and easy to sign up for. Just fill out the form below. If you can’t see the newsletter sign up form, click here.

Tip: There is actually a small parking lot in front of this church, and at the time, there were a couple tourists parked there. I can’t blame them. However, the small Fiat kind of ruined the image for me. To solve this problem, I got down real low on the hillside below the church, and shot up at it.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

When I dream, I often dream in Pyrenean

Pyrenean Moon

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I sure did! I had a couple nice long inspirational bike rides through the foothills of Colorado. I do my best thinking out on the bike. I call it endorphin induced creativity. I have been doing a lot of that lately. I get on the bike, load my favorite playlist, hit the first hard effort and just let the emotions, dreams, and ideas wash over me. Once they are all in order, I hope to share them with you. They are just too fragile and ephemeral right now to share.

Here in today’s photo, we are watching the moon as it rises over the Pyrenees in a little town called La Mongie. In the winter it is a renowned French ski town. In the summer it occasionally hosts stages of the Tour de France. Lance Armstrong won an decisive stage here in 2002. The town also boasts the incredible observatory, Pic du Midi. As much as it pains me to say it, due to poor weather conditions, I missed the opportunity to visit the summit. I find comfort in the fact that I will return again someday. It is such a beautiful place to ride your bike, I have to return. My favorite road in the world, D26, traverses the base of these mountains. More about that on a later date. You will find some footage of La Mongie in my most recent movie ‘Chasing The Tour’.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…