Photographer or Thief?

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Dawn at Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Dawn at Villefranche-sur-Mer, France

Sometimes you can look very suspicious without realizing it.

We were spending a few days in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France in a simple motel on the Mediterranean. My habit when I am working on photographs is to get up well before dawn and travel to the setting I have chosen. In this case I wanted to photograph dawn and the sun shining on Villefranche-sur-Mer. It is a colorful and beautiful old seaside town.

As I went through the motel lobby I woke the attendant who was sleeping on the sofa. He was a little startled, but wished me a pleasant morning. I drove south to Cap Ferrat and took a shoreline road that provided a view to the north looking directly across the bay at Villefranche. Cap Ferrat is one of the exclusive areas along the Côte d’Azur. Walled mansions with dramatic views of the ocean were all along the road.

I set up by a little neighborhood beach and waited for the dawn. But as luck would have it, it was cloudy and the sun did not appear. I worked for a couple hours as the sky brightened. The village lights and the boats in the harbor made interesting reflections across the bay. I like the colors in this photograph, especially the blues. The line of lights across the hill behind the village marks an old ‘Corniche’ roadway originally built during Roman dominance. You can also see the stairs down to the water from an ancient seaside villa. This is the kind of wealthy neighborhood I had parked in.

I packed up and returned to the motel. By that time there were two attendants at the front desk. As I came in they looked at me very sternly and had lost their normal cordiality. It was only later that I guessed what they were thinking. I had on black pants; my fleece jacket was black; my camera pack was black, my tripod bag was black, and it was just barely light outside.

There I was all in black carrying suspicous equipment returning from the ritzy Cap Ferrat neighborhood at dawn. But the only things that I had taken were photographs.  Photo:  2.5 s at f/2.8

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