Crooked Cloud Steeple Chase

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Crooked Steeple, Plougrescant, France

Crooked Steeple, Plougrescant, France

It took days for the weather to cooperate, but only minutes for this perfect cloud to drift behind an infamous, crooked, lead steeple.

Every small stone village we visited in northern Brittany (France) was formed around its ancient cathedral. The dull gray, brown, or pink stone buildings were accented with brightly painted shutters and flower baskets. The dominant local stone is a pink granite. This area is part of the Côte de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast).

I had read about this chapel in Plougrescant. The Plougrescant peninsula has several small villages and a long, windswept, rocky shoreline. There are still strong Breton cultural influences tracing a connection to Celtic cultures across the English Channel. I wanted to photograph this steeple but every time we drove through this village on our way to the coast it was overcast.

Finally we had a partly cloudy day. When I walked up to the chapel I got interested in a stone archway and alcove that were filled with swirling leaves. At the end of the alcove there was a very old, massive carved wooden door. The light varied dramatically as the clouds passed over. I took my time and took several hundred photos of the archway. I thought I would have plenty of time to also photograph the steeple. I was trying to show the leaves swirling inside the alcove, but I kept missing them or the light was not right.

The time came to work on the steeple. I was concerned that my wife was getting tired of this location and was ready to continue on to the coast. As I walked around the corner of the chapel the sun emerged and shone strongly on the stone walls. I made some camera adjustments and looked up to see an odd pointy cloud passing over the chapel. I quickly composed a photograph and started shooting. The cloud passed directly over the steeple and the cloud points aligned with the steeple. I got lucky with this photo as it only took about five minutes to get a shot that I liked. Then I went back to the archway and tried to get those swirling leaves floating in sunlight again. I was not very successful with that idea, however.

This lead steeple is menacingly medieval. Each of the points sticking out from the middle section end with a fierce gargoyle head.

The people of the rugged Brittany coast are not as rough as the landscape. We had a great time wandering the narrow lanes between the farm fields and walking the rocky beaches. We were treated warmly. This is a quiet and rural part of France. Photo: 1/640 s at f/22




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