Pete and Jill want to keep this Blog to painting and photography holiday subjects; therefore, to cater for his three hundred photography friends (well the ‘three’ part of that is more or less accurate anyway) Pete has created a new Blog over on his own photography website.
You can see it here http://peter-evans-photographer.com/blog
“Learning mentally challenging skills, such as digital photography, helps improve memory”
Yes, apparently it’s true! Crossword puzzles, sudoku, and listening to classical music won’t keep your mind as sharp as you once thought. Instead you should take up photography.
That’s according to researchers at the The University of Texas in Dallas who found that people who only participated in passive activities such as playing games or listening to music got little memory benefit. However, learning photography showed significant gains in memory.
More than 200 people who were over 60-years-old were split into various testing groups and asked to commit at least 15 hours per week to the activities. One group learned photography with digital cameras and imaging software, a task requiring remembering verbal instruction and complex reasoning. A second group learned quilting with computer controlled sewing machines, requiring abstract thinking to create patterns. Participants in other groups performed passive tasks such as playing games, telling stories, or going to museums.
“Only the quilting and photography groups, who were confronted with continuous and prolonged mental challenge, improved their memory abilities,” lead researcher Dr. Denise Park said.
We’re sure it applies to painting too !!
Last year we had a fantastic sunset on the very last night of our season. This year we hoped for the same but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. It happened the very next night as we were on our way to dine with friends!
Yes, really! This is the scene that met our eyes as we crested the ridge between Le Mas d’Agenais and Casteljaloux. (A huge storm followed)
Thanks to everyone who came to stay with us this year; we look forward to seeing both new and familiar faces next year.
As for us, we’re off to Italy tomorrow for three weeks, just to see what it’s like to be on holiday
For those of you familiar with our beautiful local river, La Garonne, we thought you might like to see what it looks like when it’s angry!
This is the result of the very heavy rains that fell here and south of us, in the Pyrenees, at the end of May,.
Unfortunately a guest who was due to join us on June 15th for a week’s advanced photography has suffered a broken leg and has had to cancel her trip. So, if anyone can make it at such short notice, there’s a place available for you!
Time lapse photography is the name given to the technique of taking a series of still photographs at pre-determined intervals and then displaying them in quick succession in a short movie sequence. It’s very interesting to do and anyone who has a tripod and a camera fitted with an intervalometer can do it. However, it often gets a bit clichéd – clouds scudding across the sky, plants opening from bud to full flower in the space of a couple of seconds, buildings under construction, and so on – but yesterday we came across this example, using photos taken by Dr. Don Pettit during his time spent on the International Space Station, which we found both awe-inspiring, beautiful and totally fascinating.
So when you have a spare 15 minutes, we recommend that you go and get a drink, then sit back and watch this video. And when you do, you’ll see that it’s not just of interest to photographers, it’s for everyone who appreciates incredible images and the beauty of the planet we live on.
Incidentally, if you pause the video around the 14:04 / 14:05 time mark, you can see Bordeaux, Toulouse, Paris and London all in the same frame as the ISS passes right over us at night. If we’d known what was going on, we’d have gone outside and switched on all our security lights
To watch the video full-screen (recommended), click the ‘Play’ arrow, then click on the four-pronged symbol between ‘HD’ and ‘Vimeo’
Some of you who’ve been to holiday with us may recall our tales of the migrating cranes that pass over us twice each year – in November, flying southwest to Spain, and again in February, returning northeast to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia and Russia.
Well, late this afternoon, we were cycling home after an outing with Holly when, just a hundred metres from the house, we heard a familiar sound coming from high above us. Looking up, this is the sight that met our gaze. Including a further flight following behind this one, we guessed there must have been well over a thousand birds in total. They fly very high and very fast.
It’s interesting because the French for ‘the crane’ is ‘la grue’ and we often wonder if the name of our village ‘Lagruere’ has anything to do with these birds. They do put down around 60 kms south of us on both journeys to beef themselves up for several weeks before and after their high altitude flight over the Pyrenees. Maybe back in the 12thC when the village was founded, they were using this area as a stopover? We must do some proper research!
For the photographers reading this, the image was taken with a Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini smartphone – proving the adage that the best camera is the one you have with you
Several years ago, we went with some friends to see them at the end of their February stay in France. This next image was captured in late February, late in the afternoon (not with a mobile phone!) :
Updated 26th February – this week is now fully booked once more:
A regular guest has unfortunately had to give up his place on the 21st September Advanced Course.
We therefore now have one room available for that week. So if there is a photographer out there (with or without a painting partner) who got left out in the rush when we first announced the week, now is your chance!
Bill, we’re really sorry you’ve had to pull out; the season just won’t be the same without you, old friend. We know we speak on behalf of everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting you in the ‘PPF family’ - including Nathan and Marie, your photogenic young friends in Bordeaux – when we pass on to you our very best wishes for a full recovery.
Pete & Jill
Just a few weeks after being listed, the Advanced Photography Week we organised for 21st September became fully booked. So now we have added a second, similar week starting June 15th and, believe it or not, that too is already almost fully booked. So, if there’s a photographer out there who wants to join us as a single occupancy, or with a painting partner*, or even with a non-participating partner*, you’d better get your booking in quickly as we have just one room left available! Full details here
Meow everyone, Lottie here – you know, that little cat that runs away every time you try to stroke her? The one that sits up on the first floor window sills and watches your comings and goings? Anyway, those of you who follow this page may recall that, in August, the big black, attention-seeking canine that lives with us here (unfortunately) was given the chance to post a message to you with her ‘Holly Blog’. Well, now it’s my turn!
For some reason, towards the end of every year, Pete & Jill put up this big tree in the lounge for me to climb around in. Not only that, but they hang really interesting shiny things from it so that I can have a go at batting them around like a boxer’s punch-ball (sometimes even knocking them off the tree, which is great!). Oh, and they always put this ‘Handy Bendy Santa’ right up on the very top of it; for eight years I’ve tried to knock the stupid thing off its perch and this week I finally managed it!
So anyway, there I was up in the tree having a nice relaxing time when Pete & Jill asked me to pose for this Christmas greetings photo. I didn’t have much choice really, before I could even sign a model release and negotiate extra cat biscuits – Flash Bang Wallop! – it was all over and done!
OK, to be honest this is proving to be really difficult; it’s taken me ages to get this far – my claws keep getting stuck between the keys – so I’m going to hand over to Pete & Jill neow
Thanks Lottie, great job and nice pose! Well for our part, we just want to say that we both look back with fond memories of previous guests and of great times spent story-telling, joking, eating, drinking, swimming, relaxing and, of course, doing lots and lots of painting and photography in between! We’re now looking forward very much to next season when we will have the pleasure of meeting some of you again and, of course, when we will have the opportunity to meet more new guests too. So, thank you all again for your interest in us and our little operation here in south-west France and, whether you’re reading this in a sunny Australia, Africa or South America or in a wintery Europe, USA or Canada….
Don't forget to leave us a comment!
Pete & Jill