After months of sitting at home and many cancelled travels I managed to go to Normandy for a couple of days and do a little road trip. The plan was to stay at Rouen and then travel from there to several other cities and locations. We hadn’t done much research so I didn’t really know what to expect. I did like the idea of finally testing the 35mm as a lens for travel photography. It may not have been Tokyo or Ho Chi Minh, but it was something.
I brought all my gear, but I ended up only using that lens on my X-T2.
The first day was mainly spent in the car driving to Rouen. The city itself was pretty, but there wasn’t much to photograph. We spent most of the time there going from bars to restaurants and back…
The second day we went to Bayeux, Omaha beach and Mont Saint-Michel. Bayeux is a pretty village where the famous Bayeux tapestry is located. Unfortunately the museum is closed between noon and two p.m. So yeah, no tapestry for this history teacher… And no matter how pretty, this town wasn’t very photogenic either.
On to Omaha beach. I didn’t want to spend any time in museums, but I expected that there would be something at this beach that would be interesting. Wrong once more. The beach was packed with people and felt like any other beach. So again, no photos. After about an hour we drove to Mont Saint-Michel.
From the first moment I knew this would be something. The setting, the way the buildings were stacked on top of each other. It felt like I entered The Lord of the Rings. This was definitely on of the highlights of the trip for me. The sunset when we left made it even better. I could finally take some decent photos of my wife and the city. I also tried really hard to make an image with a hotel sign that said ‘Vue sur le Mont Saint-Michel’ (view on the MSM), but I couldn’t get it framed properly.
The next day we visited several towns along the coast. I didn’t take much photos and mainly enjoyed the good weather, but in the evening we went to Etretat and I immediately knew this would be cool. The beach is flanked on both sides by cliffs. We went up on one side to wait for the sunset and boy, it didn’t disappoint! I finally did some landscape photography and also managed to snap a couple of images with my wife. The 35mm lens really showed why it’s such a good lens. The images came out tack sharp, the depth of field is amazing and the lens is just so small and low profile.
I also found the perfect combination for sunset photos like this. White balance on shadows and film simulation on Astia. The pictures almost don’t need any editing afterwards. I tried two different edits in Lightroom. One based on film and one more harsh edit, but the first one was more accurate to how it was and to how I experienced it.
On the way back home I only took one half decent photo. We wanted to stop at Cap Griz-Nez and Blanc-Nez to walk along the white cliffs and wait for the sunset. Unfortunately it was crazy busy and we decided to drive home instead.
I’m not entirely satisfied with the photo results of this trip, but it motivates me to do more of these smaller trips for as long as we’re not allowed to travel further due to Covid.
List of gear I use for travel photography.
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