Reader Stories: Summer on the beach, through the eyes of René

by Guest Contributor

posted Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 7:12 AM EST


By IR reader René Theuillon

Nothing is more commonplace than showing pictures of a beach in summer. I am perfectly aware of that matter of fact, and I feel a little bit guilty doing so. Nevertheless, when I consider the crowd on the beach next to my place this year, I am forced to ask myself the reasons for the throngs of tanning bodies and the mad rush of tourists.

Yes, it's true, the peninsula of Crozon (western France) is a wonderful resort, with beaches, rocky cliffs, secret coves, small harbors, and, of course, great restaurants! But all the gifts of Providence are not enough to explain the number of people present on the sand here this summer. Well, considering that this beach was quiet and deserted last winter when I photographed the tellin fishermen, and that it was not so crowded last springtime when I shot the colorful kite surfers, I am not far to think that IR publishing power has something to do with this diabolical phenomenon:

At least one half of the continent of Europe was present here!

The summer masses descending on my little slice of home

Let's dive a little deeper into this perplexing mystery.

First, you could find the English, who, after the Brexit Vote*, were facing a severe identity crisis...

A repeat of The British Invasion?

And next, you might notice the Germans, well organized and all tanning in perfect order...

The Germans do tend to like their order

And, of course, you had the feisty, frolicking French…

The Natives

All of these throngs of people were playing different games and providing wonderful opportunities for me to make pictures. I like to shoot the movement of these tiny figures, as they recall to me the old Dutch paintings where the artist reproduced on a single canvas many different little stories and vignettes.

Indeed, the photographer can just reproduce what he is seeing, one scene at a time, at least if he is lucky or very skillfull. That’s the reason I would like to show you now a more static topic, in fact the smartest and the most graceful beach activity of them all...

...Summer reading!

The Reader

And so we conclude this beach tale as the summer fades quietly into fall. Perhaps now I can have my little beach back.

Additional technical notes

I used a FUJI XE1 camera, fitted with a FUJINON XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS lens. I chose to operate at 400 ISO with the VELVIA film simulation, and the settings were about 1/1000s -1/1500s at f/8. I have appreciated the accuracy of the exposure metering when shooting, in full sun, on such bright subjects.

*Brexit Vote: hotly-debated political act (referendum held June 23, 2016) by which the UK people decided to leave the European Union.

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Once again a special IR "Thanks!" to René for his decidedly witty and unique look at his little corner of the world through tales and images. Please keep them coming our way, René!

See more Reader Stories by René Theuillon

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Canon 7D with EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II
(25 seconds / f/2.8 / 16mm / ISO 250 / manual exposure)