Simplest Pleasures

Some of the simplest things in life seem to bring such enormous pleasure.  Yesterday, having dropped my mother off at the airport after her brief stay, I took a different route home.  Wandering back cross-country, through areas that I had barely seen before, I was taken in by this setting of serenity.

Back Roads

Winding through the Languedoc countryside, approaching the Minervois hills just west of Carcassonne, this peaceful, isolated area offered small, single-track roads, hardly any habitation and, as one grows to expect in this area, miles and miles of vineyards.

Sheltering from the Sun

Each wine growing region has its own variety of shelters built by the vine workers; sometimes hollowed out of piles of stone, sometimes nooks carved into a rock face.  In this region you find small houses like this one in various shapes and sizes, dotted randomly across the countryside.

This one caught my eye as it stood by a ploughed field separating it from its surroundings – the foothills of the Black Mountains providing a spectacular backdrop.

Setting up

This was a precarious shot.  With my tripod spanning a deep ditch on the edge of the single track road, the occasional passing car made only the minimum effort to slow down.  Hurtling past me within inches, I glimpsed curious faces pressed against the window and not much evidence of looking where they were going!

As you can see, I lived to tell the tale ….

A 3 frame HDR, -2,0+2EV processed in Photomatix 4 and Photoshop layers, with some dodging and burning.

More images from my French Villages Collections