Selective use of color in an otherwise black and white shot is cliche -- but it is still useful because color provides a powerful spotlight on what the photographer wants to highlight.
Here are a couple of examples, one taken at Lassen National Park (Nikon D200, 18-200 vr at 18mm, f/8) and another in downtown Santa Cruz in front of a favorite burrito shop (Nikon D300, 30/1.4, f/5.6). I like their tubular tacos. Both shots were processed with Capture NX and Silver Efex using the latter's control points to selectively reveal the color of the original.
We decided to leave Algajola a day early, to get in some hiking in the Porto - Piana area. So we got back in the Citreon and retraced our path from a couple days earlier. Our goal was Serriera, a village about 10 minutes outside of Porto. After a while we arrived. On checking into our simple but roomy hotel we learned from the friendly proprietor that the road to Porto was closing in half an hour! Turns out the road was being used by the Tour de Corse. It would reopen at 19:00, she said. Since she spoke no English and we know little French the conversation took place courtesy of google translate which we used by taking turns typing into a computer. This worked quite well actually. p>
Of course we'd no idea what the Tour is, a bicycle race? A foot race? A car race? Turns out, well, more on that later.
We jumped back into the car and headed south to get past Porto and then onto the trailhead. The road either side of Porto, a road we'd driven days earlier, is both painfully beautiful and white-knuckle scary: it's carved into the side of a wall of granite and in places it is barely one car wide.
Within five minutes we were stuck in a traffic jam. Cars, trucks, buses, and motorbikes took turns squeezing past each other on this ridiculously narrow road, with granite hanging over us and a sheer drop to the sea below. On the bright side it was great for picture taking: while Paul sat in the Citroen's driver's seat I walked around and shot photos.
Eventually we made it to Porto where we discovered the Historical Tour de Corse is a car race. So that mystery was cleared. It also explained the cars we'd seen earlier, all decked out in numbers and stickers.
The hike was great: it overlooks the Calanche de Piana with its pink granite forest broken by views of the turquoise Mediterranean. Much of the hike follows an old stone path, what was likely an old road connecting villages.
Corsica looks to be a hikers dream as the mountainous island is covered with trails. We see many people decked out in full hiking gear. The Corsican trails are well marked plus every one I've looked for I've found in OpenStreetMaps using the CityMaps2Go app.
After the hike we headed to Piana for lunch then followed that up with another hike. We had to kill time till the road re-opened. We hiked about half of the Capu Rossu trail, which heads west out to a promontory with, again, great views of pink granite mountains, scrubby green forests, and that crystal clear Mediterranean sea.
Soon we were back in Porto where we hung out with the Tour racers and waited for the road to reopen, which it did promptly at 19:00. The drive back involved another traffic jam as cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, and Tour support vehicles squeezed by each other to get to their destinations. At this point we thought we were through with the boy racers. We weren't, though.
It was a long day with a lot of beautiful scenery topped with a taste of an old Steve McQueen movie. We were glad to get back to our charming hotel, drink a beer, and call it a night.
We left Serriera for Zonza (pronounced 'tzonz') to do some hiking around the Col de Bavella, which is in the south center of the island. So another day on the road. Fortunately in Corsica the road doesn't mean boring superhighway, it means a two-laner, hugging a mountainside, and squeezing through tiny villages where the buildings are so close you can almost reach out and touch them. The flip side to this lack of superhighways is that what appears to be a short distance on a map will actually take a long while.
Driving in Corsica also involves frequent encounters with wildlife: cows, pigs, donkeys, big-horn sheep, we've shared the road with all of these creatures. My favorites to date have been the herds of big-horn sheep and the donkey that was chasing a cat.
And if you're driving in Corsica this week you're also sharing the road with participants in the Tour de Corse. Zonza, it turns out, is another checkpoint in the road race, so while we travelled today we were constantly being passed by speeding Porsches and Alfas and all manner of other vehicles, each covered in stickers and manned by a suited-up driver and navigator. A bit boy racer, a bit dangerous, but it feels oh so European.
Today we drove to a nearby mountain pass, hiked out to an odd rock formation, then ate a delicious lunch on a patio overlooking mountains, the Mediterranean, and the island of Elba.
About 15 minutes from Zonza is the Col de Bavella, a 1,218 m pass that offers great views of the Aiguilles (needles) de Bavella. The Aiguilles are rocky spikes of red granite. The col also offers several trailheads (the GR20 passes through) as well as accommodations and restaurants. The hike to our destination, the Trou de la Bombe, starts at the Col. It is an easy hike out to an interesting hole in a rock face.
We returned to our hotel in Zonza just in time for me to catch the last few cars in the Tour de Corse.
By the time we got back to Zonza most of the cars in today's leg of the Tour de Corse had passed. Still, I walked from our apartment to the center of town (this took about 1 minute) where there were no spectators just a few support vehicles – largely Porshe SUVs – as well as drivers and support staff. I crossed the street and then sat on a wall where I hoped to capture a few of the laggards slower cars as they came into town.
Unlike the Porto leg this leg doesn’t feature a closed highway. So the racers share the roads with the public.
Today, in anticipation of sunnier weather, I swapped the winter wheels off the Mini for summer wheels. Mind you, I'd be happy to run the winters all year. This is Canada after all. But I figure that since I own the summer set might as well spread out the wear. And the summers look better.
Brian gave me a ride to Vancouver in his recently-acquired Rambler, a 1963 Ambassador wagon that's in almost-showroom shape. It's the same color palette and optional features as the model in AMC's marketing for the car; Brian of course has the original literature.
The drive and ferry sailing were uneventful aside from the occasional thumbs up from other drivers sharing the Trans Canada. As a passenger, the Rambler was like riding on a springy pillow, fitting for a car with such a light-hearted brand name, and a change in sensation noticeable to me, coming from my usual transport, a firm-riding run-flatted MINI, a car I suspect unlikely to survive till its fifty-fifth birthday.
Speaking of run flats, a technology I successfully tested recently thanks to an errant nail, the Ambassador was ahead of its time. While studying the owner's manual I discovered the Ambassador offered an early version of run flats, in this case implemented as a tire with a second air tube, a design that obviates the need for hard-walled tires but doesn't quite solve the problem of complete air loss.