Brittany has about a third of France’s lighthouses. Many of them are incredibly photogenic. They often have elegant shapes and high levels of decoration, not at all utilitarian. In some cases, they are reached by beautiful stone causeways. These features provide strong leading lines to take the viewer to the image’s subject.
One of the nicest is Phare de Kermorvan. Located across an inlet from Le Conquet, it sits beneath a hillside that provides photographers a variety of shooting angles. I first visited early in the day to explore the location, concentrating on the abundant wildflowers as foreground elements. When I returned near sunset, it was quite cloudy, but I thought there was a still good chance of a spectacular sunset. I sat down to wait and either was doing some heavy daydreaming or dozed off. When I snapped to, almost all of the clouds had disappeared. In a panic, I ran down to the causeway to include the few remaining clouds in my compositions. Chastened, I returned to the hilltop to wait for dusk and the lighthouse’s lamp to turn on. Because there was a stiff breeze, I chose to exclude the wildflowers and use the causeway as my foreground element.
Within 30 km of this lighthouse are two other beautiful ones, Phare Saint-Mathieu and Phare du Petit Minou. Plougonvelin is a nice central location for exploring this area. Don’t limit yourself to the lighthouses because there are miles of rocky coastline to explore. We visited in summer because we also wanted to visit the lavender fields of Provence. Even so, Brittany was wonderfully uncrowded.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor