The bald one or Giant of the Provence is what they call him most. The Mont Ventoux, 1912 meters high. Located in the north Vaucluse and south of the Drôme district in the Provence in France. It is one of the most legendary climbs for cyclists in France and often part of the Tour de France. Known for its very strong winds, often reaching hurricane force power.
A couple of years ago, I cycled up to the top for the first time. It was a mental victory for me, as it is for a lot of people. I continued climbing the col in the years after and grew the idea of this night shot: the Sainte Croix chapel on the foreground, the tower in the back and the Milky Way behind them.
A shot like this is best done in April or early May, I figured out using Photo Pills and Sun Surveyor. Of course you need clear weather for this, but also low wind speeds as we're making long exposures here. I traveled to the region a few times but failed to take the shot due to weather conditions and problems on my way to the top at night. Also the mountain pass is closed during winter and early spring.
This time the drive up was easy and I reached the top in calm and relative warm weather. I took two camera's (just in case), my tripod, a panoramic head and a few lights with me. I used one light to lit up the chapel. The other to light up the foreground turned out not to be necessary. This photo is made out of 19 vertical shots with quite some overlap to avoid stitching problems. The panorama was then constructed with PTGui software and developed with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor