In this occasion we suggest a very special route through the varied beauty of Marseille, the oldest city in France, Calanques and the sensuality of its cuisine and wine. No doubt the best way to photograph the splendorous scenery is walking. Trekking across the protected paradise from Marseille to Cassis is an unforgettable journey about blue sea and white limestone cliffs, where Dumas, Lamartine, Marcel Pagnol and Simone de Beauvoir wrote about. Many painters have immortalize it in their canvases and now, huwans.es, offers a magnificent chance to photograph every corner of it.
The Mediterranean light, the interesting mixture of people and architecture of Marseille, especially with the addition of 2013 new architecture, the old port shaped by waves of immigration…traps the camera at every turn. Get ready the 24-105 lens, good for almost every moment, and after shooting a conventional but obligatory photo of Marseille Byzantine Basilica Sta Mary Major at 100 ISO fast shutter speed, keep walking, change the lens to a wide angle, 100 ISO fast shutter speed, for a great panoramic of the filigree-clad Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MuCEM) by Rudy Ricciotti, connecting the seventeenth-century St. John fort across the water with a thin long bridge. In a short while the unique vignette of the Old Port will appear under a blue sky over a blue water covered by ships, surrounded up hill by the charming houses of the neibourghood Le Panier – baker’s guild- crowned by the 160 m over the port church Notre Dame de La Guard. A 24-105 cannon lens should be perfect to take a shot of the Old Port, sun backwards, 100 ISO high speed, the light of that spring-summer day is no problem at all, as the mistral blows 90 days per year painting the Marseille sky of purity and unique luminescent. After 4 or five shots, to catch Basilica of Notre Dame in the top, Fort of San Nicholas…wandering towards Canebière Avenue, change the lens to a tele objective 70-200 to trap the unbelievable mime that looks suspended in the air, or the details of the colourful windows or the attractive and aromatic Marseille soap sold in various stalls around the port. Be ready for the giant mirrored canopy called The View Port Pavilion, built recently by Norman Foster & Partners, to be one of the most impressive points in the city “I know the harbor at Marseille well and it is a truly grand space. This project is a great opportunity to enhance it using very simple means, to improve it with a large pavilion for events, for markets, for special occasions. Our approach has been to work with the climate, to create shade, but at the same time to respect the space of the harbor – just making it better” Foster said. Once there, take your time, as the huge mirror ceiling can show a new perspective of the ceramic stalls of the street market below, of the reflected ships and of course of the upside down people. Ideal frame to enjoy, photographically speaking! A polarizing filter will help for reflex control and a gradient filter would be useful to avoid sky overlay. Be aware of the different light angles affecting brightness and reflection. Focus from different angles and corners; vertical, horizontal and even diagonal would make an artistic photo. As for the lens-24-105 low ISO, fast shutter speed is a good election, though for reflected close ups of the colourful ceramics, or people features use a 70-200 tele objective. Tripod is needed for these mirrored images. Cross through Canebière Avenue, frequented by High Society during the French Third Republic, full of elegant buildings, worth of some good shots, make a turn in and head towards the poliphacetic neighbourhood of Noailles where Marseille’s melting-pot is present at every corner. And the first place to feel this mélange will be the street market, where fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers…make us feel in Morocco, in Argil, in Indochina, in India, and in France of course. Therefore, nice pictures will be the contrast between French cheese and papaya, – macro lens will be a good option- or, following the fragrant route of the spices, arrive in a charming old style closed bazaar to capture, along with the scent, the bright colour of the spices, the cozy old painted copper recipients, the blue, green, brown or black eyes of the people buying goods, or selling them-50 mm. lens 600 ISO for interiors, 100 ISO outdoors, fast shutter speed-. A good advice before sunset golden light, will be to photograph the eye-catching colourful houses facades of Le Panier, the charming cafés and undo the way back to Basilica Sta. Mary Major in the exclusive moment when the sun light golden the series of cultural venues along the waterfront like Contemporary Art Centre- (FRAC) by Kengo Kuma, framed by the yellowish stone of the old buildings, surrounded by water, melting its crystalline and stone construction with the environment in a superb way. For all these pictures the 24-105 lens at 100 ISO fast speed will trap the best of it. Finally, arrived, once more to The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations, take a long look to the Basilica, the people, the sky, the whole world around, perfectly reflected in the Museum crystalline wall, to shot the last and wonderful picture of that reflective universe.
Next day it will start Calanques adventure. After sleeping in the cutest fishermen village of Cassis, waking up early morning to take pictures of a gorgeous dawn over the marine when the fishermen return home, after selling the fish of the day in the little port -wide angle lens for a panoramic including the Hotel-Castle of Cassis up hill, the colourful village and the port. Change to a 24-105 lens 100 ISO fast shutter speed for the picturesque fisherman boats, details of the restaurants and bars ant the beautiful dawn tint, 70-200 ideal for close ups of the fishermen fixing the fishing nets, cleaning the boat, or selling the fish in the spontaneous stalls.
Departing from Cassis wearing trekking boots, carrying a bottle of water, swimming suit and towel in the backpack and following the steps of huwans guides, Steven and Frederic, towards Port-Mieu and Port-Pin, the camera should be ready for the stunning Calanques scenery. The 10-mile stretch of coast between Cassis and Marseille features the highest France’s sea cliffs and the famous called calanques that look like Norwegian fiords immerse in Mediterranean flora, surrounded by limestone. Wide angle, 24-105 and70-200 lens should alternate to capture the inlets, as Port-Miou, barely 20- minutes walk from Cassis’ promenade or the little pirate bay of Port Pin full of sail boats and kayaks, the emerald water of the little bays as d´En-vau, near Cassis, or with a little bit of luck, some of the numerous protected animal species, like Bonelli´s eagle, the brown meagre, or even dolphins and marine turtles, shot with the 70-200 lens, if 400 tele objective lens best. During a summer day the light probably will be bright and clear enough to use 100 ISO, and fast shutter speed with any of the lens, 400 ISO to freeze a moment.
Lunch time is a pleasant opportunity to rest under the pine trees, have a chat with the colleagues and enjoy the Mediterranean delights prepare by Steven and Frederic, as black and green olive pate, goat cheese, fresh salad or tasty french saucisson sec washed down with a typical Marseille rosé wine. The macro lens will trap the texture and colour of the exquisite food over the chequered tablecloth.
Returning back to Cassis trekking up-down hills, the evening glare paints in gold the limestone cliffs, in contrast with the turquoise-emerald water of the sea and the silver green of the olive trees, dark green for pine trees. This last panoramic-wide angle, tripod helped, wide overture, slow speed shutter- will be the nicest desert for an unforgettable photographical journey.
- Estimated time required for this trip: proxy. 4 days.
- Traveller profile: Expert.( What´s this? )
- Itinerary difficulty: Medium.
- Adventure level: Medium.
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- Full Frame digital DSLR bodies Canon EOS 5D-Nikon 800.
- Canon EF50mm f/2,5 Macro lens-Nikon 60 mm f2 Macro lens.
- Canon EF 24-105 mm f4-Nikon 24-120 f4.
- Sony AF 70-400 mm. F4-5.6G (Optional).
- A light carbon fibre tripod. Good example Gitzo GT1542T that folds down to 16.73 inches and weighs just 1 kg.
- Enough CF cards to store 500 photos per day. A big stack of 8 GB cards (each holds 500 RAW).
- Polarizing and Warming Filters.
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- Basilica Sta. Mary Major- Marseille, a national monument, known simply as La Major, rises at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, flaunts a byzantine style, and it’s located near to the Joliette quarter that holds the Pannier neighbourhood.
- Reflection picture in the walls of the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations.
- San. John and St. Nicholas fortresses hold the history of the controvert Marseille and make a great shot, port backwards, old city, and new glass constructions.
- Old Port of Marseille, where to find lots of photographical motifs, as the mimes standing still above the port, the Marseille soap kiosks, the picturesque boats, the amazing Mirror Pavilion, or, up in the hill, the church of Notre Dame de la Garde.
- Port of Cassis at dawn and dusk. At dawn the fishermen come back from the sea; a great shot will be entering the port and afterwards selling the fish. At evening everybody goes out for a drink or dinner at the gold light of sunset under the view of Hotel-Castle of Cassis up hill.
- The astonish scenery of the trekking way across Calanques passing through Port-Mieu to Port Pin and D´En –vau Bay-Calanques.
- Flowers, herbs, trees, nature… that appear in the trekking tour.
- Being a trekking trip, the lighter the gear the best. 24-105 mm lenses will be a good option for different types of shot. A macro lens will be needed for all the flowers, insects, and herbs along the tour. Obligatory a light tripod to photograph Marseille at dawn or Cassis at night.
- File format: RAW so you can fiddle with exposure later on.
- Use the Macro lenses helped with tripod, to shoot at a slow shutter speed, the sharp colours of the flowers, or the multiple herbs. Take a good care when focusing as depth of field is very limited in macro lenses when you-re close to your subject.
- It will be advisable to fully extend the tripod for landscape purposes as being the camera closer to the ground you can obtain much bolder lines and compositions. Objects will look bigger and more dynamic.
- Photographing buildings in Marseille will require the tripod and closed aperture to allow a slow shutter speed for creative motion-blur effects, especially in glass constructions.
- Sony 70-400 lens will be ideal for capturing wildlife and action. Thanks to a new LSI drive circuit, autofocus speed of the Super-Sonic Wave Motor is four times quicker than before. Perfect for shooting people on the boats or climbing Calanques cliffs.
- It will be wise to use a blue filter to cool-lit lighting effects for the interior of the restaurants, shooting with tripod, 400 ISO slow shutter speed.
- Insure your camera gear before trip and be sure that your company includes any type of loss and that the coverage is in force worldwide.
- Have a copy of your insured equipment list.
- Bring a small tripod as this is a trekking tour and it will be convenient to pack everything in the backpack to leave hands free for the camera. Ask people for the mistral wind, as when it blows the light is absolutely gorgeous for painters and photographers. Be aware while trekking of the numerous plants, herbs and flowers along the way, many of them used for the famous Provence perfumes.