The montfalcon portal

A post with an imposing title, you say. I say it’s appropriate for this imposing set of doors which are the focal point of an entryway named after the 16th century bishop of Lausanne, Sébastien di Montfalcon. This was one of the first images captured while on a recent visit to that city. I had just woken from a short nap, prescribed by my son-in-law as a way to overcome the effects of jet lag, and was out for a walk. My companions and I made our way to the Cathedral of Notre Dame for a view of the city. I must admit that I was not altogether with it but when these magnificent doors came in to view I knew I had to stop. While searching the web the other day I was surprised to find a site which displayed photos of some of the stone carvings which you can see surrounding the entrance. They represent figures from the bible, various saints, bishops, and creatures both real (including my favorite, snails) and fanciful. I am sorry that this was the only view of the portal that I captured. After I took this shot, I lifted my gaze from the camera to notice that my party was nowhere to be seen. I moved on and do not blame them for it was I who chose not to take the time to focus on the photographic treasure before me. I should have remained. I’ve done this before, short-changed the creative process. I don’t know why I rush. I don’t know why I don’t stop to concentrate. I too often find myself doing the photographic equivalent of eat-n-run. Why can’t I learn to savor my subjects? What’s my hurry? Where am I rushing off to? I did this the other day at Ravensburg State Park. Looking back at the photo posted from that day’s visit, it’s clear that my vantage should have been just a bit lower to the surface of the water. As it is, there is too much of an angle between my line of sight and the surface of the water. This bothers me for these lines should have been parallel. To be honest, I believe I was aware of this shortcoming as I shut the camera off and tucked the tripod under my arm. Chalk it up to inexperience and my personality. I need to learn to relax, slow down, take a breath, maybe two, and enjoy what I’m doing. I will try.


22 thoughts on “The montfalcon portal

  1. Your self-observations leave me self-reflecting and grinning a bit. I always feel a bit mixed about rushing or lingering. Take blogs for example. I’ve known your posts have been up for a while, but I also didn’t have the amount of time to linger on the text or savour the photos in the way that it satisfies me to view them. Thus, I’m late getting here. It’s always in the back of my mind that I might disappoint the poster to delay my comments. Yet, I selfishly do this rather than rush through it distractedly. I guess I’m observing your same lament, from the perspective of your host and companions. Thus, perhaps you made the right call and moved on. 🙂

    • You’re funny. But, your words did make me think. And, for that, I thank you. I have realized that the posts of some that I follow here at WP can be treated much like posts on FB … a simple scroll and an appreciative LIKE. There are others, however, whose offerings call to be savored, slowly, and above all else, thoughtfully. The ideas presented in these posts are never trivial and sometimes require two or three passes before they permeate the deep recesses of my understanding. And, that’s OK. It really is. So, like you, I will allow certain posts to sit until I can find the time to fully appreciate them. I hope their authors will not think this reflects a lack of interest in my part – much to the contrary. PS: I wonder why I had to ‘approve’ your comments this evening … has your blog URL changed … I’m too lazy to go determine for myself.

  2. Beautiful door – feel like I could study them for hours with all the amazing details. The longer I look, new details keep appearing. 🙂

    • Hey there Girl Gone Expat … it was such a nice surprise to see someone NEW in my comments section! Thanks for making my day. When I first saw the title of you blog, which I’ve already taken a look at (it has a very professional look about it by the way), I thought you might be someone who knew my daughter who also blogs about life as an expat (she is an American, living in Switzerland) …. her blog is .. you might check it out. I know you are living in Canada, but where are you and your husband originally from? And, how did you come across this farm blog of mine? Thanks again for the attention – very much appreciated.

  3. I am glad you took the time to look it up … Montfalcon is such an awesome name, and very befitting of a work like that 🙂 I agree that you are too hard on yourself. On another day, you might have regretted slowing down so much that you missed another photo opportunity somewhere else. But I do get it … I am pretty sure I have an entire lobe of my brain devoted to “Why did you do that, when you clearly should have done something else? Better think about it until you feel better about it, which is never.”

    • I will reply here to all of the lovely comments you have taken time to send my way today (or perhaps, at this hour, my ‘today’ is already your ‘yesterday’). Each of them provided me with a bit of a smile. With a simple sentence you encapsulated my difficulty … Better think about it until you feel better about it, which is never. With a simple sentence you encapsulated the comforts of our processed-food-culture … I do miss a nice, perfectly square sandwich sometimes, though. The use of a simple phrase put just the right spin on your appreciation of one of my images … Holy moly. And, of course, last but not least, in borrowing a not-so-simple sentence you distilled the relationship between both joy and sorrw … The selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. Thank you for all of this. D

  4. What you describe is one reason I have mixed feelings about going on field trips. On the one hand, there are often experts who can identify the things I end up photographing. On the other hand, groups on field trips almost always move along too fast for me to spend the requisite time photographing my subjects. In contrast, when I wander by myself I sometimes spend half an hour in one small area trying out pictures from various angles or with different lenses. Even then, of course, I can miss things and have a reaction similar to yours after I get home and wonder why I didn’t compose or aim differently.

    In any case, we can be thankful for our successes, like this pleasantly toned photograph of that portal.

  5. Perhaps you do need to relax or perhaps that drive is what makes you YOU. Your best judge is to ask yourself whether making that change would result in your life being better. Only you can tell that, of course, but I bet the answer is not necessarily ‘yes.’ As an aside, I think the picture is amazing. Perhaps there are technical issues – I would have overlooked them – but it does effectively place me in a state of awe and that’s worth something!

  6. I think you are too critical of yourself – perhaps if you had taken more time and more photos you would still believe you should have taken more images and savored the moment more? Have you seen these small cameras to be pinned to your collar? The idea is to create an endless stream of images while allowing for enjoying the moments at the same time (as the camera can easily be clicked or it is automated – which is a bit scary …). Not that I endorse these cameras – I just concluded from this that many people think they don’t take enough photos and/or aren’t ‘in the moment’ while taking photos. I have noticed that if I had taken lots of photos on vacation, I rather remember (just) the sceneries shown in the photos later. I remembered the image not the sceneries themselves after I had looked at the photos too often.

    • The kind of multiple image capture I like to achieve involves many images of the very same subject … different angles, different exposures, different vantage … to get all aspects, hoping that one really captures my interest. As it was, I only captured these doors in a single shot – and that frustrates me now. I think I’ll pass on the collar camera!

  7. The doors and their surrounding frieze decoration are fantastic, David. One could spend hours studying all the detail and I imagine the stories behind them as well.

      • Well, it is tough to linger when with a group. Unless they all had some thing to entertain, it could be difficult to have them stay close when you spent an hour or more capturing the many details that are evident in your picture. Mary Beth is not very patient when hiking, so I don’t take my camera when we visit Acadia trails together. I have to go out myself for serious photography, then go pick her up later for our walking. I do carry my S95, but there is little time needed when shooting a point-n-shoot.

  8. Oh well, lesson learned. No one is perfect. You missed an opportunity but hopefully, you will use this as a learning experience for the future. Gorgeous intricacy in those carvings. The circular motifs are eye-catching. When you are a perfectionist, you always tend to second guess your work or think about how you could have improved it. It’s part of the process. I think you were lucky to get this shot considering you weren’t fully functional! Shots like these really take you to a far away place. So very different from our usual vistas!

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