BEN BROWNING @ LABEAUME
At any time of the year the southern Ardeche region has so much to offer, these photos were taken in February 2015 as part of a project by Ben Browning. The moody clouded sky and flat reflective light adds so much depth and character to the object of the picture.
Why did Ben choose 'Black and White' (mono) for these scenes ...?
The great thing about shooting black-and-white landscape photography is that you don’t have to wait for perfect weather to get great shots; all you need is a dramatic sky and plenty of contrast that will make the images stand out.
This stunning place is different in nature from some of the other 'villages of character', Labeaume is situated around an open square with a church (pictured above) and has a handful of beautiful old streets to explore, with ancient houses lining pretty and well restored narrow alleys. The village boarders the river Beaume which flows into the river Ardeche.
Backpack on; camera in hand I left the La Maison du Roure to explore a dry river bed (the river runs mostly under ground in the summer months) that passes through the area. The valley itself is known world wide by Entomologists as it homes a very rare species of dragonfly. In the spring time when I did this walk I also counted at least five different species of orchids in the valley base. The guide sheet (aquired from the information point in Banne) also talks about this river homing beavers - sadly no beavers were to be seen today nor any evidence of them.
Banne was a wealthy and prosperous town for many centuries and the ruins of human activity in this spectacular place are in abundance. There are remains of bridges, damns, homes, irrigation systems, terracing and well constructed paved pathways are dotted the whole way along the banks.
The walk took about two hours and was around 8 km long. Some of the decent right at the beginning was a little difficult but the river bed was worth every second. I will look forward to coming back in June time when there will be more water and hopefully it many be hot enough for some paddling and swimming!