My New Panasonic Lumix GX-7!!

 

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

Ok, I’ll admit this is a bit of an odd follow up to my previous post which was all about how smartphones come with really impressive cameras these days. But, hey, what’s a girl to do when she gets an early birthday present from her boyfriend?

A New Camera – YAY!

After almost two years of smartphone-only photography, I finally have a brand spankin’ new camera with some manual features that should allow me to take better shots. It’s a Panasonic Lumix GX-7, and it’s super cool. I just got it yesterday so all its little feature and doodads are still new to me, but so far I’ve been really happy with the snaps :)

Panasonic Lumix GX-7 vs Samsung Galaxy S5

Earlier I went out and took some test shots using the Panasonic as well as my Samsung Galaxy S5. Both cameras take 16MP photos, but I definitely saw sharper quality photos with the Panasonic.

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Panasonic Lumix GX-7

(L) Panasonic Lumix, (R) Samsung Galaxy

Why Now?

Well my readers, I’m glad you asked. I find myself in the possession of this nifty new device in preparation for an upcoming adventure. Next week I’ll be embarking on a cruise trip around the whole of Iceland, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Needless to say I’m pretty excited to get out there and start snapping photos — there will be much more on the Iceland cruise to come!

Photo Essay: Lower Normandy

 

The moment I first arrived in Lower Normandy following a lengthy ferry ride across the English Channel, my first instinct was to exhale. After spending months cooped up in the choking density of central London I felt a sense of relief from being in the presence of open fields and grazing land. My moment of zen didn’t last long as I was on a tight schedule. Lower Normandy, as it turns out, is a bit of a logistics nightmare if you are traveling without a car. Depending heavily on public transport, I set out to explore three items from my travel “bucket list” – Mont-Saint-Michel, the D-Day Landing Sites and the Bayeux Tapestry.

Mont-Saint-Michel

I caught my first glimpse of Mont-Saint-Michel on the 2-hour train ride from Caen to Pontorson. It exposed itself for a brief moment behind a cluster of drab storage warehouses, giving me and a sprinkling of other tourists on the train a preview of what was to come. Following a short bus ride from Pontorson, Mont-Saint-Michel revealed itself in full view. The result of over 1000 years of construction, this fairytale abbey is perhaps the most photogenic spot in all of France.

View from within Mont-Saint-Michel

The abbey was built at the top of a small island just off the coast from the mainland in a shallow sandy bay. During high tide, water fills the bay and transforms the landscape, making Mont-Saint-Michel appear as a castle floating in the sea. Unfortunately I missed high tide during my visit, but that didn’t take anything away from Michel’s beauty.

Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey

Mont-Saint-Michel is still an active abbey and a small group of nuns reside here year round.

Nun climbing the Abbey steps

Even at low tide on a cold and gray morning, the views from the top of Mont-Saint-Michel are stunning. The photo below shows the elevated road from the mainland to Michel as well as the surrounding bay.

View from Mont-Saint-Michel

Below the abbey is a maze of densely packed streets covered in cobblestones, cafes, souvenir shops and a few small museums.  The photo below is from a cafe located at the foot of the island with a cafe au lait in the foreground.

Cafe au Lait

Head east along the coastline from Mont-Saint-Michel and you’ll reach the D-Day landing sites.  Because I was without a rental vehicle, I took a D-Day tour departing from Bayeux.  The photo below is of Pointe du Hoc, just east of Omaha Beach.  It was here that US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs to destroy a cluster of German casemates on June 6th, 1944.

Pointe du Hoc

Facing the early morning sun, Pointe du Hoc makes for an eerily serene setting.

Pointe du Hoc Battlefield

Looking towards the English Channel, pockmarks on the ground left by bombs nearly 70 years ago are still clearly evident.

Pointe du Hoc Battlefield

Pointe du Hoc’s proximity to Omaha Beach (shown in the distance below) is part of why it was such a heavily contested area.

Pointe du Hoc Battlefield

Some of the original German bunkers are still in tact and are open to visitors.

German Bunker

Omaha Beach is located a short drive from Pointe du Hoc and is now frequented by dog walkers and joggers.  Nearly 70 years ago, 15,000 soldiers stormed this beach to help liberate Northern France from the Nazis.

Omaha Beach

The Normandy American Cemetery is the final resting place for many of the soldiers who fought on D-Day.  The cemetery is set on a cliff overlooking the English Channel.

Normandy American Cemetery

Most of the graves in the cemetery are named, but there are numerous unnamed markers inscribed with “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God”.

Unnamed Grave

Inland from the D-Day landing sites is the ancient town of Bayeux.  Like most European towns, it is anchored by a formidable cathedral.  The Bayeux Cathedral (below) is striking, but is best known for once being home to the Bayeux Tapestry – a 1000 year old embroidery than runs 230 feet long.

Bayeux Cathedral

Today, the Bayeux Tapestry is held and protected in its own museum just a few steps away from the cathedral.  Across the length of the delicate cloth are numerous panels detailing the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and the subsequent Battle of Hastings.

Bayeux Tapestry

It’s estimated that the embroidery was created sometime around 1066 and the illustrations created from the stitching range from amazing to even comical (see the generously sized horse penis above).  The battle sequences and horses are of particularly high quality, while some of the portraits and faces are reminiscent of Quentin Blake illustrations.

Bayeux Tapestry