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Eva’s 50th Birthday Party Photography, Cap Ferret

Photographer Cap Ferret

Photographer cap ferret

This weekend I grabbed my passport, toothbrush and a rucksack full of camera gear and headed South to Bordeaux for the weekend to photograph Eva’s 50th Birthday celebrations.  

Arriving at Bordeaux airport, we drove west towards the coast and the quaint little seaside town of Cap Ferret. Guests were staying in the charming surroundings of the Hotel Des Pins (www.hoteldespins.eu). Once a theatre, it is now a cosy little art deco hotel with bags of character.

Photographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap Ferret

The hotel is a photographer’s dream, with plenty of late summer light flooding in through the glass fronted facade of the terrace. Behind is the reception and bar area which seems to be almost entirely dedicated to The Titanic. I’m not sure why and I forget to ask either of the two lovely guys who run it. There’s also a white upright piano and a pool table – a nice touch.

John Starns Photography-comp4Cap Ferret PhotographerAfter breakfast, we set about exploring the surrounding area. Cap Ferret is small and unassuming, essentially a fishing village and is extremely popular with both Bordelais and Parisians. Part of it’s charm lies in it’s geographical isolation and wildness. Sitting at the southern point of the peninsula, pine trees planted during the reign of Napoleon III cover three quarters of the landscape, and sandy beaches separate the swelling surf of the Cote d’Argent and the altogether calmer waters of the Arachon Basin.

Photographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap Ferret

Once we have all gathered, we are off to La Pointe at the southern tip of the peninsula, for Eva’s very special birthday picnic on the beach. Louis is a chef and together with his father Tim has made some spicy Scotch eggs together with some amazing ham and cheese pies to add to the spread. Celebratory champagne was very much the order of the day! 

The Atlantic waves are decent enough to encourage an enthusiastic surf community, and 5km across the bay the immense Dune de Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe dominates the landscape. The sand is golden and very fine. It’s a very special place.
John Starns Photography-comp18Photographer Cap Ferret

After lunch we disperse and the braver souls amongst us decide to take the short walk from the Hotel des Pins to the Bassin for a dip. The Atlantic coast stretch of the peninsula is wild and dangerous, but the shallow, sheltered waters of the Bassin are perfect for bathing (if a little cold!) I go back to the jetty to photograph the Bassin at high tide. 

On Friday night, we all meet on the sun terrace for aperitifs and present opening. We give Eva a framed portrait that I took back in 2009.

Cap Ferret Photogrpaher

Cap Ferret PhotographerLater, we return to the dining room for dinner. The sun has long since set, so I opt for a fast lens (in this case the trusty Canon 50mm f1.4) a high ISO and a little splash of flash, which gives a more natural look to the images and an accurate rendition of the scene. I love the way the tungsten light gives a warm glow.

Cap Ferret photographerCap Ferret photographer

After the meal we retire to the terrace once more and Philippa interviews Eva in the style of Desert Island Discs and we listen to an eclectic mix of the eight pieces of music that Eva would choose to take on her desert island hideaway. Later Neil fires up the Bose with some classic Northern Soul favourites. A good time is had by all, and copious amounts of local Bordeaux wine are consumed.

Cap Ferret PhotographerPhotographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap FerretNext morning we meet at the jetty for a boat ride around the Arcachon Bassin. Gillian and I opt out, preferring a short walk.

Photographer Cap FerretPhotographer Cap FerretSea Hare Cap FerretWe discover some steps down to the waters edge where we encounter some strange looking sea creatures. I have seen them once before a few hours up the coast at Il de Re, but couldn’t identify them. We later find out they are ‘Sea Hares‘ or Aplysia Fasciata, a harmless but weird looking sea slug. The locals know them as ‘Vinegar Piss’ as they spray a harmless red ink at predators to protect themselves.
Later we meet in the hotel reception and take a short walk to what I think is the most interesting part of Cap Ferret. At low tide it’s possible to walk out to visit the oyster farms, before returning for a tasting amongst the wooden weather beaten seaside cottages. Atlantic seafood is the basis of many local specialities and the standard of cuisine at Cap Ferret is excellent.

Cap Ferret PhotographerWe pay a visit to Catherine Roux’s where we are treated to sumptuous oysters and prawns that have been harvested just hours previously, washed down with a local sparkling white. Then, we are off to La Maison du Bassin for the evening. Owner William Joinau said that he wanted it to be like the Kennedy’s summer place in the 50’s. It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere and our noisy party takes up three large tables in the main dining room. I choose the Carrot Veloute to start followed by Sea Bream with lentils – it is quite simply heaven!

Cap Ferret PhotographerCap Ferret PhotographerWe pay a visit to Catherine Roux’s where we are treated to sumptuous oysters and prawns that have been harvested just hours previously, washed down with a local sparkling white. Then, we are off to La Maison du Bassin for the evening. Owner William Joinau said that he wanted it to be like the Kennedy’s summer place in the 50’s. It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere and our noisy party takes up three large tables in the main dining room. I choose the Carrot Veloute to start followed by Sea Bream with lentils – it is quite simply heaven!

Photographer Cap FerretJohn Starns Photography-comp28Cap Ferret PhotographerPhotographer Cap Ferret

As we wander back to our hotel, I reflect upon our relaxed, carefree summer weekend. I left Cap Ferret feeling invigorated, happy and content. Happy Birthday Weekend Eva!

I am always happy to photograph momentous events of this nature both at home and abroad, so please use the contact form, email info@johnstarns.com, or call 07790 634140 for further details.

John Starns Party Photographer Cap Ferret

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