Triumph and Contrast

Photography 101. Final Assignment: Triumph and Contrast.

I really had to scratch my head with this one.

I thought of getting back to the motorcycle theme and grabbing a shot of a Triumph Bonneville, but that would have been too corny!

Until today all of my photos for the course have been fresh and newly shot just for Photography 101. I had hoped to go for a full house, but today something kept drawing me back to a couple of shots from previous road trips and on a purely personal level both scream out “Triumph” to me.

The first is the summit marker on Col du Galibier, in the French Alps.

When I was young, my friends and I avidly followed the great cycle race that is the Tour de France. There was no television coverage of Le Tour in the UK back then. We had to get our race updates from the sports pages of daily newspapers, which didn’t always carry much up to date information at that! Our idols were the great Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Joop Zoetemelk and many other too.

Amongst the magical places on Le Tour that we learnt about were the great Cols of the Pyrenees and the Alps; it certainly did our school geography no harm at all! Greatest, most famous and certainly legendary above the rest was the magical Col du Galibier.

I dreamed of cresting that climb on two wheels, emulating my heroes and just standing where they had passed.

Many years later I was able to do just that, OK I did cheat a bit because my two wheels by then had acquired a great big Harley Davidson engine between them… but I did go there on two wheels!

I’ve been back many times since, each time is special, each time my eyes fill with emotion and each time I give thanks that I’ve been able to return to my special spiritual place; it’s my enduring “Triumph!”

Col du Galibier

Col du Galibier, colourful contrasts.

My second “Triumph” is a shot of my beloved Softail sitting by the beach at Carantec in Brittany, France. Again this is another special spot. It’s the place that I go to at the end of every big Continental Europe road trip, somewhere just to collect my thoughts and memories before getting onto the ship back to the UK and home.

So here is Harley loaded with my travel bags and carrying an honest patina of road grime accrued over a few thousand miles of riding.

I can hear in my own mind the gentle metallic music of her engine ticking as she cools down contentedly, knowing that she has Triumphed in bringing us both back safely again.

Carentec beach.

Carantec Beach.

Oh did I tell you before that I love that bike?

Thank you sincerely to everyone who has been riding with me on the Photography 101 course. I really appreciate your feedback and honest comments and would love you to ride some more with me.

“The river flows, it flows to the sea.
Wherever it goes that’s where I want to be.”


10 thoughts on “Triumph and Contrast

  1. Ah, yes. Le Tour. Your post brought back memories of my bicycle racing days (club racing) in the 1980’s. The heated relationship between Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond on La Vie Claire was the soap opera of cycling at the time. Wonderful that you get to ride those hallowed roads on the continent.


  2. France holds a super special place in my heart and I love to ‘go’ there anytime. Even if it is through the pictures of another. Love the road signs and your bike!


  3. Great stuff Dookes, brought many happy memories of racing on my Colnago.Years back when riding around your great country I had Monty Young of Condor Cycles build me the touring frame of my dreams, kitted out with Campag Super Record. What a bike. Loved all of your images and the messages that accompanied them. Lets stay in touch, see my latest efforts in the B&W Photo 5 Day Challenge. Remember , always keep the shiny side up. Hoo roo for now.


  4. Although I failed spectacularly to keep up, I’m going to finish the photo 101 course (hopefully some contacts will keep looking) Congratulations on finishing the course and great job with the pics.
    See you on Flickr now??? 😉


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