From the moment that I first saw it I knew that I would be photographing it. It was no more than a glimpse out of the window after a long day travelling towards our hotel, but it made a lasting impression. ‘It’ was a tractor. Standing in a wildflower meadow and overlooked by a towering blade of limestone, the Mont Aiguille, this humble orange tractor anchored a scene that was crying out to be photographed.
The Vercors is a very lovely area of south-east France, but one that is often overlooked. Most people flash by without a second thought, rushing to keep an appointment with sunshine and Mediterranean beaches. I’ll admit I’ve done that myself in the past, but not this time. This time my wife and I were looking forward to enjoying a less-travelled part of rural France. This particular piece of countryside is popular with hikers and known for its wild flowers, featuring in ‘Wildflower Wonders of the World’ by Bob Gibbons.
As for me and the tractor; I tip-toed out of my hotel at the crack of dawn and enjoyed an early morning walk back towards the meadow. Unfortunately there was hardly any cloud, so instead of trying for a dramatic photograph I had to settle for a pretty one. But pretty is fine, sometimes we photographers forget that mean and moody isn’t everyone’s idea of a good picture. I spent a while watching the light change and took a variety of pictures. Some worked better than others, but overall I had a few of this unique setting that I quite liked.
As I was finishing, a car came along the narrow road that bordered this meadow. Slowing as it approached the car drew to a halt alongside me. After greeting me in English (not French, clearly I look very English) the driver said “Everyone photographs that tractor”. “I can see why” I said while smiling “it’s a very pretty scene.” He cheerfully drove on to work and left me thinking that perhaps my photographs won’t be quite as unique as I had thought.