Landscapes of the shores of Gironde estuary in Charente-Maritime, Southwest of France

The Gironde estuary is a paradise for landscape photographers. The lights and colors are absolutely incomparable because of the geographical situation of the largest estuary in Europe. The estuary waters bathe two regions: Aquitaine and Poitou-Charentes. In this gallery, we chose to show the shores of the estuary from the Charente-Maritime.

The mouth of the estuary of the Gironde is proudly guarded by the king of lighthouses: Cordouan. Taking photographs is not easy in the region because everything is unpredictable. Tides, clouds , winds are parameters that will make varied lights. How to make pictures? The answer is very simple: choose a site, prepare your equipment then wait the surprise. Each time of day is different. Every day is different. Every season is different. It takes perseverance and creativity. It happened that we went 10 consecutive days on the same site and come back with totally different photographs. Choice in the selection becomes very difficult. The tones can be very cold and pull the blue, they may also be warm with orange or even red tones.

The ideal, however, is to create pictures when the tide is low or when then it rises. The edges in the north of the estuary are very sandy and covered with mud and silt in the south. The sand offers pictures with lots of details and structures in materials. The mud has beautiful multi colored reflections and allows very creative photos. The estuary is a permanent show for those who know how to watch and enjoy the beautiful lights. 75 kilometers of coastline and 635 square kilometers offer unique opportunities for wide angle or telephoto shots.

For normal people that walk along the muddy and yellow waters of the estuary see only brackish sediment-laden waters. But as a result of the Garonne river, Dordogne river and two daily tides, the seascape is constantly in motion. Sandbanks of vasards and islands are under construction or permanent destruction. Gironde carries annually 2-8,000,000 tons of suspended particles. It is a part of these particles which are responsible for creating sandbars.

Man has always tried to shape the edges of the estuary with buildings such as the Church of St. Radegonde inTalmont sur Gironde or while constructing net fishing huts for recreational fishing. But nature with storms and high tides often takes its rights back and reminds humans who is truly the great architect and who decides to shape the landscape of the edges of the estuary.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.


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