#41 – Cock and Tit!

Cock Weathervane, France. [Alamy image ref. BJ1DJX]

I have many specialized groups of images on Alamy which were started as “collections” around thirty years ago when shooting general subjects which caught my eye and interest. Some of these collections grew rapidly if they were easy to find – bright red GPO post-boxes being an obvious example, with windows of all shapes and sizes, front doors, colored stripes, numbers, and chimneys being other typical examples.

Another of my growing collections which I started many years ago in the UK and which really took off in France are weather vanes… or “girouettes” as they are called on this side of the Channel. They come in all shapes and subjects – although tend to be roughly the same size so are easy to frame from ground level with a regular 200mm telephoto or the long end of a telephoto-zoom lens.

As with any subject there is always more than one way to photography it… I try to photograph each weather vane I find in full sunlight and then as a semi-silhouette to make their shape stand out more. Either way, I generally make sure there is a rich blue sky as a background. I think that grey skies are a killer when clients are looking at images… so much so that I rarely snap away with my camera unless there is an solid expanse of blue in the frame!

One potential problem I’ve found when photographing weather vanes in France is that the English directions of North, South, East and West become Nord, Sud, Est and Ouest… the “N”, “S” and “E” letters are common to both countries, but there is a problem with the “W” and “O” looking odd if prominent in the composition. The weather vane above was chosen by an Italian client so again their “Nord” and “Sud” corresponded with our North and South… but our East and West  would look odd in an Italian publication where “Oriental” and “Ovest” were the norm. However, the Italian publisher must have been aware of this and probably looked through my collection (and possibly those of others on Alamy) for a vane with only the “N” and “S” prominent.

There are many hundreds of individual weather vanes to choose from with several agencies I know of, and finding something with a unique aspect or even a little out of the ordinary is often difficult… so perhaps my example of a Cock with the chance addition of a Great Tit took the researches fancy with the real bird’s contrasting flash of bright yellow… although I doubt the “Cock and Tit” connotation has the same meaning when translated into Italian!

This image was licensed RM by Alamy for reproduction in an Italian textbook with a 5,000 print-run on a three-year license under my “Directions” pseudonym, which includes all general information signs, road directions and markings.

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