[Update: By popular demand I cropped the original image (which is now at the bottom of the post) to remove the railing. Once I did that crop, I really felt like the fountain was too close to the edge of the frame so I cropped that out too. Hated to lose it, but it needed to go. I also used Lightroom’s healing brush to get rid of a few heads and such which were on the edge of the frame due to the crop. Finally, I cropped out the top of the sky to get an aspect ratio I liked and added a touch of vignette. If I were reworking this image I’d probably do some cloning in the sky to make it “fit” better on the edges of the frame but I’m not going to go through that effort for this shot. Thanks everyone for the input!]
My wife and I are planning a trip this summer with three of our older girls. We haven’t settled on a destination yet but in the process of thinking about the upcoming trip I couldn’t help but reminisce about our trip to Paris two years ago. I would happily go to Paris again — so many things I didn’t get to see last time (and so many I’d like to see again).
I took the shot above (an HDR processed from three handheld exposures) on our first day in Paris. This one is almost impressionist in feel. The edges are soft and I only partially masked in some of the ghosted people from the various exposure. It would be unacceptable as a print but makes a nice, moody image when viewed at the appropriate size (smallish).
One of the important shots from Paris…my wife and I on a bridge over the Seine.
Paris is amazing. Almost everything was more impressive than my expectations. The Louvre — to my wife and I the building itself was more impressive than the art itself. Even though I had read many times how big the place was it still exceeded my expectations. Notre Dame — bigger and more impressive (inside and out) than pictures can possibly convey. We were really impressed by the architecture of Les Invalides (where Napoleon’s tomb is) which was a place we’d never really heard of before. The average building along any street might have sculptures and immense, impressive doorways. Etc, etc, etc. As much as we like Washington D.C. we’ve decided that Paris makes D.C. look like a kiddie park.
Here’s a shot of my wife in one of the rooms of the Louvre. Very cool.
We ended up in Paris by planning a trip to Italy. Paris wasn’t even on the list of places that I necessarily planned to visit in my lifetime. Long story short we found out that flying to Paris would use 40k frequent flyer miles each vs 120k each to fly to Rome. Then the plan became “fly to Paris, spend a day or two, then night train to Milan to begin our Italy adventure”. As we planned the “day or two” in Paris we discovered a couple month’s worth of stuff we wanted to see and do there…it became a Paris trip at that point. No regrets. Lord willing, an Italy trip will happen at a later date.
As I mentioned in a previous post this was *not* a photo trip. I took plenty of photos (probably 1000-ish) but only a handful were thought-out shots. Shot mostly jpeg. Never once used a tripod. In reality this made it a much better trip because in “photography mode” I could have spent hours at about every street corner. I found that I used my 10-20mm about 90% of the time…getting pretty addicted to that lens (Raul Touzon’s doing) but I wish it were far sharper.
The shot below is the entrance to the Paris Opera (or Palais Garnier or a host of other names). This was taken after we got off the bus from the airport — great place to start hitting the streets of Paris. The people on the balcony give a sense of size. Inside Musee d’Orsay there’s a cutaway view of this building which is really cool to see.
We had an incredible time together visiting the sights, walking the streets, hanging out at cafes. Worth every penny we spent. We found the French very friendly and willing to suffer through our pathetic French phrases before they answered in (usually) excellent English. It was a positive experience all around and I can’t wait to go back.