I love to travel! Lucky for me I have the most amazing wife ever and she also loves to travel. In fact, the reason we moved far away from family and friends and came to the Middle East is because we could travel more frequently and to some pretty great places. While I love traveling, there is one thing I don’t do so well with…cities. I totally get that this is crazy sounding, but I’m really good out in the country or on a mountain. I can find where I need to go and I love it. Cities on the other hand are too crowded, busy, smelly, and its almost impossible to get photos that a million people haven’t already taken. Unfortunately, that same wonderful wife that I mentioned earlier loves cities, and not just a little bit. So a couple of months ago she asked if we could go to Paris this past month, and because she is (once again) so wonderful, how could I say no? So we went to Paris and we had a great time. It was not too crowded, the food was amazing, and the sites were impressive. While we were there, I had one goal, to come away with some unique images. Yes, I wanted to get unique images of probably the most photographed city in the world. In my mind there was only one way to accomplish this, to focus on the details.
Typically when I am traveling I go for the grand scene, something to make the viewer stand in awe at the beauty of the scene, but to focus on the grand would be to do what all the other photographers do each year and like I said, I needed to be unique. So day after day when we would be walking around I would do my best to get out of my “typical” mindset to go for the wide shot and instead went for the different.
Please don’t think that by me saying that you should focus on the details is me saying that you have to get close up and shoot all your next city shots as macro shots, I’m not. Rather focus on the little things that make wherever you are different from other places and include things in your photo that make it different from others. Focus on the patterns, the streets, and of course, the people, because these are the kind of photos that make your photos different and amazing!
Now I’m not saying that I didn’t get the standard iconic shots in Paris, of course I did! I got the shots in front of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Versailles, but while in these places, and others, I did my best to look for things that people wouldn’t automatically recognize as a copy of everyone’s work ahead of me, but would still be recognizable as to where it was taken.
The results were great! By focusing on different angles and aspects I was able to come away with some great images, not only of different angles of historic sites but also images that set a city apart from the rest of the world.
Local produce at a farmers market. These were amazing, way better than the ones in the US we used to go to.
1/60, f/3.5, ISO 800
Just some amazing brick I loved. The symmetry was just fantastic all over Paris.
1/100, f/3.5, ISO 500
The roof of the Pantheon. I wasn’t allowed to shoot with a tripod(lots of places you aren’t) so I had to boost my ISO quite a bit.
Once again getting the detail and the symmetry in the building.
1/100, f/2.8, ISO 1000
A local man was throwing bread crumbs off the bridge to the birds along the Seine. I love the detail in the clouds contrasted with the buildings along the banks.
1/500, f/6.3, ISO 320, Focus point on the gull in the top of the frame
Detail from inside the pyramid at the Louvre shooting out just after dark.
2.5 sec, f/5, ISO 100
Candles inside a cathedral with nice bokeh in the background
1/60, f/2.8, ISO 800
The tower of Notre Dame. Shot at 14mm while sticking my camera out the barrier with a monopod for maximum range and using a timer to take the photo. Luckily, I didn’t drop it!
1/320, f/4.5, ISO 160
Backside of Notre Dame from the roof in the early morning light
Shadow detail in late afternoon.
1/400, f/5.6, ISO 320
Who doesn’t love Nutella Crepes?
1/320, f/5.6, ISO 320
Difference in the restored vs unrestored glass of St. Chapelle
1/13, f/2.8, ISO 640
See, I told you I too pics of the Eiffel Tower. By going off to the side I not only missed out on all the rest of the tourists taking photos
but I was able to include strong foreground elements.
15 sec., f/16, ISO 200
1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 100
View of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe. Taken just after sunset we still had great color in the sky but it was dark enough to show the city lights.
20 sec., f/13, ISO 50
Boats along the canal with clear separations in the different elements.
1/640, f/8, ISO 200
Don’t forget to try the vertical panorama. It adds a new element not typically used
1/200, f/2.8, ISO 400
A different angle of the Louvre still makes it easy to tell where it was taken but also different from other shots.
8 sec, f/6.3, ISO 100
© 2013, Tony. All rights reserved.