Vista from Montparnasse Tower

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge — Vista.

Many tourists ascend the Eiffel Tower to see the vistas of Paris. We have.  There are two problems when doing this. The first is that the most iconic structure in Paris, the Eiffel Tower itself, is not part of that vista. The second is that a nondescript skyscraper, the Montparnasse Tower, is part of that vista.

We had a one day stopover in Paris while coming home from Central Europe last month. We decided to take in the vista from the top of the Montparnasse Tower.  It costs less than visiting the Eiffel Tower and the view is better! This is one of the shots we got from the Montparnasse Tower Observation Deck.

 

 

Cinderella May and Prince Charming Macron — Street Art

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Challenge #45 Street Art.

This beautifully-drawn street art in Paris, France, features Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) and Leader of the Conservative Party.  The tableau suggest that Cinderella May, with her iconic pearl necklace and a UK sash, is leaving Prince Charming Macron behind with the UK’s (symbolic) star from the flag of the European Union (EU).  One item missing is a Brexit clock about to strike midnight. We wonder: Had this street art been composed in the UK, how would it have been different?

 

This photo was taken on April 9, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 200, f/9.0, 1/80 sec, 29 mm.

Freedom of Expression at the Palais de Tokyo

This is our entry in iScriblr’s FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION” Challenge! PHOTOGRAPH!.

A very popular interactive exhibit in the Palais de Tokyo in Paris is a set of white backlit screens. Visitors pose behind the screens for the enjoyment of spectators on the other side.   We spent quite a few minutes here photographing displays of uninhibited freedom of expression.

After a few minutes, it became obvious that the camera, a Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (known in Europe as a Canon 200D), was also exhibiting its freedom of expression. The screens were white, the backlights were white, and the images seen by the human eye were black figures on a white background.  The backgrounds captured by the camera were shades of blue, yellow, green, purple and orange. Not white. The images captured by our other camera, a Fuji X100T, were black figures on a white background, as were the images captured on the smart phones of other spectators near us.

When we have more time, we will try to figure out why the Canon decided to express its artsy side at that time and place: it has not repeated that behavior since.  Was it due to the screen material? The camera sensor?  If anyone else has experienced this false color artifact, or knows why it happens, we would really like to know.

This photo was taken on April 10, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 6400, f/3.5, 1/250 sec, 22 mm.

Free Mustard in Paris

There are a number of sites in Paris where photographers can get “unique” photos of the Eiffel Tower. One is beneath the Bir-Harkeim Bridge. There is a lovely arch there that frames the scene. We went there on our last visit to Paris.

While photographing the tower, each of us felt plops on our clothing and heads, then more plops. A well-dressed couple (certainly more natty than us) approached and said  “We saw what just happened! Those birds just pooped on you. Here, let us help.” The woman of the couple reached a container of wet wipes to us. A small alarm went off in our still jet-lagged brains since the birds seemed very well fed, had exceptional aim, and seemed particularly malevolent towards us. Also, it seemed suprisingly fortunate that someone was walking by with an open container of wet wipes. Because it was difficult to process what had happened, we accepted some wet wipes and thanked them but refused their offer to help us wipe the droppings off our clothing.  They went farther down the bridge and began to “help” another couple with their camera.

We got our pictures and left miserably to get a fresh change of clothing at our AirBnB. As we were riding the metro back to the apartment, we began to notice a strong smell of vinegar on our clothing. After briefly considering the possibility that Paris has gourmet pigeons, we began to realize that the bird droppings were actually mustard (our guess was grey poupon with a nice dash of dijon).  We had just missed being victims of a classic pickpocketing scheme. In any case, we got this photo with a serving of mustard on the side.

 

 

Notre Dame Cathedral Before and After

Paris is a gateway city to Europe for us with (relatively) cheap and (relatively) short flights from our home on the East Coast of the US.  After we had departed Paris for Prague this April, there was a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. We went to see the damage during our final day of vacation in Paris while waiting for our return flight home.

We used Google Maps to get directions from our hotel to Notre Dame. When we asked for the route, it said “Notre Dame is permanently closed.” We went anyway. The area around the cathedral was surrounded by barricades. The area around the barricades was surrounded by a sea of tourists snapping photos. We waded in.

We took a night photo tour of Paris in 2015 when we were just getting serious about photography. A location we used is down a set of steps to the Seine River opposite the cathedral. It wasn’t blocked off and it wasn’t full of Instagrammers, so we took some shots from there. Fortunately, one of the pictures we took this time matched a photo from the night tour.

We put the before and after shots in the following slide show. The slide in the middle is an overlay of the two photos aligned as layers in Photoshop with the 2015 “before” shot at 50% opacity. It helps (us at least) visualize what was lost in the fire.

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Even Graffiti Eyes Can Cry — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Eyes

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Eyes.

Graffiti is everywhere in Paris, France. What drew me to this street art, sprayed under the shelter of an arch near Place des Vosges, were the eyes.  If I had seen these crying eyes for the first time just eight days later, I would have said even graffiti eyes cried for the burning Notre Dame Cathedral.

This photo was taken on April 7, 2019. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 800, f/3.5, 1/500 sec, 18 mm.

Glass Dome of the Galerie Colbert

This is our entry in Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #43–Less is More.

The Galerie Colbert is a covered arcade belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris, France. This photo was taken looking up at the beautiful glass dome of the rotunda. Radiating out from the rotunda are the Institut Nationale d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) and the Institut National du Patrimoine (INP).

This photo was taken on April 10, 2019. The image was converted to black and white to emphasize the “Less is More” theme. Specs are:

Canon 200D, ISO 200, f/9.0, 1/160 sec, 10 mm.