The Montparnasse Tower juts above the Paris skyline. Its elevators are the fastest in Europe: 38 seconds between the ground floor and the 56th. A countdown clock in the elevator — where you would expect to see floor numbers — flashes rapidly as the elevator ascends or descends. 38 seconds of elevator plus three more flights of stairs takes you to the 210 meter high Observation Deck hovering above Paris. It provides a 360 degree panoramic view extending 40 km in all directions (on a clear day), including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Montmartre, Sacre Coeur, the Pantheon, the Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe — in fact, everything but Montparnasse Tower. The photo below shows the one view you can’t see from the Observation Deck.
This photo was taken on April 24, 2019, with a Canon 200D.
The jellyfish are one of our favorite exhibits at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. They glow in the ultraviolet light of their display tank. At about 95% water, they literally embody the element water for the photo challenge.
These photos were taken on May 26, 2019, with an Olympus TG-5.
In the fall of 2014, we visited Shimla in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, hoping to see the Himalayas without actually climbing them. Instead, we were merely terrified passengers in the car that climbed to Shimla about 2200 meters above sea level. (We had traveled from Amritsar to Shimla in one day, with the last three hours of the journey being 85 km of steep zig-zag road, thankfully arriving before pitch black night.) The hotel for our three nights in Shimla was Wildflower Hall, the former residence of Lord Kitchener, commander-in-chief of the British Army in India (1902-1909). On our last night there, we found this lovely sendoff on a small table in our room.
See You Soon
This photo was taken on October 28, 2014. Specs are:
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.
Colliding waterdrops create a delicate umbrella — here for a brief instant, then gone forever. The photo below was created using our tripod-mounted Canon 50D and an ancient 100 mm macro lens in front of a paper background. The shutter was opened for two seconds while two drops of water were released into a martini glass filled with water. A flash, perpendicular to the camera, was triggered when the waterdrops collided. It illuminated the scene for 1/8000 of a second. In the “umbrella” shape seen in the photo, the “shaft” is created as the first drop plunges into the water in the glass and then rebounds into the air. The “canopy” is created when the second drop collides with the rebounding first drop. (Technical note: It doesn’t really matter how long the shutter remains open as long as an image taken without the flash is black).
This photo was taken on March 29, 2017. Specs are:
When we visited Southeast Asia in 2017, one of the highlights was trekking combined with a homestay near Sa Pa, Vietnam. Many homes in the area have added on a room or two to host visitors, providing dinner and breakfast of interesting and filling local food. Our homestay had a large shared dormitory-style room for guides and other guests, as well as a concrete addition with three private rooms and a shared bathroom. The wall pictured below separated an inner common room from outside tables. The rustic round gourd hanging on the wall contrasts with the square panes of the modern window wall. The windows reflect the everyday world of the family, especially the red laundry hanging over the fence to dry.
This photo was taken on February 16, 2017. Specs are:
Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/2.4, 1/40 sec, 5.87 mm
For more photos from this trek, please see our posts:
Following a few hours of after-sunset photography atop Buda Castle Hill and Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary, we set up tripods at the Pest end of Chain Bridge to capture light trails. There is an island between the inbound and outbound lanes of traffic that is safe for pedestrians. To create the trails in the photo, a series of eight 30 second exposures was stacked in Photoshop layers, aligned, and merged into a single image using the lighten blending mode.
Light Trails at Chain Bridge
An interesting phenomenon that occurs when you have a good spot is that it attracts other photographers. After a few minutes here, several other people with cameras popped up. They weren’t using tripods so they can’t have been taking this shot.