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Category: Travel (page 2 of 44)

Palais Garnier

Day Eight

In my opinion, one of the most spectacular sites in Paris is the Opera House, better known to locals as Palais Garnier. I’d rank it higher than the crowded Palace of Versailles.

Latin Quarter and
Champs Elysee

Day Seven

We did a walking tour of the Latin Quarter, and later in the day we walked along the Champs Elysee, which had a huge Christmas market about a mile long, and is where I did much of my street photography.

By now, we’ve become quite comfortable using the Paris Metro, which is convenient and easy to navigate.

Another reminder that you can view more images and videos from our trip by clicking here.

Paris Street Photography

According to Wikipedia, Street Photography – which is not always shot in the street, but which is nearly always black & white – has its roots in Paris. What better place then, to try to master the craft? Luckily, my new Fuji x100T may be the best camera available for the genre. It’s perfect because it’s small, fast and completely silent.

Street photographers in the past chose black and white film due to its greater light sensitivity. This allowed them to stop motion blur. Today’s digital cameras with their super-fast lenses and sensors are well-suited to freezing motion. I chose shutter priority at about 1/500th of a second for most of these.

Focusing is a bit trickier. I am usually not looking through the viewfinder when I make these shots. Instead, I carry the camera at or even below my waist and pretend to be fiddling with it, while in fact I’m snapping pictures as fast as I can. I thought that maybe I should try a fixed focus distance – say ten feet – and shoot everything from that distance, but this proved to be difficult and produced a lot of blurry shots. It’s easier to let the camera (attempt to) autofocus. Naturally, when you or your subject are on the move, you will still get plenty of out-of-focus shots, but occasionally, you’ll achieve something wonderful.

Yes, shooting this way is a bit random, and you could argue that there is little skill required to make shots this way. That’s mostly true. The thing is though, that shooting “from the hip” can result in images which are more interesting and more emotional than shots of the same old architectural and landscape subjects. This is especially true these days, when virtually every square inch of the planet has been photographed by someone with far more talent and much better hardware on that one day when the light was just perfect.

Christmas Day in Paris

Day Six

It’s Christmas! The timing of the day’s activities was perfect, as we arrived at Notre Dame during a gorgeous Christmas mass. Aside from the mass, the day felt pretty much like any other. None of the usual Christmas misery. Just fun exploring new places. What a great day!

In the afternoon, we strolled through the Latin Quarter with a tour group from the ship.

A reminder that you can view all of the images and videos from our trip by clicking here.

Auvers Sur Oise

Day Five

We visited the last home of Vincent Van Gogh, and stood on the very spot where several of his paintings were made. We learned that he made more than 70 paintings in the last 70 days of his unhappy life.

We also got our first glimpse of the sun today, which lasted about 30 minutes.

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