Paris at Night   5 comments

Night photography in Paris is fortunately something that I planned for in advance.  After all, how could a photographer go to the “City of Lights” right before Christmas and not capture images after the sun goes down?  The problem is that good night photography requires a tripod, and tripods are a pain in the butt to schlepp around on airplanes — especially when you need to travel light.

So I left my large, expensive carbon fiber tripod at home.  What I brought along instead was a cheap little aluminum tripod that I picked up at a yard sale this summer for $1.00!  I fitted this cheapie with a $40 Arca Swiss style quick release plate, and Presto! — a small, lightweight, and totally functional QR tripod for under $50 that fit nicely into my duffel bag.

It was worth the effort.  Many of the following images could not have been captured without that little tripod.

(Above) Location: Paris.  Champs-Elysees from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.  It only took 284 thigh-burning steps to get up there, but the view . . .  wow!

(Above) Location: Paris.  It’s kind of hard to miss the Eiffel Tower at night.  Stunning, and not at all subtle.

(Above) Location: Paris.  At 200mm zoom.

(Above) Location: Paris.  At 300mm zoom.

(Above) Location: Paris.  A portion of the courtyard at The Louvre, looking away from the famous glass pyramid.

(Above) Location: Paris.  I. M. Pei’s famous pyramid at The Louvre.  Note that there are not 666 panes, despite what the Da Vinci Code claims.  There are reportedly 673 panes.

(Above) Location: Paris.  A fusion of new and old architecture.

(Above) Location: Paris.  Two of the smaller pyramids that flank the larger one.  Monochrome image.

(Above) Location: Paris.  Another section of The Louvre courtyard and another monochrome image.  The starburst effect was created by stopping down the aperture to f/22.  The result of stopping down the aperture is that the exposure time really lengthens — to as much as 30 seconds for some images.  Hence the need for a tripod.

(Above) Location: Paris.  Walking past shops on the way to the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.

(Above) Location: Paris.  Lamps and cobblestone street outside of the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur.

(Above) Location: Paris.  We arrived at the Basilque du Sacre-Coeur too late to go inside.  These street lamps, however, were great photo subjects.

(Above) Location: Paris.


Posted January 13, 2012 by ~ Bruce in Europe, Travel Photography

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5 responses to “Paris at Night

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  1. Yes! The city of lights!

    The first shot–fascinating! It makes me curious about playing with software to move it into an impressionistic image… that it ends up looking like a design of color, rather than an actual image. Could almost envision it as an impressionistic/modern Christmas tree…..and then “voila!”….it’s revealed that it is an actual photograph of the Champs-Elysees. Could make an utterly creative christmas card. Glad you are healthy enough to have climbed those nearly 300 steps!

    Love your work, Bruce. So you took these on your way or way back from Ghana last month?



    • Hi Marion!

      Paris was the last leg of our trip. We stayed in an apartment that we rented from a journalist who was in Israel for the month. It was less than a ten minute walk from the Seine, Notre Dame, etc., and half the price of staying in a Paris hotel!

      I love your visualization of the Champs-Elysees. I’ll have to figure out a way to blur the stream of car lights to make it look like a Christmas tree . . .


  2. Beautiful images! I love night photography, and miss out on a lot of great shots when I travel because I hate carrying around my big bulky tripod. Great idea picking up a light and inexpensive one to take on trips – especially with results like these!

    • Thanks Jennifer. I just checked out your website and loved the Recoleta post. I’ll go back later this evening to check out the other posts — when my work day is over. Thanks for visiting — I’m always happy to hear from fellow photographers!

  3. Pingback: The Louvre « photoriety

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