In a continuation of my processing experiments I made a little something that ended up making me think of graphic novels. I usually try my best to not have any preconceived set of parameters for my photos, rather I try to let them lead me where they want to go. I have been working on this photo for some time honestly. The coloring really was giving me trouble. This is actually shot at sunset and the sky is a nice blue and purple, but the lights of the palace grounds are in full blaze making a heavy hue of tungsten. I processed the photo twice for each color temperature, but still couldn’t get things feeling right. I ended up trying black and white which I really liked but then started playing with selective color, something I generally dislike. In this particular instance I think it came out very fun!
I have shared my love of train stations in the past. This one is perhaps one of the oldest and coolest of the bunch I have photographed so far. It was built for the 1900 Exposition, over the years, the station because unsuitable for modern trains. It went through a number of lives, then in 1970 it was slated for demolition. WHAT!
Luckily for everyone a very smart person in the government ruled against demolition and it was decided the old train station would make a wonderful museum. I can’t image the wonderful architectural treasures we have lost…Orsay is a testament to what can happen to these treasures when they are given modern jobs.
Angels and Demons
I am not sure what this guy (woman?) is supposed to be honestly. I used to be decent at various myths, but I am at a loss with this one. Somehow he was important enough to display in the gardens surrounding the palace at Versailles. I still don’t know what it is about this planter that caught my interest. Perhaps its the way he is perched like a handle on this pot atop the head of some other mythological creature that caught my eye. Regardless, he (or she) is forever captured for all to see.
It is truly staggering how much funding monarchs have. The Palace at Versailles is the perfect example of the excesses of power; its beauty and seductiveness as well as its darker side. The site was originally a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, then was later expanded by the same monarch to a château. Major construction bringing the palace up to the scope it enjoys today didn’t occur till the reign of Louis XIV and was accomplished in multiple stages (or building campaigns). It is an incredibly overwhelming complex of palaces. If you are in Paris, I highly recommend this day trip. Enjoy the wonderful romp though France’s decadent past! As a side note, yes that is actually gold (leaf) on the roof. If you find that impressive, you should see the inner gate!
Walking down Rue Cler in Pairs, there are quite a number of shops that have wonderful little surprises sitting on the sidewalk for you to explore. This is one such vendor that had a bucket of roses in a multitude of colors. The funny thing is a really wanted to do this one in black and white despite all the wonderful color. I usually saturate the bee-Jesus out of my photographs, but for some reason I felt like exploring the texture and tones in this photo. I always feel like a need to do more black and white, I just get caught up in my love of color.
This is a three shot (-2, 0, +2) HDR, combined in Photomatix enhanced in Lightroom. I then exported to Photoshop and use Nik (color efx pro, and silver efx) I then saved and did all the finish work in Lightroom.
The world famous Mouiln Rouge in Paris is a cabaret built in 1889 and is known to we Americans as the place that made the cancan famous. It is located near Montmartre though I believe it is technically in Pagalle, a section of the city know for its more lurid nature. We though perhaps it was better to avoid some parts of the Quartier at night, but honestly I think Times Square back in the 90’s was more of an event. The shows can get sort of expensive at Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill literally translated) and there wasn’t anything we particularly wanted to see though from the photo you can see we missed Les Petits Chevaux du Moulin Rouge (The Small Horses of Moulin Rouge)…oh well maybe next time.
This is a three bracket exposure (-2, 0, +2) taken on a gorillapod. The brackets were combined in Photomatix, cleaned up in Photoshop, enhanced with Nik Software, and finished in Lightroom. Total processing time was around 1 hour.
I went crazy photographing at the Louvre courtyard…I just couldn’t seem to get enough photos of those I.M. Pei pyramids. Most of the french consider them to be a blight on the beauty of the Louvre Palace, and to tell you the truth I have never understood what a modern sculpture is doing on precipice of an old art museum. It seems like these would be better suited for Centre Pompidou, but what do I know.
This is a three shot bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix. All other adjustments were done in Lightroom 4.
Crazy Cool Style
If you happen to get to Paris (which I highly recommend) give the Muséum National D’Histoire Naturelle some time on your schedule. In particular visit the Grande Galerie de l’Evloution. It is perhaps one of the craziest and coolest places in Paris. It sort of has this built in steampunk appeal that sort of goes with the theme of the museum somehow. I don’t know how the aesthetic even works in this setting, but it really does.
The museum is host to a very large taxidermy collection (which I find weird in and of itself) as well as what I am sure is a lengthy description of Darwin’s theory. One of the most prominent displays is of a Noah’s Arc like procession, which is interesting considering the American religious discord with respect to Darwinism. Perhaps it’s a statement how the French don’t seem to find that much conflict between science and religion (France is largely Catholic). Some English reading materials are available, but that seemed to be an exception rather than a rule.
It had been raining most of the day in Paris. The streets were still very damp the night Pamela and I walked the hill to Sacre Coeur through Montmartre. I had been looking for the Le Consulat building, everyone takes a photo of it when they visit Montmartre; it sort of stands out among the other buildings. Because of the rain the cobblestone streets in this old part of town seemed very black. Much like one of those wonderful old Film Noir movies I so love. I was, photographically speaking, happy for the continuing mist that kept things damp that night, even though it made for a chillier walk. I think Pamela described the mist with different words.
On Other Photographers
There probably isn’t much doubt that I really enjoy my photography. I take it more seriously than a good number of things and as such I spend quite some time scouring the web looking for inspiration, ideas…challenges to issue to myself. I recently stumbled upon (actually it was Google+) a photographer named Elia Locardi who runs the site Blame the Monkey. I was blown away by Elia’s work with color. It made me stop and think about where I place my emphasis during post. His work seemed to issue a challenge to me to pay closer attention to leading the viewer’s eye and color in my own images. Today’s photo of Le Consulat is a step in that direction.
High atop Montmartre in Paris is the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart). Built in just under 40 years between 1875 and 1914, the Byzantine inspired structure was built, in the words of the Arch-Bishop at the time “expiate the crimes of the Commune”.
Time to Pay UP People
You see, Montmatre is a bit seedy; and apparently has always been the place to go to for cheap wine and all the other things that go along with cheap wine. Honestly, I didn’t find it all that shocking…Times Square in the 90’s was more of an event, but to be honest we didn’t venture in to Pigalle (Pig Alley) where the real action is proported to be located. Since it sits at the summit of Montmartre, the basilica offers one of the best views in Paris.