• Eric Arntzen

Photographing Paris - "Part Un"

Photos Taken January 31, 2018

A leg of the Eiffel Tower appears to be mid-stride over Paris. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 18mm, ISO 400, 1/1.6k

Recently my day job brought me to Germany and France for some customer visits. While I didn't have much time in Germany for photos, I did get to spend a day in Paris seeing the sights. What I found out almost immediately is that Paris is a city best seen on foot. A friend and I ended up walking over 6 miles, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, following the River Seine.

Walking from the Arc de Triomphe to Notre Dame was around 6 miles, following the River Siene for most of the way. Map courtesy of Google
A flooded road in Paris. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 55mm, ISO 400, 1/1.6k

It was an interesting time to visit Paris as it was during the peak of the January 2018 flood, where the River Seine was running 13 feet above normal. This meant no scenic boat tours (or boat traffic of any kind) because the river was running so fast and nearly overflowing the many bridges which crisscross. In fact, roads that normally run on either side of the river were completely submerged.

On top of the flooding, it was an overcast day with periods of rain, making for a washed out sky. After editing my photos, I found that many of them worked much better in black and white. This is likely because the muted colors and overcast sky look much more dramatic in black and white. Had it been a bright sunny day my preference would likely have been different.

Our one-day tour of Paris began at the Arc de Triomphe. Exiting the subway station, we initially thought the Arc was skinnier and smaller than we expected. Then we realized we were looking at the side of it.

Vehicles make their way around the Arc de Triomphe. Nikon D5300 at f/3.5 @ 18mm, ISO 400, 1/1.6k

One interesting thing about the Arc de Triomphe is the massive roundabout that surrounds it. Unlike most traffic circles, vehicles which are already in the circle must yield to those that are entering. With ten different roads all coming together, this makes for a chaotic scene and some near misses.

A close-up of the detailing on the Arc de Triomphe. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 55mm, ISO 400, 1/500

Right down the street from the Arc De Triumphe is perhaps the most famous building in Paris, the Eiffel Tower. It stands tall in the center of Paris and visitors can walk right up underneath it (though there is now a security fence installed that you must pass through). No other buildings in the area come close to matching the height of the Eiffel Tower, making it a recognizable landmark for miles in either direction.

The Iron Giant. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 18mm, ISO 400, 1/800

Many visitors elect to go to the top of the tower to take in the view but we had limited time so we moved on. Wandering along the River Sienne to our next destination we came across a collection of old pleasure boats tied up.

An antique pleasure boat moored along the River Seine. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 23mm, ISO 400, 1/800
A golden statue marks the start of the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 55m, ISO 400, 1/2k

We kept following the river towards the Louvre museum, spying the Italia Museum and the Ferris Wheel along the way (the latter felt admittedly out of place amongst the classical architecture). Despite the cold, gray day we saw plenty of Parisians and visitors alike enjoying the architecture of the city.

A Parisian feeds the birds at the Tuileries Garden. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 52mm, ISO 400, 1/1k
A man sells crepes on a street corner. Nikon D5300 at f/5.6 @ 55mm, ISO 400, 1/200

Be sure to check out Photographing Paris - "Part Deux" as the journey continues to the impressive Louvre museum and Notre Dame cathedral.


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