Sunday, 7 September 2014

Paris Through the Viewfinder - The Seine and its Bridges

Paris is known for many things, from its beautiful architecture to its delicious cuisine. I visited Paris in 2011 with my wife and was shocked by the unlimited opportunities to capture great images through the viewfinder of my camera. While wandering around Paris with my wife, my camera never left my eye. This blog will showcase some of the most amazing sites from a photographer's standpoint. Although most of the attractions here are the typical cliche touristy hotspots, I tried to capture the sites from unique vantage points.

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The River Seine winds and cuts through Paris, and many attractions are very close to its banks. Many parts of the city can be described as rive-gauche or rive-droit, refer to which side of the river they are located. There are 37 bridges over the River Seine, and each of them offer a great view, as you look out over the beautiful water and see the amazing French architecture. I didn't see all of the bridges, but I frequented the 5 bridges closest to Notre Dame. Each of them offered a very different view of the city. Some of them looked at either the front or the back of Notre Dame, while you can see the Eiffel Tower from others. Some bridges do not show any of the main attractions of Paris, but the surrounding architecture along can make for an interesting photograph.

I tried to get photos from the bridges at different time of the day. Sunrise and sunset offer great photos, but after the sun had set was also interesting. Large boats make their way down the river, and it's easy to capture a picture of a boat on the river with a cool sky in the background. I was lucky enough to be able to take some photos of an oncoming thunderstorm over the river. I was standing on one of the bridges and caught photos of an amazingly dramatic sky; some of which even had a bolt or two of lightning.
I took a lot of photos from the bridges with boats making their way down the river. Sometimes I took a longer exposure, and that was cool because the lights from the boat made trails along the river through the frame. And sometimes I took a much shorter exposure, in order to capture the boat's shape and the ripples in the water. 

Sometimes it is enough to get a picture of the bridges themselves. There is a great bridge which some refer to as the "lover's bridge," on which couples place locks with their names on them and throw the keys in the river. All of the metal on the bridge sparkles in the sunlight, and makes for some cool detail shots at any time of day. At the end of this bridge is the French language building, where the French dictionary is compiled. The wood on the floor of the bridge and the locks all over the sides make for a really great photo. There is also a great view from either side of this bridge. To one side, you can see Pont Neuf as it crosses the River Seine, and to the other side you can see the Eiffel Tower above some buildings. 

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