Sunday, 7 September 2014

Paris Through the Viewfinder - The Streets

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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Part of the beauty and charm of Paris is that even when you're not looking at an historic monument or tourist attraction, you are still looking at something beautiful. No matter where you go, Paris has something to offer. And in many cases, some of the greatest views in the city are seen just by looking down a side street. The cobblestone roads, the ancient buildings, and the cars, bikes, and scooters parked or driving down the streets can always make for a great photo. 

I like to photograph corners of buildings with little caf├ęs on the ground level. You can see the people sitting, eating, and people-watching. Many of the buildings on the corners are flat-iron buildings, or have curves and amazingly detailed brick and stone work to add some texture to the photo. I like to capture one or both of the oncoming roads, giving the building some context, and hopefully capturing people or cars coming down the street. It makes the city seem alive when you capture people or cars in the frame. But sometimes it's great to see the area empty and peaceful, because that doesn't happen very often in many parts of Paris, especially during the summer months.

When I walk down the street, I try to look both up and down. I look up toward the tops of the buildings. In some of the tighter streets, the buildings are co close together that simply pointing your camera straight up let's you catch many building corners or edges at the same time, as well as pieces of the sky. With some clouds to give texture in the sky, these photos can look really great. I try to do pictures like this at intersections where I can catch the corners of all the buildings at the crossing, and when there are really cool structures like churches or flat-iron buildings. 

Looking downward, you can find great detail or texture pictures in the cobblestones, bricks, or sewer drains. As well as getting pictures of just the details, getting down to the level of the street can give a cool perspective of the street that you don't often see. Usually we hold our camera at our face and walk down the street, but it can be really great to crouch down and take a picture close to the ground.
I love cars, so I take a lot of pictures down streets with single car parked at the curb. I try to get angles that showcase the car, with the buildings just providing a nice backdrop. There are a lot of great older cars in Paris, and they are usually parked outside of great older buildings. Sometimes I take the photo on an angle, and sometimes I take one straight onto the buhuildings. From straight on, you can see the signs for the stores or restaurants, which can have great artwork. From angles, you can catch the corners of a couple different buildings, and more of the detail in the street.

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