On Location | Photographing Paris

A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.
— Thomas Jefferson

I can’t believe how long it has taken me to write a small post about the 24 hours I spent in Paris with the family last year. We tagged a night in the city on to the end of our stay near Paris as my Wife and I wanted to take our two daughters into the city we both love and show them a few of the sights.

At the beginning of our trip, we actually stopped off for a weekend stay in Bruges, Belgium. You can read all about that visit here: On Location Photographing Bruges.

So, with this being a family holiday, photography was not the priority. We were out during the day and eating and drinking in the evening during the best light. At the time of our visit, Europe was in a bit of a heatwave and temperatures were hitting high 30’s (pushing 100 degrees in old money) so there would be no moody, atmospheric skies on this trip, It was mostly white fluffy clouds and blue skies. I took plenty of photos documenting the family trip but even with these bright, sunny, daytime conditions, I also managed to mix in a little bit of my own travel photography as I went along.

For this trip, my camera of choice was the Fujifilm XT2 and I took just two lenses. The XF18-55mm for the standard zoom and XF55-200mm for the extra reach. Both offer a great balance between excellent quality and minimal weight and great for walking around capturing the city.

Once back home, I used some of my existing presets in Adobe’s Lightroom to kick off the editing and provide a base edit. From there I tweaked and adjusted to find the look I wanted. For this set, I was looking for a slightly desaturated look to help tone down the blue sky, sunny day, holiday snap look.

Photographing Notre-Dame de Paris.

Early on we took the view that with 24 hours in the city, our options to cover all of the sites was limited. With the hot weather, we didn’t want to be rushing around so we decided to focus on 3 locations. Notre-Dame de Paris, Musée du Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. 3 classic tourist hotspots.

Having checked in and dropped off our bags, we took a brief trip on the Metro to Notre-Dame.

I couldn’t write this post without referencing the horrendous fire that took place at this historic cathedral. At the time of our visit, the fire was many months away and I could never have imagined this beautiful structure going through such an ordeal and still be in a position to be restored. Luckily that is the case and with so many around the world donating to the cause, restoration works are already underway. It will be a few years before we get to see Notre-Dame back to its best so I take some comfort that I was able to capture these images during my visit.

Around 10 years ago, back in 2009, I took a photo from the back of Notre-Dame looking down the river. This was my favourite composition of the cathedral so as we wandered around the area I decided to pop back to the same spot and capture a fresh copy. One day, after the restoration is complete, I will visit specifically to take a sunrise/sunset shot of this composition. Yes, it has been photographed countless times during the golden hour but none of them taken by me, with my style.

Notre-Dame Cathedral | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/1,900 second | f/3.2 | ISO200

Notre-Dame Cathedral | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/1,900 second | f/3.2 | ISO200

Pont Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/2,900 second | f/4 | ISO200

Pont Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/2,900 second | f/4 | ISO200

Entrance to Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/600 second | f/4 | ISO200

Entrance to Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/600 second | f/4 | ISO200

 
Rue de Bièvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/350 second | f/4 | ISO200

Rue de Bièvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/350 second | f/4 | ISO200

 
 
The Towers of Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/2,400 second | f/3.2 | ISO200

The Towers of Notre-Dame | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/2,400 second | f/3.2 | ISO200

 
Notre-Dame from Pont d'Archeveche | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1,250 second | f/4 | ISO200

Notre-Dame from Pont d'Archeveche | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1,250 second | f/4 | ISO200

Photographing the Eiffel Tower.

As we had so little time in the city, we couldn’t spend too much time at each location but we decided that if we were to fully explore one of our three places, it would have to be the Eiffel Tower. When presented a choice to our daughters, going up the Eiffel Tower was the unanimous decision. So, during the late afternoon, into the evening, we had a great time around the area.

We travelled to the second level of the tower and wandered around taking in the views. This is where having my 55-200mm lens came in handy. I was able to capture both the wider Parisian cityscape and also get in close and pick out some of the details around the city.

The Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 27mm | 1/1,5000 second | f/3.6 | ISO200

The Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 27mm | 1/1,5000 second | f/3.6 | ISO200

Roman Warrior by Louis-Joseph Daumas | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1000 second | f/6.4 | ISO200

Roman Warrior by Louis-Joseph Daumas | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1000 second | f/6.4 | ISO200

Sacré-Cœur Basilica from the Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,100 second | f/7.1 | ISO200

Sacré-Cœur Basilica from the Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,100 second | f/7.1 | ISO200

The Montparnasse Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1,700 second | f/4.5 | ISO200

The Montparnasse Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 55mm | 1/1,700 second | f/4.5 | ISO200

 
Trocadéro Gardens and La Défense | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/125 second | f/13 | ISO200

Trocadéro Gardens and La Défense | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/125 second | f/13 | ISO200

 
Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 122mm | 1/1,700 second | f/4.2 | ISO200

Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 122mm | 1/1,700 second | f/4.2 | ISO200

 
Trocadéro Gardens and Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/4,400 second | f/4.5 | ISO200

Trocadéro Gardens and Eiffel Tower | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 18mm | 1/4,400 second | f/4.5 | ISO200

 

Photographing the Musée du Louvre

Before it was time to go and get the car and head home, we were able to spend a few hours around the Musée du Louvre. Even though we didn’t have time to explore inside the museum this time, we had a great time wandering the grounds and hanging about near the fountains getting wet from the spray which on such a hot day, was very welcome indeed.

Photographically, this area provides lots of opportunities to try different techniques such as juxta-positioning contrasting architecture to create interesting compositions or exploring the various walkways and using the deep shadows and bright openings to frame a subject as I did below with the lady walking past the end of the tunnel.

The Louvre Pyramid | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 34mm | 1/680 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

The Louvre Pyramid | Fujifilm XT2 | XF18-55mm | 34mm | 1/680 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

The Louvre Pyramid | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 34mm | 1/1,000 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

The Louvre Pyramid | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 34mm | 1/1,000 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

 
The Louvre Streets | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 55mm | 1/950 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

The Louvre Streets | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 55mm | 1/950 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

 
Carrousel Arc de Triomphe | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 164mm | 1/2,500 second | f/5 | ISO200

Carrousel Arc de Triomphe | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 164mm | 1/2,500 second | f/5 | ISO200

 
Street Lamps at Musée du Louvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,500 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

Street Lamps at Musée du Louvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,500 second | f/5.6 | ISO200

 
Big Wheel at Musée du Louvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,250 second | f/4.8 | ISO200

Big Wheel at Musée du Louvre | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 200mm | 1/1,250 second | f/4.8 | ISO200

 
Pont des Arts | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 55mm | 1/1,400 second | f/4 | ISO200

Pont des Arts | Fujifilm XT2 | XF55-200mm | 55mm | 1/1,400 second | f/4 | ISO200

 
 
Paris 061.jpg

We had such a fantastic 24 hours in Paris. The weather was great, the kids had a blast and I was able to capture a few snaps along the way.

It’s off to Ghent, Belgium next but I am sure we will be booking a longer stay in Paris together soon enough and you never know, I might even get that golden hour shot of Notre-Dame I want so badly.

See all of my photos from Paris here in the Travel section of my website.