Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lean On Me

As you know, I agonise over taking pictures of Lady Eiffel because I'm petrified they'll be just another crappy tourist shot of this incredible icon. So I'm always happy to snap her, but I'm extremely aware that I have to do something different or it'll be worth practically nothing in creative terms and will impress nobody more that a postcard sold under the arch in one of those unfolding packs of 12 for a euro by one of those African guys who run away when the police come cycling by would! And we don't want that now, do we?

So the challenge is always there and this is what happened on a being-a-tourist-guide-for-friends trip to the Trocadero the other week.

The little lights you see on the tower actually sparkle - i.e. go on and off very quickly - but with the long exposure needed at night (without flash!) the shutter stays open long enough to record them. I've done a very small amount of post-processing, but thanks to Nikki and her super-stable floating lens or whatever I was able to hand-hold a reasonably sharp pic.

It's always funny to see tourists snapping things like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower from a few hundred metres away and their little built-in flashes popping away as though their meagre few watts is going to light up the whole building. Not that they are chosing - it's the camera that does that, but it's amusing nevertheless. About the only use flash is at night is to light up someone in the foreground, but what normally happens is that they become ghostly white and the background is hopelessly dark. If you're lucky your camera will let you reduce the amount of flash you use and in combination with a slow shutter speed for the background you can get a good shot, but it's not for the faint-hearted! More on that one day.
© 2007 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free

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