A Would-Be Street Photographer In Paris

So you thought I’d abandoned you? Mais non!
This “prep for travel” thing tends to take over EVERYTHING; my life, my brain, my blog posting schedule! I’m always so glad when I’m finally on the plane and can only look ahead… and not at my list yet ONE more time. Once safely landed and on my feet in a new place like oh, say, Paris… baby, it’s ON!

I’m here in the city of lights for 3 weeks and 3 different adventures. Crazy!

Valerie Jardin’s Workshop

Week 1 is with my most excellent friend Valerie Jardin‘s Paris Street Photography workshop. In fact, here’s one I just shot today:


She does these all over the world – and they’re awesome. Over a year ago, she heard me bellyaching about how I wanted to see Paris in the springtime. That was a pledge I’d made in 2010 when I was here for work in December that year. It’s gorgeous then! Cold. Snowy. But I wanted to get me some “I love Paris in the springtime”  too, y’know?

Hey, ya gotta dream big!

Springtime in Paris

So a few months ago when she said “I’m doing a workshop in Paris in May. Wanna come?” I stopped in my tracks. Did the Scooby Doo “HUH?” and after some hard thinking and numbers crunching, decided I could pull it off. Woot!

And… street photography? I see that cartoon question mark light up over a few of your heads. You know who you are. Yes, I know I do landscape photography. But I believe we have to step out of our comfort zones and stretch ourselves if we’re going to be brave, better and best in our art and lives. There will be no laurels-coasting around here! Challenging yourself to embrace a different way of seeing is like spritzing a big can of “Rut-B-Gone” into the air.

“Rut-B-Gone: For the Prevention and Cure of the Common Rut.” (says the fantasy label on the imaginary can.)

So, hello Paris Street Photography. Whassup?


You Want PEOPLE In Your Shots???

I pledged to really make an effort and include people in my images.
See, in landscape – even architecture photography, the less people, the better. You’re talking to someone who’ll clone stamp pesky people out of a frame. But in street and city style fine art photography, you actually WANT people in your shots. Brain shift!

You want to tell a story (always), you want to grab a moment that’ll NEVER be repeated in just the same way again – and you’ve often got one chance to do it. Sometimes in stealth mode.

No pressure, nope not at all. Ha!


Oh and you really should do it with a short prime lens. I’m using a 27mm… which means you have to get (what to me is) uncomfortably close. I throw on my 16-55mm when I can’t take the pressure anymore!

Of course, capturing some wonderful contrasts of ages, colors and shapes is also part of the game. That’s what I used to enjoy doing 35+ years ago when I was first learning to take pictures… and happily, it’s still valid today


Then Ya Gotta Do It At Night

Let’s not forget night shooting! I love shooting at night. It’s just that I generally do long exposures on a tripod. Believe me, I did that too! But for this one in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, I was practicing getting just the right amount of motion blur – as well as showing the shadows cast by these crosswalkers. The light source was headlights… and I overexposed just a little, so they’d look like they were ‘going to the light’. I’m dramatic that way. 😉


And finally, this one… of a young couple on their way somewhere (you get to make up the story of where), looking classic, cosmopolitan and… together. Which is what I named it. I love the motion it conveys.


Stretch Yourself

So there you have Day#2 of the “Stretch Yourself Challenge”. heh. Of course, you don’t have to go to Paris to do challenge yourself, although it IS lovely. You CAN just do something every day that you’d normally never do. Or change up the way you do something you always do (even if you like it), to freshen up your attention. Start teaching yourself to see things a little differently.

Might just shake a nut or two loose from the tree! 🙂

More to come! 😀