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Notre Dame

Watching Paris From Notre Dame

Paris (France). I posted a similar photo some days ago: in that case the lens – my beloved Nikon 105 mm Defocus Control – was on the so called “gargoyle”, one of the bizarre sculptures decorating the Notre Dame Cathedral. The image posted here has been taken from the same place, but with a wide angle Zeiss lens to capture a wide landscape of Paris under a beautiful cloudy sky.

I have been desiring to go to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral for years, but every time I was discouraged by an incredibly long queue, with waiting times of some hours! When recently I finally had the opportunity of being in Paris on a Monday morning, I did not hesitate one minute and I went straight to Notre Dame around one hour before the opening. I wasn’t the first of the line – some Japaneses arrived earlier than me, of course! – but I could enter 20 minutes after the opening: still it was a success! “Such a long waiting time must be compensated by a gorgeous landscape”, I was thinking when I was climbing the tower’s steps: so getting closer to the top I was more and more nervous, because my expectations were very high and the biggest risk was to be disappointed.

However, at the end I can say that it was a successful experience: the landscape of Paris from Notre Dame is something of breathtaking, especially when the light is not too sharp. The entrance is regulated, so the downside is the long queue, but the upside is that on the top it is not too crowded and everyone can find the time to concentrate and shoot. One last but important advice: it can be bloody cold and windy over there, so bring an extra layer and be prepared…

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Notre Dame from the Docks Along the Seine

Paris (France). Everyone traveling to Paris and photographing around this fantastic location, should try to find some places from where watching the city without the usual mass of people. It can be a tough mission, but it is worth the effort.

This photograph of Notre Dame Cathedral – for example – has been taken from under a bridge on the docks along the Seine River, and it is now one of my favorite images of my large portfolio of photos about Paris.

Of course, the wide angle lens exalts the general composition and makes the entire scene more “drammatic”, but the thing that I like most in this image is the sense of “intimacy” with the Cathedral that I can perceive, and which is the same one I was feeling when I was shooting this image. The reason – as said – I think is that in the entire scene there’s no anyone: a pure and genuine sense of relationship with the subject, without any obstacle or element of annoyance.

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