Where do I start…. This was my second full day here in the heart of Paris France. I had the chance to take early morning photos along the Seine river in Paris. I just fell in love with the look and feel of the city so I wanted to capture the Seine river as I see it in movies and post cards. I kinda had a area in my mind where I think the Seine river has lots of bridges and Traditional Persian type houses that gives you a foreign film look. After looking around I found out that the island which the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris is located and it has lots of great spots that gives you the look and the feel I was going for. One of the bridges that gave me the view I was looking for was the Pont d’Arcole bridge. I wanted to get a silky smooth reflections on the Seine river but if you have ever been in Paris before, you know that there is lots and lots and LOTS of Seine River Cruises that start right before lunch time and this boat traffic starts to create waves in the water so you lose the reflections before lunch. That leaves me early morning which I don’t mind when am traveling but I found out that early morning on Sunday in Paris(Before 9Am) the whole city is asleep still. We walked about 6 blocks along the Seine River and had about 5 cars pass. It’s kinda a surreal feeling that a huge city is empty and it’s just you and the quite streets of pairs. This is a complete 180 compared to the day before. Here is a map of the location on Google maps. The Red X on the image is where
I was standing when I took this image. I was on my way to the RER station on Sunday morning cause we had the plan to spend the early morning out at the palace of Versailles which needed us to be at the local RER station around 8am. So we left our Airbnb rental(amazing way to save money while traveling, Use this link for $25 off your first rental) and headed to the RER station Gare de Saint-Michel – Notre-Dame which had me passing the Pont d’Arcole bridge early morning. As I walked the bridge, the sun was starting to raise but was covered with clouds. I took my camera out and took a few shots, tried to have my histogram in the middle to capture all of the light, and then I put the camera back in the bag and went on my way for the rest of the day. When I got home and looked at this image, the image felt flat, dull and lacking but I knew this image had promise. So most of the work was going to be in the editing of this to get it back to the look and feel as I felt that morning. I started this in Lightroom, started to do my basic editing to bring the image back to life. Am not talking about “OMG it’s amazing!” but a simple image that looks as good as what my IPhone 6 could capture.
Here is the Raw image with no corrections SOOC(Strait out of Camera). You can see that we don’t have any blown highlights and the shadows are still visible. So my goal at this point is getting the highlights in the clouds back down and bring some of the details in the sky back. Then bring back the shadows along the Seine River to get the details out of the bricks. I then started to play with the Lens correction tab and with the manual slider to make the building not lean so much. This is due to the fact i used my Canon 17-40 f/4 lens which is a wide angle lens that does to things on the side of the frame. Once I have done it, I then started to look at the color of the image. I always shoot in Auto Mode for white balance and shoot RAW images so I can go back and fix it in post. The image had a blue feel and once I started to edit it more, it started to get more of a green feel also which was easy to fix also. Here is a the before and after of the early morning along the seine river images with the color corrections.
I did the color corrections and the image started to look just like it when I was there. A overcast spring day in France with the rain off and on that has a sad feeling. After looking at this image for a few days, I started to think about changing it to a Black and White image. Black and white work amazing on images that don’t have a lot of interesting light. This image does have some lights but it’s kinda flat. I knew I could add something to fix this image but I just went to the saturation slider on Lightroom and dragged it to the left killing all of the color. Then I did some Dodging and burning to finish this image of the Seine river.
CAMERA SETTINGS / IMAGE INFO
The hard part of this image was finding the right spot at the right time of day. I knew what I wanted and I did my research to find the spot but the early morning was just a plain luck. I had planned to shot this at night with the lights of the buildings but I like this shot better. Sometimes when you are traveling and especially traveling with family, it’s more about enjoying the moment and just having fun then worrying about being in the right place at the right time.
No. of Exposures: 1 images
EV Range: 0
Focal Length: 17mm
Lens: Canon 17-40 F/4
Camera: Sony A7R
So that is how this image came to life. It was just a snapshot that I took as I walked by the Seine River in Paris but it turned out to be a nice Black and white image. If you have any questions about the area and how I captured this image, Please feel free to ask in the comments below.