Category Archives: Paris

Another Stage Set and Some Signage

Courtesy of my iPhone, here is another stage set maquette and also some Parisian signage.

Stage Set Two © Harold Davis

Stage Set Two © Harold Davis

Attention! © Harold Davis

Attention! © Harold Davis

Say Cheese © Harold Davis

Say Cheese © Harold Davis

Defense d'uriner © Harold Davis

Defense d’uriner © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, iPhone, Photography

Opera Garnier Stairs

It was fun to photograph again today in the crazily ornate Opera Garnier. This one is nine exposures using a fisheye lens. Since no tripods are allowed, I very carefully placed the camera on a ledge. I used auto-bracket mode and a remote trigger to fire nine exposures separated by one f-stop each. The bracketed sequence was combined using Nik HDR Efex Pro.

Opera Garnier Stairs © Harold Davis

Opera Garnier Stairs © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Sailboats in the Luxembourg Gardens

Yesterday was Sunday and May Day, and the first warm sunny day in a while here in Paris. The crowds turned out in the Luxembourg Gardens, with singing and partying. It was altogether a gentle and fun scene. In the boat pond children played with the sailboats ignoring the brisk wind, helped by their parents who used special sticks to turn the ships around when they reached the further shore. There were still kids and parents playing with ships in the water late in the afternoon as the light turned golden, when I snapped this photo.

Sailboats in the Luxembourg Gardens © Harold Davis

Sailboats in the Luxembourg Gardens © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, Photography

Saint-Sulpice

Our hotel in Paris is around the corner from Saint-Sulpice, a church made famous in the otherwise pretty silly book, The Da Vinci Code. The soaring interior spaces of this edifice are beyond belief. I’ve shown the cross made by the cruciform architecture, with the long nave crossed by the transept. The famous Saint-Sulpice organ can be seen at the bottom of the image. I used a hand-held fisheye lens to make this image.

Saint-Sulpice © Harold Davis

Saint-Sulpice © Harold Davis

Also posted in France

Park Path and Reflection

I photographed this image in the Parc de Sceaux, which is located in the suburbs of Paris, France and accessible to the city center via light rail (RER).

Park Path and Reflection © Harold Davis

Park Path and Reflection © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, Landscape, Photography

Double Rainbow Pano over Paris

This panorama of a double rainbow over Paris was shot during a spring rain storm from the Pont Solferino as I described in an earlier story. The pano consists of nine handheld pieces shot vertically, then combined and cropped in Photoshop to make a horizontal image. When I do this kind of photography with the intention of making a pano, and I don’t have a panoramic tripod head available, I’m careful to overlap images, and I try to keep in mind rotating around the nodal point for the image—which will be pretty close to what you’d get if you drew a virtual line to the ground from outermost lens element holding the camera in the center of the proposed composition.

Double Rainbow Pano over Paris © Harold Davis

Double Rainbow Pano over Paris © Harold Davis

Check out this panorama, photographed from behind a waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge.

Also posted in France, Photography

Pont Louis Philippe

An autumn afternoon in Paris on a somewhat sloppy day, with one of the channels of the Seine River photographed from the Pont Louis Philippe, and the golden light of late afternoon just beginning.

Pont Louis Philippe © Harold Davis

Pont Louis Philippe © Harold Davis

Exposure data: Nikon D800, Zeiss Distagon 35mm f/1.4 at f/1.4, handheld; 1/800 of a second at ISO 200.

Also posted in France, Photography

Paris is always a good idea!

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Pyramide © Harold Davis

Pyramide © Harold Davis

Paris, as Audrey Hepburn said, is always a good idea. Please consider joining my small group of photographers in Paris (and, oh yeah, at the Monet gardens in Giverny!) the first week in May, 2016.

Click here for the detailed day-by-day itinerary (PDF), here for the Prospectus, and here for the Reservation Form. If you are interested, please let me know right away.

Giverny © Harold Davis

Giverny © Harold Davis

Also posted in Photography, Workshops

Audrey Hepburn: Paris is always a good idea

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Kira at Passy Station © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris, as Audrey Hepburn said, is always a good idea. Please consider joining my small group of photographers in Paris (and, oh yeah, at the Monet gardens in Giverny!) the first week in May, 2016.

Click here for the detailed day-by-day itinerary (PDF), here for the Prospectus, and here for the Reservation Form. Very limited availability, on a first come, first served basis.

Also posted in France

Blast from the Past: Sacré Coeur Passage

Originally published June 26, 2013:

La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre sits high on a hill overlooking Paris. Controversial from long before the start of construction, the design of Sacré Coeur was a response to the supposed “moral decline” of France in the century following the French revolution, with the more proximate cause the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

If this defeat represented divine punishment, as asserted by Bishop Fournier, then Sacré Coeur was an iconic response by the hard right-wing allied with monarchists and the Catholic church to the democratic rabble of Paris and the commune. This was not the first, nor the last, time that the forces of repression and the church were on the same side against their common enemy, the people when empowered—but it still was a bitter pill for some to swallow standing tall above the city of light.

Sacré Coeur Passage © Harold Davis

Sacré Coeur Passage © Harold Davis

Visited by millions of people a year, Sacré Coeur gets surprisingly little traffic up in the passage that circles the grand dome.  Perhaps the narrow and twisting stairs—all 280 of them—inhibit guests. The views are superb, as you can see in another image of mine from the dome that includes that other Parisian icon, the Eiffel tower.

Up in the passage around the dome of Sacré Coeur, the “rabble” has had its revenge. On the one hand, it is sad to see the elegant surfaces defaced by layer upon layer of graffiti and a general patina of neglect over time. On the other hand, this defilement—at least in part a deliberate statement—stands as mute testament to the true sentiments of many of those who visit: as much as a holy temple, Sacré Coeur is a political symbol created by those who would keep the people in their place.

Patina of Time © Harold Davis

Patina of Time © Harold Davis

Exposure data, Sacré Coeur Passage: 22mm, eight exposures at shutter speeds between 1/20 of a second and 3 seconds, each exposure at f/22 and ISO 200, tripod mounted; exposures processed in Nik HDr Efex Pro and Photoshop, and converted to monochromatic using Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, and Nik Silver Efex Pro; Patina of Time: 82mm, seven exposures at shutter speeds between 1/30 of a second and 1.3 seconds, each exposure at f/22 and ISO 200, tripod mounted; exposures processed in Nik HDr Efex Pro and Photoshop, and converted to monochromatic using Photoshop, Topaz Adjust, and Nik Silver Efex Pro

Also posted in France, Monochrome, Photography

Manarola and the Rooftops of Paris

I am particularly fond of the patterns of buildings and rooftops you see in European towns and cities. Above, the town of Manarola in Cinque Terre, Italy, photographed this year (2015); below, the rooftops of Paris, France, photographed in 2013.

Manarola © Harold Davis

Manarola © Harold Davis

Rooftops of Paris © Harold Davis

Rooftops of Paris © Harold Davis

Also posted in France, Italy, Patterns

Paris in the Spring

Click here to download the Reservation Form. A $500 early-registration discount applies before October 31, 2015.

There’s nothing like photographing Paris in the spring! Let’s spend a week together this May making photos in Paris, and having a great time.

Photography begins with the medium of light, which the artist captures and applies to the canvas in endlessly surprising ways. And what better place to explore this medium than Paris, the City of Light?

Join acclaimed photographer Harold Davis for the experience of a lifetime in Paris, the birthplace of photography. There you’ll have the opportunity to experience firsthand the places and sights that have inspired artists for centuries.

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

Paris Sunset © Harold Davis

We’ll focus our lenses on Paris in bloom, Paris at night, and Paris in black & white, reinterpreting for ourselves some of the images that have been captured in paint and on film by many great artists, including Daguerre, Monet, Atget, Picasso, and Erwitt. We’ll have a grand time photographing and we’ll return home with many priceless shots to treasure!

Photo tour includes an excursion to Monet’s famous gardens at Giverny, with exclusive after-hours artist access.

Double Rainbow over Paris © Harold Davis

Double Rainbow over Paris © Harold Davis

Harold’s photographs of Paris have appeared in books, exhibitions, and been published worldwide on travel sites.

Here’s what some participants in past Photograph Paris with Harold Davis Workshops had to say:

Eiffel Tower from Sacré Coeur © Harold Davis

Eiffel Tower from Sacré Coeur © Harold Davis

  • “Had an awesome time with Harold and the workshop participants.  Itching to go back.  If you’re a photographer, Paris at night is a ‘Must Do!’.  Put it on your bucket list ‘cause you may not see this in Heaven.”
  • “Photographing Paris at night in the company of a group of fellow photographers had instant appeal.  Inspired by the scenes of Brassai, I imagined myself at the top of the steps at Montmartre, taking wonderful black-and-white images.  I already admired Harold Davis, and had confidence that he would lead us to fantastic places – and he did!  What came as a delightful surprise was the level of talent and variety of approaches that my fellow travelers employed to capture the marvelous churches, gardens, and people of Paris, Giverny, and Fontainebleau.  I learned from every one of them.  And what an agreeable group of travel companions they were! A once-in-a-lifetime experience that I plan to repeat next spring!”
  • “Harold has great skill, without the ego of most master photographers. Travel arrangements were perfect.”
  • “One thing I really liked about the photo tour that Harold set up is that we had plenty of time to photograph in the best locations, and really prioritized when the light would be good.”

Where: The group will be based out of a centrally located, elegant and comfortable 4-star centrally located Parisian hotel, such as the Hôtel d’Aubusson (or similar). The Hôtel d’Aubusson is on the left bank of the Seine, in the heart of the 5th Arondissment, and is located near many of the prime photographic locations.

When: Sunday May 1, 2016 (leave US April 30) to Saturday May 7, 2016 (six nights and seven days).

Group Size: This exclusive, small photo workshop tour is limited to ten photographers (non-photographer significant others are also welcome).

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Click here for Day-by-day itinerary and registration details!

Also posted in Workshops

Lumiere Fillagree

Lumiere Fillagree © Harold Davis

Lumiere Fillagree © Harold Davis

This is a combination of two hand-held shots. The carousel in the foreground was photographed at 3 seconds and f/22 at ISO 64. The three second exposure produced the filigree effect. The Eiffel Tower in the background was shot at a relatively stable and sober 1/5 of a second and f/8 at ISO 200. The two exposures were combined in Photoshop.

By the way, I’ve been asked if I am in Paris because of the Paris photos that are appearing on my blog such as Beneath the Pont de la Concorde. No, I am home in California, and just working through and processing some images from the last few years. With the press of the things going on right now in my life, it does sometimes take me a while to get around to post-processing my work!

Also posted in France

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

Beneath the Pont de la Concorde © Harold Davis

The modernism of the underpinnings of this bridge over the Seine River in Paris, France belies the ornate fancifulness of the bridge from above. This is one of the joys of photographing in Paris—styles with huge inherent differences are cheek and jowl together, and somehow work in harmony.

From a formal viewpoint, this is a photo with a great deal of symmetry in lines and construction. But for me the composition works because of the unusual negative space cut-out, across to the opposite bank of the river.

Exif data: Nikon D800, 35mm, six exposures at shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/8 of a second, each exposure at f/3.5 and ISO 50, tripod mounted; combined and converted from RAW in Nik HDR Efex Pro and Photoshop, processed in Photoshop, Nik Color Efex, Topaz Adjust, and Topaz Simplify; converted to black and white using the LAB color space in Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Also posted in Monochrome, Photography

Stairway to Heaven

On a rainy spring day I was photographing under the bridges in Paris, trying to keep my camera dry. The bridge shown in this image is the Pont Solferino, a pedestrian bridge over the Seine. My position is with the Tuilleries at my back, looking across the river at the Musee D’Orsay on the left.

Pont Solferino (Black & White)  © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino (Black & White) © Harold Davis

The image shown here in black and white (above) and color (below) is composed from a bracketed sequence of five shots at exposures from 6 seconds to 1/60 of a second. I used my 15mm f/2.8 Zeiss lens, with a little post-production work to correct the perspective distortion. The HDR blending caused the people climbing the stairs to “ghost”—an effect that adds to what one person viewing my images has called a “stairway to heaven.”

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Pont Solferino © Harold Davis

Want to learn more about how I convert to black and white? The recording of my webinar Converting to Black & White with Photoshop and Nik Silver Efex is now available for unlimited access ($19.95).

Also posted in France, Photography