Sunday in the Park with George

Sunday in the Park with George. “George” in this case was my Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 lens. The park is Square Jean XXIII, just behind Notre Dame in Paris, on a cold November day near twilight.

In a Paris Park © Harold Davis

In a Paris Park © Harold Davis

The most typical goal of photography is to render crisp images where camera motion is not an issue. This can be achieved by using a fast shutter speed—usually a shorter duration of time than 1/125 of a second—or by putting the camera on a solid support, such as a tripod.

What fun to turn this on its head by intentionally moving the camera during exposure. The results often don’t look very photographic, and it takes a good bit of trial and error to find the right exposure combination. It’s also easier when there is some light, but not too much light. Try this technique in the middle of the day, and even with loads of neutral density filters it is hard to get decent results.

As with the light, so with the motion—you want to move the camera in a consistent way, with enough movement to create an attractive effect but not so much as to turn the image to mush! In this case, “George” and I consistently panned slowly from left to right, pausing on the couple on the bench briefly, and going up and down at the right end of the exposure.

I feel lucky when shooting this way to get one out of a hundred shots turning out decently. Even a few seconds can seem like a very long time when one does it over and over again!

Exposure data: Nikon D800, Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 at f/4.5, 4 seconds at ISO 50, hand held.

This entry was posted in Landscape, Paris, Photography.


  1. Mary Thompson April 2, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    Hello Harold
    I have just found your website and blog. I bought your book ‘Photographing Flowers’ when it first appeared, and was taken aback by the beauty of your photos. Your work has set a goal for me ever since! I am now reading ‘Creative Black and White’ with great interest since, after working on my flowers, I discovered I loved weeds and dying plants which look wonderful in monochrome! I owe a great deal to you – thank you!
    I shall keep an eye on your blog now – lots of striking and satisfying things to look at and read. I am very ‘sympathique’ to your idea of Photographer as Poet. I am retired and can photograph as I please – and I do, only as I please! And that’s demanding enough!

  2. Harold Davis April 2, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Hi Mary, thank you for your comment. You are lucky to be able to photograph as you please, and to know it, and to be demanding of yourself. It is great to get this kind of comment first thing in my morning! Very best wishes, Harold

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  1. By Banks of the Seine on April 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm

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