The last time I visited Paris was back in 2009, so almost 10 years ago! This was for a short break skateboarding around the French capital, with a few friends. However, the main purpose of this was trip to capture some stunning photography of this wonderful city. There was no real set plan in terms of “this day I’ll go here” although before my trip I did look through Pinterest for Parisian inspiration. Locations, times of day to visit these locations as well as the all-important – how to get the very best out of my week-long trip. So with all that knowledge (mainly gained during my Eurostar tunnel journey) it was time to unpack and hit the streets of Paris!

I was quite glad my hotel wasn’t too far from the main station, only about a 10-15 minute walk. Well that was according to Apple maps and following the direct route. In reality it took me about 30 minutes, battling the suitcase down the hill towards the hotel. That’s all part of having a holiday away though, the struggles of getting to the hotel. Once checked in, it was time to relax, grab my camera and start exploring!

Où se Trouve...?

where is...?

Although I studied French when I was at school my knowledge of the language now is very very limited!! So trying to ask for directions was going to be a little tricky, however the hotel I was staying at were kind enough to provided me with a rather detailed city map. Most mornings and evenings were spent looking over this map and studying which roads to take! A lot harder than I first thought, as at the start of the trip each road and street looks very similar. However by the end of the week I kind of knew my way around and how to travel around the city. Using landmarks to help guide me through the Parisian streets or failing that looking for the nearest McDonald’s to borrow the Wi-Fi for a minute.

The Mystery of The Louvre

I’m not going to lie walking around the streets of Paris was impressive, however, as soon as those city lights turned on, the place comes to life! Due to the overcast weather sometimes when I was walking around in the day time, the photos looked kind of flat. The sky was grey and no real wow factor. Which was a shame. The same street 5 hours later though turns into something truly amazing.

On my first night in Paris, I took a trip down to The Louvre, which was only a short 30-minute walk from my hotel. The last time I visited The Louvre was on a school trip many years ago, although that was to visit the vast amounts of art and exhibitions The Louvre has on offer. If you’ve ever watched The Da Vinci Code, you would know about the mystery and wonder of The Louvre, so photographing this iconic building was a must.

Just walking to The Louvre there was so much to see and photograph. The famous love lock bridge of Pairs as well as the bright colourful restaurant fronts.

Capturing Day to Night

Since purchasing the Nikon D850 at the end of last year, I’ve enjoyed using the camera on every shoot. The dynamic range, incredible detail and brilliant auto focus system. However, the main feature I was interested in trying out was the 4k time lapse function. In all my years of photography I’ve never actually shot time lapse before, therefore I was keen to try it out in Paris. As the D850 is able to process the final file in camera, this meant I didn’t have to shoot hundreds of images and piece them together in post.

The thing with shoot time lapse is the fact you have to shoot a scene for an extended period of time setting the delay between the shots and then camera would create the final video file. So for most of time lapses I was only shooting for around 15-20 minutes, which worked well when there was a lot going on within the scene but this did mean the final video was only around 5-10 seconds. Therefore on one of the evenings, I decided to setup my camera on the Pont de la Concorde bridge. My idea was to capture the setting sun transitioning into sunset then evening, with the Eiffel of Tower lights shinning in the distance. For this time lapse I was actually shooting for over hour and half! Quite a long time to be sitting with a camera waiting for the completed video cycle to finish, wondering “has the exposure worked!” (find out below to see if it did)

I’ve combined the other time lapses I captured during my visit into a short video below. Looking over the video I wish I shot more now! Next time I’ll definitely have to bring a full size tripod. When I visited Sorrento I did bring my Manfrotto Be-Free but I wanted to travel light! However a table top tripod wasn’t idea in this situation. Also I kind of wished I brought my 24-70mm rather than the 16-35mm f/4G VR however, the reason I packed the 16-35mm was due to the lens having VR. Luckily I’ve now updated my 24-70mm to the newer E VR model – which I should of done before this trip!!

If anyone has some time lapse tips and tricks as well, please let me know as I’m wanting to shoot some more when I visit New York in June. So would love to hear what you guys have to offer in terms of advice.

Paris Time Lapse

90+ Miles, 214,265 Steps and 190+ Floors

During my time is Paris I only used the metro system three times! Which isn’t surprising I ended up walking over 90 miles. I’m quite glad I did though as some of the hidden streets and less tourist spots I discovered were so pretty. As I mentioned above I did visit the more well known landmarks, but my aim was to create some imagery that wasn’t just your standard snapshot.

Did I succeed? Personally I think I did. Being in one of the most photographed cities in the world it was hard to not capture a stunning photo. I’ve posted a few favourites from my trip below, they all hold a special memory. The one that sums up my trip is the shot I captured from the 56th of the Montparnasse Tower Panoramic Observation Deck. Waiting for the sun to set and the evening light switch on – a stunning view of a stunning city…

I can’t wait to see where else my travels take me this year. As I mentioned I’m visiting New York which should be fun. One camera (Nikon D850) and only one lens this time (24-70mm f/2.8E VR). I’m still undecided about bringing a travel tripod. If I don’t take one on the flight I could always visit B&H Photo, which is only a few blocks away from my hotel.

Look out for some more travel adventures coming very very soon!