I consider my morning trip to the Eiffel Tower to be part of yesterday for some reason. I guess because there were just a few short hours of sleep that I can only consider a nap. The real today was to be a day of living the simple life, mainly because my brain and body were nearly dead. After getting back from the Eiffel Tower, I bought a banana and some fruit juice for breakfast, then managed to grab a couple of hours of sleep. Then I got a bit bored, so I decided to walk down the street to the Metro, and take it to the end of the line to see what was there. By the time I got there (a 10 minute walk that felt like an hour), I realized that I had left my Metro pass in my jacket pocket back at the hotel. The trip wasnÂt a total loss though. I bought a packet of Italian cured meat and some Dutch gouda cheese with cumin seeds in it. I sat in my room and carved that up with my Swiss Army Knife (thanks Jadine!) and made tiny sandwiches with the mini toast crackers from the other day. It was a nice, simple lunch.
During lunch I watched an episode of The Closer. IÂm rationing my English television while IÂm here. I only brought about four episodes with me. After having lunch, I slept for the afternoon, then went out with my camera. I didnÂt really have a plan. I just wanted to get out there.
I got off the Metro at Opera. Apparently thereÂs an opera house there. Sure enough, there was. It was spectacular looking, but I wasnÂt sure how to photograph it. I am getting a bit tired of my usual architectural photography style, which is Âanchor on a corner and create a lot of diagonal lines with wide angle and strange tilting.Â As I pondered this problem, it began pouring rain, so I retreated to the Metro station to think it over. By the time the rain stopped, the problem was solved for me. The reflection of the Opera house in the sidewalk was stunning, and the rain had washed away most of the tourists that had been crowding the front. I took a shot of that, and then I took a couple of my usual style too. I donÂt want to change too fast, you know.
I was a bit aimless after that. I decided to check out this Pont Neuf that everyone is talking about. Basically, itÂs a bridge over the Seine. Plus, itÂs under construction, which makes it a bit ugly. After crossing the Seine I wandered around a bit. It was late afternoon, and the light was quite boring. It wasnÂt worth taking any photos. I found a bench and sat for a while.
The thought of finding a drink crossed my mind, but the concept of convenience stores is a foreign one in France. You have to go to a smaller neighborhood and buy canned or bottled drinks at small grocery stores. The closest thing I found to convenience store is something called the Â8 Ã Huit,Â so-called because it is open from 8 in the morning until 8 at night. To me, that doesnÂt seem to be anything to brag about, but I guess when most things are not open at all, itÂs not bad. The problem is that IÂve never seen the 8 Ã Huit open, even though IÂve walked by there at all times of day. I guess itÂs open from 8 until 8, unless itÂs not. It seems that in August, ÂnotÂ seems to be the rule rather than the exception. I do find this extreme relaxation of business hours a charming aspect of French culture. But at the same time, it tends to lead to my dehydration, since IÂm not willing to pay 6 euros for a fruit juice at a cafÃ© in central Paris.
I decided to ride the bus randomly for a while. I chose a bus stop, and sat there for quite some time, watching the traffic. The posters in the bus stop claimed that there were two bus routes serving that stop, and there would be a bus on each line every 14 minutes. That means in the 30 minutes that I sat there, I should have seen four buses. Mind you, I would have gotten on the first one I saw, but thatÂs the theory. In reality, I didnÂt see any buses. I began to get jealous of the bus stop across the street, which practically crawling with buses. They were on different routes though. After a while, I decided it didnÂt matter which routes they were on, since I didnÂt have a plan anyway. I crossed the street and got on the first bus I saw. This bus drove past the Louvre, which looked great. I decided at that moment that I would return there and wait for night to fall so I could take some long exposures. I rode the bus to the end of the line. It was fascinating to finally see the city in one continuous sitting, rather than in bits and pieces as I popped out of Metro stations. I have to say the French really know how to build beautiful stuff. Gorgeous classical buildings stand shoulder to shoulder everywhere you look. I got off at the end of the bus line, and walked around looking for either a place to buy a refreshing can of Oasis (I was still dehydrating) or a bus stop that would take me back to the Louvre. I found the bus stop first.
I got to the Louvre at around 8:00pm. There were plenty of photographers there with tripods, jockeying for position. I found a great location in the centre that gave me just the right crop with my 12mm lens, so I camped there, pissing off the photographers behind me, and watching the light meter drop as the sun set behind me. I was there at least until 9:30pm.
Throughout the evening, various people came up to me and asked in various languages whether or not the pyramid would be lit up. I didnÂt know. They would then go to the security guard and ask him. One guy came back and said, ÂNo, he says they only light it up on Tuesday nights,Â and walked away disappointed. Another guy with a TLR camera came up to me and asked in French if the pyramid would be lit up. I told him in my fractured French that it was only lit on Tuesdays. ÂMais, cÂest mardi aujourdÂhui,Â he said. I hadnÂt realized that it was, in fact Tuesday. IÂm on holiday! I shouldnÂt be expected to know such things. Anyway, I was at a loss to explain why there were no lights in the pyramid. I directed him back to the security guard. He came back to me after a while looking confused, didnÂt say anything, and then wandered off again.
After the sun went down, I got to work taking photos. There were interesting cloud formations, so the skies turned out quite nicely I think. I moved around and got a few different angles, then decided to call it a night. I walked over to the Louvre cafÃ© that IÂd been eyeing all night and ordered an espresso (ÂcafÃ© expressÂ en franÃ§ais) for three euros. While I sat sipping the espresso, the pyramid miraculously lit up. I hurriedly paid my bill and got back out there to shoot basically the same angles with the now-lit pyramid. IÂm glad I had the opportunity to shoot both, but now I donÂt know which ones I like better. Help me out here.
Finally, I went back to the hotel at around 11:30pm, starving and thirsty. I chugged back a lot of water, and finished off the meat and cheese. The cheese was a bit sweaty, and the meat was room temperature, but it was worth the risk of food poisoning to have something to eat. Now itÂs a couple hours after I ate, so IÂm assuming everything is fine. IÂm going to bed. Bon soir!