The limits (practical, historical, and modern) on Parisian architecture make every street so dense with detail that glancing down one while passing left me moving on with a longing to explore.
St. Lawrence University’s campus is quiet for the moment; athletes have returned early from break but pretty much everyone else is still on winter vacation. The snow adds an extra layer of dampening.
When they return, the school will once again take on its weird ski lodge vibe.
Though the symmetry of Notre Dame de Paris stands out from the mere mortal constructs around it, I enjoy playing the game of identifying the breaks in its symmetry. Some of those are small, like the different statues around the building. Others are more significant, like the triangle in place or an arch above the left-most set of doors.
Though additional cemeteries in Paris were banned in the late 18th century, the Montparnasse Cemetery was opened in 1824 because the area had not yet been incorporated into the city. Today, it’s an odd dark space in the otherwise bright city. The idea of adjacent blocks belonging to graves and apartments has a polite kind of symmetry.
After nightfall, the Eiffel Tower puts on an hourly strobe light show that transforms the tower into a sparkly pillar in the city skyline. Much as a flash can brighten a photograph, this effect also means that long-exposure photographs of the tower make it the brightest object in the skyline by an order of magnitude.
The bridge in the distance is the Pont au Double, and it is one of several that connect the Rive Gauche to Île de la Cité. That central island fascinates me because it is the site of the medieval refounding of the city. The island used to be packed with residences alongside government and religious buildings. Today it is almost entirely dominated by the latter buildings (like Notre Dame on the right), yet I heard that census information still lists a few hundred people living on the island. Where are those last homes hiding?
A Parisian cliché says that the best view of the city comes from the top of the Tour Montparnasse—because it’s the only shot in which the enormous tower can’t be seen. My trip to Paris last week didn’t give me the time to establish that definitively, but I can certainly attest that the city looks fantastic from the deck. Cityscapes like this were what originally inspired me to get into HDR photography a decade ago, and they still fascinate me now.