Saturday, January 7, 2012

Catch the Blue Shirt Special

One of the advantages of living relatively close to Paris is that I can plan out photo projects that will span several visits and be relatively confidant that they’ll actually be accomplished in a fairly short timeframe. Now, if you’ve seen my photos, you’ll know that railroads are a particular interest of mine – so what better thing to shoot than the railroad stations of Paris? That’s right – nothing. There is nothing better in Paris than that. I’m glad we agree.

I’ll have one or two others to feature at some point, but today’s photo is courtesy of the Gare de Montparnasse. Now, of the three stations I’ve been to in Paris (so far), I have to say that I liked Montparnasse the least - but I feel like in some ways it should have been my favorite. After all, it is built in a brutal mid-century style that I am usually a huge fan of. But for some reason, it just didn’t fully register with me. Not really sure why but regardless I found myself wandering the station trying to find something to shoot that would capture the sense of place.

Presently, I found myself in this ticketing area and my eye was immediately drawn to the contrast of the yellow kiosks and the grey concrete of the hall. The fact that the arrival-departure sign was prominent in the frame was a bonus. I got into a shooting position but held off since I wanted a relatively clean frame. I knew that I would have some people in the frame but I wanted some sort of balance and certainly didn’t want anyone cut off by the edge of the frame.

As I held my position, the gentleman in the center walked into the frame – perfect I thought, if I can get him in the middle – between and in front of the kiosks but under the sign – that might be what I want. I waited for him to get into the right position, all the time afraid that someone would walk into the frame. Finally, out of the corner of my eye I sensed someone walking into the frame on the left forcing me to shoot. Blue shirt guy wasn’t exactly where I wanted him, but I had no choice and fired off my HDR bracket. That was about the end of my thinking about this shot – I kept going around the station for a little while longer and then decamped to the Boulevard Montparnasse to find a café for some café.

A few weeks later I was back home editing down my Paris photos. The first pass is always tedious as I go through and find the obvious rejects. It’s basically me slouched at my desk, staring at Adobe Bridge and alternating between hitting ‘6’ and the right arrow on the keyboard. Until this bracket sequence came up and I bolted upright in my chair. See, I had known that there were people at those first two kiosks, but that was the extent of my awareness, so focused was I on waiting for blue shirt guy to get where I wanted him. Imagine my surprise when I realized he had friends.

Paris Sera Toujours Paris 045

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