Paris. Day two

Today was a chance to visit the Pompidou. I was planning to see the David Hockney exhibition, but the queue to get in went around the block. Still, it's amazing when the art gallery itself is actually art. So, I satisfied myself with photographing Renzo Piano's masterpiece.

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In the afternoon it was back to St. Germain Des Prés for a wander around the side streets before heading back to the hotel.  I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The sun was shining and the streets were packed with people enjoying the day. 

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Paris

I find myself "stuck" in Paris for the weekend. Hey, there are worse things in life, right? The weather is perfect. The light is stunning. And, of course, Paris is beautiful. I'm staying in St. Germain de Pres, where my favorite thing to do is sit at a street-side cafe and people watch.

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No visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Even though I’ve seen it dozens of times, there’s still nothing like seeing that incredible structure peeking out from behind the buildings. 

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Walking along the Seine, I discovered a cute little Farmer’s Market. I’m convinced that the butchers are father and son. I also discovered some amazing sculptures at the Palais de Tokyo that I think look beautiful in black and white. 

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As I strolled back to the hotel I came across this incredible mosque. It’s a stunning example of architecture that manages to seamlessly incorporate both traditional and modern design. 

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Country roads

We spent another amazing weekend at our lake house in Upstate, New York. It really is a stunning place, so I wanted to spend some time photographing the surrounding countryside. Driving past an old farmhouse, I noticed this white horse standing alone in a field. I thought the contrast between white and green would make a beautiful photo.

The farmhouse itself was also pretty stunning. More a collection of barns than one singular house, its red painted exteriors are the classic color of farmhouses in the area.

The roads cutting through the landscape provide a very graphic backdrop for photography. Even the road signs, contrasting with the fields of corn, looked beautiful in the midday sun.

Along the roadside there are great images happening everywhere, from a field of hay bales ready to be spread out, to the small signs posted on the power poles.

Just near our house is one of my favorite barns. It sits, almost abandoned, right on the side of the highway. After years and years of the sun beating down on its paintwork, it now has the most beautiful texture.

Just walking the dog

It's funny how just walking the dog, with your camera by your side, can make you see the world differently. I live in NoHo. And, just around the corner from our apartment is an incredible Picasso sculpture. I wanted to capture it in its entirety. But I also wanted to somehow contrast its beauty with the extreme cityscape that surrounds it. In the second photo, I thought it was cool the way you can see just a hint of the industrial landscape in the background.

Walking back towards the apartment, I started to spot little things. An old phone booth. Why do they even exist anymore? A row of bikes. Discarded shoes thrown over the power lines. These images are very much the texture of our neighborhood.

It feels like I'm starting to see everyday things in a different way. Kids playing in a playground is beautiful. But it's so interesting when you remember that they are totally fenced in. Or is it that the city is fenced out?

Upstate, New York

We spent the weekend at our lake house in Upstate, New York. And my photography was all about our dog, Sasha, and shots of the lake. And sometimes, both together.

Sasha is a black Cocker Spaniel, and is quite hard to photograph since her fur is so dark. In photographs she can often just look like a black blob with eyes. But, in these photos, I think she looks great. The exposure seems pretty good under various lighting conditions. We've also been teaching her how to swim (she's only 10 months old) so I wanted to get some action shots and try out the faster shutter speeds on the camera. I love the way even the water droplets are frozen.

The lake itself looked stunning all weekend. The evening light is always so beautiful. I'm still exploring the idea of including a strong foreground object in order to make the main subject stand out more. I think it works really well in this shot. This was taken around 7pm, just as the sun was starting to disappear.

As the sun continued to set, the light became more and more dramatic. These shots captured it beautifully.

Earlier in the afternoon, I took a few black and white shots, which turned out OK. The lake was a bit rough, so this shot is certainly not perfect. I'd prefer to have captured some of the reflections. I also managed to catch a few candid shots of my husband.

Finally, I wanted to try out a few close up shots inside the house and use the macro lens. I love the way the camera allows me to get such a narrow depth of field. Next week, I hope to get out amongst the country-side a little more.

Washington Square Park

I live very close to Washington Square Park, and this was the very first photograph I took with my new Leica Q, at the entrance to the park. I thought it was a funny photograph. Almost as if the workman was telling me to stop photographing him. It was a cold and overcast day, so I decided to shoot in black and white.

No photographs please

There was a group of ladies walking in front of me and I loved the way the middle woman's raincoat was billowing in the wind.

As I walked into the park, I spotted this couple making out under the trees. one of the great things about the Leica Q is that the shutter speed is so quiet. They didn't even know I was there.

Once I got into the park, I started experimenting with composition a little more. I saw this young guy sitting on the benches with his musical instrument by his side. I was trying to get a sense of what it would look like if I added a foreground image. i think it works well. It seems to push your eye towards the musician.

Time to try out the macro setting. I think it's pretty amazing. It's incredibly easy to get stunning extreme close ups. The background is blurred beautifully, which I later found out is called bokeh.

I spotted this fine grass at the edge of the park. In macro I thought it almost looked like fireworks. I love how soft the image is, accept for that one small area of focus.

I thought this would make a very interesting image. Both of the people in this photograph are pushing someone, the mother is pushing a baby and the other man is pushing an elderly gent. From stroller to wheelchair. From cradle to grave. It feels very "circle of life".

There were a couple of young kids who were amusing themselves just chasing pigeons. I thought I would amuse myself by trying out a faster shutter speed. I like the slight blur on the pigeon's wings as it really gives a sense of movement. But I'm also keen to try again with an even faster shutter speed to see if I can completely freeze the birds.

I'm a dog owner so, of course, I love dogs. This dog's face seemed to be saying, "enough already" as everyone fussed around him telling him how beautiful he is.

Here I am, again, exploring composition. This lady was quietly sitting, eating her lunch. But I loved the curved wall and the way it leads your eye right to her. I tried this shot a few ways, but decided that filing most of the frame with the curved wall made it more graphically pleasing.

Of course, this shot was really beautiful in color, but I think I like it more in black and white. It's less distracting and really makes the man and his dog stand out. I really like the composition. The fact that the subjects are so small in the overall frame makes it feel very graphic.

Forget about "swipe right", why not just look right. I imagined these two people on their phones looking for love, but all the time they were sitting right next to the perfect stranger. All they had to do was look up.

Absolute beginner

I wanted to become better at photography. So, I did two things. I bought a camera and I enrolled in an online photography course with CreativeLive. After much research, the camera I chose was the amazing Leica Q. Apart from it's photographic capabilities, it truly is a beautiful piece of industrial design. So, it was perfect for my taste and my journey.

Photo credit: Minimally Minimal

Photo credit: Minimally Minimal