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Sunset at The Eiffel Tower

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The Year in Photography 2011


Our train got into Paris Gard du Nord around 17:30, then we walked to our nearby hotel, just by Gare du l'Est. It was a quick turnaround, as I wanted to be out at a Parisienne landmark by sunset. Now, I know that most of my photos are at sunset, sunrise or the blue hour, but there simply is no better times to shoot landscapes, especially colour and HDR ones. There are exceptions to the rule, obviously, but 95% of the time this rule holds true, at least in my style of photography.


We got to the Eiffel Tower ridiculously early, so went for some food while I waited for the light to change. As soon as the sun started dropping, I raced to this little park in front of the tower and started snapping away. Poor Anna had to wait patiently while I ran backwards and forwards changing position, getting different angles and adapting as the light changed. When the sun got to a certain point, I noticed how it shone through this gap in the hedge. I waited until I could frame it with this little tree as well.


We were quite lucky to get any type of decent sunset, as it had been spitting a few minutes beforehand and the sky was covered in dark storm clouds. We even saw thunderstorms later on from the top of the tower. Thankfully the clouds broke up for a while as the sun dipped beneath the horizon.


The Eiffel Tower (La Tour Eiffel) was completed in 1889 in only four years and was the entrance arch to the World's Fair that year. It was designed by Gustave Eiffel and held the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world (324 metres) for 41 years until it was surpassed by the Chrysler Building. To make it look more uniform to people on the ground, the tower is actually painted in three different shades of paint; the lightest at the top and the darkest at the bottom.


This is a 7-shot HDR. You nearly always need to take more than three exposures if you're shooting directly into the sun, as the range of light is far greater than most normal scenes.


This photo is for Carol (in a barrel), as she went to Paris a few days before me and probably didn't bother taking any sunset shots.


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Canon EOS 5D Mark II / ISO 100 / f/14 / 17-40mm @ 17mm

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Taken on August 18, 2011