Et le temps glisse à nouveau

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I have written much about creativity before, and these series of images from Paris I hope continues that discussion. I have longed believed creativity to be a skill, not a trait per se. Meaning, you learn it. You practice it and it improves. It can be taught and forgotten. Being creative is much like learning how to read a light meter or to compose a photograph. In fact, creativity arches over both of those facets of photography. I know my series of photos made around the St. Johns bridge is one example of how to creatively approach the same subject in different ways, time and again. I want this series of Eiffel Tower images (and the rest of Paris as well) to be the same. The key difference being my St. Johns Bridge images have been made over the course of a decade. All of these photos of the Eiffel Tower were made over the course of seven days, more or less (I think I made a photo of the Eiffel Tower almost every day that week anyway). I made quite a range of images of the same subject over that very short span of time. Some of it came from the equipment and knowing how to use it. The changing of cameras and filters. But most of it comes from my familiarity with a certain bridge in my hometown, and the practice I have had walking around it again and again. That practice has not been in making different photos, but rather in how to look at something in as many different ways as you can. It is hard to describe. With the Eiffel Tower, it meant a lot of walking, a lot of pausing, a lot of looking and a lot of waiting. I have 218 images in my Edited folder to share. That represents about a half of all the images I made. Of that 218, about half are the Eiffel Tower. I estimate that about half of that 400 total images made were also the Eiffel Tower. 200 images in seven days is not a rapid rate of photography.... my point is, most of the work I did was not with my camera. It was not me shooting willy-nilly hoping that a photo would jump in front of my camera. Most of the work was of a quiet and decidedly undramatic nature, it was done with my feet, eyes, curiosity and imagination.

If any of that makes much sense, then hopefully there is some wisdom imbedded in there. I sometimes find this aspect of the business harder to explain than to demonstrate, which in turn is more difficult than me just going out and doing it. There is a certain level of intuition involved, and intuition is not something that can really be taught, but has to be learned on one's own.

As far as this image goes, it is a break from the Wall for Peace (I have several more from there) and is back up at the Trocadero. This was a day I was on my own wandering the streets of Paris and walked several miles (Paris tip #2: Walk everywhere. The subway system is very good, but the streets hide so many interesting things, get a good map and plot a course and just walk). When I arrived at the Trocadero I was in time to witness a pretty amazing display of hip-hop/breakdancing. I backed off from the crowd for a minute to make this exposure with the Hasselblad and an 8 stop ND filter. I really do love crowds and long exposures. People are so much less predictable than clouds or waterfalls when it comes to long exposures.

Joel deWaard, Aaron Ziltener, Greg-0, and 159 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 6 more comments

  1. Cody James Bentley 48 months ago | reply

    I love this, which lens did you use?

  2. Luffup* 48 months ago | reply

    Beautiful capture and thank you for the sharing again! : )

  3. ★danise★ 48 months ago | reply

    i like your set of La Tour Eiffel. every image is so unique and so french!

  4. rogvon 48 months ago | reply

    Bravo! This is truly creative.

  5. dthomasd 48 months ago | reply

    I enjoy reading your posts as much as viewing your photos. I always learn something here!

  6. Rebecca Tifft 48 months ago | reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I do love the feel of this shot :)

  7. Anne Lucas Di Elmo 48 months ago | reply

    Long exposures do look a lot more interesting and unpredictable with people. I love those ghost-like figures.
    You're right about the subway in Paris. Even when you're not visiting for a short time, walking enables you to discover new things constantly.

  8. MLPhotoSpace 48 months ago | reply

    Totaly agree.
    And the display of the people is beautiful...
    I love the silhuette on the tower's base and the zig-zag eye path to the tower: the blue square, the two figures, the bunch of people, the policeman (?)and then, the goodie - brilliantly composed .

  9. MLPhotoSpace 48 months ago | reply

    PS: is the red-haired poney-tail lady shooting with a Blad, too?

  10. LunaliteSBC 48 months ago | reply

    This is such an interesting picture. I wish I had a better way of expressing what I think about it or how it makes me feel but all I've got is Amazing!

  11. Zeb Andrews 48 months ago | reply

    MLPhotoSpace She has a Hasselblad stance, doesn't she? ;-) But no, she wasn't. Mine was the only Hasselblad I saw in Paris, though I did see two Leica users.

  12. Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton 48 months ago | reply

    You certainly are a master of "looking at things in different ways"

  13. Brian Smithson (Old Geordie) 48 months ago | reply

    I like the process you have used here and the result. Fortuitous, perhaps, but I also like the fact that no-one (even in ghostly form)intruded in the centre of the frame, thereby keeping the Tower as the focus.

  14. beautythief 48 months ago | reply

    Love what you did here, Zeb - and how you did it - and the fact that you spend more time deciding what to do than doing it. Being in a place like Paris, it is SOOO tempting to just shoot everything - been there and that's what I got caught up in - so little time, so many photo ops. But by taking a much more creative approach you art really shines!

  15. Kurt Griczen Photography 48 months ago | reply

    Outstanding exposure ; )

  16. {JO} 48 months ago | reply

    Really enjoying this series :)

  17. Tinker's Realm 32 months ago | reply

    I have never seen a series of images of the Tower more Incredible than yours posted here- the editorials are inspiring & thoughtful too- Thank you for sharing!

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