I probably should have taken more photographs of iconic subjects like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, but I’ve always been more attracted to the smaller scenes- particularly cafes and storefronts- that capture the distinctive allure of Paris.
One of my favorite cafe images is “Paul’s”. It is nestled in one of the most attractive spaces in Paris- the Place Dauphine. Built in 1607 in the same style as the more famous Place Des Vosges, it was named by Henri IV for his son Louis XIII - the heir-apparent (Dauphine) of France. Although it is on the Ile de la Cite`- only several hundred yards from the traffic and noise of Notre Dame- this tree- filled square is remarkably peaceful even in the summer season.
The park in the middle of Place Dauphin gave me a great vantage point for framing the classic limestone and brick architecture through the trees. Add multi-light windows, wrought iron details, flowers, umbrellas and classic cafe tables and chairs and you have a photographic vignette that captures what makes Paris so special.
I hope that you will imagine momentarily that you are there - walking through the trees, sitting down at a table and anticipating a refreshing lunch in this tranquil space. Or maybe the photograph will elicit fond memories of similar places. I was trying to capture an image you could build your personal story around . That’s why there are no other people in it. They would get in the way.
Disappointment was the first emotion of the day as I awoke to a murky morning in Lower Slaughter-a postcard perfect village in the English Cotswolds. It was pretty clear that my photographic plan to capture the beauty of this golden-hued stone village was washed out.
Faced with filling the day with something interesting, my wife and I decided- knowing little or nothing about it- to visit a National Trust site called Hidcote Manor Garden. After putting away a traditional full English breakfast, we packed a maximum of rain gear and a minimum of photo gear and took off.
What we found there was far more than ‘interesting”. First planted in 1907 in the popular Arts&Crafts style, this ten acre garden was comprised of many “rooms”-each with its own character, colors and ambiance. These spaces are separated by tall hedges that sometimes make long narrow corridors. This tiny brick outbuilding- apparently set up as a haven from the weather- became a perfect foreground for one of those misty corridors. The red brick and white doors made a bright counterpoint to the moody vista beyond. Just like that, my seemingly stymied day of photography produced one of the most striking images of the trip.
That day’s experiences inspired me to join the National Trust and visit four or five of their properties over the remaining three weeks. All were fascinating and some resulted in the images listed below:
Misty Aisle Hidcote Manor Garden Gloucestershire
Manor Gate Lanhydrock House Cornwall
Garden Rest #1 “ “
Garden Rest #2 “ “