Paris – selective focus

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Paris has always been a singularly frustrating experience for me from a photographic and weight-keeping point of view. But we’ll stay mum on the latter…

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It’s overwhelming, overused, cliched, full of much-trodden, treacherously banal visuals.

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So where do you go from here? My answer was: pick my cheapest lens (non-zoom) and my oldest camera; fortuitously, these two just happen to mate into the smallest, lightest SLR package I’ve ever carried, which was also my staple for a lot of previous trips.

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Pick out strong visuals, concentrate on UP and DOWN. Forgo the middle, as far as possible.

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Even though I spent an inordinate amount of time concentrating on very few shots, I still felt I was looking at the city through a haze. Which is why adding selective focus seemed a natural thing to do – it reflected the way I perceived this city.

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I’ve often made the mistake of wanting to do to much in this city, not taking my time to just let it wash over me, let the impressions settle. So we took it slow this time.

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From an aimless amble through the outer reaches of the Tuileries gardens to a lazy nap in the park of the Palais Galliera, just across from the Modern Art Museum near Trocadéro, we managed to strike a balance between museums and simple immersion.

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The weather was good to us, not something we’d come to expect as a matter of course, this summer. Clouds rolling in, rays of sunshine piercing them – way better than any boring old blue sky.

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The long weekend we had picked for our escape was THE long weekend in August that all Parisians take advantage of to get as far away from the city as possible. So we – and a few thousand other tourists – pretty much had the city to ourselves.

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We even managed to see the Musée d’Orsay and the Orangerie across the river. I hadn’t really ever had the latter on my radar as worthwhile, but the huge halls dedicated to Monet’s Water Lillies really blew my mind!

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Finding an AirBnB flat close to the Palais Royal was a real bonus. The quirkily-cut place and the restaurants and sights close by were perfect! Apart from the neighbourhood bakery that sold éclair at € 3,50 a pop …

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