My last stop on Day 1, after Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts, was Le Louvre. I had stopped by earlier in the day but found there to be just too many tourists and visitors to even get a half decent shot. My photographer instincts are always to come back and revisit my subject at a time most would consider obsessive or outright insane. Depending on how far I am willing to go, I may often find myself to be the only one around.
It was past 1:00am when I arrived at The Louvre. The square/plaza was gated-off but as I approached I found a small opening and walked through. Aside from a few men at the doors of the pyramid, I was the only one around. As I later on realized, they must have been part of a maintenance crew because the Louvre would be completely dark by this time every single time I tried to revisit it at night. This, as I found out, was due to budget cuts in the city of Paris or as the Parisians called it, “La Crise Economique” (The Economic Crisis). So I sort of lucked out on this night.
Apart from one-or-two couples in “love” who were stopping by to take in the night lights, I was all alone. I had the entire Louvre to myself. It was so tranquil and relaxing. I took my time to soak it all in and plan my shots well. I wish I had a tilt-shift lens with me to help make the panoramic stitches less painful and more seamless. I whould also have liked to do some HDR time lapses of my shots, as the overcast skies would have provided for a great dramatic background but all I had with me was my 5D Mark III, 24-105L lens and some ND filters.
I visited the Louvre until about 3:00 am. Here is my final shot before I left. I used in-camera HDR bracketing on the 5D Mark III. No Post processing other than re-sampling the image which would otherwise be too big to post. This shot will also be available for print, as soon as I can take it through final processing and proofing.
Here is a panoramic shot of the courtyard I took upon arriving. This is a panoramic composition of standard extended exposure shots. There has been slight contrast and saturation boost. It has also been greatly down sampled as the original panoramic would be too big to publish on here. This shot will also be made available for print.
This is perhaps my favorite from this evening. Also a panoramic composition of in-camera HDR bracketed shots. I was very satisfied with the 5D Mark-III’s ability to generate high fidelity HDR compositions in-camera and on the fly. This better helped me to adjust my bracket shot settings. The high dynamic range of it’s sensor gives me even more flexibility when processing the RAW files.
This is a quick hand held HDR panoramic I took upon arriving at the Louvre earlier in the day. As you can see, the entire courtyard was chock-full of tourists and visitors standing in lines that went on for days. From this point I pretty much concluded I was not going to bother getting any shots on the Louvre.
Here is another cool HDR panoramic of the right wing on my approach to the Louvre. I loved the dramatic cloud cover over Paris on this day.