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Paris ~ Part Quatre
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Travel   |   WHEN: April 13, 2010
This is the last post of images from the recent trip to Paris; after this, it's back to regularly scheduled programming.

The Eiffel Tower is likely the most-famous of all the Paris icons - arguably the most recognizabe landmark in the world - and yet for as much as we see it in movies, photos, etc., it's still even more impressive when you experience it in person.  It's massive in size and still mind-boggling how it was even designed, let alone built. 

Unfortunately, like the Arc de Triomphe, the tower had some renovation work going on with some netting and scaffolding around part of the base, so it was difficult to photograph the tower up close without getting some of that in the image.  The have to repaint the tower every 7 years, and it looked like they were starting that process again as well as updating the lifts in a couple of the legs while we were there.

And as a bonus from our trip, here's a quick iPhone video showing the sparkling lights on the tower at night:

And here's a few of my favorite images of the tower.

I think what I like about this next image is that it begins to show the massive scale of the tower.

Kylie chillin' (literally) in the gardens in front of the tower.

This is from the 2nd deck of the Eiffel Tower.  It was windy and in the lower 40's by this time, and i didn't have a jacket, so we didn't last long before heading back down. 

A merry-go-round out in front of the tower.  While I was taking this, Kylie was ordering up some delish crepes.

A few random images before heading to the graveyard.

And here we are now at Père Lachaise, one of the more famous graveyards in Paris and home of the final resting place of - among other notable people - Jim Morrison.  It's a little morbid, but the graveyard was one of my favorite stops because of the amazing architecture and textures found there. 

This first image below shows a row of typical monuments of families each with a set of decorative doors that opens to a small interior with a memorial/shrine including family member names, often flowers, and some type of small opening or stained glass window on the back wall.  Kinda creepy, but very cool.

There was a large crematorium near the center of the graveyard (right side of the image).

More cool doors... very typical of many of the memorials.

Below is the grave for French journalist Victor Noir, reportedly portraying his body as it fell after he was shot in 1870 by Prince Pierre Bonaparte.  Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its, um, genital area will bring fertility, a blissful sex life, or, in some versions, a husband within the year. As a result of the legend, those particular components of the oxidized bronze statue are rather, ahem, well-worn. 

And no, Kylie did not perform the bizarre ritual with Victor's monument.  I know someone would ask if I didn't mention it.

There were several people crowded around Jim Morrison's gravesite, so I couldn't get a very good image of it... although ironically enough there's not much to photograph as it's one of the most non-descript memorials in the whole cemetery even though it's stil the most visited.  There used to be a cement bust if him here, but it was stolen years ago and repalced with a more simple head stone marker.

You could do a whole series on defferent cross styles you'll find in the graveyard, and I did.  You'll see just a couple of them in some of the following images.

Boo!  Freaky, right?


Paris ~ Part Trois
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Personal, Travel   |   WHEN: April 12, 2010
We made it back from Paris late this afternoon, and I've been holding out on going to be too early to fight off the jet lag tomorrow, but I'm... running.... out.....of..........gas.......

So, not much penmanship tonight.  Instead I'll get right to the images.  More to come tomorrow, but here's another mini batch from the trip.

Here's the spiral emergency staircase outside the hotel window.  Not exactly a tourist hotspot, but I liked the composition and geometry of this image.

Barbie called... she wants her car back.

These shoes were made for walkin'.  As Kylie and I were sittin' on a bridge in Paris, I was thinking back on all the places these shoes have traversed... China, Sweden, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, and of course the US... I think it's finally time to retire these puppies before we head to London and Ireland next week.

Near Monmartre at the top of the city.  LOTS of steps on the way up.

The next couple are from Notre Dame.

Quasimodo had the day off.  This bell was humongo, though.  Can you imagine this thing ringin' while you're standing right underneath it.  It's 13 tons!  It was kinda crazy how you had to duck through small door openings and up a narrow set of wooden steps to see this bell.  One interesting factoid is that the bell tower was constructed of wood to absorb the vibration of the bell when it rang.  It's no longer used except on major holidays, but still interesting stuff.

One of the hundreds of gargoyles that adorn the top of the church.This guy kinda looks like he's sighing as he overlooks the city.  Cheer up, buddy... could have a worse view.

A view of Monmartre and Sacre Coeur (the white church at the top of the hill in the distance) from the top of Notre Dame.

This guy's job all day was to sit up top of Notre Dame and make sure traffic through some of the narrow passage ways was moving in the right direction.

A few of the 400 steps the lead up to the top.  It was cool that you could see and feel the depressions in the steps where so many people had climbed to the top.  It wasn't cool that there was no escalator or elevator. 

Tell me this French guy's not checking out the girl to the right in the image below. 

I'm not a big fan of the cliché image of all the tourist attractions, so I like this image of the Arc de Triomphe.  Just our luck the thing was undergoing renovations with some scaffolding up around parts of the base, but at least I was able to get a couple images without seeing too much of scaffolding. 

This one was actually a drive-by taken from the top of a double-decker tour bus.

Next up tomorrow... Eiffel Tower and graveyard images... my two favorite stops of the trip.


Paris ~ Part Deux
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes   |   WHEN: April 9, 2010
See, my French is getting better already.  Oui? And thanks to a couple iPhone apps and Google tranlator, dinners are becoming less and less of a surprise each night, which to a degree is also a little less fun.

My schedule's been prety busy up until now, so I haven't had too much time to roam the city with a camera, just an occasional stroll in the immediate neighborhood surrounding my hotel in central Paris.  BTW, if you're ever in Paris and looking for a recommendation for a small, quaint hotel close to lots of stuff in the city, check out Hotel Sèvres Saint Germain.

Kylie's plane should be landing any moment now, and we've got the next two and a half days to explore the city, so I look forward to capturing some images with my "appareil photo" (camera).

For now, here's a few from my walks within a few blocks of the hotel.  The images may look a little over-sharpened... I tend to get lazy and not zoom in as much as I should while editing on a smaller laptop screen when traveling, so sometimes my sharpening gets a little ghetto.

This next image has a fair amount of noise in it, but it I liked the feel of it anyway.  It was taken at ISO 4000 at f/2.8 for 1/100th of a second, handheld, for any photographer geekers who might be wondering.

2 people with big cameras walking alone the River Seine.


Hello from Paris
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes   |   WHEN: April 6, 2010
Got into Paris this morning.  Had a minor heart attack when I went to get off the plane and opened up the overhead bin to find my camera bag gone.  It was there 20 minutes before we landed when I put my laptop bag away, but I didn't see it anywhere when I stood up to exit the plane.  I'm sure I looked like a salmon swimming upstream as I walked quickly off the plane to see if someone ahead of me had grabbed it.  Then I heard this couple behind me trying to get my attention... seems the husband was doing his husbandly duties and grabbed my camera bag thinking it was his wife's camera bag as he was getting off the plane.  When they got on the tarmac she noticed he had a camera bag, pointed to hers on her shoulder and asked him who's bag he had.  Apparently they could tell that I was panicked (I'm guessing the lack of blood in my face gave it away), so they flagged me down and gave my bag back to me.  Sure enough, hers was almost identical to mine, just a hair smaller.  Whew.

I crashed this afternoon after getting to the hotel.  I think the cab ride with no air conditioning and the sun beating down on me thorugh the back window did me in.  I think I almost lost my American breakfast on the French cab driver.  Got up around 5 and took a walk for awhile before grabbing some Italian dinner and telling me waiter "gracias".  Oops.

Anyway, took a few photos that I'll post later.  For now, here's Notre Dame which is about a 20 minute walk from my hotel room.

Bon Jovi,


Snow Day... and Night
WHAT: Cityscapes & Landscapes, Personal, Random   |   WHEN: February 12, 2010
Today has turned out ot be the most snow I've seen in my 13 years in Dallas... and I'm enjoying every inch of it.

First up: snowball launched? Check. 

The rest of the images in this post were taken just after 10pm tonight.  It rocks how it's so light out because of all the light being reflected from the snow. 

Poor Mia was conflicted.  She wanted to be outside in the backyard with me, but she's a bit snooty about snow.  We were shocked - and shamelessly amused - later when she tried to actually navigate her way through the drifts without us having to forcibly pick her up and drop her in a snow bank.  Very out of character for her.  Maybe she's thinking about trying out for the Iditarod.

We've got this much snow as of 10:15pm, and it's still coming down.

Small downside to shooting while it's snowing.  Good thing these things are weather proof.  Hmmm... not sure if that applies to an uncovered hot shoe flash mount.  Think I'll wait a bit before slapping a flash on this guy.


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