Monday, July 25, 2011

Paris Day 2 - Photo Workshop

I intentionally booked this photo class for my first full day in Paris.  In this 3.5 hour class we will walk around my Montmartre neighborhood, giving me a good feel for where I will spend each evening, and the instructor will give me some terrific pointers on photo composition as well as manual settings that I can use for the remainder of the trip.  I was thrilled to learn that another traveler from Brazil will be joining us as this will provide a synergistic learning environment (as well as a 50 euro discount!)

When I planned a family vacation to Walt Disney World about ten years ago, I used a travel guide to help me get the biggest bang for my buck.  Consequently, we visited MGM studios and Epcot on the first two days because we were allowed early entry.  It wasn't until the third day that we went to the Magic Kingdom, and consequently it wasn't until the third day that everyone felt that we were in Disney World. learning a lesson from that experience, I know that I need to get out of Montmartre today and visit the lower city - whether it be a view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero Square or a glance at Notre Dame while walking along the Seine.  I was THRILLED to learn that there is going to be a reading of Strangers in Paris at the famous Shakespeare and Co bookstore!  I have wanted to visit this store ever since I read Jeremy Mercer's Time was Soft There (my review here) and to attend an author reading is truly the icing on the cake.  I just hope that I don't allow my self-conscious anxiety prevent me from attending.

Well, the day didn't turn out completely as planned, but I rarely expect that to happen.

this is the half way point...
 I managed to walk to the meeting place in about ten minutes - so I arrived quite early.  The others came at about the same time and everyone was delightful.  The other participant, Michelle, currently lives in Brazil but is originally from France.  She is a doctor, about my age, and knew just about as much about photography as I do. We were evenly matched.  Sophie was delightful - and spoke impeccable English.  She brought along a new employee, Helena, who was quite young and oh so nice.  I think Sophie was also training her on English skills because I noticed even when they talked among themselves it was in English.

I won't bore you with a lot of the details but suffice it to say....I learned a lot about taking pictures (as opposed to snapshots) and I learned that I have been changing my lenses incorrectly which is probably why a piece of dust on the censor ruined nearly every picture I took today.  It was quite disappointing and given my jetlagged state, my emotions ran high.  I felt like such a failure in many ways.  Helena was quite nice and tried numerous times to help me relieve the dust - nothing works.  She said that this happens to her all the time and would be happy to give me the name and address of a local shop who would help.  That was nice as well.

This is what's left to climb!
So I guess I can view this as a two part lesson:  one that I learned the elements necessary to take a good picture (which for me seems to be to get even closer to the subject and focus on one thing rather than several) and learn how to use photoshop to mask the dust spot.

In all I had walked 12,000 steps by 3:00PM and I was exhausted.  I allowed myself to take a nap, which I rarely do.  By the time I woke up the reading at Shakespeare & Co. was already over.  It was just as well,  I did a bit of research on the book and rather being about strangers as in, not familiar with Paris, I think it was strangers as in the characters were strange.  Probably not my kind of book.

I think I will lay low the rest of the evening and hopefully I will feel better and the world will look brighter in the morning when I go on a market tour and then take a cooking class!

I have read all your kind comments from yesterday and I wanted to address a couple of issues.  Someone mentioned that I should not try to keep track of time in the states.  Well, it isn't that I am doing that intentionally :)  My computer does not adjust to European time for some reason, so I am always reminded of what time it is back home (for example it is 2:00PM in Kansas but it is 9:00PM here in France). I am not mentally exhausting myself here --- believe me.

Secondly, someone suggested that I post pictures of the apartment.  Well, after I got home from the photo class I took my camera lens off and just blew and blew (I felt like the big bad wolf).  I figured it couldn't hurt.  I decided that taking pictures of my humble abode would be the perfect test shots.  I'm terrible with guestimating space, but I would assume it is less than 500 square feet (?).  Surprisingly enough all the apartment pictures are dust particle free.  I don't know if i actually blew it out - or if I just blew it out of sight in the photos.  In either case, enjoy these photos and pray that the dust stays out of sight for the remainder of the trip.


  1. Oh, how I wish I could use Photoshop. I'm sure you'll get into the swing of things tomorrow.

  2. Sounds like you actually learned a lot and tomorrow is a new day:) So fun to get all these glimpses into your trip - love the vicarious travel experience!

  3. 12,000 steps? They'd be carrying me home on a stretcher! Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Lovely...just lovely! I say just enjoy your time and do what you want. I'm loving your posts and the way you have them set up ahead of time and then write down what actually happened that day!! Don't be too hard on yourself about the'll be amazed at how much you'll have learned!!

  5. You really are Amelie--the apartment is darling. I, too, am sure that tomorrow will be easier (it is okay to allow yourself time to adjust to jetlag).

  6. The apartment looks perfect, along with everything else so far. Thanks for sharing your trip with all of us!

  7. The apartment looks lovely and perfect! I hope the dust stays away for you.

  8. Brilliant idea, taking a photography class. Don't take their suggestions too seriously....You have always posted beautiful pictures!

  9. Such a great idea to take a photography class on holidays. I'm sure it was helpful, and they would have taken you to some new places that you wouldn't have seen otherwise. I think your goal of 500 photos a day is impressive. I spent two weeks in Paris last year, and I took lots of photos and it was 200-300 per day I think. Never let the physical and emotional toll of jet lag be underestimated.

  10. Hi, thanks for sharing your experience! I am very interested in a photo course in Paris! It seems like you were very satisfied with yours, could you maybe give me the contact? Thank you very much, Annika


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