Thursday, June 14, 2012

Today's Guest Blogger: Kevin Pepper

© Kevin Pepper
Today's guest blogger is my friend and photographer Kevin Pepper. Together, we are leading a lightning workshop to Venezuela in November (November 10 to 15) of this year. We're also co-leading a few trips in 2013. Check out my workshops page for info.

Take it away Kevin.

I have been to France in every season, met a lot of people, some which have become friends… and I came home thoroughly satisfied from each visit to the city of love and lights. 

Best way  to get around Paris:
On foot or on the Metro: Walking in Paris is the best way to get around and explore the city. It is possible to cross the entire city in a span of just a few hours. For photographers it really is the only way to see the sites. Paris also has an excellent subway train system with detailed maps of the surrounding area at each station. This would be my suggestion for travel around Paris. Look into a pass and use the Metro to get you around the city.

Where to stay in Paris:
The historical center of Paris is divided into 20 districts. The city is split in the middle by the Seine River. Each of these districts is like a little village within the city with its own history, culture and way of life. Do some research and pick an area that suits your personality.

© Kevin Pepper
The Weather in Paris
The best weather in Paris is in spring (April-June) or fall (September-November), when things are easier to come by. The weather is temperate year-round. July and August are the worst for crowds. Parisians desert their city, leaving it to the tourists. 

The months June, July, August and September have a nice average temperature. On average, the warmest month is July, the coolest month is December, May is the wettest month and February is the driest month.

OK, let’s get to the good stuff! Capturing a few of my favorite parts of the city in photos! My suggestion... Apply the same photography principles here as you would at home. Shoot landmarks from 30 minutes before sunrise to ninety minutes after sunrise. Or, go at night and shoot ninety minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunset. Night photography is also amazing in this city. Some of my favorite photos have been taken at night when I have been to Paris. 

© Kevin Pepper
The Eiffel Tower:
The cost to go to the top is approx €15, but its well worth the price to get some fantastic views of the city. Take up your wide angle lens for some breathtaking images and take a telephoto lens to get some different viewpoints of some of the local churches and structures. 

© Kevin Pepper
The Catacombs:
The Paris Catacombs are a maze of tunnels and crypts underneath the city streets where Parisians placed the bones of their dead for almost 30 years. Prior to the creation of the Catacombs in the mid-1700s, residents buried their dead in cemeteries near churches as is still customary in most places.

© Kevin Pepper
Le Louvre and Musee d’Orsay:
Le Louvre is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. 

No flash allowed so I suggest you walk the museum with the camera set on 400 ISO or higher, f/2.8 and brace my camera on a folded coat to help eliminate handshake. Regardless how you do it, you will walk away with a lot of fantastic images for your own personal enjoyment. 

© Kevin Pepper
Musee d’Orsay:
The history of the museum is quite unusual. In the centre of Paris on the banks of the Seine, opposite the Tuileries Gardens, the museum was installed in the former Orsay railway station, built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900. So the building itself could be seen as the first "work of art" in the Musee d'Orsay, which displays collections of art from the period 1848 to 1914. For €8 you can spend as much time as you want admiring timeless pieces of art. 

The rest of Paris:
There is so much more to see and photograph. I could write and show photos for hours. These were just a few of my favorite locations. What I suggest, look at photos on flickr and go to the Parisian website. There is an abundance of available information for anyone wishing to visit the city. 

If you have any questions about Paris, please feel free to contact me through . I have visited the city 6 times in the last ten years… and next year I plan to go back after a trip with Rick Sammon. Rick and I are headed to a part of the country that you would find equally amazing… Provence.  From the vineyards, to stunning landscapes, lavender fields in the early summer and the infamous Camargue horses; this also is a must visit location in France.  Please check out this photo tour to see what you would experience with us.


Enele said...

Thank you so much for your wonderful report about Paris which made me to reminisce about my nice time in Paris this week! :)

Tom Baker said...

great job Kevin\Rick