Paris seen from the rooftop of the Arch of Triumph

A grand view of Paris seen from the top of the Arch of Triumph. The weather was not very good for photography, but it was the only chance I had to get up there, so I stayed stubbornly and covered my camera from the rain. And I am happy that I did, I got many good shots from up there. This one is one of my favorites.--Jacob Surlandwww.caughtinpixels.comArt sale as limited prints. Photo by Jacob Surland, Licensed Creative Commons non-commercial v4.0. No Derivative Work. Protected by Pixsy.com.

Paris seen from the top of the Arch of Triumph in bad weather.

I was in Paris last week to exhibit at Art Shopping at Carrousel du Louvre 2015. A pretty exciting thing. As a photographer, I, of course, could not go to Paris, and not shoot photos, and I carefully planned what to photograph, and when, while not exhibiting.

I did a very careful planning of what I want to shoot mornings and evenings, and what to shoot while driving down there, and back again. It’s the first time I have been the so prepared – and yet you can still meet obstacles.

I will only have one blue hour evening, and where did I want to go? In the end, I decided for the rooftop of the Arch of Triumph. There is a magnificent view of Paris from up there. I got there in good time and waited in the line. After waiting 30 minutes in the line, I got so close to the ticket office and saw a sign which said ‘no bags larger than 40cm’ mine is 53cm and my hope sank. What a stupid mistake to make. I knew that I could not use tripods up there, but no big bags? I took a deep breath, and went took a shot at it, anyway, and I slipped through. The security guard just received a large group to pay his attention to and did not pay attention to the size of my bag. Lucky me.

I thought I was home free from there, but noo… There was a more specific security check, before going up to the top of the roof. The security lady started saying something about the size of the bag, but I just opened it and showed her my camera equipment. She said ‘no tripods’, but I knew that and had prepared for that, and she let me through.

I got to the roof, after climing a small narrow winding staircase. It really was taller than I expected, and when I got up there, the view was magnificent. I had taken no chances and was there almost two hours ahead of the sunset. So I had to wait.

Instead of a tripod, I had brought my Manfrotto Super Clamp which I bought at Amazons. This really is one of the best pieces of photo equipment I have, and especially if you compare it to the price. All photo equipment is insanely expensive, except for this one. It allows me to screw a ball head on, and then I can screw the Super Clamp onto my tripod, and have two cameras or as I had planned for the rooftop. It looks like this:

The Super Clamp is really made for filming equipment, but it works with cameras too.

Because I knew tripods wasn’t allowed, I had researched the nature of the roof and had seen from photos, that there was a spiked fence, which the Super Clamp would be super easy to attach to. And that was my plan. But I had not considered that the fence might be wobbly, and it certainly was. It turned out, that people leaned against it, while taking selfies, and children yanked in it. My camera would fly back and forth on long exposures.

While I waited, I searched for my compositions. This one I liked particularly well because it is different from the classic shot from up here. I also got the classic one, but this one I liked rather much. And guess what? It’s shot with a fisheye lens. You can hardly even tell!

While I waited, bad weather came. La Defense in the distance disappeared completely, and it got closer. At this time I did not feel very lucky at all, but in the end we only got a small portion of the bad weather; enough to have minor problems with rain, but not enough to ruin the photos.

Back to the wobbly fence. When it was time, and the exposures got longer, I waited until the fence was still, or if didn’t stay still, I held my breath and I put my full weight against the fence (hoping it would hold). I shot a lot of photos of the same composition and hoped that enough would be sharp enough to work with. As it turned out, it was not so bad at all. I got a lot useable photos.

So this photo I am quite happy with, not only because I like it, but also because I went through a lot of trouble to get it.

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