Monthly Archives

January 2013

Louvre Pyramid at Night, Pyramide du Louvre a Nuit, Paris

Paris

Louvre Pyramid at Night, Paris, France. See more photos of Paris!

We joined the crowds at the Louvre Museum during the day and, while it was fun to be a part of the vibrant hustle and bustle of the great musee, we wanted to visit again when it was not so busy, crowded and loud. Our evening visit was splendid! Often we would find ourselves alone in large galleries, surrounded by some of the greatest art works of the past 500 years, feeling that we had these amazing gems all to ourselves. Beforehand, we did a little people watching in the plaza where I.M. Pei’s distinctive pyramid stands. Setting a camera on the edge of the fountain, I was able to make a few nice images of the pyramid at night.

The Louvre Pyramid at Night, Pyramide du Louvre,  large glass and metal pyramid in the main courtyard (Cour Napoleon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris, Musee du Louvre

The Louvre Pyramid at Night, Pyramide du Louvre, large glass and metal pyramid in the main courtyard (Cour Napoleon) of the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) in Paris
Image ID: 28095
Location: Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris, Trees and Streetlamp

Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, West Facade, Trees and Streetlamp, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, trees and streetlamp, west facade, Paris. Notre Dame de Paris ("Our Lady of Paris"), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral or simply Notre Dame, is a historic Roman Catholic Marian cathedral on the eastern half of the Ile de la Cite in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. Widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the largest and most well-known churches in the world ever built, Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, trees and streetlamp, west facade, Paris. Notre Dame de Paris (“Our Lady of Paris”), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral or simply Notre Dame, is a historic Roman Catholic Marian cathedral on the eastern half of the Ile de la Cite in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. Widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and among the largest and most well-known churches in the world ever built, Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris.
Image ID: 28242
Location: Notre Dame de Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Paris

Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France. See more photos of Paris!

We walked the Champs Elysees on a cold, cloudy Paris day, starting at the Arc de Triomphe and finishing at the Louvre Museum with many stops in between. We walked beneath the Arc de Triomphe just to be able to say we had seen it, but it did not appear particularly photogenic in the crummy weather. I made a few photographs of it, including a panorama from directly underneath, and was pleasantly surprised that they came out as well as they did given the flat light and colorless sky.

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l’Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: “Triumphal Arch”) honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep.
Image ID: 28083
Location: Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l’Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: “Triumphal Arch”) honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep.
Image ID: 28082
Location: Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l'Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l'Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: "Triumphal Arch") honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep

Arc de Triomphe. The Arc de Triomphe (Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l’Etoile), at the western end of the Champs-Elysees. The Arc de Triomphe (in English: “Triumphal Arch”) honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages. The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep.
Image ID: 28265
Location: Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France

Whale Triple Header: Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Fin Whales, Del Mar, California

Blue Whale, Humpback Whale

GREAT WHALE TRIPLEHEADER. What’s that you say? Read on…

This is a photograph of a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) performing a peduncle throw (or “tail throw”, or “tail lob”). The man who taught me most of what I know about whales, friend and whale researcher Dr. Dan Salden, often referred to this behavior as a “peduncle throw” and that is the term I prefer to use but whale watching captains will call it all sorts of names. The whale pivots around its long pectoral fins, dips its rostrum (head) down and violently catapults its peduncle and fluke high out the water, throwing a mighty cascade of spray throughout the air. What a sight! I remember my first season working with Dan’s whale research team, seeing this behavior for the first time, and having him explain to me what he thought might be going on underwater that would motivate the whale to do such a thing. In this case the whale was apparently alone and had been doing it for some time. We saw the splashing from over a mile away and drove over to take a closer look. I never did see any other animals in the vicinity of this whale and could not figure out why it was breaching, peduncle throwing and tail slapping.

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance, Megaptera novaeangliae

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance.
Image ID: 27142
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

The campus of UCSD is seen high on the bluffs in the distance. When I was in college I would to gaze out the windows of those building during class, staring at the ocean and hang gliders that would fly past. The humpback remained surface active for a while, and later transitioned to fluke slapping and inverted tail lobs:

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance, Megaptera novaeangliae

A humpback whale raises it fluke out of the water, the coast of Del Mar and La Jolla is visible in the distance.
Image ID: 27130
Species: Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae
Location: Del Mar, California, USA

This humpback was just part of a rare GREAT WHALE TRIPLEHEADER, in which we shot photographs underwater of three different species of great whales: blue whales, humpback whales and fin whales.

It was quite a day to say the least. Here are a few of the non-humpbacks we saw that day. Check out the fin whale, his buddy can be seen in the distance just beyond him, identifiable by the lightly colored lower right side jaw that is characteristic of fin whales. Also check out the bizarre fluke on this blue whale, with the bluffs of Del Mar in the distance.

Fin whale underwater. The fin whale is the second longest and sixth most massive animal ever, reaching lengths of 88 feet, Balaenoptera physalus

Fin whale underwater. The fin whale is the second longest and sixth most massive animal ever, reaching lengths of 88 feet.
Image ID: 27597
Species: Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill, La Jolla, California

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill.
Image ID: 27119
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill, La Jolla, California

Blue whale fluking up (raising its tail) before a dive to forage for krill.
Image ID: 27122
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Fin whale underwater. The fin whale is the second longest and sixth most massive animal ever, reaching lengths of 88 feet, Balaenoptera physalus

Fin whale underwater. The fin whale is the second longest and sixth most massive animal ever, reaching lengths of 88 feet.
Image ID: 27594
Species: Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus

We finished the day with a great sunset of Mount Soledad on our way back to Mission Bay. One of those “top 10 days”.

Panorama of La Jolla, with Mount Soledad aglow at sunset, viewed from the Pacific Ocean offshore of San Diego

Panorama of La Jolla, with Mount Soledad aglow at sunset, viewed from the Pacific Ocean offshore of San Diego.
Image ID: 27086
Location: La Jolla, California, USA

Eiffel Tower over the Trocadero, Paris, France

Paris

The Eiffel Tower rises over the Place du Trocadéro, Paris

I thought the reflection of le Tour Eiffel on the shiny tiles of the Place du Trocadéro was pretty neat. There were plenty of people walking around the Trocadero enjoying the cold, clear night in Paris, but you cannot see them in this long time exposure. Cheers!

Eiffel Tower rises over the Trocadero place. The Trocadero, site of the Palais de Chaillot, is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower rises over the Trocadero place. The Trocadero, site of the Palais de Chaillot, is an area of Paris, France, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower.
Image ID: 28168
Location: Trocadero, Paris, France

See more Photos of Paris!

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

Paris

Stained Glass Windows of La Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

La Sainte-Chapelle (“The Holy Chapel”) is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cite in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns – one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom. Sainte-Chapelle is famous, and rightly so, for its spectacular stained glassed windows. If you like this, you may enjoy seeing more photos of Paris. Cheers and thanks for looking!

La Sainte-Chapelle, The Holy Chapel, is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cite in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns - one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom

La Sainte-Chapelle, The Holy Chapel, is one of the only surviving buildings of the Capetian royal palace on the Ile de la Cite in the heart of Paris, France. It was commissioned by King Louis IX of France to house his collection of Passion Relics, including the Crown of Thorns – one of the most important relics in medieval Christendom.
Image ID: 28032
Location: La Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

Shooting Star over Delicate Arch at Night, Arches National Park, Utah

Arches, Astrophotography and Night Scapes

This image is also featured on my Landscape Astrophotography website: Delicate Arch at Night, Milky Way and Shooting Star, Arches National Park, Utah

This is spectacular Delicate Arch, the most iconic and popular of the arches in Arches National Park in Utah. Looking back on 2012 I realize I made a strong series of Landscape Astrophotography photos in 2012 — and this image is one of my favorites. It combines Delicate Arch, the Milky Way galaxy, just a tad of blue in the sky from the sunset earlier, and a shooting star crossing the sky directly above Delicate Arch. That last element was sheer luck of course, but luck favors the prepared and I was certainly prepared on this evening, shooting three cameras aided by special lights and remote triggers for my camera. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Milky Way and Shooting Star over Delicate Arch, as stars cover the night sky, Arches National Park, Utah

Milky Way and Shooting Star over Delicate Arch, as stars cover the night sky.
Image ID: 27854
Location: Arches National Park, Utah, USA

Like this image? Please see my website devoted to my full collection of Landscape Astrophotography images.

Sacre-Coeur Basilica, Paris, France

Paris

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur Basilica, is a beautiful Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city. We visited Sacre-Coeur on a spectacular day with large puffy clouds and large stuffy crowds.

Sacre-Coeur Basilica.  The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur Basilica, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur Basilica, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.
Image ID: 28118
Location: Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

Sacre-Coeur Basilica.  The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur Basilica, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur

Sacre-Coeur Basilica. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacre-Coeur Basilica, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France. A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.
Image ID: 28155
Location: Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Paris, France

See more Photos of Paris, France!

Landscape Astrophotography

Astrophotography and Night Scapes

New: check out my website for Landscape Astrophotography!

What is Landscape Astrophotography? Here is my take on it!

Landscape Astrophotography is the discipline of photographing scenes that include both astronomical elements and terrestrial landscape elements. The motivation for landscape astrophotography is a desire to depict the night sky, including stars, planets, comets, meteors, the Milky Way galaxy, space dust and our Moon among other elements, along with some recognizable piece of planet Earth. This approach differs from the classic “deep space” images that, for instance, NASA produces, since those typically show nothing of the Earth and are thus disconnected from the type of scenes we experience when we view the night sky ourselves. In my landscape astrophotography, I choose to use lenses and compositional choices that produce an image similar to what the viewer would experience with his own eyes. A few details that characterize landscape astrophotography, both mine and the way I believe most photographers practice it today. Landscape astrophotographs:

  • are made at night, or at the edge of night (dawn and dusk).
  • use exposures “long enough” to record relatively dim objects in the night sky. Almost all landscape astrophotography involves the use of a tripod.
  • sometimes employ artificial light on foreground elements in a technique known as “light painting”.
  • sometimes will combine, or “stack”, multiple images to produce a final image. Naturally, in this case the resulting image is not what one would have been able to see in person, but the image can serve to illustrate the passage of time (e.g., star trails) or a relatively infrequent phenomenon (e.g., meteor shower).
  • often use relatively high ISO settings. This is made possible by the recent technological improvements in the sensitivity and noise characteristics of digital camera sensor.
  • often will use lenses “wide open”, or at or near their maximum aperture, in order to capture as much light as possible.
  • use focus that is typically near or at infinity so depth of field is not an issue.
  • benefit from maximum corner sharpness and minimal coma distortion, at or near “wide open” aperture — two highly desirable lens characteristics for landscape astrophotography.
  • require considerable post-processing techniques in software such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Starstax to adjust white balance, contrast, exposure and especially noise.
  • often will push a digital camera to the edge of what it is capable of recording. This means that as the technological capabilities of our cameras continue to improve, new possibilities in landscape astrophotography continue to emerge.

Below are few of my favorite landscape astrophotographs, made during the last two years with both Canon and Nikon equipment, all in California, Nevada and Utah. If you like these, please see my gallery of landscape astrophotography for others. All of my astrophotography landscape images are available as prints for display in your home or office, up to 30″ x 45″ in size, and have been some of my best sellers recently. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Yosemite Falls and star trails, at night, viewed from Cook's Meadow, illuminated by the light of the full moon, Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls and star trails, at night, viewed from Cook’s Meadow, illuminated by the light of the full moon.
Image ID: 27733
Location: Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Panorama of the Milky Way over Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Panorama of the Milky Way over Mesa Arch.
Image ID: 27824
Location: Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA

Milky Way arches over Delicate Arch, as stars cover the night sky, Arches National Park, Utah

Milky Way arches over Delicate Arch, as stars cover the night sky.
Image ID: 27850
Location: Arches National Park, Utah, USA

The Milky Way galaxy above Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, night star field exposure

The Milky Way galaxy above Arch Rock, Joshua Tree National Park, night star field exposure.
Image ID: 26862
Location: Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

The moon sets over the Fire Wave, a beautiful sandstone formation exhibiting dramatic striations, striped layers in the geologic historical record, Valley of Fire State Park

The moon sets over the Fire Wave, a beautiful sandstone formation exhibiting dramatic striations, striped layers in the geologic historical record.
Image ID: 26511
Location: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, USA

Star Trails over the San Diego Downtown City Skyline.  In this 60 minute exposure, stars create trails through the night sky over downtown San Diego

Star Trails over the San Diego Downtown City Skyline. In this 60 minute exposure, stars create trails through the night sky over downtown San Diego.
Image ID: 28383
Location: San Diego, California, USA

The Battle of the Nile, Chateau Versailles, France

Paris

Painting of The Battle of the Nile, Chateau Versailles, France

The Battle of the Nile, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay (in French as the Bataille d’Aboukir), one of the enormous, gorgeous paintings we saw at Chateau Versailles outside of Paris. The second image is a “vertorama”, a vertical panorama showing not only the painting but also the ornate ceiling artwork, typical of the apartment ceilings at Versailles.

The Battle of the Nile, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, in French as the Bataille d'Aboukir, Chateau de Versailles, Paris, France

The Battle of the Nile, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, in French as the Bataille d’Aboukir.
Image ID: 28078
Location: Chateau de Versailles, Paris, France

The Battle of the Nile, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, in French as the Bataille d'Aboukir, panaramic photo showing wall and ceiling detail, Chateau de Versailles, Paris, France

The Battle of the Nile, also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay, in French as the Bataille d’Aboukir, panaramic photo showing wall and ceiling detail.
Image ID: 28076
Location: Chateau de Versailles, Paris, France

You can also see many other panoramic photographs I have made over the years, some are pretty cool! Cheers and thanks for looking!