Back to Monochrome : Notre-Dame de Paris


Black&white pictures of Paris by night. Notre-Dame in a puddle, Institut de France from Le Louvre and Montmartre in the mist : visit Paris like you’ve never done before.

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Notre-Dame de Paris in a puddle

Notre-Dame, reflecting in a puddle on the banks of the Seine River

Even though Lyon is a beautiful city where I wish I could have stayed a bit longer, I’ve had to go back to Paris, where my life is now.

I haven’t been that lucky with the weather since my return, and most of the days when I had some spare time to do photography were either rainy or very cold, cloudy, and even foggy sometimes. No beautiful sunrise, but some incredible sunsets… I’ve had to watch through the window panes at work. Too bad…

This has led me to go a bit out of my usual ways. Of course, I keep waking up early in the morning to take advantage of the morning’s quietness. I also keep carrying my two cameras with me, as well as my tripod, every time I go out, even though I often feel tired of lugging around so much equipment. However, I no longer try to find the best views from above. Instead, I walk the streets and try to find some new and original perspectives. When it’s been raining, I look for reflections of buildings I like in the puddles…

So far, my photography habits were simple : find a great place with a great view, spot the best area with the best angle of view (since I only shoot with a 24mm and a 50mm, I’ve gotten quite used to these focal lengths, and I easily know where I have to be to get the view I want), imagine the perfect moment to take a picture of this view, wait for this moment (and pray for the weather forecasts to be right), and when the moment has come, go to the place and shoot it how you’ve wanted it to be.

Even though I’ll keep taking landscape photographies, I’ll try, from now on, to have a more creative eye one my environment. I’ll stray a bit from  my way sometimes, and let the unexpected happen. Who knows ? Maybe I’ll be able to bring by some exploration in my photographies ?

Institut de France on a rainy night

Institut de France, from Le Louvre’s lateral doorway

Montmartre, misty dome 2

Le Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre, on a foggy morning

Montmartre, misty dome

A narrow street to Le Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre

6 thoughts on “Back to Monochrome : Notre-Dame de Paris

      1. Dear Pierre,

        well I was assuming, that you’re using the same software and some recipes within these. So I’d be curious about what software and filters, settings, etc. your are using, though I now that there are always many way to achieve a certain result.
        But if I had to choose, I’d take the first one – L’institut de France.

        Mark

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      2. Dear Mark,

        I always use Lightroom 5 to process my pictures. However, I don’t have any presettings, and I always process my pictures one by one and manually.

        For this one, I took it by night at f5.6 and 2,5s, ISO 100. I underexposed it a bit (around -1 stop), since I prefer to recover the shadows rather than having to deal with burnt highlights.

        As usual, I used the profile for my lens and for the camera.and straightened the picture using upright.

        Then, I put it in Black&White, to know what I was doing, put the highlights at -100, pushed the shadows at +73 and the whites at +68, put the blacks at -70, clarity at +68 and contrast at +50.

        It is as simple as this 🙂 Most of the time, I find that putting contrast between +35 and +50, highlights around -75 and -100, the whites between +75 and +100 and the blacks between -30 and -70, then setting clarity around 70 works well for black&white night photography. However, sometimes, I can also go a totally different way. It really depends on the picture. For instance, for some pictures, I can use a very low contrast (around -50 and -70), very high whites (+70 and above) and very low blacks (-70 and below), push clarity to +70 or so, and get very good results :).

        I hope this will help. If you have any other questions, please let me know 🙂

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  1. Salut Pierre et merci

    for the very detailed description. If I like photos I am always curious about how they were made. After a while you get used to a tool (e.g. Lightroom) and then you also may get used to developing your photos in a similar way. I think it’s good to prevent yourself from a routine by developing each photo with the ambition to make it shine. I try to do it the same way, but with Capture One as software feeded by a Sony A7.
    A few days ago I’ve started my own blog and if you don’t mind I’d like link to your site.

    Mark

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