Paris, Notre-Dame : fog and reflections


When you wake up to take vibrant pictures of Paris at sunrise and end up taking pictures of Notre-Dame de Paris under a cloudy sky.

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Paris, France, Notre-Dame de Paris Seine reflections
Paris, France : Notre-Dame de Paris reflecting in the Seine river*

When you specialise in sunrise / sunset photography, you’ve got two indispensable tools to plan your shootings : the weather forecasts to begin with, and also apps like SunCalc to find out where the sun will show up in the morning and disappear at nightfall. The latter is always very precise, and you can easily rely on it. As for the former, it is a bit of a hit and miss : sometimes, its predictions work, and sometimes, they don’t. And this is the most tricky part of sunrise / sunset photography : as much as you plan your shootings, there will always be some uncertainty that you’ll have to deal with.

This precisely happened to me this morning : despite the promising forecasts for the morning, I eventually woke up to find out that the sky was cloudy, and even worse, that there was some fog lurking in the far distance that seemed to be looming on Paris.

When in such troubles, I have to quickly think about a place where clouds and fog won’t mess with the whole scene. I find that in Paris, Île de la Cité is the best place for this kind of atmosphere. With all its medieval buildings and Notre-Dame de Paris in the middle of it, all that is lacking believe yourself back in the medieval days is some cloudy weather, some fog, and maybe some foul smell of rotten food and dejections, though I’m not really asking for it.

Quite fortunately, this idea gave good results this morning, even more so that the Seine river was quite calm this morning, which made it a perfect mirror for Notre-Dame de Paris and the buildings surrounding the cathedral. I had already taken approximately the same picture some months ago (Paris, Notre-Dame : Reflection at sunrise), though it was on a sunny morning : this time, with the clouds and hardly perceptible fog, the picture looked totally different. Which leads me to think you could photograph the same scene everyday in your life and still get quite an interesting piece of work with thousands of pictures that would look the same and different at the same time. I like this idea : permanence in variation.

All in all, though the weather was not what I had expected, I managed to get a photo I like, and I hope you’ll like too. Which goes to show that even when the weather’s not with you, you can always make do with what you have, even when you initially planned to take pictures of a sunrise and end up taking pictures in a pea souper.

* Shot with an A7II + Sony FE28f2.0 at ISO 100, f8, 1/4. 4 horizontal images stitched together with Adobe Lightroom 6.5.

5 thoughts on “Paris, Notre-Dame : fog and reflections

  1. A wise friend once told me that “expectations are the killers of great travels,” and I think the same can be said for photography. I’m glad you didn’t fall into the trap of turning away in disappointment because the scene didn’t match your expectations — for your open mind you were rewarded with a stunning and truly classic image. Just beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha! I’ve made similar decisions myself on account of my husband: “I’ve woken him up, so I’d better return with something worthwhile.” Our poor loved ones, how they suffer for our art! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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