In the Palace of the Ice Queen

January 02, 2015  •  2 Comments

The Grand Palais in Paris became a Winter Fairyland with a giant ice-skating rink attracting lengthy queues of children waiting to enter a beautifully-lit world of ice, glass and light. 

 

Palace of the Ice QueenPalace of the Ice QueenCopyrighted Digital Photograph

 

“Upstream” contributions to producing this image.

 

What did it take to produce this image? Firstly, the Grand Palais in Paris has been undergoing significant restoration since severe problems first appeared in 1993. Much of this has been invisible, relating to the foundations, but a few years ago, the magnificent glass roof was completely renewed with lighter materials (in both senses of the word), restoring clean light transmission into and out of the building, such as is visible here. A final, reconstruction stage is planned to run from 2018 to 2024, which will bring the whole of the site back into public use and reveal the original internal scale of the edifice, while modernizing access, logistics and services, including a stunning pedestrianisation of the roof which will overlook the whole of Central Paris. I look forward to 2024!

 

Secondly, light masters were needed to set up a fairyland inside the building, providing stand-and-stare moments in the surrounding area for passers by and avid photographers.

 

Next, the photograph needed to be optimized by my recently abandoning both of my favourite camera body and zoom lenses to Nikon’s repair department, for them to replace the lens attachment ring of their “F-Mounts”. Both were no longer perfectly flush, on the one hand due to the camera falling out of my backpack onto the pavement and on the other hand because of systemic, almost daily use of the 70-200 zoom lens. Imperceptible damage to the rings resulted in less than perfect focusing, which is now remedied. This is a tribute to the robustness of Nikon’s professional bodies, which still function for months at a high level despite falling three feet onto concrete. That said, the lens to which the camera was attached at that time was smashed beyond repair.

 

Optimisation

 

Given the environmental and technical precedents, capturing the image was enabled by the in-depth capacities of this body-lens combination to compensate for night-time conditions and the absence of a tripod to stabilize a longer-exposure. The processes were:

 

  • Stabilisation of the camera and lens against a lamppost

 

  • Reliance on assistance from vibration reduction, as a second layer of focus protection

 

  • Making a balanced choice between ISO, aperture and speed settings to obtain a reasonably final quality of image. In this case an ISO of 1600 and an aperture of f5.6 resulted in a speed of 1/10 second


 

  • Maxing out the “reach” of the zoom to 200mm, to bring the building as close as possible, while remaining far away enough to keep it flat to the plane of the sensor and avoid distortion


 

  • Benefitting from the large size of the D800 sensor (36 million pixels file) to make a deep crop of the original image

 

  • Using Nikon Capture NX2 processing software to reduce noise visible in the night sky

 

  • Sharpening aggressively

 

Aesthetics

 

All of the above facilitated an artistic choice of which section of the building to choose, which would provide both a pleasing composition, as well as focusing tightly on the light and architectural patterns and shapes that attracted my initial interest.

 

Settings

 

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G

Focal Length: 200 mm

Vibration reduction: On

Focus Mode: AF-S

Autofocus Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/5.6

Shutter Speed: 1/10s

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation : -1.3

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 1600

Hand Held, steadied on lamp post

 

A happy 2015 to you all. Please feel free to share your comments on any of the images on my site.

 

Copyright Paul Grayson 2015


Comments

Samuel BARCLAY(non-registered)
Très très belle photo,
Eric(non-registered)
Image classique mais très réussie. La beauté de Paris à travers ses monuments est parfaitement restituée.
No comments posted.
Loading...
Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February (4) March (1) April May (1) June July August September October (1) November December
January (3) February (3) March (5) April (2) May June (1) July August September October November December
January (4) February (4) March (3) April May June July August September October November December
January (4) February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April (1) May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December (1)
January February March April May June July August September October November December