Paul Grayson | Magic Night

Magic Night

February 25, 2017  •  1 Comment

Magic NightMagic Night

The Magic

So, I had a few micro-brewery beers with a friend at La Taverne du Cluny on rue de la Harpe, almost as good, I’m sure, as the monks in the local monastery could brew back in the Dark Ages. Shouldering my trusty camera bag I stepped out into the night in the over-touristy, restaurant-cramped streets and wandered vaguely in the direction of Notre Dame, looking for a place to buy dessert.

I had no paper money left, only 8 euros and change, so I thought of ice cream. No sooner thought than “Amorino” appeared on a street sign and I headed down rue de la Huchette to buy a large cone of pistachio, so home-made that it did not have that fluorescent green colour you get with factory made wares. It even had real pistachios on top – imagine that!

Having slaked my thirst for cholesterol unfriendly fare, I ambled over to the Parvis of the Cathedral. While I watched the beautifully lit structure shimmer and dance in front of me I pondered how eerily quiet was the space, lacking the usual throngs attracted to Paris at all times of the year and at all times of day and night. As I did so, a guitarist started up a Kabyle song about his mother, a miraculous gift, given that I love the Arabic genre of music on the oud, the eastern version of the medieval lute. I was entranced. Look him up on Boudji World Music.

The Photography

 Then the passion for image-making kicked in and I tried various ways of capturing Notre Dame at night, mainly focussed on the story-telling in the stone. I then wandered over to the right bank of the Seine in front of the Town Hall, l’Hotel de Ville.

I was again working on limited “wobble prevention”, only having a monopod to support my heavy D800, but the area was quite well lit, so I captured various views of the town hall, before I became focussed on the Carrousel.

Not Doisneau

I have briefly alluded to my distaste for a certain, cheesy kind of Parisian street photography. Maybe I am somewhat insensitive, but I much prefer the unadorned (so to speak) architecture of Paris, without capturing its denizens. This image has merit in colour, given the magical creatures in their fantastical colours, but I saw it in black and white.

I also felt very satisfied with the complementary art offered by the street lamps and their circular composition, seeming to complement the carrousel itself.


 The image required very little treatment after rendering in Black & White. Only sharpening and a minor crop.


Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 24-70mm zoom f/2.8G ED

Focal Length: 62mm

Focus Mode: AF-C

Aperture: f/2.8

Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Continuous

Exposure Mode: Auto

Exposure Compensation: -1.0 EV

Metering: Spot

ISO Sensitivity: 2500

Handheld against street furniture


I hope that you find something of the enchantment that Paris means to me in this image. If so, please take a wander around the other images on this site.


Copyright Paul Grayson 2017 All Rights Reserved


Superbe image et traitement n&b réussi. On dirait que le manège se confond avec la façade de l'hôtel de ville. Une image à ajouter dans ton futur livre photo sur Paris ?
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