Covid, Flood, Snow, Ice and Pigeons
The Alma bridge in Paris is named after a French Crimean War victory. It hosts “ Le Zouave”, the sole survivor of the four original military statues which decorated the previous version of the bridge. They commemorated regiments which fought in the Crimea. Le Zouave sits on one of the bridge’s pillars, facing upstream.
Famously, as the unofficial measure of how dangerous is the level of flooding on the Seine, it has become the focus of, river-watching, concerned, Parisians. In the historic flood of 1910, the river reached to its shoulders, high above the normal level, given that the statue is itself 5 meters tall, not including its plinth. The highest I have personally seen the Zouave suffer, was with water up to his hips in 2016 and 2018 (See also my Blog post of June 11, 2016 at
Attracted by the combination of snow and the river in flood, I ventured out into sub-zero temperatures, wearing double clothing, double gloves and double masks. With the addition of a backpack of photographic equipment, the Covid-induced problem of my glasses fogging up due to wearing masks and the fact that I have had little exercise during confinement, I struggled to spot, compose and take photographs. My destination was always the Zouave.
I went up onto the bridge and bent over the parapet, looking down on it perpendicularly. Having previously nearly suffered embarrassing equipment failures on overhangs, I was careful to ensure that my camera strap was round my neck and that the lens hood was firmly attached, only to discover that the chin strap on my furry hat was so loose so that it nearly fell into the river. No fear of losing my glasses though, since I take them off when using the viewfinder, which has corrected optics. Equally, reading of many cases of suicide-by-selfie ensured that I kept my weight carefully distributed and my feet on the ground.
The Ultimate test!
It was then that I discovered the ultimate aggravation for the poor Zouave. Pandemic, flood, snow and ice were, quite literally, capped by the evidence of bird feet in the snow, including the final insult of a waste disposal nature. As always, he seemed to rise above the occasion, accepting every indignity with calm, patience and courage – particularly the latter - given that he also has no protection from the mass of fast-moving, floating materials, some of which are large and heavy. I am grateful for his example and proof of survivability for those of us living in the danger zone. He matters to me, as my Parisian neighbour and comforter.
Camera: Nikon D850
Lens: Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Drive Mode: Single Shot
Focal Length: 38mm
Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single
Shutter Speed: 1/500s
Exposure Mode: Auto
Exposure Compensation: +0.3 EV
ISO Sensitivity: 250
Place : Pont de l’Alma, Paris
Copyright Paul Grayson 2021 All Rights Reserved
Keywords: Art, Fine Art, Le Zouave, Nikon, Paris, Paul Grayson, Photeinos, Pont de l'Alma, φωτεινος
Pour une fois, je ne suis pas convaincu par la photo qui, somme toute, n'a rien de particulier. Un pigeon sur la tête du Zouave aurait pu renforcer ton impression. Mais non. Un relâchement ponctuel dans la qualité de ton blog ? J'attends le prochain post.
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