Friday, March 27, 2015

My visit to Strasbourg, France - Beautiful landscapes and night shots

I have photographed numerous WRC (World Rally Championships) events over the last couple of years, and enjoyed visiting the cool locations where they hold these car races. The rally in Sardinia, Italy was nice but really hot and dusty. This time I was in France to shoot the rally, and I was lucky enough to have a little free time to photograph the surrounding area.

I was taken to this great little town of Riquewihr, with picturesque buildings and rolling hills of vineyards. As soon as we pulled up to the town I knew that this location would be great for photos. As it turned out, the shooting location for the rally was on top of one of the nearby hills. So, after having a nice lunch in town, I made the climb up the hill towards my shooting position. After I photographed the cars shooting by on the dirt roads, I headed back down the hillside and turned my attention to the beautiful landscape.

I walked down to the start of the vineyards to have them prominently in the foreground of my photo. For all of you budding photographers, remember that a good photo often has a strong foreground, middle ground and background. Here I have vineyard in the foreground, the town in the middle ground and the rain clouds in the background.

As I was shooting my landscape photos (using the Canon 5D Mark III with the Canon 16-35mm lens), I saw the clouds part and these Crepuscular rays (more commonly known as God's rays) coming through the clouds. I quickly lowered the exposure compensation of the camera to accentuate these rays.

I also reframed to show the rays in my shot, but also include the church to the far left of the frame.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I like to find unique perspectives when I shoot photos. For this shot, I walked down one of the rows of wine grapes and found this opportune location. I ducked down so that the church steeple was just above the line of the grape vines. (Photographer's tip: When shooting photos like this, with a dark subject (vines) covering half the frame and a bright sky in the upper half of the frame, it is important to think about your exposure. I kept my exposure compensation down to protect the sky from "blowing out" (which is being so bright that is is pure white with no detail). I shot this and then brightened the lower part of the photo in Photoshop.)

The next night I had some more free time and took a friend out to teach her some night photography. This time I was using the Canon 5D Mark III with the Canon 24-105mm lens. And as always, I carry my Gitzo tripod with me for just these times. I set that up in the center of town and shot this photo.

This photo was taken very close to where I was standing for the first night shot, but shows how moving a little bit and pointing the camera a different direction yields a totally different look.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to move and point the camera straight down the middle of the fountain. (Photographer's tip: In order to get the water to have this smooth milky look, you should change your shutter speed to somewhere between 1/2 sec and 2 seconds. I would recommend that you experiment with different shutter speeds and see what you get.)

Before the pretty blue night sky turned to black, I quickly made my way to a nearby bridge and shot this photo.

For this photo, I made my way across the bridge and turned the camera back towards the pretty buildings on the other side of the water. I used the angle of the bridge to my advantage, acting as a leading line to draw the viewer from the right side of the photo to the left.

This last shot was taken just before the night sky went to black. I took this photo because I wanted to show this "typical French restaurant". I shot numerous frames, sometimes including the light trails from passing cars, but liked this clean shot the best.

I hope you enjoyed our day and evening stroll in France together. :)

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Blair Howard said...

Outstanding images Jeff.
Looking forward to our upcoming trip to France.

B.E.H. Tech services said...

Outstanding images Jeff

Unknown said...

Beautiful images, and great tips. Also, good luck with your more "full-time" photography.

Emily Wilson said...

This small town in Paris seems to be beautiful by the images provided in the blog, the greenery is mesmerizing and I am wondering if I travel to France and get a chance to travel to this place, how many pictures will I be clicking as I am fond of photography and this place gives me the background for clicking the best pictures as well.

Annie sttot said...

Eifel tower in France is one of my dream places, I have heard a lot about it and now I am planning a surprise for my mom and dad on their anniversary I have already asked them to apply for their France visa UK so that I can take them to France and give them a huge surprise at Eifel tower.