Just Above Sunset
May 21, 2006 - Friday Night Photographs - La rando du vendredi Paris...

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. His columns often appear here and then in a slightly different version the next day on his site from Paris.

This week, cool night shots of a slice of Paris life on Friday night, La rando du vendredi à Paris (The Friday Night Skate in Paris). And what is that? Maybe you have to be there, although back in August 2004 the weekly event was explained in these pages here. It's been going on for many years, something that surprises tourists in Paris. Expecting art and elegance and fashion and fine dining and neat really old stuff, you hear this gathering rumble and…

PARIS, Friday May 19 –


It is cool and it could rain, and the predicted wind is hauling up from the southwest, giving blasts to the rippling awnings. In another month the 10 pm launch of the Friday night Roller Rando will happen just before sundown but tonight it's gone long ago and the yellow lights overhead are making everything look like we are the omelet people.


There's a big crowd though, stalled in the darkness of the place in front of the train station. Another crowd has gathered to watch the crazies, I guess, with affection. You can be going to a joint in Montparnasse and on the way pause for a couple of minutes and witness a big gang of people on wheels take off for a roll around town. They all clear out in less than 10 minutes and then you take your date's arm and steer her to a comfortable banquette in the Coupole or some rustic dive like Smoke.


When they go off they get stuck with the stop light at Edgar, and the backup fills all the street back to the station. For a while it looks like the monitors in the yellow shirts have decided to have a good gab resting on their wheels while everybody wonders what the holdup is but the light goes green and I see the flash of helmets swinging into the turn to go up Edgar, going I guess, over to Raspail while most everybody else goes down to the gaudy lights on the boulevard.


I forgot the camera. I wired it up the Internet and loaded some updated software into it. I haven't done what I need to do, which is push it back to its default settings so that I can start over and reset it. Across from the rollers I see that I can't get its ISO light sensitivity to go higher than 400. The first shot off went at 200 and the shutter closed and stayed closed and I thought it died. But it was just slow. The damn screen in back keeps lighting up with its phony little picture, and I don't know how to turn it off. It keeps freaking me out. Okay, I got it set on 400. With the f-stop wound down to 5.6 and the speed showing is 4. Four what? It is slow but faster than the first shot. Nothing is going to come of this. But digital is nothing but cheap so I shoot some more.


Afterwards I think I must be nearly dead. You couldn't hold any film camera at '4' and get anything at night. It would just be a black negative with some squiggles in it. I either have the metabolism of a snake or a knee in the grave. The camera must have magic handles, and at 400 there's little noise, few flecks in the image. Color is crazy with the yellow overheads though - blast it with cyan. To hell with the 1600 setting! Too bad I thought I was taking useless, bad, throwaway shots. It's the first good thing this week. Bad shots of the rando.

Friday night skaters in Paris...
What? Wait?

Friday night skaters in Paris...

Friday night skaters in Paris...
Talk or Roll?

Friday night skaters in Paris...

Film poster, Paris, 19 May, 2006 - night

Text and Photos, Copyright 2006 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
Timestamp for this version of this issue below (Pacific Time) -

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