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Saturday, June 14, 2008 Paris Saturday Night

Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis, offers five photographs from Paris Saturday night.  The informal explanation follows.

Paris: Bateau Mouche
Le Notre Dame, Pairs
Rue de la Huchette - Paris
Paris - Dancers on Quay
Party BArge - Paris

Paris, Saturday, June 14 - I was experimenting again. With lesser cameras if you boost the sensitivity too high - or even a little high - the photos get noise. In the film days noise was called grain, and some folks worked extra hard to get the right kind of grain. Some photos were super grainy. These days grain, noise, is a dirty word.


Digital noise in photos is unwanted because it usually contains bunches and clots of random colors, usually purple and green. Yuk. Purple and green where they are unwanted are yucky. If you print photos three yards by two yards, you might see this sewer of noise.


Only idiots would make a print that big. Look at what I'm sending here. These things start out at 3000 pixels wide and I cut them down to 2250, and when I send them to you they are 600 pixels wide. I could start out at 4000 pixels wide but what's the point? I am never going to print them. I don't have an uncle who owns a hard disk factory in China.


I am a real conservative. I had a bunch of lesser cameras and when I went out at night and made the night shots I always had a shitload of photos full of purple and green grain. So I have been out there at night, taking risks, with the camera set to ISO 200, holding steady, with stabilization, taking photos at an 8th of a second, etc etc, and boy, were they dark! What a lot of photoshopping to do! And bam, the vivid was gone. Flat, dead, mushy.


So today, this evening, I decided to hell with it. Crank the buggers up! Set 'em both on ISO 1600 and shoot. To hell with noise! They both have the high sensitivity built in - it must be there for a reason.


You know what I think? From the photos tonight - hardly photoshopped at all - I think the photos are better than ever. The cameras like high sensitivity and they handle it pretty well. Well enough, if I am not going to make any three-yard prints. Go ahead and try it. You'll like it. If you aren't using a tripod, aren't using ISO 100 and your best lens, just double your usual ISO setting and have fun.


The weather is not too reliable in Paris these days, and tomorrow will be worse. The high was 18 today. Well, it's June, so what did I expect? I went over to Austerlitz to head for the quay where they do the dancing and they were there. One group doing the tango, another with bagpipes and a penny whistle and a bigger third group with some Latino disco. Something for everybody.


I took my shots. The boats swarmed around in the river and the sun took its leave, slowly. The usual mobs were surging through the rue de la Huchette. If somebody made a Disneyland out of Huchette it would be the biggest draw in the world. Mind you, I don't know what anybody sees in either. What's wrong with a good museum? It must be love of carny I guess. It is colorful though.


We will be having a major strike one day next week, possibly the 19th. We are supposed to hit the bricks and show the government that we are really, really annoyed with them. It'll be the last chance before the holidays begin to get our rocks off. And we have to do it without the students because they are writing their exams. Shit, there's enough of us. The handicapped, grandmas, fishermen, farmers, everybody. All together now.


~ Ric

Text and Photos Copyright © 2008 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

[Paris Saturday Night]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik