Thursday, January 20, 2011


The Eiffel Tower is as iconic to Paris and France as any structure in the world.  A marvel then and now for its innovation and sheer beauty.  It is also easy to create a perfectly mundane photo.  I don't believe the one below is in that category.

Click here to see more from Paris.

Most people shoot it during the day with a standard lens from less than a mile away.  So do THOUSANDS of other people.

So a few considerations for something different:

  1. Relationship to other parts of the city.  
  2. Time of day
  3. Angle and   
  4. Lens choice.
1. The tower is fairly central to the city on the western side along the Seine River, so it is visible from many locations.  At 1063 feet tall, it is still taller than many surrounding hilly neighborhoods to the north.  With careful planning, you can combine a shot with other landmarks.

2. Time of day.  This may not be the mountains, but Galen Rowel's "magic hour" concepts do apply.  Midday pictures are uniformly dull.  At dusk, the tower becomes illuminated by the famous golden lights.  So you need to consider, Sunrise, Sunset or Night to get something more original.

3.  To shoot a different angle, your choices are more limited.  Get up in the hills near the Basilica of Saint-Coeur and shoot with a 200-400 lens, get aerial, but I am not familiar with the tour planes that are available, or get underneath. Voila!

4. I shot "Tour Eiffel" with a fisheye, a Tokina 10 - 17mm lens on my Canon body.

This shot also made a good Paris T-shirt.  Click here to buy.


This week's Adorama specials are posted here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011



Lionfish, a beautiful and venomous predator fish of the Pacific has made headlines in recent years because they have been introduced in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea accidentally.  The bad news is that they like it in the Atlantic a bit too much.  The fish below was photographed in its native Fiji at a famous SCUBA Diving site called E-6.

See more of Fiji here.

Since Lionfish are venomous, common sense says you need to exercise caution when approaching them.   The venom resides in the tips on the feathery and beautiful Dorsal and Pectoral fins.  Wear gloves and a full wetsuit.  I advise this for all diving as abrasion protection.  Approach slowly from the side being aware that they may aggressively try to chase you off.  Use the camera as your defense to gently control their advance.  While they are aggressive, they do not mindlessly try to inject you.  They are not as aggressive as Damselfishes or some Clownfish (biting).

This shot was done with a Canon camera with a Canon 20mm lens in an Ikelite Housing using a single strobe held above and to the left of the subject.  Distance was about 6 inches away, the fish was about 12" long.  Look to capture behaviors such as feeding or capturing pairs, etc.

NOAA has instituted a program called "Eat Lionfish."  Since the fish in the Atlantic is now a serious problem, with no natural predators, populations are growing and threatening native species.  Leave the native ones elsewhere ALONE!

To help with publicizing the effort, we have created a t-shirt that uses a variation of the shot above.  It is available for sale here.

Friday, January 14, 2011