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Autumn in Paris

Back and Forth

I was trying to blog chronologically, but I don’t think that will work. Going back and forth from Paris to the US takes up a lot of hours in travel time and jet lag. I can’t even remember now what I photographed and when. So, I’m just going to write about whatever inspires me at the moment. It will be all out of order, but hey, that will be more fun, right?

Light and Color

What inspired me to process images and finally write again was color or a lack of color. After downloading a ton of images and getting file names sorted, I noticed something interesting.

I’ve always noticed the change in the quality of light as the days get shorter and the sun gets lower in the sky. But what I hadn’t noticed before was the quality of color. I didn’t even notice when I made these images, it was only when I saw them all as a group that I saw it. And once I saw it, I couldn’t un-see it.

Paris is a lot farther north than my hometown in California. The quality of autumn light is different here; the sun is much lower in the sky all day, the days are much shorter and the quality of the light changes fast; from a strong golden glow to a thin and watery barely-there kind of light. I hadn’t ever really thought about ambient color except at sunrise and sunset. Maybe we don’t see it at Yosemite latitudes. But the quality of color is very noticeable here.

Blue and Gold

Gold is the predominant color (sometimes it’s sunlight and sometimes it’s lamplight) and the blue sky and Seine make for a lovely interplay between an extraordinary array of blues and golds. Some times it’s so soft you really have to look for it. Other times it is very pronounced and sometimes a bit odd. I’ve lived near the ocean where the sun is almost always shining, so blue skies and a blue-green ocean are my normal. And on cloudy days, a gray ocean is normal. But the way the Seine interacts with and reflects light is surprising and notable.

Not Quite Monochromatic

Paris has weather. Another thing this California Girl isn’t accustomed to! Every day there can be blue sky, clouds, rain, and/or fog. It’s always a mixed bag. The weather changes fast, too. Raining at 8:00 am, sunny at 9:00 am, partly cloudy for a while, more rain, more sun… It can be a balmy 60F on Monday and a tad bit cooler at 27F on Tuesday. When the clouds are thick and the trees are leafless, Paris looks almost monochromatic. I say almost because there’s usually spots of color; the golden hue of the buildings, shop signs in all the colors, and although black coats are part of the uniform here, occasionally there’s a nonconformist sporting some bright color with a clear message for fall and winter to stand down!

Pops of Color

When we left Paris in October, the trees were just starting to turn and I thought we would miss fall color. When we returned in mid-November, I was quite surprised to see that we hadn’t! By December, the trees were mostly leafless, it rained a lot, and daylight hours were really getting short. Pops of color in surprising places were a welcome respite from the gray.

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