Do you know that France is the leading agricultural producer and exporter in Europe? This is an image of a tractor spreading substances in the early spring in a field in Central Region of France.Between the Seine and Loire rivers is a natural region called Beauce, which is like an “ocean of plains” and is one of the most productive agricultural areas of France.
Here is a collection of traditional French windmills scattered in this ocean of plains.
This is a photo that reflects in a perfect way the atmosphere of streets in Paris on the night between 2012 and 2013.
When we decided to spend that night in the streets of Paris, I started preparing very thoroughly for taking photos of the Eiffel Tower surrounded by fireworks. It seemed like a daring and pretty difficult attempt, considering that I would try, as always, to take impeccable images, which meant I had to carry with me all the heavy and expensive equipment that I carry each and every time I start one of my expeditions in a city or in nature. The information I could obtain from friends or on the internet said streets would be extremely crowded and people would celebrate the arrival of the new year cheerfully, with a lot of champagne. The conditions were ripe for pickpockets, for whom my equipment would be a very tempting target. On the other hand, I found out public means of transportation became unsafe and even dangerous to travel by after the celebration ended, and driving there and back was out of the question, as there were no parking spaces available.
Nevertheless, we decided to go by car. We set off very early and arrived in Paris around 7 p.m. At this time of the evening, the French have dinner and streets are not so crowded, whereas restaurants and restaurant outdoor seats are. Therefore, we managed to find a parking space easily, and one very closet to The Eiffel Tower to boot. The weather was good, not wet at all, and the temperature spelled spring rather than winter.
We started walking along the streets of Paris and I started taking a few street photos, to warm up and find perfect spots and angles for when the fireworks started. The streets got ever more crowded. Interestingly enough, every time I set my tripod and camera and tried to take long exposure shots, a group of 3 or 4 policemen materialized around me, to protect me from pickpockets. This made me feel safe and allowed me to work at ease.
And so, taking shot after shot and walking by full restaurants, pancake stands and beggars that protected the patch of street where they lived, we reached Champs Elysees, around The Arch of Triumph, three hours before midnight. Streets were already crowded and raindrops started to fall, but I ignored them at first and continued my activity. I sometimes even climbed concrete fences to find interesting angles for shots of the crowd, a subject I am always interested in when I take photos in the street. When we were halfway along the great avenue, the rain had already became too heavy and I had to put my camera in my rucksack and cover it with the waterproof hood.
Then we walked back to our car along the streets of the big city, in a heavy, persistent rain that prevented us from watching the beauty of the city lights. We got to the car half an hour before midnight. It was raining heavily. I was confronted with a harsh reality, namely that I would not be able to take photos of The Eiffel Tower surrounded by fireworks. It was too risky, as the rain might have affected my camera. I had no choice. And then I decided to take photos of what was right there and then, since it was unique and extraordinary: The New Year in Paris, in the rain. I could not remain outside, so I decided to get in the car and create an image that would show the rain, The Eiffel Tower and the sadness the rain created. Thus was born the above image, which renders the atmosphere of that moment prefectly. The street, wet and pretty empty, nearby The Eiffel Tower wonderfully lit, as on a normal day, and hidden just a bit behind a black leafless tree, the cold cars parked along the curb, and all of these camouflaged by the raindrops that had accumulated on my windshield between two passings of the wipers. This is how I created this image of a rainy ending of a year in the most famous touristic spot in the world. The fireworks were cancelled and the only supplementary lights added to those normally present in the Tower were cast by streetlight rays that were reflected and refracted in raindrops on the windscreen. These reflections and refraction, be they errors from a photographer’s point of view, contributed very much to the real atmosphere of the photo.
This is how we spent the end of 2012 in Paris and this is the story of the first POW photo for 2013. And this is what befalls the travel photographer. Rarely does one get to do in the field what one has planned to do. Therefore, one is forced to improvise with what one has at hand and adapt and create special images. This is what is special for me in travel photography: adapting to what is unpredictable. Sometimes, adaptability generates inspiration.
This is the last image from the 2012 edition of my POW project on my blog. It was published automatically in the last minute of 2012, while I was around the Eiffel Tower trying to capture the magnificent fireworks show there.
If I have enough time during the next year, I want to start a project that I have dreamed of for a long time: www.bicycle-travel.com. It will be a website about two of my lifetime passions: cycling and traveling. I intend to present there details about my cycling routes, which include very famous climbing roads of “Le Tour de France”, the biggest road cycling race in the world. I will also publish personal impressions and stories about the places I have visited and hiked through during the years. In time, you will probably find here good suggestions and ideas for your holidays, trips and hikes. And if you start to ride a bike or do some fitness regularly, my happiness will be complete, because this is the start of a healthier life for you.
Happy New Year !!!
The new technologies change the way we perceive the big masterpieces of the humanity, they change our life profoundly.
Aerial view of the Arch of Triumph area in Paris at night. This very famous monument of Europe is located at an intersection of 12 roads in the big city.
I photographed this image from one of the “tops of the world”- the last floor of the famous Eiffel Tower. It is not an easy task to get sharp images from that place. This is because there is a permanent crowd of visitors in motion. This generates important vibrations which affect your tripod and the camera ready for a long exposure. In such situation the most important tool you need to get the perfect picture is “The Patience”. You need patience to set the proper exposure time correlated with the movements of the visitors and to repeat the same shot many times until you get the best image. Unfortunately the big brands of our time like Canon, Nikon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and not even the ubiquitous Google don’t sell patience. But you need it if you want to produce great images.
The photo was taken in a Starbucks café in Sendai, Japan, a place where I have often found inspiration for various photographic projects, which you can now check out at www.radurazvan.com. I took this photo in 2006, using a Canon camera and one of the simplest lenses, a 50mm f/2.8, the classic lens used by great photographers before the digital era. I didn’t use any additional light sources, but I changed my position a few times before being able to capture the scene as I intended. It is an editorial photo fit for a reporter, as it captures an aspect from daily life, unaltered by any artificial mise-en-scene. This photo is similar to many other photos that can be seen on my site.
Thank you for showing interest in my evolution. I am looking forward to receiving your questions, comments and, last but not least, your criticism. If you want to support my effort, don’t forget to like or recommend my Facebook (joyofphoto) page to as many friends as possible.
And don’t forget that at www.radurazvan.com you can order high quality prints of any of our photos.
I took this image in a beautiful Japanese forest in Yamagata Prefecture, in Omoshiroyama Koen. If you are a serious hiking addict, I recommend you to visit this area: view the map
I like stock photography because if you want to survive in the competition you have to adapt continuously. So you are forced to develop a complex portfolio. In this way you have to photograph a large range of subjects, starting in amazing destinations, very often extremely crowded, full of interesting humans beings, or on the high tops of wild mountains and then ending up in the quietness of your studio to visually explore ordinary daily objects or persons. I simply like this.
Beautiful sunset over a field with bales of hay in the Beauce region of Central France. This is the main agricultural region in France and it is a real ocean of fields. In this region lived and worked a big writer : Marcel Proust . Inspired by the monotony of the landscapes in this area, he said one day something very inspiring for landscape and travel photographers:
Image of Lac D’Allos (2228 m) during a windy day with sunlight reflections on the rippled water surface. This lake is the largest natural lake (54 ha) in Europe at this altitude.It is in The Southern Alps (Alpes de Haute Provence) in The Mercantour National Park in the South-East of France.
Image of the silhouettes of three surfers admiring the sunset on the coastline in Plouharnel, in western France, in Brittany. If you are passionate about surfing, these places are worth visiting.
This is the last image from this year’s edition of TDF in POW 2012. I like very much this image of the cyclists in the middle of the large groups of spectators on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris during the last stage of the competition. I think this image speaks volumes about the TDF phenomena. TDF is a special competition for few reasons:
1. It lasts around three weeks during every summer.
2. It is a complex sports and publicity mobile show which travels more than 3000 kilometers in various regions of France.
3. The access of the spectators is free on the roadside at few meters away from the athletes racing. This is unique among the sports competitions.
4. During the competition days there are thousands of people who run their bicycles on the official roads before and after the passing of the peloton. The number of people who ride their bicycles in other months than July, inspired by the official race is hundred of thousands. So, an immense number of humans are positively inspired by the competition to do things which helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle.
5. Despite all these positive effects, TDF is always burdened by big doping scandals. Sometimes you think that these are part of the marketing system, part of the one of the biggest sports show of the world.
The time trial stage between Bonneval and Chartres was the third stage of TDF attended by me this year. The weather was very good with exceptional lighting conditions, a sunny day with few clouds which acted as very useful natural soft-boxes. The stage was close to my living place so I knew the region very well and I found a good place on the route. Using a long or medium zoom lens and sometimes my on-camera flash, I photographed almost all the competitors riding in front of me at a very high-speed. I’ve got many images, some of them with a frozen action, others with a blur effect.
To take this image, I lay down on the ground on the roadside and I photographed the cyclist riding by me at less than two meters at a speed of more than 50-60 Km/h. Using the continuous shooting mode, a flash as a fill light and a short exposure time I could get very good and sharp details on the face of the athlete. In the image is the Kazakh cyclist Fofonov Dmitriy from Astana Pro Team.
The second stage of TDF attended by me this year was the 12th stage during the climbing of the category I ascent to Col du Granier. My intention was to capture images of the peloton, including many cyclists during this climb. This is a good image with cyclists from the Cofidis team in the foreground.
July is the month of Tour de France, one of the biggest road cycling races in the world. Last year I photographed just one stage of the competition. This year, I want to photograph three kind of stages: a flat stage, a mountain climbing stage and a time trial stage.
This is a panning image of two cyclists from Garmin-Sharp Team and Katusha Team pedaling during the last 450 meters before the finish line in Saint Quentin during the 5thstage of Tour de France 2012, a flat stage of 196.5 km between Rouen and Saint Quentin. I was at the start point in Rouen and then close to the finish line in Saint Quentin.
Beautiful sunset over the rocks of The Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, in the northwestern part of France.
Image of a traditional windmill close to a modern eolian turbine in a cereal field. I am very passionate about this type of old machinery: the wooden windmill. I like very much to discover it in various places. Very often they are in windy fields in a forest of modern eolian turbines. When you find them close together it is like a technological jump over the ages. The wind was used to produce energy then and now.
Night image in Paris of the illuminated Eiffel Tower, the Seine River and a part of a specific ship. In this picture I enjoyed very much to use the various elements I saw to compose the image. The most attractive for me was that old wooden ship in the first plane.
Japanese garden seen through a traditional sliding wall of a wooden house. It is very surprising to discover such quiet houses, which invite you to meditation, on the narrow streets and in the small parks in big Japanese cities, contrasting with the modern districts full of amazing skyscrapers. As many people already know, Japan is an amazing land of contrasts. To discover such contrasting images from there, follow up the development of my collection of images from the Nippon island.
Image of few shuttlecocks and a badminton racket on the floor with interesting reflections. I photographed this image in a respite moment of a badminton match. I didn’t plan any special shooting, it only happened I had my camera near me. In that situation I did 2-3 images which became very popular later. So everything was simple. However, in such situations, there are still two major challenges: the first is that you have to see the opportunity for a good shot and the second is that you have to be capable to take a technically good image quite quickly and using only the available conditions. These are not so easy to accomplish. Do you not believe me? Try it !!!
Interesting perspective in a dental office, selective focus on the drill.
It is a tough decision to start a stock shooting on the topic “Dental Office”. This is because the topic is extremely well covered by various stock agencies and new images will face strong competition against all previously produced images. However thinking outside of the box, focusing on the unexpected aspects of the specific activity, using as the main topic various tools of the trade and finding new points of view and perspectives can help you generate an interesting and unusual story about the activity in that place. Such images will attract the buyers and the viewers.
Image of Specialized spare bicycles on the roof of the race car of Saxo Bank-Sungard cycling team on the last kilometers of the category H mountain pass Aubisque climb, during the 13th stage of Le Tour de France 2011. This was Alberto Contador’s team.
If you want to feel the energy in various forms, you have to take part in a Japanese street festival. Their dances and shows are very dynamic and full of motion and colors which will influence you in a positive way.
This is an motion blurred abstract image of a traditional Japanese dance at night during the Yosakoi Matsuri, which is one of the most dynamic among the Japanese events that take place in various part of the country.
Blizzard ona peak in The Alps in The Mont Blanc Massif. Always I am very passionate about shooting weather aspects like rain, wind, cold, heat, blizzards, tornadoes. Sometimes I succeed, as you can see in this beautiful image from The Alps.
Late and cloudy winter sunrise over Paris. You can see a part of the very famous Eiffel Tower in the foreground. In the distance is the disputed Montparnasse Tower which is the second highest office building in the city.
Koto is the national musical instrument of Japan. Here, it is in a very specific Japanese room, with paper painted walls and a turkish carpet on the floor. The room is specific for the medieval time in Kyoto, which is the old capital of Japan.
Skyscrapers near the port in Rotterdam. Rotterdam is the second largest city in Netherlands and the largest port in the world.It is called the “Gateway to Europe”. There is a very eye catching combination between modern architecture and water canals.Something similar I saw also in Osaka,Japan. Surely this city will be an important destination for my future photographic explorations.
Traditional Japanese army (Takeda clan) during a special festival in Yonezawa City, located in Yamagta Prefecture in The North of Japan, featuring a very famous battle between two of the most important clans in the Japanese history .
Each time I turned the page of my notebook of future photographic projects to where I had written down « Venice », I got excited. I wondered what this city was really like, the city that was named Serenissima, La dominante, The Queen of the Adriatic Sea. Yes, Venice, the city that lives on water, the city where, at times, people wear masks and where the personalities are the gondoliers that win one of the numerous regatas that are organized there.
How should I start the project ? I said to myself that probably the most logical and the most tempting moment to feel the fragrance of this town would be the Carnival. So, in the dead of winter, in February, we all drove 1.000 kilometres before reaching the town of Padua, near the lagoon. We established our headquarters there and then we got to Venice by train or car, every day, prompted by curiosity and ready to taste the charm of the lagoon, each of us in their own way. Of course, I carried the rucsack in which I had all my photo gear.
As it usually happens, the first day was filled with spontaneous « first impressions ». The narrow little streets, the omnipresent water, sometimes appearing even on the terraces where we savoured our coffee, the absence of cars and the presence of unusual means of transportation (Il Vaporetto as a bus, motor boats as luxury taxis, gondolas as cars), happy people whose faces showed admiration, and, first and foremost, the people wearing those charming traditional masks, all of these concurred to transport me into another world, totally different from the normal one I was used to. These are the feelings that one has in places that can be trully called top « TOURISTIC DESTINATIONS ». I felt the same way in Kyoto, Osaka or Prague. In such circumstances, all a photographer needs to do is let himself be carried by the dream and have the camera ready to capture everything that appears and is offered around him. All day long, we tried to « decypher » the maze of little streets full of small shops that sold local souvenirs, to understand how transportation worked inside the city. Then we got to the famous St Mark’s Square and got acquainted with the area around Rialto Bridge and the famous gondoliers. I took photos everywhere, trying to capture unique moments that presented themselves or, to the contrary, the specific atmosphere, using in an effective way natural light, funny angles and shadows cast by buildings. These were elements that were more than able to stimulate the photographer’s eye and mind.
All these things were but a preview of what would happen during the first hours of the afternoon. After 4 p.m., the light started to change and the golden hours came near. The photos gained a fairy tale atmosphere. Then, by degrees, more and more people in disguise appeared in St Mark’s Square, so much so that, at a certain point, you felt you were in a motion picture, centuries ago, in a world that, at the same time, was real all around you. There, behind a corner of the Doge’s Palace, you saw Count Casanova plotting something, then courtiers striding along with fine, beautiful young ladies, and all of a sudden a lively character, full of bells and joy, made somersaults and made his fans laugh. It was the clown. Little by little, the light of the dusk was replaced by the light of pubs and streetlamps or by the darkness of the night. The colorful characters continued their live show around you. In these circumstances, the flash becomes very important, starting to be the main light source, whereas during the day it has a secondary role, helping in fighting against unwanted, annoying shadows. In the end, the fatigue accumulated in a whole day spent standing or walking along little streets full of charm and history took its toll and, close to midnight, we went to the train station and, filled with joy, returned to our hotel room in Padua. We saved our photos on the computer and quickly reviewed them, to see what and how could be improved over the next day. Then we recharged the batteries, let cameras and lenses rest and fell asleep, making a transition from the realm of real dreams generated by the Carnival to the realm of usual dreams we have while sleeping.
Then there came another day out of fairy tales, captured in a series of photos filled with colours and lagoon charm. During this first visit, the dominant elements that impressed us were people, masks and the stories they suggested. They were complemented timidly by the charm of the little streets bordered by houses connected by strings which displayed clothes hung out to dry, in a very italian manner, or by the gondoliers’ verve, manifested as they looked for customers wanting a romantic ride in a gondola, or by the swarms of tourists that were curious and impressed by the multitude of marvelous things. All these caught your attention, creating a foreground that was backgrounded by impressive buildings that emanated history and changed their colours and charm with the arrival of the light of the sunset. Those buildings shelter and preserve, in original museums, stories of numerous destinies. Also worth mentioning are the buzz of voices in trendy coffee shops, the smell of pizza served promptly by smart waiters on animated terraces, the orange colour of the local drink, the venetian soda wine, and the misterious silence that settled gradually as the night advanced.
This complex experience of the two days of festivities in the lagoon generated new ideas of visual exploration that will be materialized in photographic stories during the following visits I will make there. I invite you to see the photo galleries that resulted from this trip and, if they catch your interest, don’t forget to come back and discover what caught my eye in Venice after the festival was over.
Beautiful night reflection of the monastery from Mont Saint Michel in northern France. Located at the mouth of Cuesnon river this is one of the most visited place in France.
Silhouette of a female researcher looking through a microscope against a blue sky.
Image of a road in a field area with a row of electricity poles at the right side and a wind turbine at the left side.
New technologies and new energy sources are hot topics in stock photography.Some major agencies reported as bestsellers in 2011 images within this topic. In this image I like the association between elements and the perspective.
Silhouettes of traditional Dutch windmills in Zaanse Schans. When I was there I felt the light is not great for the perfect classic image. So I turned back, facing the sun and I shot this image which is full of story.
In this image you can see why Paris is known as “The City of Light”.I took this image in a night walk in the city at about 1 am.
This year, those who will be accessing my site and my blog regularly will have the opportunity to see the development of the photographic projects mentioned below, which will fall into two large categories : stock photography and travel photography.
I will also continue to develop my general and permanent collections, which I started last year : Medieval Characters, The Crowd, Le Tour de France.
Image of crowd of tourists walking between stands with souvenirs in the evening in Sestiere Castello in Venice. Sestiere Castello (The Castello District) is the largest district in Venice and it has a special Italian atmosphere all the year long.
Night wet illuminated street in Kyoto, Japan.
This image was shot many years ago. The location is quite near the Gion, the ward of geisha.There are such cobbled streets between wooden tea houses. I enjoyed very much to walk there during the night and to feel the spirit of the old Japan.However some of my most living memories from these streets are not visual. They are related to the sounds and…smell.The atmosphere was saturated with the smell of the burning incenses and discrete music of the strings of the shamisen or koto coming from inside of the houses.Because the streets are quite narrow the air there was very warm.All these elements, the music,the smell, the warm air, and the brown color of the wooden walls of the houses, create a piece of what is amazing in Japan.