Paris streets

Paris – again?

…and again. I’ve been to a few places since I last posted, but I’ve been back to Paris again twice. The next visit was just a few months after the first, doing a similar type of trip; another spur of the moment, long weekend with no planning or organisation. Those are the best.

For this trip I saw a little more of the city and finally went up the Eiffel Tower. By the time I’d waited in all the queues to get in and get to the top, it was already dark, but that made for a brilliant view.

Last summer, I went to Paris for the third time. This was a more organised trip because I went with a friend and we needed to make the most of the trip. This time, I was there for Bastille Day, the French National Day, and had the opportunity to see the fireworks from the Champ de Mars, the gardens in front of the Eiffel Tower. There was a massive crowd of over half a million people waiting around until the start of the fireworks at nearly midnight; I’ve always loved fireworks and these were the best I’ve ever seen.

It’s also well worth taking a day out to visit the palace of Versailles. It’s huge, so you need a whole day to get there and take it all in. Top tips here; book a timed entry ticket the day before and save the barcode to your phone. To travel there, there’s a deal on public transport which I think is a fixed price from any metro station in Paris so just ask at a ticket desk for “aller-retour vers Versailles” (“return to Versailles”) and they will give you the right ticket. Keep it with you for the whole journey.

For all the major attractions in Paris, ticket barcodes can be scanned straight from your mobile screen with it’s brightness up high, so you don’t need to book and print everything out before you travel, and this gives you the option for a bit of flexibility. But keep an eye on availability levels, sometimes they can get booked a long way ahead. ALWAYS use the official ticket sites, don’t be lured in by these sites promising “skip the line” services, they’re basically scams and are just selling you a timed ticket at four times the price. As a guide, you do NOT need to pay more than about 21 Euros for a timed entry ticket to the top of the Eiffel Tower; until you get to the lifts, you’ve got separate queues and entrances. No one can skip the lift queue and if they’re advertising that service they cannot guarantee it because they are not connected to the onsite staff. A 70 Euro ticket can’t get you to the top any faster.

This trip to Paris was also the first time I’ve flown from Gatwick Airport since living on its doorstep. Being only a short bus journey away is great because you can take advantage of often cheaper early morning and late evening flights and get nearly two extra full days out of a trip. I flew from Gatwick a few times as a child But that was when it was still a four hour drive meaning leaving home at 1am to reach the cheap package holiday charter flights in time.

Some photos from the last two Paris trips below, and a video of the fireworks coming soon on YouTube…

Eiffel Tower at night

Paris – a flying visit, without flying

I’ve never been to Paris before, even though I’ve been to France several times in the (distant) past. Because of this, I decided I would go to Paris in a weekend. In order to maximise the time there and to minimise the cost, I took an overnight coach with Ouibus. I left London on Friday night and left Paris on Sunday night, arriving home on Monday morning. It was tiring to say the least. For such a short stay, overnight on the coach is probably not recommended unless you are confident you can sleep on the coach. I didn’t.

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Keyboard closeup

Back to school, or university

For a few years now I’ve been contemplating doing a degree through the Open University. At first I couldn’t decide what subject to study; several subjects interested me, and I was often thinking about studying either French or photography. The more I thought about it this year, less sense it made to choose anything other than computing, having worked in IT for 15 years.

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Greenwich Park taken with iPhone

Don’t get hung up on camera equipment

So often I see, hear and read about people who always have to have the best and latest camera, or always need to upgrade their camera; in some ways I’m a culprit of this too…having upgraded digital SLRs twice in about twelve months, but now I’m going to stick with what I’ve got, which is what I believe to be a happy balance between performance and value. I believed would be a sensible next step after much consideration and research.

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Photo Project – Kodak Retina II S, 1959

After a somewhat unsuccessful attempt with the Kodak Brownie as described in my previous post, I’ve decided to park that one for the moment. I have now moved on to the 1959 Kodak Continue reading “Photo Project – Kodak Retina II S, 1959”

Kodak Brownie

Photo Project – Kodak No 2 Folding Brownie

I’ve been intending to get back into film photography for a long time. After completing an A Level in photography eight years ago, I rewarded myself with a second hand Digital SLR, and never picked up a film camera again. That has all changed now though. I couldn’t warrant the cost of paying £10-odd a time to get films processed without even getting prints or a CD of them, and especially not knowing whether

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Washed up bike

Is photography Art?

1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be app

On The Guardian’s website today, I read an article, obviously by a regular columnist, talking about the most expensive photograph ever to be sold, at $6.5m (somewhere north of £4million). The columnist states:

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West Horsham Railway Platform

West Horsham Railway Station

The old railway station at Christ’s Hospital, known as ‘West Horsham Christ’s Hospital’, was opened at the start of the 20th Century, at the time the Christ’s Hospital school relocated from London because they wanted more rural surroundings. The school contributed to the cost of constructing the station, which consisted of seven platforms when it originally opened.

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WWII Tank Traps

Yesterday I went exploring near Horsham, and discovered further World War II defences on the Arun-Ouse Stop Line; a small bridge crossing the river Arun west of Horsham was defended by two tank traps or ‘coffins’, designed to stop tanks from getting through and crossing the bridge. Another little experiment with off-camera flash, although I wasn’t well equipped with tripods and diffusers so I was a bit limited with what I could do.

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