I completed posting my images on Facebook and Flickr and I’m happy with the results. However, when I look at the number of photos I posted I see my growth as a photographer. I’m not saying that photos are necessarily better—although I think they are. However, I am more discriminating of the images I take and the images I upload. When I began shooting pictures, I spent an afternoon in downtown DC and took over 200 hundred photos. Now contrast that with a four-day Paris trip with my family. A picturesque city with infinite photographic possibilities and I took less than four hundred photos.
As I reflect on my time in Paris, there were many aspects of the trip that were memorable. The architecture was as beautiful and detailed as I imagined. The Eiffel Tower lit-up at night was simply amazing. I didn’t want to visit the Louvre museum initially. However, I was glad I went. I even purchased a book to learn more about the art. However, none of that was the most impressive aspect of the city.
I simply admire the Parisian lifestyle. They have a laid back way of life. It is a culture centered on enjoying life. Nearly every restaurant includes an outdoor section where customers enjoy dining at a leisure pace. The dizzying number of quaint restaurants littering the city makes it impossible for any one place to stand out. I won’t go into detail about the clothing stores. However, it was utterly astounding how many clothing shops were in the few areas we visited.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the friendliness. You had a few bad apples in the city or maybe apples that weren’t too pleasant. However, folks were patient with us as we attempted to communicate with our limited French vocabulary.
This leads me to the most impressive thing I saw as I compare it to the National Mall in DC. The mall is a large open area covered with grass, bordered with trees and pathways that stretch for a mile or so between the US Capitol and the Washington Monument. During the daytime, it is filled with people playing, walking, and enjoying the afternoon. However, as the day turns to night, the Mall crowd diminishes in size and it’s left with a few people in transit. In Paris, they have a similar open area that stretches a ½ kilometer from the Eiffel Tower to the Ecole Militaire (Military School). We were leaving the Eiffel Tower from a night of sight-seeing and photography. The time was approximately midnight. However, the mall area was packed with people having picnics. Groups of people were sitting on the grounds with wine and food and having conversations. They weren’t waiting to buy tickets or for any external event to take place. They were simply enjoying life. I found this very impressive and something by which to learn.
So many of us, me included, work two or three gigs to get our “hustle on”. However, how often do we simply enjoy our present situation with our family? I’m not saying we should forego our lifestyle and imitate the French culture. However, something is said for a lifestyle that enjoys the present instead of being consumed about the future or what we want to get next. As we pursue our goals, I think we need to remind ourselves the purpose for them. Every time I venture out for a photo shoot, I try to learn something to help me next time. This trip reminded me of what I already knew but, what I also needed to see.