A window of opportunity – small in time, large in size and potential. I enjoyed seizing it for an impromptu environmental portrait in front of the famous Musée d’Orsay clock in Paris, France.

Portrait in front of the Musée d'Orsay clock

Paris’ Musée d’Orsay is a fascinating place, not only for the treasures on display, including some of the Impressionists’ most famous paintings, but also for its architecture. Many of the features of the beautifully converted train station were preserved, including the two monumental clocks on the 5th floor. Both are freely accessible. One is at the end of the café/restaurant, the other (used here) in a hall.

Unsurprisingly, the spot is heaving with tourists. Getting a clear shot takes patience and a bit of luck. A wide angle lens, 24mm or wider, is advisable – necessary if you want to capture the whole dial. As contrast is high between the moderately lit interior and the outside, exposing for highlights is key. It helps avoid burning the beautiful view on the Montmartre hill, which would be a shame. Shooting RAW with a high dynamic range camera will help recover details in the shade (unless you are adept of gunning for hand-held HDR…)

I was visiting the museum with Eva, and we seized a 5 second “clear” window of opportunity to create this evocative environmental portrait… The “window” then closed, and the scene went right back to its typical state:

Musée d'Orsay clock

Incidentally, I wish the museum would clean the clock’s glass more often… doing it in Photoshop is a bit tedious 😉

More to come, stay tuned!