Paris! Moulin Rouge, the Champs lyse, the Louvre, the Mus d’Orsay are all there. So is the Eiffel Tower. That was to be the subject of my self assignment in the City of Lights: create a singular portrait of this iconic landmark.

It’s Everywhere

The Eiffel Tower dominates the Paris skyline. You see it everywhere you go. The Empire State Building is like that in New York City. Look up and boom. There’s the Tower. I had a week in Paris to explore, go to museums, eat, drink coffee and chase the perfect place to photograph the ubiquitous edifice. The sculptures at Muse Rodin are amazing.

A lot of time went into looking & “thinking” to find a perfect location to shoot the Eiffel Tower.
Just outside the Muse Rodin was this view. Cannon’s in the foreground and in the back… yep there’s the Tower.
The Place de la Concorde by the Tuilleries Garden.

Altitude matters

Photo by: Richard Avedon, Place du Trocadro, Paris, 1948 . Model: Suzy Parker foreground, Robin Tattersall in the background. Shoe by Perugia

Practically all of the photographs I’ve seen including the wonderful fashion work by Richard Avedon shows the tower from street or eye level. I knew I had to have a change of, well, altitude. During a visit to see Gerhard Richter‘s exhibit at the Pompidou Center, a coffee at Le George showed me the way. All I had to do was find a place above the rooftops…

View from the sixth floor restaurant, Le George, in the Pompidou Center.

In the middle of Paris near the old post office historically accurately remodeled into an Apple store is Napoleon’s Opera. Close to that are department stores with rooftop cafs. Maybe… just maybe. I scoured these open air venues hoping, beyond hope, that I could find a location. The photo goddess smiled. So the next day found me on the Metro headed downtown with my gear: a trusty Canon 5D Mark II, Really Right Stuff tripod, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f/2.8 Sigma lenses. It was mid-afternoon. Early is good. I shot a lot of photos from that rooftop. Those are for another post. The Tower is the center of this story. It’s 6:46pm. All that’s left is to wait for the right moment.

The rooftop setup.


Thank you, Nicolas! I couldn’t have made this one without you.

Returning to where I was staying at Pont Sully, I downloaded the take, made a version and emailed it to Nicolas. Just goes to show that you never know how what we do can come back to us in very nice ways. Self assignment fulfilled.