Ricardo Kalaidjian
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Blog

No. 46 PARIS

I recently spent a couple of weeks traveling through Europe.

The first stop on my trip was Paris, a city that just begs to be photographed.

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I took both of my Leicas (M6 and MP) with the 35 and 50mm respectively.

As for film, I brought a few different options but I ended up only using Portra 400 for the entire trip. I ended up shooting just one roll of B&W film, but Portra is so versatile and easy to use that I just stuck with that for most of the time

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When I originally bought my second M I had intended on using it to use with B&W film, but I never ended up going out with two bodies at once.

If I had more time in each city I probably would have shot more B&W but with just a few days to shoot I thought it best to stick with Portra 400 as I knew it would not let me down.


It’s hard to stay away from the cliche shots of Paris, especially for an out-of-towner with only a few days (and few hours in each day) to explore the city

The shots above are basically taken from a similar place but the first two with the 35 and the bottom two with the 50, I think its a great example of the difference in perspective, not too drastic but still one fills the frame with a lot more objectivity than the other.

Same with these two images, same film, exposure, and location, except one was taken with the 35 and the other with the 50.

As someone who learned to shoot using a 24, the 50 already feels like a telephoto to me, I couldn’t imagine ever going above that except maybe for studio portraits (headshots)

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For me, the 35 is the perfect all-around travel lens. You will rarely find yourself needing more space unless you are in really close quarters.

In the image above for example, inside the relatively small Sainte-Chapelle, I was still able to capture the architecture of the space, even though I did not have enough room for a full floor to ceiling shot.

The 35 ends up being great for detail work if you step closer, but you never find yourself with that uncomfortable position of having to crop the tops of buildings because there isn’t enough room in the frame.

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I had a lot of engagements in Paris and wasn’t able to shoot as much as I wanted to, but I’m really glad I made the time to visit Sainte-Chapelle, I can honestly say that it is breath-taking when you enter through the small staircase into this room with an incredible amount of stained-glass windows.

I will say that it was slightly tricky to shoot inside, my camera wanted me to over-expose the scene in order to compensate for the dark interior but I knew that it would blow-out the details in the glass so I under-exposed it slightly. I still ended up blowing a few highlights but I’m happy with the overall balance.

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Unfortunately Paris was the place where I had the least amount of free time to go out and shoot, so I don’t have much to show for, but for the next few cities I was able to go through more film

I know it’s been a while, I’ll try to get back on a more consistent schedule

Talk to you next week!

Ricardo