This is the most expensive photograph that I have posted to TrekEarth to date. Yesterday (Sunday) I arrived in Paris to attend a conference today (Monday), so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go out to Chartres to see the light show at its famous cathedral. I had seen the photographs posted by Didi Massoud last month, and it looked very impressive. Didi said he had difficulty getting the whole cathedral in, so I brought a wide angle and a fisheye lens to see if I could get some shots of the whole building.
I left Paris about 5.30 pm and it took about an hour on the train to reach Chartres. The cathedral dominates the Chartres skyline, situated on top of a hill overlooking the old town. I spent a few hours photographing around the cathedral until the sun went down, and then waited for the light show to start. It didn’t start until 9.30 pm, but was very impressive as three massive projectors lit up the whole cathedral in glorious technicolour. I stayed until about 10.20 pm, when I felt I had enough shots, and then walked back down to the station to catch a train back to Paris. I got to the station at 10.30 pm. I put my credit card into the ticket machine, but was puzzled when it showed the next departure for Paris was at 4.45 am. So I checked the departures board and was horrified to see that the last train to Paris was at 10.27 pm. I had missed it by three minutes!
I hadn’t bothered to check the train times back to Paris when I arrived in Chartres because I had assumed that, like in most countries, it would be sometime around midnight – I didn’t realise that France went to bed so early. The ticket office was closed, but the station master was still in his office. I asked him whether there was a bus back to Paris, but he said no. I would either have to wait until 4.45 am or get a taxi.
There was just one taxi left on the rank outside the station so I asked him how much it would cost to go to Paris. He told me that it would be around 200 euros. In hindsight, it probably would have been cheaper to stay at a hotel in Chartres and take the 4.45 am train back, but at the time I was feeling quite jet-lagged and my body clock was still on Kuala Lumpur time (it was 4.30 am back home) so maybe I wasn’t thinking as clearly as I should.
As the taxi headed towards Paris, I watched the meter clock up the euros – 50, 100, 150 and then at last, as we came over a hill, I saw the lights of Paris in the distance. As the meter clocked 170 euros I could see the Eiffel Tower illuminated in the distance, and let out a sigh of relief that the fare wasn’t going to be too much more than 200 euros. Fortunately it wasn’t, as I was staying on the western side of the city not far from the Eiffel Tower, but it was still the most expensive taxi ride I had ever taken.
200 euros might not seem a lot to some, but it certainly burnt a large hole in my back pocket. To me, coming from Malaysia, and finding nearly everything in Europe 2-3 times more expensive than back home, paying 200 euros for a taxi felt like what it would to Europeans paying 500 euros or Americans 500 dollars. Ouch!
The shot I have posted was taken with a fisheye lens. It is not quite symmetrical as I couldn’t place my tripod immediately in front of the middle door, but the lack of symmetry is also because one spire is taller than the other. For those who don’t like the distortion of a fisheye lens, I have placed a wide angle shot taken from further back in the workshop. I’ve also placed a daylight view of the cathedral there too.
isabela_sor, picus, wautersw, rtome, rodalvas, Guto, riclopes, delkoo, richtersl, ktanska, cyrrhus, PJE, kensimage, Clairedelune, cunejo200, dsidwell, josepmarin, jafadabret, nicole80, plimrn, Stepan, chaity, keribar, Tezic, Didi, JCG, gelor, henrytf, claire526, uros, a_i_ren, OnicheK, branley, kri54, jdannels, richwm, DINOZOR, Francisco_Brito, linask, manu has marked this note useful
Critiques | Translate
wautersw (3647) 2006-09-11 17:45
very nice and colourful picture, and great story too.
picus (914) 2006-09-11 17:51
First of all, I believe that your contribution is one of the most incredible views of the "Cathédrale de Chartes" I've ever seen! Congratulations. I've read your story to the end, and yes, 200 euros to get back to Paris are enormous, I guess you've been fooled by the taxi driver somewhere... I'm ashamed that you had to get through this kind of bad experience in our country... Aside that, I congratulate your good pov, information and yes: courage to get this picture up to here! Thank you very very much, man!
isabela_sor (47748) 2006-09-11 17:52
Yeees the fisheye effect, looks great !
Oviously a great subject to play with it.. A good fun shot with vivid colors David !
Your note is just ...incredible!
Thank you, thank you,thank you
rodalvas (641) 2006-09-11 18:11
An impressive picture wich I'm sure you're unlikely to forget... The colors are very interesting and using the fisheye lens makes it seem even more unreal.
Better luck next time;
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2006-09-11 21:04
Impressive art work. The 200 Euro were quite well spent!!! Your night pictures are beautiful. The day light shot is also good but that build on the left is a pity. I know you could not move it!!! Congratulations.
Guto (1738) 2006-09-12 0:25
Beautiful night shot. I like the effect of fisheye lens. I appreciated the fact you post a workshop with wideangle lens, so I can compare the differences. I'm just having fun with my new wideangle lens, so it's interesting to see the differences between WA and fisheye. Comparing to the daylight shot is also amazing. Well done. Sorry for you 200 euros!
riclopes (35577) 2006-09-12 3:37
Olá David, what a good story and what an impressive result for this fisheye night shot. By far the one I like more from the three shots. The distortion perspective effect is just great here.
delkoo (68) 2006-09-12 4:42
it is a incredible and expensive story to shot the cathedral, Have not too many regrets, the image is magnificent.
richtersl (3546) 2006-09-12 7:29
I've never seen Chartres at night. The colors and lights are fantastic. The fisheye effect looks great, especially with all the different colors.
ktanska (28437) 2006-09-12 8:34
They really have arranged quite a show over there! While a fisheye view certainly isn't something that would go with any subject, it's fun for a change. Interesting and informative note as you always have.
PJE (20758) 2006-09-12 16:49
Well David this is some incredible light show indeed. I still am astounded as to how its done like this. The results are amazing on this building for certain. And you sir with all your travelling abroad to capture it like this..thanks for all your hard efforts and bringing it to trek earth. I still remember your story in the World Soccer final Game. At least you are having alot of fun on these ventures. At least it seems that way. Good results David..thanks for sharing the beauty!
kensimage (8565) 2006-09-13 11:57
Great shot, David, very imaginative! I could say it was worth the 200 euros (because it wasn't MY money), but that would ignore the fact you could have gotten the shot and kept your 200 euros, if you had just gone to the train station 5 minutes earlier. For this particular shot, because it's of something rather artificial, I think the (unnatural) fisheye is the right choice. I like the inclusion of a couple of other building at lower right. Regards, Ken.
colinbrenchley (6431) 2006-09-13 16:22
Picture very good but certainly 2 smillies for the story! I can sympathise with you after flying back from aAmerica this week where everything seems to be half the price than in UK. The taxe from Heathrow to the Holiday Inn which is just about the nearest Hotel to Terminal 3 cost £9.20 (Euros 13). Back to earth with a bump!
Clairedelune (4923) 2006-09-13 22:38
I don't know David if you know, but I love so much colors! I love more and more black and white photos, but a true colorful photo just bring sparkles in my eyes! And with this photo, I am totally spoiled! That reminds me when I was young and I had to put colors on some drawings. I always put many different and vivid colors. Here, not only you have many colors, but you have light. And pitch black. This is very well done.
I don't have a particular attraction for fisheye lens. I think it is the only lens I'm not desiring to buy! But I have to say that I really like the fisheye version here. It add to the feeling of fantasy.
A very good, though expensive, story!
cunejo200 (7281) 2006-09-14 19:18
First let me comment on your Note which I read with curiosity. A 200 euro taxi ride is darn expensive for me and perhaps for you too considering you are based in Malaysia where prices are cheaper. Congratulations on your new toy. I hope to get a fisheye lens from Santa this Christmas. As far as this photo, I love it. It has good technical details. Best wishes. Danilo
dsidwell (9783) 2006-09-16 11:32
Hello davie. I sure like this point of view. The lens distortion also helps to add a lot of gandeur and drama to this amazing structure!
josepmarin (58359) 2006-09-17 5:11
the photo cost 200 euros to you of a taxi to return to Paris, but I assure to you that seeing this photo, it has been worth the trouble.
The spectacle of projection of images in the facade of the Cathedral of Chartres is impressive, it has a great plastic beauty, a pretty illumination and magnificent colors.
The use of the fish eye has been optimal, since therefore you can show this wonder to us in all its splendor.
Congratulations by a great photo.
jafadabret (56501) 2006-09-18 5:15
C'est un peu cher pour une photo, David, mais c'est une photo magnifique et le grand angle, même avec la déformation, donne une vue complète et bien plaisante. Les couleurs sont très bien rendues. Excellent !
oochappan (16173) 2006-09-19 9:39
Rewarding and remarkable fisheye-distortion to enhance this festival of colors projected on the whole cathedral giving a good impression of the moment.
t0mmm1 (5442) 2006-09-19 16:58
I have looked here because of the tittle... and even if one cannot judge the book from the cover / tittle, I've found amazing story under this tittle and a really wonderful pictures. Yes, I like also those in the WS. Different but very effective.
Have a nice day,
PS: as for the taxi... once I've been in a situation like you were, but there were no taxis... I'd pay millions for a ride, but instead I walked 3 hours...
plimrn (21344) 2006-09-20 10:53
You certainly do post interesting titles, they drew me to deadly beauty, Toutrists are terrorists and this one. I also read each story with great interest but the detail you lavished on this photo made ne stop wandering here. It is extraordinarly thoughtful of you to post a fisheye, a wide-angle and daylight version. All three photos are masterpieces of framing and light management. The four hours you spent photographing this building speak to your professionalism. I very much appreciate how well you shared this experience with me. I was amazed to see the difference between the daylight version and the lighted version. In viewing the PP, I thought the lights were from stained glass. I had no idea it was possible to paint a building so beautifully with light. A 200e cab ride would put a serious dent in many of the TE posters travel budget; so your story added a feeling of real empathy to the marvel you shared with us. The combination of intimidatingly professional art and human story makes this experience really memorable for me.
Stepan (27210) 2006-09-20 14:15
Wow, that's a bad experience. I hope you won't have a too bad souvenir from France. I just want to say that in France we have trains till 1am, but it's just local/suburb trains and Chartres is not "local". It's another district than Paris and that's the reason why trains stop before midnight.
Concerning the shot, it's a great one. The fisheye+the light create a strange atmosphere, a good one. A great light management too. I hope you'll sell it for 200 euros or even more.
nicole80 (2163) 2006-09-21 15:00
I didn't there was such illumination in Chartres!!
Very well done, well exposed and very sharp, which was not easy to manage !
If you want to spent another 200 Euros, you can go to Amiens, where there is another
illuminated cathedral. More info on Amiens town website.
There is several trains by days too !
faubry (35447) 2006-09-24 4:47
SUPERB!!!! i like these colors on cathedral, bravo!! i have seen like this"Cathédrale du Mans"
200 euros for a taxi! oauhhhhhh!
rabdelnoor (3421) 2006-09-28 0:04
You are 200 euros short but at least you got a great result on the cathedral. Your lens workded great, rendering beautiful colors. Great story my friend.
chaity (1539) 2006-09-29 6:02
Hi David, sure sad to see your encounter of getting this expensive photo. The colors are really nice and sharp. One day, someone will use this photo for you to reclaim back more that you spend for this. 8-)
PixelTerror (0) 2006-09-30 6:19
Reading the story I feel sorry you've been betrayed by our good old SNCF and had to dig deep into your pocket to get back to Paris. at least you got a very interesting photo, I had enjoyed Didi's ones already, yours is very nice as well and adds this unusual something of the fisheye, I like it !
Have a nice week end,
keribar (43841) 2006-10-01 11:58
And how about that ? Spending so much money for this picture. But let me tell you one thing: I would gladly pay you 100.- Euros, if there was a possibility to share this amount and have a similar picture taken.
I didn't know that there was such a show with projections of scenes of " Vitraux " every night at Chartres. This looks really out of this world.
Best wishes - Izzet
Tezic (17867) 2006-10-02 6:09
First congratulations for the fantastic shot... second, thank you for the note, whic I read very lively... Light control also very nice... tfs..
all the best - coskun
dcawker (5717) 2006-10-08 12:47
Wow, I love this! It was worth the 200 Euros! Regards, Doug
Didi (60590) 2006-10-09 11:53
I was at the same place when you took this picture, but I went last july.
The place was so crowded that's why I used a tight frame.
Your composition is very original with your wide angle.
Very strange adventure but it was better to spent the night in a hotel cheeper than 200 €
JCG (35129) 2006-10-18 13:52
I like much the treatment of this photograph which gives generous curves to this superb cathedral. The colors and the lights are very beautiful. A splendid success, cheer.
claire526 (1267) 2006-12-04 21:46
very interesting. looks like a painting! I didlike reading but i read your story--very entertaining!
MichaelTrezzi (3368) 2006-12-20 16:20
Hello David, this is a great picture of a cathedral, offering a new way to look at a church. The fish eye perspective makes it even more extraordinary view. You managed to present a picture of a common cathedral (of course Chartres is a World wide cathedral, however it is a cathedral, in Europe quite common thing) in a way attracting attention and building curiosity. And this is something very uncommon. And a good story too. Very well done. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Michael
a_i_ren (1315) 2007-01-17 8:10
...The good things is,-there is a story to tell, photo shooting impossible to forget and of course this beautiful image, David. Thanks for shearing it!
rafid76 (0) 2007-02-01 0:21
lol! photography definatly csot us more than we think but with your good story and this shot it was WELL worth it. and you know this from the impressive feedbak you got from the others. there is nothing more i can add.
branley (3681) 2007-03-06 9:55
I always go to members French photographs before any others. In this case I am very pleased I did because I came a cross this very magnificent and unusual view of the cathédrale de Chartres. The colours are superb, the detail is wonderful and the fisheye looks a lot of fun! A fine capture and a great note, well done.
kri54 (1515) 2007-03-18 12:14
travail d'artiste, très impressionnant!!!!
est ce de la photo ou de l'art numérique????
question que je me pose de plus en plus
Buk (160) 2007-06-12 17:44
Nice photo, but a cheap hotel would have probably been about €50 !
Francisco_Brito (219) 2007-06-12 18:03
Very interesting colors! I like the wide angle effect!
dHitman (0) 2008-08-27 17:48
Wow a truly magnificent shot! Just awesome and the fisheye lens is ideal for this type of shots.
Your notes have made me wiser if I intend to travel to a foreign land next time. TFS!
gus72 (3719) 2012-08-18 20:17
HI David !!
The photo is fantastic & I enjoyed reading the details of your adventure.
It was money well spent.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-09-10
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX
- Exposure: f/3.5, 4 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Theme(s): Wide angle ones [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-09-11 17:37
- Favorites: 2 [view]