DARK ALLEY – NICE, FRANCE

When I travel I always read the US State Department’s reports on a particular city or country just so that I am more aware of what goes on there and where to avoid. I take risks, but they are calculated and weighted against the pros and cons.

Unfortunately these reports can really scare you out of venturing about in a city if you let it. Nice, France’s report talked about the robberies once the sun went down, etc. Usually on tourists and also on photographers. Hey, these things happen in cities. Have you ever read one of these reports for NYC?

So after scaring myself reading that State Department report, I took my camera out, after dark and played tourist. It’s good I take advice, huh? LOL.

Anyhow…I couldn’t resist this scene that unfolded in front of me while walking around the Old Town area of Nice, France. Admittedly, it’s not very comforting standing in an alley clicking photos by yourself in the dark with expensive equipment in hand, but good thing for equipment insurance, right?

I love the dramatic feel of this photo. Maybe the only drama created here is in my head…haha.

Anyhow, how did I get the shot? I preset the camera manually so that I didn’t have to stand there with the camera to my face playing with knobs and miss the bigger picture of what was going on around me.

Eventually a couple holding hands, rounded the corner from a connecting alley. I waited until they were in the right spot relative to the alley light so that you could actually seem them and clicked the photo. Voilà!

I was going for a dark image where your eyes just kind of pop right to the couple holding hands. The narrow point of view of f1.4 adds to the moodiness, but the added benefit was that a big aperture opening allows in more light to properly capture a good exposure in the dark. No tripod so that is where the 1/60s on the shutter speed came in to play. 1/60s is a general rule for the slowest you should handhold a camera (no tripod). I knew I could hand-hold the camera down to 1/30s but why take the chance if I only plan on a one-take situation? Thank was my thinking anyhow.

The tip here is to think about what you want before you go clicking the shutter like a machine gun!  One shot is all you need and your friends and family will be happier for it when they view your travel photos and you have 30…not 300 similar shots. Have a good week.

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