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Le Pont des Arts, Paris

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 7 January 2009 in Cityscape & Urban and Portfolio.

Photographed just after dawn at Christmas in the mist and falling snow.

This is certainly the most romantic and beautiful of all the bridges across the Seine in Paris and I've been trying to get a decent photo of it for a while now. This is probably my best attempt to date.

The 400 year old Pont Neuf is my second favourite bridge and you can see it in the background shrouded in the mist.

I waited for this lady to cross the bridge to give it scale and the human touch. Although she is tiny compared to the bridge you can still see how her head is bowed against the freezing wind and swirling snow.

NIKON D40 1/30 second F/4.5 ISO 720 105 mm (35mm equiv.)

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

GJC from Kyoto, Japan

As usual, taken with great sensitivity. I particularly like the contrasting tones between the two bridges, and the great, strong reflection in the water.

7 Jan 2009 5:39am

@GJC: Thanks GJC....I've been trying for what seems ages to try and get a decent photo of this bridge so I'm quite pleased with this one. I was lucky that the falling snow gave the scene a misty appearance getting rid of a lot of the background and simplifying the composition.

I also took some from a higher vantage point before dawn which I'm pleased with (in colour) but they are not as strong as this compositionally.

ordinaryimages from Kentucky Bluegrass, United States

Setting here stupefied, one of the best photographs I have ever seen. best...jerry

7 Jan 2009 6:41am

@ordinaryimages: Thanks Jerry...what a lovely thing to say!

All I need now is a publisher who thinks the same way :-)

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Great image to have on the wall! I love the good composition, the symmetric lines, the human element on the bridge, the other bridges in the background and, of course, this splendid black and white.

7 Jan 2009 7:52am

@Paco Díaz: Thanks Paco....before we left the UK I was hoping for some mist in Paris with just this shot in mind so you can imagine how pleased I was that I was up and about, camera in hand, at dawn to catch it!

Mike from Lichfield, United Kingdom

It's an absolutely wonderful shot Ian. I couldn't have put it any better than the comment by Paco Diaz above.

7 Jan 2009 7:57am

@Mike: Thanks Mike!...I was pleased with the way it turned out but I know that there's a better photo of this bridge to be had in time.

I greatly admire the work of the fine art photographer Michael Kenna and his photo of this bridge is one of my favourites:

IanSmith from London, United Kingdom

Beautiful capture Ian!

7 Jan 2009 8:58am

@IanSmith: Thanks very much Ian....I can't tell you just how many rubbish photos of this bridge I've got. It's infuriatingly difficult to photograph in a simple way due to all the 'clutter' of a major city that is going on around it.

dan from Paris, France

I know well this Bridge and I believe that it is the most beautiful photo which I see of this place. Bravo !

7 Jan 2009 10:22am

@dan: Thanks you know how difficult it is to photograph I take that as a big compliment. Thanks very much!

missparis from Paris, France

Le pont des Arts pris sous cet angle est splendide, ton NB également.

7 Jan 2009 10:57am

@missparis: Thanks very much....I've pretty much explored every possible angle for photographing this bridge now but I'm still convinced that I can do better than this...we'll see.

Giovanni from Milan, Italy

This is an outstanding photo Ian! I like the vertical framing and your b&w is absolutely fantastic. And the lady on the bridge gives the final touch of perfection. Great work!!

7 Jan 2009 11:01am

@Giovanni: Thanks Giovanni...I'm glad I waited around in the snow and cold for a variety of people to cross the bridge. It was hard to decide between this lady with her head bowed down or the people who crossed carrying umbrellas - it's strange how such a small thing can alter the whole feel of a photo. The umbrella ones seem much more upbeat somehow and I nearly processed one of those instead.

zOOm from Paris, France

One of my fav in Paris ! very original point of view, gaphic and aesthetic as well !

7 Jan 2009 11:55am

Viewfinder from Bradenton, United States

I like the geometry of this.

7 Jan 2009 1:07pm

Laurie from New Jersey, United States

This is such an excellent composition. Wonderful contrast and tones.

7 Jan 2009 1:33pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

What a great piece Ian! Love every single element of this superb capture... the lovely rhythm of lines and curves, harmonious contrast in tones, intriguing reflections and the atmosphere so heightened by the passing lady... one of the most romantic and beautiful bridge pic I've seen in quite a while!:-)

7 Jan 2009 1:36pm

Tilala from Bordeaux, France

Magnifique cadrage et travail du noir et blanc. Mais tu étais dans l'eau ? o))
Happy new year !!

7 Jan 2009 1:40pm

@Tilala: :-) no, I wasn't in the water even though it may look that way! I was stood on the lower waterside pathway which is a good 5 meters below normal pavement level.

yz from Budapest, Hungary

Fantastic, great start for the new year. I love how that lonely figure breaks the symmetry.

7 Jan 2009 2:02pm

drum from carcavelos, Portugal

great compo

7 Jan 2009 2:29pm

Cheryl from Texas, United States

very cool! I love your composition and pp treatment on this.

7 Jan 2009 2:40pm

Eleftheria! from Athens, Greece


7 Jan 2009 3:44pm

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

great shot ! I love the symmetric composition, the other bridge in a misty outlines ! I see in your comment that you admire also Michal Kenna as me ! I'm fond of his work ! actually my series of these days are inspired by his japan series.

7 Jan 2009 5:19pm

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

A very, very elegant shot!

7 Jan 2009 5:32pm

Suzanne from Huntington Bch, United States

Perfect composition. Outstanding.

7 Jan 2009 6:41pm

Polydactyle from Montréal, Canada

Excellent symertric shot. Nad the person on the bridge give the final touch. bravo!

7 Jan 2009 7:05pm

Frida from Sweden

I totally agree with Paco Diaz above this is such a great picture!

7 Jan 2009 8:29pm

Wilfried from Paris, France

Superbe, aussi bien au niveau du cadrage que de la composition, et très belle l'atmosphère qui règne sur cette photo. Bravo.

7 Jan 2009 9:09pm



7 Jan 2009 10:25pm

Paula Camps from Mahón (Menorca), Spain

Very nice shot!

7 Jan 2009 11:10pm

613photo from DALLAS, United States

Great work. The symmetry is awesome. Love how the background fades into the fog, too.

7 Jan 2009 11:44pm

Rui from Leiria, Portugal

F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C !!!!

7 Jan 2009 11:47pm

amy from Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Ian, you outdo yourself with each post. Simply outstanding.

8 Jan 2009 3:20am

Stu from Kyoto, Japan

This is so well seen Ian. That lone figure really makes the mood and sets off the symmetry beautifully. Crackin' shot.

Oh...Happy New Year btw!

8 Jan 2009 5:27am

Patrick from Louveciennes, France

Superbe. Bravo.

8 Jan 2009 7:54am

Vink from Grasse - French riviera, France

Le pont des Arts, endroit symbolique des poètes et des amoureux superbement photographié par tes soins ! J'adore !

8 Jan 2009 8:26am

Michael Rawluk from Williams Lake, BC, Canada

I really like the way the bridge is obscured in the misty background. A wonderful shot, Ian.

8 Jan 2009 5:21pm

tom from Frankfurt, Germany

I like the symetry in this shot.

8 Jan 2009 8:39pm

Kimberley from United States

This is a magnificent image Ian, has a bit of a Victor Hugo feel to it.
Not a bad way to spend Christimas morn.....

17 Jan 2009 8:05pm

drum from carcavelos, Portugal

i like it this way
subtil tone looks great

19 Jan 2009 9:10pm

lux from Munich, Germany

This is one of the most amazing fotos I have ever seen here. So well seen and done.

16 Aug 2009 11:42am

Mike from Lichfield, United Kingdom

Hi Ian, We're off to Paris for Christmas and I was just wondering if you took this photo off another bridge? Whilst we're there I can't leave without having a go at photographing this bridge for myself.

15 Oct 2009 8:43am

@Mike: This one was taken from the lower river bank walkway Mike but if you google image search the bridge looking for Cartier-Bresson and Michael Kenna you´ll see some great photos taken from the nearby bridges. (at least I think it was Bresson or Atget who first took iconic photos of the bridge).

Example here:

The tip of the Ile de La Cite is another good vantage point.

1/30 second
ISO 720
105 mm (35mm equiv.)