Louvre Museum: Historic meets modern in Paris

Depending on who’s talking, the Louvre Museum in Paris is the second-most-visited site in the French city. And the world’s most-visited museum, with nearly 10 million people touring the grand halls in 2016 (although that number slides up and down a bit from different sources). This, for example, is where the Mona Lisa resides.

Built in 1793, the Louvre is one big museum with tens of thousands of pieces of art or “objects” in a 782,910-square-feet space. Yes, you have to walk several miles to tour the entire place.

HITT Tip: Aside from standing in line to walk through dark Louvre Museum hallways for hours, just hanging out on the plaza and wandering through the Carrousel Gardens between the museum wings is worth much more than the price of admission – free!

The Louvre Museum in Paris as seen by our Photographer's Diary camera

The subject: Not just the Louvre Museum, but a mix of architecture and light. On the edges you see the grand, centuries-old Louvre buildings, but smack in the center is the glass pyramid called the Louvre Pyramid that hovers over a passageway of the Carrousel du Louvre underground shopping center. The pyramid was completed in 1989 and – in a time-honored French tradition – sparked its share of debate and controversy in its approval and planning process.

So monumentally historic is this square and the Pyramid that Emmanuel Macron used it as his backdrop for his acceptance speech after he was declared the victor in the May 7, 2017, presidential election. According to the Washingon Post article linked above, he mentioned in his speech the “daring” of the glass pyramid behind him and the “daring” future that he promised lies in store for France.

The inspiration: Enthralling really is the contrast between historic and modern, statuesque and shiny, brick and glass, concrete and grass that you find on and beside the main plaza, the Cour Napoléon. No wonder Macron used this for his backdrop. Any time of the day, there are reflections and light dancing every which way, begging to be captured. I don’t think any photo can really go wrong here.

Artist’s tools: My Nikon D90 served me well for many an adventure, as did the 18-105mm lens f/3.5-5.6, both of which I got when I returned to photography after about 25 years! What I like about this focal length on a lens is its ability to capture almost everything for me without fiddling with changing lens or being draped with several cameras with different lenses. For this particular photo of the Louvre Museum, I was set at a fast 1/2000 of a second at f/4.5 with a super wide focal length of 18mm. This was taken in October 2010 just as I was trying to get back into photography, thus the rather unneeded high speed, which I used at that time to cut down on the glare with the camera being set on aperture priority. (I am now a Sony Pro photographer).


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