View Through The Clock At The Musée d’Orsay
A window in time, literally. This is a view through the clock face at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. This is the clock face located on the fifth floor in the North-East corner of the museum. The space behind the clock face in the North-West corner is a restaurant and I don’t find the view through it as pleasing.
Opening as a train station in 1900, by 1939 the platforms had become too short for the trains of that age. Having served numerous other purposes it was saved from demolition and opened as an art museum in December 1986. It now houses the world’s largest collection of impressionist paintings and it has to be on your ‘must see’ list if you visit Paris. To me it’s far more interesting than the Louvre.
Part of the Louvre can be seen in the background on the right. That tower is part of the Musée Des Artes Décoratifs and is the North-West wing of the the Louvre building complex. The trees and Ferris Wheel are in the Jardin des Tuileries and the row of Haussmann buildings are the shops and apartments of the Rue de Rivoli.
Up on the hill on the left you can see the silhouette of the La Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre. Sacré Coeur was completed in 1914 so has just had it’s centenary while it was consecrated in 1919 so perhaps it has another centenary in four years time?
Running through the bottom of the frame is the River Seine.
The HDR treatment I chose has rendered the buildings and sky in a nice, almost Wedgwood-style, blue and white; which adds a pleasant antique feeling to the image.
I did toy with the idea of trying to clone and heal the dirt on the clock window glass but besides being too lazy to spend the time doing a really good retouching job here, I think the dirty windows add character.
Below is a black and white rendering of this image.
If you want to take a similar photo yourself you just need to visit the museum and have patience as it’s a very popular spot for taking photos. If you want to also get yourself in the frame, I think selfie sticks are likely banned but the old fashioned way – asking a friend or even a stranger – to take your photo in front of the clock face remains an option.
Tripods are also banned, I believe. I’m sure you can apply for permission and pay a fee but it’s really not worth it. Although this is a three-frame HDR image, I shot it hand-held. I also employed my son and daughter as minders to help keep the scene somewhat people-free but the tight crop is because there were lots of people crowding around. Perhaps if you’re first in line and go straight there you might get a few minutes to compose a wider shot. I think I hung around for about ten minutes to get this shot.
To get the sharpness through the image I selected a tight f/16 aperture so I increased my ISO to 800 to be able to have a shutter speed high enough for reasonable sharpness when hand holding the camera. With my EOS 5D Mark III I usually steady the camera by resting the body on my left shoulder and using my left eye on the viewfinder, a hold I learned from Joe McNally.
- Exposure 1 (-2EV): ISO 800: 1/1600 sec at f/16
- Exposure 1 (0EV): ISO 800: 1/400 sec at f/16
- Exposure 1 (+2EV): ISO 800: 1/100 sec at f/16
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- Lens: Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM at 28mm
Notice that to change the exposure I only varied the shutter speed. If you change the aperture instead then you lose sharpness in your final result.