Le Musee D’ Orsay

Thursday, July 20, 2006 4:54:57 PM

Painting is a jeu d’esprit.*

Chere Anna,

After Notre Damn I stopped at the places shown by my guide the day before to buy supplies and then I returned to my hotel for some relaxation and a nap. Shooting photography in the morning and evening, and taking a nap in between is a great idea, but I was never able to do it. There were always too many other things to do. I ended up sitting in the hotel lobby going online and watching the people who entered the hotel. This place is frequented by American Airlines staff and Japanese businessmen. I can not tell you how much I appreciate being in a first class hotel. Traveling is hard, but having a descent hotel is essential and makes a hard trip a pleasure. The concierge is an indispensable part of my travel team. From the concierge I learn so much about the place I am staying and I get help with all kinds of things, taxis reservations, ticket changes, eating and so much more. They will even tolerate my french and teach me things.

Around 4 PM I again headed out, this time, for Le Musee D’ Orsay to see some of the French impressionism that I have been studying. Last year, when I went through the Louvre I was appalled by how much I did not know about what I was looking at. You walk through rooms and rooms and rooms of ‘”stuff,” but without some knowledge you have no idea of what you are looking at. I decided at that time that I will become knowledgeable about something and then go and see it. So this is what my trip to D’ Orsay was all about. I had purchased a DVD course on 19th French Impressionism. Oh, you can not imagine my delight to actually see some of the very paintings by Manet, Monet and others that I have seen on DVD and in books! I photographed as much as I could so that I had a personal record of the D’ Orsay collection and in the end I spent about 5 hours going through this museum. Although images of the collection are available on the internet and in art books, in fact one really has no need to actually travel to D’ Orsay or any other place, there is a special thrill in actually seeing the original. Over the coming months I will spend more time reviewing impressionism and so I wanted to be able to review back to my personal photographs of this collection. So I am far from done when it comes to this kind of art.

After that I headed back to a place near the Louvre where I had taken some photos the day before. I liked my composition and so I decide to return to retake the shots. Since my last trip I have greatly improved my knowledge of photography and the use of my camera, so I wanted to retake the shots in a special way. I had two hours to wait until the sun was setting and the light was right so I went to a restaurant and dinned on French cuisine. Anna, I think it is worth coming to Paris just to sit in the cafes eat, drink and watch the world go by. After my long walk through the museum and with all the standing looking at paintings it was such a relief to sit in this cafe. I spoke as much french to my waiter as I could. He was used to dealing with tourists who never try to speak french beyond bonjour and merci and so he gave me special attention. I am so happy because I am actually speaking french in a meaningful way on this trip. Last time I tried my best but I could never keep it going for more than a sentence or two. Now I can actually hold simple conversations. All my training has been worth it and I am encouraged to learn more.

Finally, the sun moved into position and I went to where my photo shoot was to take place, but still the light was not right so I had to wait another half an hour. During that time I sat down and worked on another writing installment. It does not matter where I am, in the airport, in a plane, on a train, or in a cafe, I can always take out paper and pen and continue my story. Finally the light was just right and I began to take my shots. I took about 30 photos out of which I kept three as the final version. You can see the results. I am very happy. This time I am not just taking photos, but I am trying my best to compose shots. This, of course, takes a lot of time, but for me it is worth it. I am having fun! This is Shuka on vacation. 🙂

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