Tag Archives: transportation

Paris in October – part 6 – transportation – Planes and Trains

Whenever you travel, of course it involves transportation. I suppose I could call this post “trains, planes and automobiles”, although cars were the least feature of this trip for me. Starting off with planes, the return flight from Paris was on an Air France Airbus A380. I had wanted to see what one was like since they were announced back in the late 1990s. Thanks to my dad splurging on our plane tickets, we had seats in the premium economy section, which put us on the upper deck of the plane. Perhaps because of its size, the A380 was the smoothest riding plane I can recall flying in.

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Here it is at the gate at Charles De Gaulle airport.

One other neat feature of the plane is that in the entertainment console in the headrest, one option is to view the tail cam. They have a camera somewhere near the top of the tail rudder that has a view of the aircraft and the landscape below it. Here it is, on the approach to Dulles International Airport:

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Most of my travels within France were train based. I took the Metro within Paris, a commuter train to Versailles, and a TGV to Chalon. The TGV to Chalon was not the famous super-fast train that goes to Marseilles in 3 hours, but nonetheless, it’s a fast, smooth, quiet train that pivots as it goes around curves.

Paris Metro scenes:

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The Monnaie station (the Mint) had these large ceramic replica coins flowing up the wall, over the ceiling and on to the wall of the opposite platform. The platform also had this giant antique coin press on display:
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I wish they would do things like that here in the Washington DC metro.

Here’s a take on the same station in black-and-white.

Paris Metro-Pont Neuf
Paris Metro-Pont Neuf

And another view of the Metro in motion:

Speeding Metro
Speeding Metro

I took a TGV from Paris to Chalon-sur-Saone to go visit the home of Nicephore Niepce, the original inventor of photography. To say that my train trip was an adventure would be fairly accurate – my first train, which was supposed to take me directly to Chalon, instead took me to Besancon, which is a scant 60km from the Swiss border. I had to take three more trains to end up in Chalon, two and a half hours after I was supposed to arrive there.

It all worked out ok in the end, and the return trip was far less adventurous. Here is the Gare D’ Lyon, my starting (and ending) point in Paris:

TGV, Gare D' Lyon
TGV, Gare D’ Lyon

Clocks, Platform, Gare D' Lyon
Clocks, Platform, Gare D’ Lyon

1903 Winton Touring Car

1903 WInton Tourer
1903 WInton Tourer

This appears to be a 1903 Winton touring car. In doing some image searching, I came across a photo of the 1903 Winton that was driven by Horatio Nelson Jackson that seems to be very similar, with the exception of this being a four seater and Jackson’s being a two-seater. Would that this were a photo of Jackson’s car before he set out on his famous cross-country drive. In 1903 it took him 64 days to cross the US, including numerous breakdowns and delays from having to winch the car out of mud holes and over rocky terrain. His trek proved it could be done. By 1919, when Dwight Eisenhower did it with a military convoy of heavy trucks, it had been reduced to 29 days (average speed less than 6mph, and including 6 days of rest with no travel attempted).

With the chauffeur in the front seat, I guess you could consider this an occupational photo. Regardless, an awesome piece of early automotive history. Note the license plate with the number 1211. Could you imagine driving from Washington DC to San Francisco, a distance of some 3000 miles, in a car like this?

Great Article from Petapixel

What I’ve Learned About Photo Gear Over the Past 40 Years

Terrific summary and great dispelling of the constant upgrade myth. A great photographer can make great images with a pinhole or a Brownie box camera, in addition to a CaNikSonEikaBlad. A mediocre photographer gets caught up in an upgrade chase thinking gear is the solution to a skills problem. Don’t get me wrong, gear is fun, and its always nice to have the right tool for the job – there are photos you can take with a Canon 5D that you can’t take with a Hasselblad, and photos you can take with an 8×10 Sinar you can’t take with a Leica (the old “don’t use a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job” adage). But when it comes down to it, it’s far to easy to blame the tool when we don’t get what we were looking for (“I would have gotten the photo if only I had an xxxx”). This is part of why I’m fixating on my Rolleiflex. It’s just one camera, with just one lens – it’s forcing me to pay more attention to what I’m shooting and how I’m shooting it rather than running around with two or three bodies and half a dozen lenses in two or more formats. My Argentina trip of a few years ago was a prime example – I had the 5×7 with six (SIX!!!!) lenses, 13 film holders (13!!!!), and a tripod, along with my Contax G1 with 45mm and 28mm lenses. While I did take some wonderful photos in each format, I’m pretty sure both suffered as a result. Certainly, there were photos I could not have taken with one that I did with the other. My Recoleta cemetery photos would not have happened with the Contax, and my street scenes in San Telmo and La Boca would not have happened with the 5×7. But by dividing my attention between the two systems and two ways of thinking probably meant that I wasn’t fully in the mindset of either system and then tried (and failed) to make images with one that would have been better done with the other.