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  • Story Behind My Most Famous Picture -- "Paris At 100 Miles Per Hour"

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    A fun shot. I was a grad student in England and came over to Paris to visit two dear friends who were vacationing there. (Ron Nigro is on camera right behind me and his wife Joanne is wearing glasses making longhorn sign... still terrific lifelong friends). We partied together and we sure do look happy. Then we decided to go and take pictures on the streets of Paris. Ron & I decided to take tripods and shoot "everything lit in Paris". 
     
    I had not even thought of stock photos then and shot only three images of the now pretty famous "Paris at 100 mph" image of taxi driver and traffic under the Arc de Triomphe. Two were blurred too much and one has been my all-time best selling image, now over $400,000 in sales. Exposure on that image? Probably F5.6 @ 2 bottles of Merlot. That shot was not my talent for sure -- it was a gift from the photo Gods! But a crazy night for a bunch of crazy grad students having fun. As they say in the song, "Those Were The Days!"
     
    I have since gone back to the same spot and taken much more serious and technical shots, but none have come close to the energy and feeling of this one with Ron that night.  This shot is really a little overexposed and rather grainy.... but it has "magic".  The ones I have taken since are at the perfect "blue hour", and are so sharp you can read the words on the Arc.  But they do not possess the glow of this image.  So I again thank the Photo Gods for this image that happened on a special night with friends.  All the best planning & shooting sometimes is not enough --- you just need to have something special happen inside that black camera. 
     
    When I came back to the USA and started my photography career in New York, this image was in my portfolio.  It sold first to Pan Am Airlines for a large fee exclusive for one year for television for their Paris route.  It then sold over & over, as I put it in stock agencies (I had to make dupes then to send to agents) and I sold it directly to many of my travel clients.  It has been seen, literally, all over the world.  It still sells today to clients regularly.
     
    Thought you would like the story behind the story.
  • So You Think You Want To Be A Travel Photographer

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    This is a good story if you have the time to read here in my blog.  It will show you how dedicated you have to be sometimes in travel and commercial photography.  Here I am in Peru above Machu Picchu with my big Panoramic camera. Been there several times, but my best images were with this really wide format on this visit. This trip was part of a wonderful -- but exhausting -- two-month assignment for Saga Holidays, a avel company based in England. We traveled to 5 continents in September & October because it was great Fall weather north of the Equator and equally good Spring weather in the south.

    My loyal assistant, Alan Knapp, and I had only 5 quick days home in 2 months as we traversed the planet Earth. We "wore out" three different art directors as we flew in and joined Saga Holidays travel group trips to take advertising photos of their many excursions, using the best-looking people in the groups as models when needed. Thank God we had one person in Saga whose only job was to book all of our flights, make all the other arrangements for us to somehow meet with groups on their ongoing trips for several days each and then take off again to join another group somewhere else in the world. I would not have wanted to be responsible for all that timing & planning!

    Really don't know how we did it physically or mentally. Our bodies had jet lag the entire trip it seemed. Our itinerary was a killer: 6 days in England & Ireland -- home FL for 2 days --- off to Greece, Turkey, Paris and Nice for 17 days. Flew home from Nice and -- GET THIS -- arrived at home around 10 pm with only one day home  (to do laundry etc) and the next morning at 4 am we are off to the airport for our LONG flight to Australia!

    Our bodies in jet lag did not know if we should be eating, sleeping or dancing! All over Australia for 8 days -- Hong Kong for one day to get China Visa at US Embassy -- Thailand for 4 days -- China for 5 days -- flew home thru Alaska and home for 2 days of sleeping. Then off to Costa Rica for 3 days -- Oaxaca, Mexico for 3 days --- and finally Peru for 6 days. The art director in England at the beginning worked again with us in Australia and could not believe we were still standing, because he said he slept for three days after the England/Irelend leg. I’ll tell you Alan and I were sure exhausted! That same art director also met us in the last three legs in Costa Rica, Mexico & Peru. Somehow we just kept going.

    So, there I am in this photo above Machu Picchu at the end of that two months still enjoying taking pictures. Forget that --- still standing! The many photos from these many countries have been great stock photo sellers from my many agencies from that adventure, but I don't think if I would do it again that fast! As a travel photographer, you just do what you have to do. As I have always said, "You can rest when you're dead!"

    Hope you enjoyed this tiring story. It is far more relaxing looking back on it than it was flying all those miles. Several years before this assignment I did my 2-year, 72 country Kodak World Tour  assignment--- but that was easier because I STAYED in one time zone for weeks at a time. This Saga Holidays job made us keep changing drastic time zones so quickly. I thank Alan again here for working with me all these years. I know that we have had many grand adventures together around this world and I am thrilled that he has been there with me making my life easier!

    So if any of you think travel photography is just spreading sunscreen on and rekaxing at beaches, this may show you the REAL job!