Independence Days – and Paris in 3D!

Notre Dame, Paris - 2008

I must first wish my friends in France a très heureux La Fête Nationale on this 14th of July, otherwise known as Bastille Day to English speakers. As I’ve written here many times, we not only share the same month with the French for our respective Independence Days (as well as with Canada as Canada Day is the 1st of July – something about the July heat seems to inspire revolution…), but we also share a mutually beneficial and intertwined history, the United States and France. And one that becomes more compelling the deeper you look into it. Just ask Benjamin Franklin.

Now the 3D part.

Pont Alexandre III, Paris - 2008

During my last trip to Paris, before the 3D craze that seems to be permeating our media these days, I did a bit of experimenting with a special 3D lens on one of my cameras. A bit crude – in fact at the time, I discarded the images as a failed experiment. But often as is the case when I go back and look at shoots with fresh eyes, I find something new and worthwhile.

Modern technology and software often has to catch up and when I shot these images two years ago, they were a bit noisy because of the capabilities of the 3D lens. But today with the latest version of Abobe Lightroom, I can pull more information out of them and reduce some of the unwanted luminance and color noise to the point where the images might actually be useable!

Pont Alexandre III et la Tour Eiffel, Paris - 2008

To see the 3D, click on each image you see in this blog and a new window will open up with a larger version of the image. Since you do not have a 3D viewer build into your web browser, the trick is to stare at the image and slowly cross your eyes until you see three images and focus on the center one. Not everyone can do this, so don’t feel bad if your eyes just won’t do it, but if you can, you should see Paris in 3D.

Don’t do it for too long however, or you’ll give yourself a headache. Best to be done in short doses.

And speaking of headaches, ah Les Bleus. I can add nothing to what has already been said by the French Press about the French National Football team in this year’s tragic showing in the World Cup. After making the final match four years ago, it was as if Les Bleus lost all respect for themselves and their country. It was tragic to see.

La Seine et la Tour Eiffel, Paris - 2008

But on the positive side, it was a tremendous and surprising World Cup this year and I was very encouraged to see more Americans paying attention this time around. Certainly the US team created excitement that even most casual sports fans couldn’t ignore and hopefully it will continue to grow.

Why is the World Cup such a big deal to me? Well unlike the “World” Series of baseball (first played by two East Coast teams 600 miles apart in 1904), a great deal of the world is actually involved in the World Cup. It’s a rare chance to see players and fans from far flung countries come together to support their team and country. National Pride and at the same time respect for the other country on the pitch with you.

And it’s a chance to get a geography lesson if you’re so inclined. A chance to see that although some recent Vice-Presidential candidates think Africa is one country, it’s actually a continent – the second largest on the planet – made up of 54 individual countries, six of which played in the World Cup this year, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Cameroon and Ghana.

A chance to learn about other cultures without leaving your favorite chair or bar stool. The more we learn and attempt to understand our differences, the better the world is.

So cheers to España and The Netherlands for making it to the finals (I was pulling for you Big Orange!) and to everyone else who competed. It will be a long four year wait until Brasil in 2014, but with any luck more of us will be there in spirit next time around!


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