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  • Writer's pictureAlyce Bender

The Year of the Dragon 2024

Paris Street Art 2024 | A. Bender Photography LLC
Paris Street Art (Google Pixel 7)

In the Lunar New Year calendar, 2024 is the year of the Dragon. The dragon symbolizes such attributes as power, honor, luck, and success. It is also said that the Year of the Dragon brings about opportunities, changes, and challenges. Combined, this year is a great year to follow your passions as it invites us to be inventive, creative, and adventurous.

For me, I am walking into 2024 with eyes wide open. I already know this year will be one of many challenges as well as many adventures. Starting the year off in Paris, France before spending a bit of time in the Azores with my husband, I also started the year by changing up my photography subjects a bit.

Paris Street Scenes (Google Pixel 7, edited with SnapSeed)

In Paris for New Years, I did a ton more cell phone photography than I have in the past. Out of the week we were there, I only took my "real" camera out one day, the morning of New Year's Day. Something of a tradition since living in Japan, I have made it a point to watch the sunrise on New Year's Day wherever in the world I am at that time. As I was in Paris, I urged my husband onto the metro before the first light and we made our way to the area along the Seine where the Eiffel Tower stands prominently.

New Year's Day 2024 Sunrise with the Eiffel Tower and Seine River | A. Bender Photography LLC
New Year's Day 2024 Sunrise with the Eiffel Tower (Sony A7RV & Tamron 18-300mm)

The cloud ladened sky didn't light up as I had hoped as the weak winter light peaked through a few small openings. An auspicious start to the year but a reminder that there are silver linings even in the darkest clouds. Wondering along the river, enjoying listening to the city wake up slowly after a night of revelry, I opted to play with my exposures, as I have done many times in nature, and captured this image of the Eiffel Tower with the Seine river boats moored quietly beneath the icon.

Eiffel Tower at sunrise with boats on the Seine River ICM | A. Bender Photography LLC
Eiffel Tower NYD ICM (Sony A7RV & Tamron 18-300mm)

I also challenged both myself and my husband to create an image of us that wasn't just another selfie. Having decided I did not want to wonder the streets with a tripod this trip, I had to get a bit creative and a bit teacher-ish as my husband is not a photographer.

For this image I wanted a background that was going to be easy to merge and had little in the way of distractions. Having found a spot over the Seine where no buildings obscured the Tower or the horizon line, I set my husband in position, watching for both positioning and relative size as it related to the Eiffel Tower.

SOOC Left half

Next I ensured the proper settings and began describing how he needed to make sure I was positioned in the frame and how much of the "midground" (between the ledge and the Tower) was showing. Too much or too little and it wouldn't alight correctly. Five to seven minutes later and a multiple sets of images we finally got this one.

SOOC Right half

Upon returning home, it was just a matter of merging them in Lightroom as a panorama before cropping to an 4x5 ratio and editing to create this final image: the two of us on New Year's Day in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Composite Edited (Please note: I'm not a portrait photographer 😅)

May this be a reminder to use this year to chase your passions, try new things, and explore new places. Do you have any plans already?

Common Blackbird in Paris, France | A. Bender Photography LLC
Parisian blackbird (ok, we all know a tiger can't change its stripes)

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Feb 02

Great creativity on the two photos of you and your husband, then making a composite.

Alyce Bender
Alyce Bender
Feb 02
Replying to

Thank you! It was certainly something different for us and thought sharing might help others who may be traveling this year with a partner, friend, or spouse.

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