On a sunny day in Paris, I thought it best to spend some of my time indoors so I could get away from the heat and harsh light, and hopefully take a few photos.

I therefore headed over to the Palais Garnier to check out their beautiful interior. It was a little crowded, so getting a shot of their grand staircase without people was never going to happen. I sat on the steps to the balcony you see in this image, waiting for that moment when the stairs may suddenly become free from all of the couples posing and tour groups learning. As this woman stood to admire the view I realised that I didn’t really have to focus on the stairs at all, and could instead block the majority of people out by using the balcony, and that this woman standing there was probably the ideal focal point for the image. So I grabbed a quick shot before she moved.

Voila, a location I felt had no real promise due to the masses of people was suddenly presenting an image to me. I’m very pleased with the results.

I did have to get rid of 5 people from the shots on the stairs and other balconies, but luckily the place is pretty symmetrical so I was able to cut elements of the architecture, about an inch at a time, from one side of the building and flip it over to the other side to cover the people, and then mask it in to the original architecture. Turned out okay.

  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Focal length: 14mm
  • ISO: 1600
  • Shutter speed: 1/50s