The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous room in the opulent Palace of Versailles (or the Château de Versailles) in the Île-de-France region of France. Judging by all of the Asian tourists (seriously–if you don’t believe me, read the first few lines of this article) taking photos of this room with iPads, this is one of the most photographed rooms in all of Versailles. While “opulence” may not be the word that comes to mind to describe mirrors, in typical Versailles fashion, mirrors were incredibly expensive at the time of this hall’s construction because of a monopoly held on their manufacture. So, of course, much like Will Ferrell demanding more cowbell, King Louis XIV of France demanded a hall filled with more mirrors!
Although the room looks empty here, the only reason I got this area completely empty was because I managed to break-through a bottleneck before hordes of other tourists could enter this area. If we ever go to Versailles again, I’m making sure we arrive early in the morning next time!
Versailles is really a sight to behold. For more info and advice concerning Versailles, check out our Palace of Versailles Tips post!
Please click the photo for best viewing (larger and in lightbox mode). From there, you can purchase prints by clicking the shopping cart at the top of the screen. You can also navigate to the 1,000+ other images in my photo galleries from there!
Photographed with a Nikon D600 and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. More importantly, this photo is most first foray into the world of tone-mapped HDR in a few years. It’s odd…when I first started on my photographic journey, I thought tonemapped HDR was the coolest thing ever. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, and could make a photo come alive. Then I came to dislike it, mostly because I saw poor applications of HDR being highly praised by non-photographers simply because it was “unreal” to them–something they could easily see that they couldn’t replicate themselves. Admittedly, it was sort of silly to dislike something simply because I didn’t like the way others did or consumed it.
In the last year or so, I’ve come full circle, really enjoying the work of a lot of people who specialize in fine art HDR. In this time that I’ve come full circle, tonemapped HDR has become more common. So common, in fact, that it’s probably not unreal to most people. I mean, iPhones can do HDR these days! I know HDR is very divisive, and I know a lot of people view it as a gimmick or don’t like it for whatever reason, but I think it gives some subjects an ethereal beauty that just works. It’s certainly not for every subject, and there are bad ways to do it (perhaps this is one such “bad way,” I am more than a little rusty), but I have come to realize that I like certain applications of it. Not only do I now appreciate the style, but I also feel that photographers as artists should use any tool they can to produce the best image they can…
One of the reasons I started this blog was to push myself and to try new things creatively. My Disney photography has developed a distinctive “look” (or so I’m told), and I don’t really want to mess with that by experimenting with other processing techniques. BUT, here on this travel blog, I’m free to behave like a photographic nomad, and try all sorts of new stuff. It’s like my own little testing ground. Who knows…if I can refine certain methods to the point where I’m happy with them here, I might try them on the Disney stuff, too!
I know some of you photographers are probably dying to share your two cents on this, so HONESTLY, where do you stand on this photo? Along with that, where do you stand on HDR in general? (Just so I have some frame of reference to weigh your comments.) Share your thoughts on this topic of the day…or anything else…in the comments. One lucky commenter might become the ultimate fighting champion!