The castle on the dark hill that the locals don’t discuss

Here is a shot from a crisp cool night in Lyon, France, taken from the bridge, pointing towards the old part of the city.

There are not enough places like this in the world! I wish I could look out a window every day and see a remote castle sitting on a hilltop, taunting me with a panoply of possible adventures… but I don’t see that out my window, so I just have to look at these little things I collect over time to remind me…

(and I am working on the new HDR Tutorial and some slight blog changes today and this week… so keep an eye out!)

The castle on the dark hill that the locals don't discuss (by Stuck in Customs)

  • That’s a really cool looking picture. Did you add the streaks from the cars from within PhotoShop, or did you actually capture the streaks when you took the picture?

  • No – the streaks are really there from the cars…

    I never paint anything on top in photoshop. On occasion, I will clone-stamp something annoying, but that is rare….

  • Did you miss the blue hour or was it on purpose that the sky is already dark? And hey, I am with you, though I do have two old castles closeby, I can’t see them when I am looking outside my window! But I do see France !

  • haha 🙂

    This was shot about 2 AM… so the blue hour was long gone!

  • Dr. Electro

    Hard to say which is more impressive, The castle on the hill or the convent in the foreground. Lovely shot, though. Your technique really brings out the light and color that would be long gone in a single ordinary photo. It’s terrific.

  • Susan

    I love everything about this shot Trey – the castle is cool!

  • Tod


    Why do say “The castle…locals don’t discuss” ? Forgive me all if I’m missing the obvious !
    Amazing, a photo of this quality taken at 2am !

  • DEE

    Now, that I like. Reminds me of the Mansion on the Hill near here called Montauk. Once the residence of a Governor Larrabee of Iowa. Only recently (about 2 years ago) a light was added to illuminate the mansion.

  • I used to be a local, and I will discuss it 😉

    It’s actually not a castle, it is a basilica called “Notre-Dame de Fourvière”. It takes its name after the name of the hill on top of which it is built, called Fourvière. It was also called “The hill that prays”, in opposition to the other hill above Lyon, the Croix-Rousse called “the hill that works”. On one hill had always lived communities of Christians eversince the Roman Empire, whereas the other facing hill was home to the famous weaving shops of Lyon.

    In 1642, as the kingdom of France is the victim of the largest plague epidemic of all time, women of Lyon gather at the top of the hill and pray Virgin Mary for their city to be spared. Lyon will never have one victim of the plague. Eversince then, people from Lyon show their gratitude with a big celebration every December 8th, when everyone puts a candle outside each window of their home, and parades are organized everywhere. Two centuries later, a huge golden statue of Virgin Mary was erected at the top of the hill.

    In 1870, history repeats itself: the Prussians commanded by General Bismarck take Paris and start heading south. The women of Lyon gather again at the top of Fourvière and start praying Virgin Mary for Lyon to be spared. Bismarck and his army will turn around a few days later, never setting foot in Lyon.

    In 1872, construction work start in order to build a beautiful basilica at the top of the hill, they will last 12 years. This is this magnificent building you can now see in Trey’s amazing picture, which brought back a lot of great memories of living in Lyon.

    Thank you for that, and for sharing your talent with us.


  • Fred G

    That eerie castle on the hill is:

    Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvie

    Here is a link:

  • Hey Trey. You changed the header image and the blog theme. I like this better than the last one.
    The photo is stunning as always.
    Love the play of light and shadow on the front of the castle.

    PS – I also use your Taj Mahal photo in my blog as the header and that font is Bleeding Cowboy right ?

  • Thanks all!

    Jean-Marie – thanks for the good info for everyone. The event of the Prussian invasion in 1870 also came in the middle of the Impressionist movement, all of which is an inspiration to me.

    Dxtr – Glad you noticed the new look… It will take a while for others to notice (unless they hit refresh on their browser)

  • lenhix

    Cool shot, I gotta ask, when you’re going all these places and taking these shots, especially at night, are you strolling around with your tripod all the time or do you scout it out and then make a second trip back with your tripod to get the shot?

  • You are sincerely the most inspirational HDR photographer I have ever seen. After going through most of your photos, it makes me want to go outside and give it a shot! Thanks and you’ve been featured in my website.

  • Dxtr – How do you know that font? I am impressed… you must be a graphic designer!

    Lenhix – Yes I carry it around most of the time.

    Aaron – thanks!

  • I LOVE this. I’ve ALWAYS had a fascination with castles…ever since I played Castlevania on the original Nintendo system…perhaps before. (LOL.) Also, the streaks…AWESOME…is there a certain speed the camera has to be on to catch them? I took a bizarre/retarded outside my apt a couple months ago where the street lights outside (at night) had made the same effect (I have it on myspace, friend, go look, cuz I’m curious)-I have NO idea how i managed that. Maybe I just wasn’t the came steady…but I kinda like it. Nothing compared to ur genius, though. 🙂

  • Wow…sorry for those typos, Trey. I meant to say “I took a bizarre/retarded PHOTO outside my apt…and “maybe I just wasn’t holding the camera steady…” and that pic I’m referring to is in the “my obsessions” album.

  • I’m a hobbyist graphics designer. Used to be in the whole forum tag thing.
    Been familiar with photoshop for about a year and half now, but for the last couple of months my studies have kept me rather busy.
    Bleeding Cowboy is one of my favorite fonts.
    I’m a super amateur photographer as well. Do chk out my pics sometime.

  • Mike Diblicek

    Hi Trey,

    Another beautiful image, your a true master of your craft.

    I visit Lyon maybe 3/4 times a year, i live around a 3 hours north (by car) of Lyon in Luxeuil Les Bains, (An Englishman in France).
    I’ve passed this place twice this year (in daylight) didn’t seem so attractive then as in your photo.

    What brings you to France so often???

    Concerning your HDR Tutorial upgrade, can you discuss a little more in detail how you go about cleaning the images up, ie image noise etc.

    Thanks for a great resource and inspiration, this site has now become the first thing i look at when i get to work.
    Fire up the G4, get the coffee machine on, check the emails and respond if need be, that”s the time for the coffee machine to finish it’s work, pour myself a coffee, open “stuckincustoms” for my daily dose of inspiration and comments.

    Happy New Year to you and your Family.

    All the best


  • Sophie – Yes I took a nice long exposure – the tripod really helps… no worries, I knew want you meant! 🙂

    Dxtr – that is cool – please give a link and I will look 🙂

    Mike – Thanks! Well I don’t go to France that often… I process photos out of order, and post them as I process them.

  • i m graphic designer n also an amateur photographer too.i have read ur tutorial n felt good coz i was doing the more or less same thing,which u do with my 3d renditions.through photoshop.
    amazed with ur stills.ll try to follow u as much as possible.

  • RE Barwick

    I am just getting started with HDR. Do you have to have a camera that takes pictures in RAW; or can you do this with jpeg. I have a SONY HX-1 and can take pictures 1 full stop either side.

  • Lorencogog

    Is it possible to contact administration?
    Thank you

  • andrei caj

    It’s a Kafka reference… The Castle.

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