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Field Notes
Square Du Vert Galant
Photograph by Amy Toensing
Amy Toensing

What was your best experience in the field covering this story?

The best part of the assignment is simply that I was in Paris. But if I had to boil it down to one thing, I would say the food was amazing. I loved how fresh everything was and that I was able to go into almost any restaurant and be confident that I was going to get a good meal. The salads were excellent, and the bread and wine were almost too good.

What was your worst experience in the field covering this story?

It was freezing cold and raining the first four weeks of the assignment, which wasn't good at all for photographing a story about urban parks. I didn't expect the cold, so I didn't pack appropriately. I had to run out and buy sweaters, gloves, a coat, and a hat. I think I took most of my pictures in the last two weeks after the weather finally cleared.

What was your quirkiest experience in the field covering this story?

I was in Paris in April and got caught in the middle of the labor riots. I went to the end of one rally in a public square. The crowd started to heat up, and along one of the nearby streets people were setting fires. As night fell, the police blanketed the park with tear gas. I was shooting pictures of the demonstrators as they cleared out of the square when one protester ran up to me and kicked me in the stomach. I never expected such a thing to happen while doing a story on urban parks.