Porto is a strange place to visit, with several different characters all mixed in to the same space around the Ribera. In the centre, there are many buildings that appear abandoned, and which have probably been abandoned for quite a long time. This is not just the ongoing effect of the 2008 financial crisis, but something more fundamental as the town has shifted from the role of wine (Port) exporting to tourism. The result is an odd mixture of derelict splendour, amazing street art, the trappings of the tourist industry, […]
A short visit to Porto re-ignited my fascination for tiles. I love these tesserae with which it is possible to create the most intricate patterns or the simple shiny surface of the monochrome ones. The tiles of Porto seems to focus on flowery inspirations, swirling old-fashion compositions or 70s disco patterns. I have posted here a rather long selection of the ones that caught my eye. And yes, there is a lot of blue (azul) in these tiles.
A common aspiration in Spain is to become a Funcionario – a civil servant with a good salary, large pension and a job that is guaranteed. If you achieve this, you are set for life. If not, well that’s your problem. This creates a social duality that the politicians and the tourist industry seem to carefully avoid seeing. The image of Barcelona portrayed in the brochures is a tad one-sided. It gives a view of visitors strolling down La Rambla in a city filled with Gaudi architecture and expensively chic cafes and trinket stalls. But […]
Some more wide-angle street photographs, taken around the Raval and Diagonal Mar on Saturday. All were shot using manual focus, manual exposure and auto-ISO with a micro 4/3 camera and 12mm lens at f4 (equivalent to 24mm at f8 in 35mm format). As usual, some work well, other less. Technically, this image is terrible. Even though it was shot at 1/250th there is a lot of motion blur. To be fair, this is a group where we have previously needed to call an ambulance for – after finding one of […]
Some quick experimental street images, taken in Barcelona with a wide-angle lens using manual focus and a tight aperture. Most of the images were taken from less than a meter away and were framed without using the viewfinder. With the wide-angle, it is surprisingly easy to frame when shooting from hip or chest level. I much prefer street images that are not dominated by the interaction with the photographer, and it is quite hard to do this when so close to the subject. These were taken while walking and trying […]
Two recent street snapshots from Barcelona. The top image taken in the Raval, the lower image in the Boqueria. Mouse-over to toggle between black-and-white and colour versions – on an iPad, tap the image quickly. A frequent problem with street photography in Barcelona is getting good subject isolation. We are now starting the summer tourist season and the streets are packed with people. It often seems impossible to take a picture, with people continuously bumping in to you or inadvertently blocking the shot. And even when it does work the […]
A short set of photographs taking during the Easter break from the area around Valsassina and Lago di Como, Italy. All images taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and 50L f1.2. The 50mm is a very versatile lens that can switch from stopped down landscapes to shallow depth-of-field portraits without blinking. It is small enough to make an excellent travel lens, and the weather sealing is useful when you have full-sun, snow and rain all in the space of four days…
A set of photographs from Cap de Creus, from a rather stormy weekend. The park is interesting in that the geography and geology mean that it has been largely spared from the industrial tourism that has decimated the character of the Costa Brava. Unfortunately, even here the only areas that are protected are those that would be unfeasibly difficult to construct on, and there are large areas currently under development. Destructive exploitation of the country seems to be a recently adopted cultural feature in Spain – something not helped by […]
A rather melancholy set. The images were taken on a very windy and cold Barcelona Photography meet up in early February at Tibidabo. The images are in shown in reverse order here – start at the bottom. All except the wedding image were taken with a 50mm lens. I think that if I could have only one lens it would be a 50mm. Although some old photographs were discovered from an earlier rampage around the nearby communication tower, Godzilla – fortunately – did not put in an appearance.
Images from the area around Piazza della Repubblica, Milano, Italy. These were taken on a rather rainy and cloudy day just before the end of December – a fairly typical winter day in Milan. The new concrete, steel and glass buildings seem only to exaggerate the cold inhumane weather at the moment and lack even the minimal colour that exists in the older city areas. All images were taken using a Canon 5D MkIII with the 70-300mm L. This is a great lens for architecture, particularly on a wet […]
Trapped in Sesto San Giovanni by the flu, there was a chance to explore the town a little and as an experiment I have tried to produce a series of cinematically styles images of architecture and odd points of local colour. Sesto is one of the satellite towns to Milan, named after the distance from here to the centre (6 Roman miles). Most of the construction here is 20th century, although much of the industry that was present early on has been or is being replaced with residential blocks. […]
A two-shot panorama of Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona. This was taken using a Canon 5DIII and newly acquired Sigma 35mm f1.4 lens – which like the 135mm is rapidly becoming a clear favourite. The image was taken hand-held at ISO 12800, so perhaps not ideal…
On one side, it is clear that this was once a wealthy and largely Catholic area. The city is full of We spent a long and rather damp weekend exploring Palermo in Sicily, and came away with the impression that this is a city of immense contrasts. immense, breath-takingly baroque cathedrals as well as many once impressive houses from wealthy landowners and traders. But at the same time, there is a sense of decay, with major landmarks such as Piazza Pretoria marked by buildings on the point of falling down. […]
Some firework abstracts from the close of the Mercé, Barcelona. These were taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic 100-300mm, shifting the zoom during a long exposure. The process was a lot more hit-and-miss than using the Canon 100-300L, as the lens seemed frequently to loose focus during the zooming.
Some snapshots taken from inside of La Sagrada Família during the Mercé, Barcelona. Aside from the wonderful architecture, the overall impression of the church is dominated by how bright it is. In part, this is because many of the windows still lack the final installation of stained glass. But also this is because of the extremely white cement structures which make a great canvas for the light. Some more images – this time in colour – can be found at 500px.
September the 11th is the Diada Nacional de Catalunya – the national day of Catalunya. There is a strong push for complete separation from Spain, to create a new member state of the EU. There is a perfect storm brewing. Firstly, there is the ongoing financial crisis that means the economically prosperous Catalan region sees itself as being unjustifiably forced to subsidise the rest of the Spain. More than anything, economics (tax rises, salary cuts, lost savings and unemployment) fuels dissent. Secondly, there is the emergence of Spanish right-wing nationalism in […]