|Impossible to walk past this.|
Before heading out for a few days of tourism in Barcelona recently, I pondered: should I take a camera? Perhaps I should just try to relax without one, avoid seeing things through a viewfinder for a while, “recharge the batteries”?
Surely though, being somewhere different (although I had been once before for a couple of days) and interesting, the pull would be too great? Maybe instead I should buy a compact digital? They’ve developed leaps and bounds since I last owned one, and obviously they’re more portable than DSLRs.
I ummed and ahhed and tested a couple of compacts in shops, but in the end did take the trusty day-to-day Canon 5D II, just with the relatively flat 50mm fixed lens. This can make for an enjoyable challenge in that it makes you work and think harder in framing images. You have no variety of range to play with.
My only misgiving is the wateriness of colour the 5DII has been giving me lately (not brilliantly solved with K adjustments), and dated screen technology requiring more off-camera image filtering and editing.
Ultimately I couldn’t stop myself from taking photographs, despite the guilt felt for snapping away just like every other tourist in the overwhelmingly peak time tourist-infested city. I was a drone, just like everyone else in the full to bursting city.
Within an hour of being in the city, we were standing at a busy pedestrian crossing waiting for the lights to change. I felt a hand from behind creep towards a pocket, reaching for my wallet. Luckily I sensed it in time, putting one hand over the foolishly open pocket and instinctively shoving the man behind me with the other. He leapt back and cried out in a French accent as if terribly wronged.
Later that day we witnessed a similar altercation in another busy street: two men, the arresting crackle of a quick, hard, defensive flesh-on-flesh slap; people paused, a moment filled with friction. It would make a powerful photograph. The pickpockets appear as if tourists themselves (and perhaps they are), large backpacks, caps and shades, making it difficult to tell who is the victim and who is the thief.
It felt strange to return to Cardiff afterwards, a city with considerably fewer people but seemingly most of the UK’s police-force, readying for the Nato Summit. See previous post.
|A street performance outside the bars and restaurants of a Barcelona’s tourist hotspot, just off Las Ramblas.|
Reflections are always enjoyable to play with: the violent collisions and clashes, that suggestion of multiple double exposures and the demands placed on a viewer to interpret exactly what is going on. The Canon 5D III release apparently has an in-camera method which makes double exposures simpler to create, and more were seen around the months after its initial release, particularly effectively in wedding photography.
As the viewer of creative or street photography, I like to be challenged and worked to figure out an image, and I like it if there are a lot of things going on, parts of a puzzle to piece together. I suppose I’m trying to create what I think I’d appreciate as a viewer. This is clearly very different in documentary photography, or news and sport.
|From a stool outside a bar, looking out and in.|
|From the same seat outside the bar, in another direction.|
In Barcelona the light was so reliably bright, then obligingly soft for several twilight hours – giving good opportunities to capture reflections.
I was unable to resist play with some of the street art, of which reflection formed a key element. And the striking light and dark street photography of Hong Kong master Fan Ho recently showcased in this Guardian collection inspired a few nowhere near as accomplished efforts of my own. These were mainly conducted using my improbably patient other half.
|Not quite Fan Ho. I blame the model.|
|Inside the city’s main Cathedral, in the gothic quarter.|
|The fanning lady and pigeon, together with the lines of the steps made this a composition I worked at for a minute or two.|
|I loved how low sunlight poured in and played on the surfaces of building walls.|
Anyway, here, more holiday snaps. Yes I am such a drone, just like everyone else.
|From a bicycle ride down the coastline. The focus was a little off on this but via an artistic edit it was turned into something pleasing.|
|An impressive solar looking structure, taken on the same cycle.|
|Fountain fans, watching the show, nicely assisted by floor lighting.|
|A stolen moment through the bars of a bar. Pleasing that the couple looked local.|
|I enjoyed the frame within a frame of this and the two couples pondering the station (Estacio De Franca), with the 5 so prominent. Hence my titling elsewhere of Two And Two Together. Although it seems to have been mainly viewed with indifference where I’ve shared it.|
|A long exposure over one of the main arteries leading in and out of the city, Ronda Litoral. Assisted by flat circular supporting structures atop a bridge, serving nicely as an improvised tripod. Several efforts, exposures and combinations were needed before nailing it. Probably the most obviously striking capture.|
You can also read more words and see more pics on this blog from travels to places including Scotland, Ireland, South East Asia, South Africa and France. The search bar in the top right corner should be your friend.
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