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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona: Jaguar

Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona: Jaguar
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Thanks to some of you I found out that the red car on the right in my recent post about Auto Retro was a Jaguar and you even revealed some more details about the model. Well, in this image I can tell that we are also dealing with a Jaguar but as homework it is your turn to guess again the particular model.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Gaudi Animals: Snails in Sagrada Familia

Gaudi Animals: Snails in Sagrada Familia
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Not too long ago I showed you the picture of two lizards by Gaudi on Sagrada Familia's cloister walls. To enhance this aspect of Gaudi's creation, that is the use of mythology and animals in his work I leave you with these snails that seem to crawl as slowly as my posts go appearing this week. Remember to use blogger labels below to group the posts and admire both the lizards and the snails.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Classic Cars in Barcelona

Classic Cars in Barcelona
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If you can see both colors you are not daltonic...I digress. Classic cars in past Auto Retro exhibition in Barcelona. The one on the left is an MG but I can't tell the other make. I know there are some fans among you, for example Curly from South Shields in the UK, who can help me with this.
PS: After I wrote these lines I paid Curly a virtual visit and found out he underwent an urgent operation recently so some words of support would be just great.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bronze Sculpture of Lady Near MNAC

Bronze Sculpture of Lady Near MNAC
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Some months ago I posted a picture of this sculpture taken from a different angle and including MNAC building in the background. The woman figure in bronze is such beautiful piece that I thought I should give you a different approach, this time using some HDR treatment. As I am not a pro it has a lot of imperfections but I like the result. If you click on label "bronze" you will be able to see both posts together (at least for now). Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Muses at Palau de la Musica in Barcelona

Muses at Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona
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In spite of the awful framing and the rest of technical errors, due to the secrecy of the snapshot,(remember it is not allowed to take pictures inside Palau de la Música Catalana or Catalan Music Concert Hall) you are able to see just there on the left, behind stage, six of the Nine Muses coming from the wall like silent ghosts. There were three ushers and a lady carrying a staff badge, personally reminding you not to shoot, although some people in the middle of the audience managed to take out their compact cameras and I could see some flashes fired. Nevertheless whenever I raised my Nikon someone came and told me off. Anyway, this stolen peep at one of the altars of Catalan modernisme made breaking the rules inevitable and almost justifiable.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Optical Illusion at Palau de la Música, Barcelona

Optical Illusion at Palau de la Música, Barcelona
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On the Palau de la Música façade in Barcelona you can admire this sculptoric group protruding out of the wall. I was just shooting randomly and back home I discovered this white trail behind a jet plane that funny enough seems to come out of the soldier's groin (my rotten mind!). The sculpture by Miquel Blay is larger and it is located on the corner of the building. The group is entitled La cançó popular catalana (popular Catalan song) and its main figure is a maid located right below. The soldier on top is a copy of a silver statuette of St. George in the Palau de la Generalitat chapel.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Via Laietana in Barcelona

Via Laietana in Barcelona
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I don't have much time due to these days of Christmas celebrations but I want all of those nostalgic people craving for a fresh image of Barcelona to have their daily "dose". So here you are, an image of Via Laietana, one of the main streets crossing Barcelona from the Eixample towards the sea and one of the first ones to appear in the history of the city. It was built in 1907 and it's named after an Iberian tribe who dwelled in this zone before the arrival of the Romans. The building you see in the image is the headquarters of La Caixa, an important savings bank.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Park Güell: Chocolate, Candy and Marzipan

Park Güell: Chocolate, Candy and Marzipan
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Remember Hansel and Gretel story where two kids find a house in the woods made of chocolate, candy and marzipan, well maybe you imagined something like this. I don't think Brothers Grimm were alive to see this masterpiece of Catalan modernisme so I guess Gaudi read a lot of fairy tales. With this picture I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona
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Resuming my visit to Park Güell, and browsing my pictures I found this closeup of Gaudi's lizard with a beautiful tourist in the background. I guess I could have entitled the post as the Beast and the Beauty but I prefer better keywords in my headings. The reason I came this close is simple, the monster (looks like the Big White in famous Jaws jumping out of the water) is so "photo trodden" that you can't hardly take anyone by surprise. From here I would like to thank my anonymous model for her casual appearance in the image.

Recommended: A new tool to search for amazon products called Amaznode. I am not promoting anything here but it called my attention for its innovative performance. Say for example you look up "Gaudi" in the books section, a whole bunch of interconnected thumbs with the book covers in 3d appearance start multiplying in front of your face.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping
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It's Friday and Christmas weekend is coming!. Shops are out there getting ready for skyrocketing sales. Me, I am just playing with colors in those scintillating Christmas balls trying not to get too affected by the throng. The new year is around the corner back again! This one passed me by and caught me unawares. Hey, cheer up! Let's go look for our presents. Oh no, not coal again!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Color Markers

Color Markers
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Some colorful markers to celebrate my dsl service is up and running again. Thanks for your patience. These improvised boxes I photographed yesterday while singing Christmas carols in my daughter's class. Merry Christmas my friends!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Citroen DS: Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona

Citroën DS: Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona
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Citroën DS, one of the most beautiful classic cars as seen at one of the parking lots in front of Fira de Barcelona at Plaça Espanya during past Auto Retro Barcelona exhibition last Dec 10th. As I said before I am not much of a classic car enthusiast but I can see beauty and art in such nice design. For the picture I had to climb a wall which gave me an attractive perspective. The orange reflection on the left comes from the plastic barriers next to an improvised mechanical inspection ramp nearby but in my opinion not even this noise can alter the nice look of the DS.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Montserrat: The Jagged Magic Mountain

Montserrat: The Jagged Mountain
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The mountain of Montserrat used to be part of a delta in the Terciary Period. Sediments came from a mountain range located on what today is the Mediterranean Sea and were deposited on a narrow shallow sea that reached the Atlantic Ocean. From those times are the conglomerate rocks present in the area which are very resistant and that form those familiar monoliths that Gaudi perhaps evoked in his famous knights of La Pedrera's chimney stacks. In between the monoliths there are fractures of clay continuously altered by erosion thus the isolation of the big solid structures and the numerous caves. I mention all this because I was always amazed when some geology teacher back in my childhood days said: "You see these layers here, well, this region was once under the sea" - and you wondered, "how come!, we are miles away!". So this post goes to all those would-be scientists who still feel nostalgic about long gone field excursions.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tapas: A Spanish Temptation

Tapas: A Spanish Temptation
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This is a picture of a Spanish tapa called pincho or pintxo served in the Basque country in the north of Spain. There is a huge variety of them but they share a common feature they carry a toothpick that holds them to the slice of bread and that you are supposed to keep so they can count how many you eat. Pintxos are part of the big family of tapas that are known all over Spain especially in Andalusia but this way of serving them has rooted in many places of the country. In Barcelona there are lots of Basque restaurants preparing delicious combinations on that little piece of bread but they will never ever taste (this is common opinion I guess) as good as the ones you can have up North in San Sebastian, Bilbao, Vitoria, Trapagaran, Baiona, Mungia or Ulzama and Pamplona (these last two in Navarra). I am sure I am leaving someone out but it would be too long a list. I have another image to show you in coming days about pintxos. I would haven taken many pictures but I preferred to eat.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea
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Yet another shot of the beach in Barcelona city. I was trying to capture that quite restrictive sign post using the sea and the rocks as a background when this old man suddenly appeared on the corner of my eye. I had nothing but the sign in my picture and that was not too much appealing so instead of taking some steps back which would make the man notice I zoomed out and included him in my picture to improve composition.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Green Peppers

Green Peppers
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These green pickled peppers called my attention while we were visiting the medieval market of Suria. I took many pictures there so you will hear the name of this town near Barcelona in many of my posts. I also like the color of those olives back there. I am not fond of peppers myself but they really make a good subject for a picture. I have managed to post today through one of my friends. Have a nice weekend!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Couple at the Beach in Barcelona

Couple at the Beach in Barcelona
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Today I am in a bit of a hurry but of course I won't let you without your daily picture of Barcelona. This time I chose another romantic image in the same line of a very recent post: Love Me Tender. As you can appreciate the world could be falling appart and they would still be holding each other. I think they call it love, an ancient "illness" as old as humanity itself.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Dog's Day

A Dog's Day
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As far as I am concerned I had no pictures of dogs. Recently I posted my first cat so I've got my classic animal pictures after so much time. Maybe I can even start an animal photoset at Flickr, who knows!. Last weekend, on our way to the Auto Retro exhibition in Fira de Barcelona and some steps ahead of me was this beautiful dog, a boxer or a bullboxer I guess (please correct me if I am wrong) walking unleashed near his owner. The light was so good that I started to chase him trying to find the right moment. I got his butt all the time in my viewfinder but suddenly he paused to wait for the master and here is the result. Then came the eternal question black and white or color. I settled for bw, using a tritone combination that looks more like sepia but maybe you prefer the original color version.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Palm Trees in Barcelona

Palm Trees in Barcelona
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Palm trees are common in Barcelona, almost 5,000 according to official figures. Besides the Mediterranean fan palm native of Catalonia, you can also find the Canaries palm or some members of the Washingtonia family like the California fan palm or the Mexican fan palm. In today's picture you can see the striking colors of Phoenix dactilifera or date palm tree and its fruit. In recent years a foreign species of bird has invaded Barcelona choosing such trees to nest and feed on the colorful and tasty dates. As many of you already know this bird is the parrot.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Barcelona Street Artists: Cleopatra in a Trance

Barcelona Street Artists: Cleopatra in a Trance
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You have seen her before on this site. This time I managed to come up closer to Cleopatra to take a good look at those bracelets, those rings and the pearl tiara with the lethal asp. Apparently she is still in a trance induced by the dreadful bite although she is quite aware of the noise of those coins falling in a can at her feet. As you can see she is sitting on a chair which is quite more comfortable than standing still like many of the human statues along Las Ramblas: wise girl indeed!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Auto Retro Barcelona: Antique Cars and Motorcycles Exhibition

Auto Retro Barcelona
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Auto Retro Barcelona came to an end yesterday after four days of exhibition in the Fira de Barcelona venue. I am not a big fan of classic cars or motorbikes, at least not from the point of view of engines, value and so on. What I do like is the aesthetic aspect of these collector's exhibits, especially when you can capture them in your pictures. Admission fees were a little above my standards (not being a fan and all) so I wandered about the esplanades at the entrance where improvised parking lots lodged some beauties you could easily snap. This was the case of this black Citroën. I've had a hard time identifying the brand and finding a proper link but I think this model looks pretty much the same. Fortunately, it appeared unexpectedly driving down the access road and against the marvelous Palau Nacional building in the background where MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia) is. If you want to know about the history behind Fira de Barcelona i.e. the International Exhibition of 1929 please check my previous posts about this topic.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Spices

Spices
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More spices at the Medieval Market of Súria. Remember I showed you turmeric or tumeric in a past post, today you can see madras curry, cayenne pepper, some varieties of tea among others.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Nativity Façade Detail in Sagrada Familia

Nativity Façade Detail in Sagrada Familia
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This is a detail of the Nativity Façade by Gaudi. An explosion of imagination, the artist at his most. I like those guardian angels blowing the trumpets on the left. I apologize for being concise here but I haven't got much time for these posts due to dsl connection inconveniences.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Catalan Modernisme: Múrria Grocer’s Shop in Barcelona

Catalan Modernisme: Múrria Grocer’s Shop in Barcelona
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This is a small shop called Queviures Múrria (Cat.) or Colmado Múrria (Sp.) and located in the Eixample quarter, at carrer Roger de Llúria 85. The shop was opened in 1898 and it was called "La Puríssima" but it was a coffee roasters’.It is another example of Catalan Modernisme, one of the many scattered all around Barcelona. There are beautiful signs on the exterior like the one at very corner which has been preserved, advertising famous Spanish brands such as Anis del Mono, a strong anisette liquor still on sale. This grocery store is one of those in which we can still find the savoir faire of family traditions and the excellency of good products so elegantly exhibited that you can't help stopping to look compulsively at the shop window like the three men in the picture.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Stonecutter at Súria's Medieval Market

Medieval Stonecutter
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I felt like black and white today so I selected this stonecutter in the Medieval Fair at Súria near Barcelona (see the original color image here). True craftsmen disguised for the occasion showed you the secrets of old medieval trades. There was the basket weaver, the coal burner, the potter, the weaver, the glassblower and a long list of other crafts represented. Stonecutters or stonecarvers were highly appreciated and well paid at the time and their history is linked to the masons lodges of the middle ages. Learn the secrets of this art here. An amusing reading to learn about medieval crafts, especially stonemasonry is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I couldn't help thinking of Tom Builder when I saw this man.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Cat at Large

Cat at Large
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That's it, just a little cat beating around the bush. As you noticed I don't have many pictures of animals and I think this is my first cat. Everybody's got a cat or a dog in their repertoire so I thought I'd give it a try. I liked the place most of all, next to an old house along the road to the fortress town of Suria, although it could be anywhere else. Suria is in Barcelona province but the cat is just a cat.

PS: I am doing my best to keep daily posting. As you know my dsl is down. I proceed to publish past and upcoming posts in a row till next Sunday. I know it is pretty weird but I won't be able to have a connection until Monday when I am back at the office. Friday is a bank holiday here in Spain. I don't want to bother anyone with a "push button" request now since I don't know how long my problem is going to last.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench in the Afternoon

Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench
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Parc Guell (it should be written Parc Güell in Catalan but I avoid using ü cause search engines seem to hate these "strange" foreign symbols), I digress, Parc Guell is a place to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when long shadows and golden rays of the sun magnify the complex geometry in Gaudi's architecture. Don't let unique surreal images you take only once in your lifetime be adorned by blown up skies or strong highlights on the numerous white tiles of the serpentine benches. I thought I had arrived late to the park that day, even the little museum inside was about to close but once at home and going over my photographs I was very pleased with the light and colors of the vanishing afternoon.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Stained Glass Windows at Palau de la Musica

Stained Glass Windows at Palau de la Musica
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Dark interiors is not one of my gifts if any! but stained glass windows stand out nicely even when the rest of the image loses shadow detail. I was satisfied with the result considering it was forbidden to take pictures inside Palau de la Musica Catalana concert hall as I mentioned in a previous post and some of you have corroborated.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Love me Tender

Love me Tender
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Still trying to relax I pick up some more soothing images. This is a lovely couple sharing an intimate moment with me. Is it ethical to spy on people with your camera to show the world? For the sake of beauty and art? I prefer to protect their faces a little bit but of course family and friends will identify them immediately, sorry boys!

Recommended: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Barcelona Beach: An Ever Changing Waterfront

Barcelona Beach near Hotel Arts

This was the way the beach looked at the beginning of November 2006, the waves had swallowed most of the sand as it happens every year. They want to build some new barriers to stop the sea from altering the shore, a group of 15 piers acting as artificial dams and as every rule has its own detractors, now surfers oppose and claim for their rights.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Costumes in Monistrol de Montserrat

Costumes in Monistrol de Montserrat

No more food for now, I promise. Now we will deal with people, people wearing costumes. These three characters were walking down the streets of a small town near Barcelona called Monistrol de Montserrat. You would think: it is a boring picture for a post,...it is! My archives are running out of images!...help. On second thought, why not just cropping the lady's feet. It would be great for promoting DP theme day - please read the Recommended section below - From the Waist Down Theme. Besides, I like the funny guy on the right standing in the sun with a smile, almost detached from the scene: maybe you could help me with the character, is he Mr. Gadget or Keanu Reeves traveling incognito in Europe?.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Catalan Traditional Cocas at Suria

Catalan Traditional Cocas at Suria

A coca is a sort of flat, elongated or round bread dough base baked and covered with different ingredients. Technically similar to pizza you could say, but different in taste. You can have coca de recapte where such base is adorned with escalivada - a mixture of aubergines and red peppers cut into strips and dressed with olive oil (recommended for "anti-baconists") - or you can find the sweet versions (trillions of them swallowed with cava on Sant Joan's eve) covered with glazed fruit, custard, pumpkin jam or just sugar and pine nuts. Although sold in pastry shops and bakeries we prefer the ones baked using traditional recipes and artisan wood fired ovens as the ones in the picture.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bacon: A Still Life Portrait

Bacon o Panceta

Vegetarians should refrain from watching this image for obvious reasons. Bacon, in Spanish: Beicon or panceta, has been present in our "diet" since pigs started becoming pork or even earlier, maybe that's why this product was being sold at the medieval market in Suria, a small town near Barcelona. Learn about the origin of the word here. On the left you have a sample of blood sausages or Spanish chorizos, which you can have in slices in a sandwich or simply add to stews, of course you can do that with bacon too. There is an immense variety of pork by-products in Spain and some of them are traditional in Catalonia such as fuet which is a kind of cured sausage (specially appreciated is the one made in Vic, Girona).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sunset over Port Vell, Barcelona

Sunset over Port Vell, Barcelona

Today's picture was taken last Sunday after having lunch at one of the many restaurants in front of the marina in Port Vell (I know, I know, it was quite late for lunch!). It was a hot day, somewhat foggy and the sun was setting rapidly over Columbus column on the other side of the port, just in front of Las Ramblas. Notice that on top of the mountain in the distance you can also spot Calatrava's tower which I had photographed early in the afternoon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Calatrava Tower at Olympic Ring in Montjuic, Barcelona

Calatrava Tower, Olympic Ring

This sunday we went out for a walk and some fresh air after recent events I mentioned a couple of posts before. We climbed the mountain of Montjuic to visit the Olympic Ring one more time. I took some new pictures of the big squares and particularly the Calatrava Telecommunications Tower you can appreciate on the left and featured some months ago here.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Art Nouveau Lamp at Palau de la Musica Catalana

Art Nouveau Lamp at Palau de la Musica Catalana

This incredibly elaborate art nouveau lamp can be admired inside Palau de la Mùsica Catalana, the famous concert hall built in 1908. Visit this wonderful site called The Route of Modernisme to learn more about this masterpiece of architecture.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wild Yellow Flowers

Wild Yellow Flowers

These beautiful yellow flowers I dedicate to the memory of a very dear member of my wife's family. As a result of this sad event posts of November 25th and 26th have been uploaded past the corresponding date. I will soon browse all comments I have received from you during these days and try to get up to date. As bad things never come alone, my ISP has left me stranded precisely this weekend but I will do everything within my reach to publish on a daily basis.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Beach Volleyball in Barcelona

Beach Volleyball
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This picture I took the same day as in previous post. Some of you were wondering about the time of year and the weather. Both images are from November 1st. But temperatures are not quite different today the 24th. Let me see, 20º C. Forecast for tomorrow, sunny and 22ºC. Beach volleyball is not one of my favorites but I enjoyed the game for a while. Nice for practising sports photography.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

By the Sea in Barcelona

By the Sea in Barcelona
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Today I am a little late with my post. It has been one of those days work piles up on your desk and you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, I chose this image of a couple scrutinizing the horizon at Mar Bella beach in Barcelona dedicated to "sea lovers" worldwide.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona [Much Better Enlarged]
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Coincidence or not, the cardboard boxes promoting IBM think centre series, grabbed my attention after I took this snapshot next to a bus stop in front of Plaça Catalunya in the very centre of Barcelona. This homeless guy is sleeping but on seeing the sign I can't help imagining that he is thinking, thinking hard, thinking twice about his non-existent future while the rest of the world is thinking about consumer products like the ones that used to be in that box for example. Maybe you would like to see the image in black and white.

Recommended: Now that I raised the issue of homeless people, I suggest you don't miss wonderful Stoneth's photos at Flickr.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Trencadis Lizard by Gaudi at Park Guell, Barcelona

Trencadis Lizard by Gaudi at Park Guell, Barcelona [Much Better Enlarged]
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Famous lizard by Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926) using mosaic technique called trencadis. So many times photographed, in so many angles, with so many different exposures and cameras. This is another must see, so I don't know how you are going to combine Park Güell with Palau de la Música, the tour on the bus, the museums, the restaurants, Sagrada Familia and Las Ramblas (missing something here? I bet I am!). For those who don't know where the fountain is inside the park check virtual tour at this fabulous site I suggested yesterday. If you want to know more about mosaic and particularly Gaudi's or Jujol's work (his collaborator)visit The Joy of Shards.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Catalan Modernisme: Stained Glass Ceiling at Palau de la Música

Catalan Modernisme: Stained Glass Ceiling at Palau de la Música

If you think you have seen it all regarding art nouveau stained glass windows or ceilings then you have not visited Palau de la Música, the outstanding representative of Catalan modernisme built by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in 1908. As many of you already know this is a must see when visiting Barcelona. There are guided tours so save a little time for admiring it, but don't cry if you can't make it to Barcelona, don't worry, you can go on an incredible 360 virtual tour inside Palau de la Música Catalana. Taking pictures is not allowed so I don't know how this snap got into my camera anyway. Check the full view here.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Trencadís Serpentine Bench at Park Guell, Barcelona

Trencadís Serpentine Bench at Park Guell, Barcelona [Looks Better Enlarged]
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From 1900 to 1914 Antoni Gaudi directed the construction of this park for Eusebi Güell. In 1923, Güell's family gave the estate property to the city. Another jewel for mankind to treasure. How many people came to sit on this bench, how many couples , how many families? (check old pictures here). I gathered some images trying to be original but this was no virgin territory. You almost have to elbow your way to take a decent picture. The sun is disappearing fast leaving behind soft golden tones on top of the broken shards of tile, no one in the way, I can't believe it. Click.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Those Little Moments We Never Forget

Those Little Moments We Never Forget [Much Better Enlarged]
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The same day I took the other pictures about the Fisherman and Couple, Peers on Pier or the Boy With Bike Lost in Reflections, I managed to capture this tender moment of a father sharing a magical moment with his two sons. Although you can't see their faces you can feel that the little ones are concentrated on his father words translating plain realism into the language of the fantasy realm where they still dwell. Notice daddy holding their arms tight and the gracious twist in the hand of the one on the right. I remember this first time as if it was yesterday, I remember my father taking me for a stroll near a small wooden pier, there was a little patch of sand...the wood still smells of tar and saltpetre uphere inside my head. Bottom line, be there with them when you have the time, it may look silly or boring but they won't forget it!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Medieval Characters at Suria

Medieval Characters at Suria
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A page was a boy who acted as a knight's attendant as the first stage of training for chivalric knighthood. These two look somehow suspicious. Hmm...maybe too hairy for being young lads. Of course they can also be soldiers but rather conspicuous ones. I didn't have much time today as I was busy uploading all my previous work to Flickr but an image is worth a thousand words sometimes. The donkey insisted on playing a small part in the play so I gave him a moment of glory.

Recommended: A comprehensive directory about The Middle Ages, Chivalry, & Knighthood.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Turmeric: A Spice Rooted in Catalan Medieval History

Turmeric: A Spice Rooted in Catalan Medieval History
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Resuming our Medieval Fair in Súria, we reach for the spices stall, where I couldn't refrain from firing a bunch of shots on this big bowl of Turmeric, a spice obtained from the dried and powdered rhizome of Curcuma longa, an Indian plant. It is an ingredient in curries and in the Middle Ages its color made it a cheaper substitute for saffron. It originated 4000 years ago and is linked to the Vedic culture in India where it was used as a culinary spice and had religious significance. The name derives from the Latin terra merita “meritorious earth” due to the resemblance to the color of some minerals. It can be used as a dye for cloth or be added to chicken broth or dairy products such as margarine. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is considered to have medicinal properties as an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. Although I am not particularly fond of yellow I have to admit that Curcuma makes a wonderful subject for a colorful picture.

Recommended: Photography Tutorials in pdf format at The Radiant Vista. You also have video tutorials, workshops, a wonderful podcast or a photoshop workbench. A must see.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gaudi: Lizards at Sagrada Familia

Gaudi: Lizards at Sagrada Familia
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For those of you who are fond of gargoyles,mythological beings,gods or goddesses, serpents, unicorns, gryphs or lizards I let you catch a glimpse of Gaudi's work on the façade of Sagrada Familia facing the upper side of the city also known as mountain side. It is a part that we tend to ignore as it reminds us of some other average churches but if you take a closer look you discover strange creatures for a church or impossible spires multiplying by the dozen on top.

Recommended: Discover the incredible work of Bart Aldrich at Oasis Galleries.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Súria Medieval Fair: Vth Edition

Súria Medieval Fair: Vth Edition - [Looks Much Better if Enlarged]
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Súria Medieval Crafts Fair took place this weekend in Poble Vell, the old part of this fortress town. The origins of the fortified villa can be traced back to the XVIIth century when it started to grow around the castle already built in the Xth century. There was a need to protect the salt route along the Cardener river nearby (salt was exploited in the Cardona Valley since Roman times)and also because this land marked the limits between Christians and Saracens. Other important events in the history of Súria have been the cruel Carlist wars in the XIXth c. or the exploitation of potash deposits in the area discovered in 1912. So far so good...As an introduction after yesterday's vegetable stall I show you some folks in town dressing in medieval costumes. An archer and a lord perhaps? I specially like the staring into space of both of them. I was really lucky. From here, congratulations to the artists and citizens of Súria, an attractive Catalan town.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Red Hot Pepperoni at Suria Medieval Fair

Red Hot Pepperoni at Suria Medieval Fair [Looks Much Better  Enlarged
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In an effort to show you fresh samples of Catalan culture, my wife, my daughter and I visited Suria Medieval Fair for the first time. This is an annual market similar to the one we saw some posts ago, in the sense that you could buy local products but much more curious as it is also devoted to depict and stage on site the daily life inside medieval markets common long ago in this fortress town located in Bages, a comarque part of Barcelona province. I won't get into further details here as I plan to show you more representative pictures in coming days along with some history and comments on different trades. So for the time being enjoy this shocking image, specially those of you who love red. Take a look at another shot to see these pepperoni in context.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Passion Façade at Sagrada Familia: The Last Supper

Passion Façade at Sagrada Familia: The Last Supper [Much Better if Enlarged]
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I couldn't help resuming architecture pictures posting. I promise I will try to do some rehab. Here it goes: This is the Last Supper, a sculptoric group or scene on the left hand corner of Passion Façade at Sagrada Familia. The sculptures by artist Josep Maria Subirachs date back from 1987 when he moved to the cathedral to continue the master's colossal dream. I not only recommend reading his biography but also to discover his work. Regarding the image, I only have to add that it was shot from behind the fence in the staff parking lot, thus the low angle and the few saints. I think it has been shot less from this side of the building. Hmmm...how can I be so naive?!