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  • Wednesday, January 31

    The Castle of Cardona

    The Castle of Cardona
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    Remember we talked about the Spanish War of Succession, well this picture was taken in the castle of Cardona, the last redoubt of Charles VI of Austria's supporters before being occupied by Philip V's bourbonic troops in 1714. High upon a hill of the Cardona valley, known by its salt mines and near the Cardoner river, this historical romanesque and gothic castle built in 886 by Guifré el Pilós, used to be the house of the Dukes of Cardona, one of the most powerful families in the Crown of Catalonia and Aragon. It is a real joy to stay up there on a bright day, sitting on the grass right next to the base of the surrounding walls to look over the neighbouring village and the salt mines or to climb the ramparts and explore the ruins like this sort of firing hole from where the rampart was protected. There is even a wonderful place to stay inside the castle which recommend: El Parador de Cardona.

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    Tuesday, January 30

    Berries

    Berries
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    Today I resume my garden shots. I want those of you who are experts on botanics to find this out for me. I would like to know the name of this berry. Hey, it is not another competition. You have time enough to participate in the absolutelomo contest (I have to choose two winners now, so you see it is not that difficult to take the prize, and one thing is clear someone is going to take the Holgas). As to the berries, I took them in the garden of a hotel in Riells near Barcelona. It was early morning and the light was superb. I want to thank those of you, especially Isabella and Curly who helped me with the name of those flowers in a previous post: cyclamens. Also Ruth for suggesting the flower was a primrose in the Bird Hawk Moth post (thanks Mark for correcting my mistake). So come on lend me a hand with this one.

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    Monday, January 29

    My Vintage Camera - Check AbsolutLomo Contest!

    Absolut Lomo Contest!
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    What is it with old things that they are so attractive to us after all these years? Why is retro in?. Why are vintage cameras so cool, like this rusty German Voigtländer V6 I treasure? Or why are old "communist" Russian cameras so in fashion now. I'm in my forties and I always catch up late with the latest trends, but there's one that has come around here to stay and I go nuts about: Lomography. How many times haven't you heard - "Hey, Russian cameras are rather ugly but their optics is state-of-the-art". So this is not something new. Now our kids are going to start telling us about Holgas, Zenits, Kievs or Horizons...wait a minute, I already knew that! I already liked the typical old washed out look or had a knack for those fisheye cameras!. And now you wonder, why do I tell you all this?. Well, it happens that I frequently visit this web called Absolut Lomo featuring a wonderful gallery in Sweden where artists pin their lomo pictures on a wall and you can zoom in till you see each and every single lomo image at will. After one of those visits I have been invited to host a CONTEST!, yes, really!. Let me give you some details, first I give you the, "What do I get?": You get a totally free lomo camera, a Holga, and there are no minor details, no tricks, the bad news is I can only choose one winner among you but if you are not the "chosen one" you still have your wonderful lomo work hanging on the gallery wall so there is nothing to lose. It is a new kind of contest organized by Absolut Lomo (yes the same Absolut in the famous brand you all know). Now I give you the "What should I do?": you only have to enter Absolut Lomo, register for free, go to the "Submit to Lomo" section and upload your shot, then, and this is important so I can choose!, you send me the link to your lomo picture on the wall. That's it, and in just two short weeks any of you will be the lucky one. I send them my final veredict and they send you the camera. With a present like this who can resist to Lomography, a passionate hobby.

    Traducción

    Sunday, January 28

    Barcelona Heron City: Neon Palm Trees

    Barcelona Heron City: Neon Palm Trees
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    This is a detail of Barcelona Heron City, a big shopping center in Nou Barris district. I have shown you some other images about this leisure complex that I usually visit when I go to the movies (today we saw Night at the Museum). As my photo stock keeps diminishing I took my camera just in case. We stepped out of the cinema, and the first thing I saw were these red neons on those atrezzo palm trees. No sooner I shot them and got my eye out of the viewfinder, two ex-disco goons now acting as shop private guards came to me and said, "hey, you can shoot people but not panos of Heron City. What's wrong with taking pictures of a shopping center anyway? Well guys I think you should read this item of news: Gerald Ronson, the developer has agreed a deal with Australian investment firm Babcock & Brown to sell Heron City in Barcelona, its flagship leisure and retail scheme, for around €140m (£95m).

    Saturday, January 27

    Lonesome Biker at the Beach

    Lonesome Biker at the Beach
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    Taking someone against the sea is a very common shot cause it usually works fine. I got this lonesome biker reading at the beach near La Barceloneta quarter. It would be a very boring picture (ok, it is boring already I know) if it weren't for the light falling on those boats on the horizon. Here I show you an aerial picture of the place and to compensate for the lack of "interestingness" of the post I leave you with three Barcelona clips I found at Discovery.com. Enjoy them and have a nice weekend.

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    Friday, January 26

    Defying Gravity on a BMX

    Defying Gravity on a BMX
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    I wish I had more time to post-process this image. I dismissed the original soft colors and decided to work with tritones, an orange/gray/black combination in fact, using the BW Workflow Pro plugin by Fred Miranda in Photoshop. I would have made it more contrasty but it was late and I could hear my bed calling me from the other room. You know the scene already from a previous post this month so there is no need to resume the BMX topic. In this one I liked the look of those kids on the right, with that mixture of desdainful look and secret admiration towards the skillful fellow so I moved the main subject further to the left on purpose.

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    Thursday, January 25

    Rafael Casanova Statue: Catalan Sculptural Realism

    Rafael Casanova Statue: Catalan Sculptural Realism
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    This is the monument in honor of Rafael Casanova (1660 - 1743), Chief Councillor of the City of Barcelona in the previous year to the invasion of Philip V troops (Bourbons) during the War of the Spanish Succession. It is one of the two significant statues (the other is that of Josep Moragues) where members of the Catalan government lay flowers to commemorate La Diada, the National Day of Catalonia on September 11th. The historic figure, Casanova, is a subject of controversy between Catalans and some other people in Spain (there are lots of political subtleties behind this topic and I am not going to deal with them).
    Some facts: Rafel Casanova was appointed Conseller en Cap in 1713, Barcelona was on the Austrian side (Habsburgs) so the city was besieged by Bourbonic troops. The militia led by Casanova and other officers resisted three assaults in a row, until food and powder were scarce and some claims of armistice were made. Nonetheless, rendition was rejected until Barcelona fell in the final assault of September 11th, 1714. Rafael Casanova had been wounded in the leg during battle, and his family hid him from Bourbonic repression declaring, legally (there was a death act), he was dead. Dressed like a friar, he left the city and reappeared after an amnisty in 1719. He died in 1743. Those were times of resistance, heroic resistance, to defend the honor of the city and its inhabitants. The rest is history, and history is always interpreted and reinterpreted according to people's beliefs, but that, is another story. By the way the statue is by Rossend Nobas one of the best representatives of Catalan sculptural realism. Don't miss the omnipresent pigeons!

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    Wednesday, January 24

    Moderniste Tower in Park Guell, Barcelona

    Moderniste Tower in Park Guell_Barcelona
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    No, this is not Disney Land. It is a little older than that. You are watching a tower located inside Park Güell, Barcelona. In fact the spire is part of a house where the park's museum is. It is mostly appreciated by tourists for the furniture designed by Gaudi who used to live there for some time. I have a closer shot which I will show you in the future. Today I think is better to contemplate the harmony between a unique piece of architecture and nature.

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    Tuesday, January 23

    Rider Girl in Barcelona

    Rider Girl in Barcelona
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    She looks like a model but this was totally improvised. I was having dinner at Escriba's, one of my favorite Barcelona restaurants, in the terrace just in front of the beach and there she was with her slim figure and biting her tongue in the afternoon sun. The shot was not that bad but it had some golden counter light which made it right for a black and white image so I post-processed it with Photoshop CS2.

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    Monday, January 22

    Humming Bird in Barcelona

    Humming Bird in Barcelona
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    Leaning over a small pond to take a picture of the flower I saw what I thought was a big drone or a bumblebee feeding. On looking at it closer I realized it was a hummingbird. I was not prepared so I relied on my luck. The bird was not as stunning as in a side profile picture but was visible in my image and the flower was not that bad so I chose to share them with you.

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    Sunday, January 21

    Some Flowers in Riells near Barcelona

    Some Flowers in Riells near Barcelona
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    Just some flowers that I shot while visiting a town near Barcelona city but still inside the province, called Riells. This small town is located inside Montseny Natural Park. As I don't know the name of the flowers I would like someone to help me find out.

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    Saturday, January 20

    Tours of Barcelona: Park Guell, A Visionary's Whim

    Tours of Barcelona: Park Guell, A Visionary's Whim
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    Like the water that flows through these small gargoyles or spouts connected to a gutter, visitors of all kinds come and go as part of the many Tours of Barcelona to enjoy the architectural design of a master applied to the natural environment of the mountain, in other less pompous words, Park Guell, the whim of a visionary architect, Antonio Gaudi, who was commisioned by Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi, Count, textile industry businessman, art patron and friend. Following the Count's idea he was supposed to build a luxury garden city made of private plots surrounded by common greens, based upon a British model by Ebenezer Howard thus the name Park and not Parc as in Catalan. The project was interrupted in 1914. Only three plots had been sold from a total amount of 60. The estate was sold in 1918 by Eusebi's heirs to the city council and became a public park.

    Recommended: Some good tips for a Tour in Barcelona can be found in the travel section of The New York Times as Fodor's Choice

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    Friday, January 19

    Park Güell: A Personal Approach

    Park Güell: A Personal Approach
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    Here is a sort of mixture between reality and canvas. I exaggerated the frame around the main subject which is the entrance to Park Güell by Gaudi. For me it looks better from the distance, but I have a long way to go till I learn photography. Have a nice weekend everybody.

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    Thursday, January 18

    Sagrada Familia: Carrying the Cross

    Sagrada Familia: Carrying the Cross - Much Better Enlarged
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    Once more I show you a scene from the Passion of Christ (not the film) at Sagrada Familia and one more time I am in a hurry. I am devoting more time to the pictures than to the post itself. As a matter of fact this is a photoblog not a journal or a diary. On the other hand, I know many of you are fed up with touristic pictures but some others can see beyond the obvious and admire the unrefutable beauty of Catalan patrimony. This picture is dedicated to architecture lovers. Are we daily bloggers carrying our own cross for the sake of others? That I leave up to you, but believe me sometimes it feels like redemption.

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    Wednesday, January 17

    Domino Tiles: Double-6 or Double-9 Set

    Dominoes: Double Six is Enough
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    Domino pieces, dominoes or tiles can be part of different sets being the most common the double-6, the double-9, the double-12 or even the double-15 sets. They are all named after the number of pips on the face of the highest tile. Hey, don't worry I am not into the games biz, maybe I should! My point is, now that I chose black and white detail, that in Barcelona as in many parts of the country is quite common to see people, mainly old people, playing dominoes in the bar (not downtown of course). It has been a traditional game here and they always use a double-6 set so I thought they would find this picture interesting and weird. In Latin America, especifically in the Caribbean. dominoes is considered the national game (I remember players shouting and sitting on the porch drinking beers or rum till late at night during a visit to Cuba where I bought this set) and they use double-9. Who would say that of a game invented in China as far back as the 12th century!.

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    Tuesday, January 16

    Rusty Propeller

    Rusty Propeller
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    There is not much to say about this one, except that it is part of an old ship, a fragment laid on one side of a park along the beach walk. There was no shipwreck there as far as I know. I took a snapshot that was dark and green but with an interesting composition so I used Photomatix and its superb tone mapping function which gave me a much better image.

    Monday, January 15

    Pirena 2007: Dog Sleigh Show by the Beach

    Pirena 2007: Dog Sleigh Show by the Beach
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    Last weekend we went to Nova Icaria Beach in Barcelona to witness one of the weirdest events you can think of: dog sleds racing on the sand!. It was the Pirena 2007 show. Skillful mushers, huskies, harnesses...but no snow, not even a flake!. In fact it was quite warm. We arrived late so we couldn't enjoy the whole thing. At the end there was a side contest where participants made their trained dogs run through a set up circuit of hurdles, tunnels and slides such as the one in the picture. Some of them went really fast so I had another chance to practice speed photography.

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    Sunday, January 14

    Urban Pirouette - Freestyle BMX in Barcelona

    Urban Pirouette - Freestyle BMX in Barcelona
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    I recognize there is a whole world behind freestyle bmx, and I enjoy watching impossible pirouettes like these as I walk along the beach, but my hair is turning gray so I prefer to follow it from the distance and practice with my camera. Nevertheless, the fact that I am too old to practice doesn't mean my younger visitors have to sit and get bored looking at my architecture pictures. If you want to know more about bikes, and especially this style check this link: Freestyle BMX Tricks.

    Saturday, January 13

    Remodeled Spires in Sagrada Familia

    Remodeled Spires in Sagrada Familia
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    These are the spires of Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi showing off a brand new look after so many years of cranes and protective hoods. The cathedral was spectacular alright but those colorful tips are the cherry on top of the cake. Nice weekend everyone!

    Recomended: I know many of you are after some good photography tips and links. This one is in my opinion one of the most attractive. I suggest you check the beginners guide for example: Photonhead

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    Friday, January 12

    Romancing the Stone

    Romancing a Stone
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    Also taken at La Barceloneta was this odd arrangement of rocks, some of them in stacks facing each other like some sort of primitive totem on a forgotten primitive island. It is not strange that I often stop and fall in love with a sunset at Mar Bella beach, it is not weird then that I sit there and start "romancing the stone" silently with my camera. Remember that old song by Eddie Grant?:

    'I'm romancing the stone, never leaving your poor heart alone
    Every night and every day gonna love the hurtin' away
    I'm romancing the stone, never leaving your poor heart alone
    Every night and every day gonna love the hurtin' away'

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    Thursday, January 11

    Kaleidoscope

    Caleidoscope
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    "Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies; Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes". She had strange eyes for sure, no wonder, if she was on LSD!. My mind is meandering while I wait for the weekend for more street shots.

    Wednesday, January 10

    Lonely Bike at Barcelona Beach

    Lonely Bike at Barcelona Beach
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    Another one for the road. This time we've got a solitary bike chained to the railings overlooking Bogatell beach, one of the many small sandy inlets separated by piers along Barcelona coast. As you probably know, for many years our city ignored the sea as a leisure spot, and the many industries, warehouses or fishermen's barracks acted as a curtain that kept the shore away from citizens.

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    Tuesday, January 9

    Opposites

    Opposites
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    I don't have much time today cause I had a hard time cropping and postprocessing this image taken somewhere along Mar Bella beach. I hope you enjoy the site and remember there are old posts of mine with information about Barcelona beach.

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    Monday, January 8

    Pageants: The Letter Bearers

    Pageants: The Letter Bearers
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    While standing with my family in the middle of the crowd and watching the Three Wise Men parade last Friday, I caught this beautiful pageant and through the viewfinder I noticed that face and that magic feeling you get when your model's eyes pierce through your lens and get into your mind and soul, I can't tell what it is, maybe it is just beauty or spiritual harmony. After I shot and lowered my camera I was rewarded with the spontaneous smile of the letter bearer or was it an angel?.

    Sunday, January 7

    Three Wise Men's Pageant in Barcelona

    Three Wise Men's Pageant in Barcelona
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    In terms of royalty this would be a simple pageant but with all due respect to your majesties, the Three Kings of East, I took the liberty of immortalizing his graceful gestures and theatrical appeal. This pageant who had the privilige of riding on a float instead of going on foot acted as an announcer of the imminent arrival of the Three Wise Men of Orient coming right behind him.
    Recommended: My most recent additions, a player by Geobeats embedded at the bottom offering short videos about different countries, and featuring Barcelona in the first place and my Del.icio.us tips linkroll on the sidebar where you can find interesting stuff mainly related to photography.

    Saturday, January 6

    Wise Men of the East Arrive in Barcelona

    The Three Wise Men or Three Kings
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    The Three Wise Men of the East, or Magi, or Three Kings of the Orient arrived in Barcelona this afternoon at six o'clock by ship and landed in our city harbour. Caspar of Tarsus, Melchior of Persia and Balthasar of Saba who originally followed a star to Israel in search of the newborn Christ Child to offer him gold, incense and myrrh, were seen escorted by an entourage of dilligent pageants and elegant camels packed with thousands of presents for kids who had been waiting anxiously all day long. Nevertheless, those presents cannot be seized immediately by children as they should appear by magic inside their houses once they are asleep. It is recommended that some sweets and water are set conveniently somewhere outdoors for the exhausted camels.

    Friday, January 5

    She Colors My World With Hope

    She Colors My World With Hope
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    Remember the markers, now I am back with a similar array of boxes containing color pencils on the next table at my daughter's classroom. The picture was already colorful but I used Nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 plugin in Photoshop to give it the sort of "life as I see it thru my rose colored glasses" mood. Just the way my daughter makes me see the world. Her classroom is lovely not only for the colorful decoration but for the fantastic view of Barcelona that I want to share with you today.

    Thursday, January 4

    The Friend of a Friend

    The Friend of a Friend - Larger animal if you click
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    Africa is her name, and she is my friends' new best friend. We don't have pets ourselves except for a farm she-rabbit and a couple of parakeets (one of them born here at home). My daughter goes nuts about having a dog so they let us have it a whole day last Christmas. The use of the flash so close gave the little animal this sort of David Bowie eyes so I thought you would like it. Awaiting for my next photo excursion I am experimenting with the camera at home as you can see. Odd enough I haven't taken any pictures of Barcelona streets in two weeks in spite of the holidays. I hope this somehow "reloads my batteries" for another year but don't worry, that doesn't mean I dont' have any in stock. As to the doggie, you know the breed alright, the quiet and lazy kind!...

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    Wednesday, January 3

    Say Cheese Outloud

    Say Cheese Outloud
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    I am in a hurry as usual and I have not enough pictures so I am using this narrow format images. I know some of you will have to scroll, I will try to avoid this enormous vertical pictures in the future which on the other hand look terrible when cropped. Said that, I suggest you say a big "cheese" and smile for the camera. This enormous Cantal cheese, made in France was being sold at Monistrol de Montserrat, a town near Barcelona, this past autumn.

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    Tuesday, January 2

    Gaudi Window Fantasy in Park Guell

    Gaudi Window Fantasy in Park Guell
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    Some "insignificant" details in Gaudi's architecture are difficult to accomodate within the context of his time, take for example this whimsical window that looks torn out of its frame, right at the entrance of Park Güell.

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    Monday, January 1

    Gaudi Animals: Snakes in Park Guell

    Gaudi Animals: Snakes in Park Guell
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    This is my first 2007 post so who better than Gaudi to emphasize the whole idea of Barcelona Photoblog. A new year of daily pictures begins. In ten months I have known fantastic fellow bloggers all over the world, I have had moments of joy and sadness, days with lots of visitors and days with almost none, but above all I have enjoyed a new experience which is promoting Barcelona through my photographs, rediscovering my own city thanks to your interest, your time and your rewarding visits. Thank you very much, best wishes and Happy 2007!

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