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  • Saturday, May 30

    Barcelona Head, 1992 by Roy Lichtenstein

    Barcelona Head, 1992 by Roy Lichtenstein [enlarge]

    Barcelona Head, a sculpture by famous pop artist Roy Lichtenstein can be admired at the end of Moll de la Fusta, that is, the north eastern part of the harbor area (check this google map with the exact location). Roy was appointed Amici di Barcelona in 1993 by Pasqual Maragall, city mayor during the Olympics. In fact this sculpture was inaugurated for the 1992 Barcelona games as part of the important transformation the wharves underwent during the early 90s. Its 64 feet of concrete and ceramics reminds you of some famous pop art work by the same author: Girl With Hair Ribbon, 1965.

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    Thursday, May 28

    Crowd or Riot Control?: Placa de Catalunya and FC Barcelona Celebrations

    Mossos d'esquadra in Plaça Catalunya, Barcelona [enlarge]

    Plaça Catalunya used to be a relatively quiet place maybe 20 years ago but now is some sort of anthill being poked with a stick. Crowds move fiercely as if life was in danger. Some people, tired of so much fighting against the stream, get out of the turmoil and scurry to take refuge on the grass of the square, the benches or whatever appropriate surface where to lay their humanity. Chaos must have some order so it doesn't go out of control and that's when dissuasion and coercion enter the scene. In our case here, from the two mossos d'esquadra, guess who would do the dissuasion and who the coercion. This beautiful and important area of the city next to Las Ramblas and the Triangle with important shopping areas and a dense traffic of tourists is where the scum of our city likes to go hunting. If this was a desert it would be that small pond where animals have to go to quench their thirst, or maybe that wade in some African rivers, where crocodiles patiently wait for the gnus. In the same way, gnus get killed and are drawn into the water while the next fellow keeps on going, innocent tourists pretend not to see or get scared for just two seconds and then make their way out protected by the strength of the pack. Well, I am exaggerating here, but it is important that you are aware. I am not one of those that promote repression for the sake of security but let's accept the fact that some patrolling helps.

    By the way, Barcelona is trying to cope with massive concentrations of people these days due to FC Barcelona's victories. The season has been so successful that Canaletes fountain, a very small area of Las Ramblas which has been traditionally the place to celebrate titles cannot hold the thousands of fans and Placa de Catalunya where these two policemen are, has been conditioned to receive the exultant multitude, mainly when we won the UEFA Champions League yesterday, the trophy that crowned the biggest campaign of our team in history.

    Update: Finally the big celebration takes place today May 28 at Camp Nou stadium. Almost a million people gathered on the streets of Barcelona to welcome the FC Barcelona soccer team.

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    Tuesday, May 26

    Passatge de Bacardi, Placa Reial, Barcelona

    Passatge de Bacardi, Placa Reial, Barcelona [enlarge]

    Plaça Reial is one of the must-see squares in Barcelona by many reasons. Because of the restaurants and bars, the night life, the music, the shade offered by the wonderful archways, the magnificent architecture, the palm trees. But one of the most interesting features to enjoy is the nearby hidden passages. This one is called Passatge de Bacardi and you can find it upon entering the square turning right. It has an exit to La Rambla so it is possible to enter the passage in direction to the square instead of using the main access to Plaza Real. When you see the map you will have a better idea. The image has some noise. I did all my best to rescue it. I was worried about capturing the nuns and I couldn't control that strong light coming through the glass ceiling so the walls went too dark. Here is an interesting detail of the passage gallery on Flickr by Glop


    View Barcelona Views in a larger map

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    Sunday, May 24

    Barcelona Coastline

    Barcelona View [enlarge]

    Not the first time I show the view from Montjuic but I hope in the larger image, which you can see upon clicking on this smaller version, the result pleases you. I still haven't found the right time of the day nor the proper lens to make it look sharper and attractive. I tried to keep the right colors and contrast. Maybe not too realistic a result, but the skies and clouds have this sort of Japanese cartoon happy mood that finally made me repeat this post.

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    Friday, May 22

    Captive Vulture

    Vulture [enlarge]

    Vultures, feed on corpses or carrion. Scavengers as they are they do the dirty job for us like many creatures in this world who are there for something. They keep the delicate balance, the ecological equilibrium. Take a look at that bill used to tear dead meat apart, the perfect tool for a nauseating task. Imagine this vulture gliding above the Iberian peninsula spotting putrid preys. What a wonderful invention of nature, a spontaneous garbage man that only works for the food. Isn't that great? This guy was captive though and doesn't have the chance to go on a cleaning spree often. The picture I took in Cim d'Aligues mentioned in: Golden Eagle and Girl Holding Eagle.

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    Tuesday, May 19

    Barcelana Handbags On Top Manta

    Barcelana Handbags [enlarge]

    No, this is not a typo. It clearly says Barcelana. A play on words with Barcelona and Lana which means wool. Although the brand is known and its products are sold in local stores, this handbag you see in the image, was being offered on the black market or what is known as top manta somewhere near Mirador del Alcalde in Montjuic, Barcelona. The place which is full of tourists, has lots of possible exits to escape from the scene in case the police is spotted in the vicinity by strategically distributed watchmen. In this case there was an interesting cooperation among countries: most of the street vendors looked like Pakistanis or Indians but a small minority was Chinese. They carried their own watchman. After a while a warning came from one of the sentries indicating the police was near. Everything got smoothly and swiftly packed up in bundles with some kind of contrivance that folds in the whole blanket in seconds. False alarm. It had been just some guard patrolling on his motorcycle. All the illegal traders came back and little by little the fuss disappeared. Top manta is not new in Barcelona and although there are sporadic police raids to stop such activities everything spontaneously regenerates like a lizard's tail.

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    Sunday, May 17

    Stamens: Nature's Perfection

     [enlarge]

    This is part of a flower's reproductive system. A detail of several stamens, each of them made up of a filament (the stalks), anthers and pollen sacs. But as I've said many times I am no specialist. I just want you to appreciate the beauty of it all and wish you all a nice week.

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    Friday, May 15

    Strawberries On Display in La Boqueria Market

    Strawberries [enlarge]

    Nothing like the color of the succulent strawberries on display at La Boqueria market in Barcelona. All the packs piled up in impossible pyramids produce such beautiful result that no mortal can resist the temptation to buy some.

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    Wednesday, May 13

    Cogwheels and Pebbles Abstraction, Mirador del Alcalde, Barcelona

    Cogwheels and Pebbles, Mirador del Alcalde [enlarge]

    Before you ask yourself what on earth this is, let's place the image in some context. It is a detail of the walk along Mirador del Alcalde (The Mayor's lookout) which was restored last January. The adornments were there already so that's why you may notice some erosion which in turn makes the picture look a bit dull. Anyway, the combination of cogwheels and pebbles seems interesting enough to show here. Please check this old post to enjoy the view from this mirador, one of the most privileged places in the area to enjoy Barcelona from above: Panoramic view of Barcelona. Maybe this one is better: View from Mirador del Alcalde

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    Monday, May 11

    Costa Serena Cruiser and Golondrina Boat in Barcelona Port

    Costa Serena Cruiser in Barcelona port[enlarge]

    This a partial view of the entrance to Barcelona harbor where the Mediterranean cruiser terminals are located. The big vessel in the image is Costa Serena that belongs to one of the main operating companies, Costa Cruceros which generates about 126 visits to our port, according to 2007 figures. Costa Cruceros, brings about 330.000 visitors a year who spend around 50 euros per person in the city. This represents a total amount of around 15 million euros to Barcelona. All cruiser traffic in the port is managed by Creuers del Port de Barcelona, S.A. and the top responsible of all operations is the Port Authority of Barcelona (APB). If the previous figures look good you should know that the port expects to repeat the two million cruise passengers in 2009 and that last year Barcelona was the fifth port in the cruise world, behind the four major touristic ports in the Caribbean - Miami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, and the Mexican port of Cozumel. The city expects to receive a total of 880 cruise ship visits in 2009. APB calculates that cruise ships left 200 million euros in 2008! By the way, the small boat in the foreground is one of the Golondrinas sightseeing boats featured here in the past. These are the specs of Costa Serena cruiser:

    Built in 2007
    Passenger Capacity 2.930 (Double Occupancy)
    Number of Crew 1.100
    Total Cabins 1.500 (28 for Handicapped Guests)
    Tonnage 114.500 t
    Length 950 feet
    Beam 118 feet
    Decks 17 (14 for Guests Use)
    Max Speed 23 Knots
    Cruising Speed 21.5 Knots

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    Sunday, May 10

    Tired Dog

    Dog taking a nap [enlarge]

    On the entrance to Eagles' Peak or Cim D'Aligues I found this dog that was so glued to the ground that seemed to be some kind of doormat. Obviously the animal was tired and probably suffocated by hot temperatures. I liked the way it managed to keep an eye on my camera while taking a good nap with the other eye and the rest of the body.

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    Friday, May 8

    Sundial: Make the Most Out of My Light

    Sundial [enlarge]

    One of the most efficient ways to tell time, a simple mechanism that needs no cogwheels, no pendulum, no springs and no winding: to follow the shadow of the sun cast upon a numbered scale in what is known as a sundial or a sun clock. This one I found in a town nearby called Castellterçol. There are some in Barcelona too but they tend to disappear. Here is some good information about sundials and check also The Most Ridiculous Ways to Tell Time Since The Sundial.

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    Thursday, May 7

    Nerves

    Leaf Nerves or Veins [enlarge]

    A detail of the nerves on some leaf. The original plant I found in a greenhouse. The light coming through the glass on the roof. I am afraid I can't say much about it except I like the texture and shape of it.

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    Tuesday, May 5

    Golden Eagle at Cim D'Aligues, Barcelona

    Golden Eagle at Cim D'Aligues, near Barcelona [enlarge]

    This is a young Golden Eagle or Aquila chrysaetos if my research on the web is not wrong. The purpose of my blog is not to offer accurate taxonomy or deepen into the biology of any given animal I happen to photograph although being concise does not mean to say: "this a bird!". The eagle is one of the many species of birds of prey that can be admired at Cim d'Aligues, a special center on the hills of Sant Feliu de Codines near Barcelona. There is an old post with a link and some further explanation about the place. If you have time try to reach this town. There is a magnificent view of the valley once you are inside the aviary. During the day there is a show where trained vultures, owls, hawks or eagles are released and claimed with bait using falconry techniques. You can admire them gliding over the valley. They take some time to return but eventually they are all back.

    Note: Members of Cim d'Àligues' page on Facebook have made this important clarification: 'It's not a golden eagle, it's a young Eastern Imperial Eagle (Aquila heliaca)'. Thanks so much for correcting my mistake! 

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    Sunday, May 3

    Lichen Detail

    Lichen Detail [enlarge]

    A detail of some lichen on a tree and a little playing with macro option on my 70 - 300 mm and dof. I stood under the tree and pointed upwards along the bark. Here is an old post showing more lichen: Lichen on Ancient Rock

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    Friday, May 1

    Gummy Candy

    Gummy Candy  [enlarge]

    The dream of every child, mountains of gummy candy triggering the wildest fantasies in the back of their minds, with funny shapes and delicious flavors. I thought this was going to be an easy picture but to my surprise I had a lot of problem with predominant yellow from the incandescent light and white balance. I am not completely satisfied but the large version came out somewhat acceptable in the end. I hope you like it.

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