Barcelona Photoblog: November 2006

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

November 22, 2006

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona

Think Twice: Poverty in Barcelona

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.

November 21, 2006

Trencadis Lizard by Gaudi at Park Guell, Barcelona

Trencadis Lizard by Gaudi at Park Guell, Barcelona

Famous lizard by Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926) using mosaic technique called trencadis

According to Wikipedia "Trencadís (Catalan pronunciation: [tɾəŋkəˈðis]) is a type of mosaic used in Catalan modernism, created from broken tile shards. The technique is also called pique assiette. This mosaic is done using broken pieces of ceramic, like tiles and dinnerware" 

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!). 

If you want to know more about mosaic and particularly Gaudi's or Jujol's work (his collaborator) visit The Joy of Shards.

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 worry if you can't make it to Barcelona,  you can go on an incredible 360 virtual tour inside Palau de la Música Catalana for starters.

Taking pictures is not allowed so I don't know how this snap got into my camera anyway. Check the full view here.

November 19, 2006

Trencadís Serpentine Bench at Park Guell, Barcelona

Trencadis serpentine bench at Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi
Serpentine bench by Gaudi

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? 

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.

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!

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.

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.

November 15, 2006

Gaudi: Lizards at Sagrada Familia

Gaudi Lizards in Sagrada Familia

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.

November 14, 2006

Súria Medieval Fair: Vth Edition

Súria Medieval Fair: Vth Edition

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.

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.

November 12, 2006

Passion Façade at Sagrada Familia: The Last Supper

Passion Façade at Sagrada Familia: The Last Supper

I couldn't help resuming architecture pictures. I promise I will try to quit the habit. Here it goes: This is the Last Supper, a sculptural 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. can I be so naive?!

November 11, 2006

Color my World

Color my World
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A brief stop along the way. No more people for today but a whimsical play with colors. What can be more color-ful! Yep, very funny...Not that I am relaxing with my posting, it is just that I am exploring new stuff and it doesn't allow for more. If not take a look at the time I publish this. This box brings back memories about my childhood days a long, long time ago. Of course we could talk about quality, about brands, about drawings we made or just the nice smell but I leave it all up to your imagination.

November 10, 2006

People in Catalonia: Dancers

Catalan dancers in folkloric ceremonies

I hope you don´t mind I keep posting pictures of Catalan dancers in Monistrol de Montserrat and not about other topics although it is late as usual and I ought to go to bed. Good night and have a nice weekend!

November 09, 2006

Boy with Bike Lost in Reflections

Boy with Bike Lost in Reflections
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Amazed at how the light and colors can change so much in just a while and depending on the direction of your lens, I turned around and left the girls from my previous post, to focus this time on a young man facing the pale sun rays twinkling here and there on this side of the pier. I could have tweaked the image in PS but I am getting fond of soft natural color subtleties. You can't get minimalist if you don't discover the fundamentals first!

Recommended: Underwater photography by David Doubilet. This renown photographer presented Come to the Bottom of the Sea! exhibition (it was over past Nov.7th)) at BCN Dive event in Fira de Barcelona.

November 08, 2006

Peers on Pier in Barcelona

Peers on Pier in Barcelona
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The same day I photographed the fisherman and the couple at the end of Bogatell pier last week, I managed to take snapshots of these two young ladies chatting on the pier nearby. I shot at least four times but some guy fishing in the background kept spoiling my composition. At last, he moved aside by chance (notice the rod on the floor) and let me capture them plus the Barcelona Forum solar panel in the distance. If you are interested in a cropped version using Fred Miranda's BW Workflow Pro photoshop action, specifically the Quadritones option, click here. Don't forget to always enlarge the main picture in the post!

Recommended: Take a look at this Flicker Related Tag Browser. Enter any word, for example: "pier" and then move your mouse to browse a visual cloud of related tags.

November 07, 2006

CowParade: Ms. Moolevard on the Boulevard at Illa Diagonal, Barcelona

CowParade on Sale at Illa Diagonal Barcelona

I swear I don't get any commission for showing this cow, it is just that I like the beautiful design and colors on this Ms. Moolevard on the Boulevard by Amber Felts, part of the CowParade scale model collection being sold at one of the stores in Illa Diagonal Shopping Center, Barcelona. I should say that CowParade organizes exhibitions in different countries which some of you have probably seen. Remember those lifesize cows painted in flashy colors scattered somewhere in your city? According to what they state at the website, CowParade "fosters art education through its Cows in Schools(TM) program and benefits charitable causes through its one-of-a-kind cow auctions". What's more if you are a real artist, not my case, you can apply for designing new cows.

November 06, 2006

Catalan Folk Dance Troupe

Catalan Folk Dance Troupe - Click to Enlarge

This is what is called Esbart Dansaire, in English a Catalan Folk Dance Troupe. I photographed them while visiting the annual market fair at Monistrol de Montserrat, and I am not sure if they are local Esbart Monistrol Dansaire or Esbart Rosa d'Abril of Castellterçol (another Catalan town). I apologize for not grabbing the name properly. Anyway, the most important thing here is that you get in touch with Catalan traditions and get to know other folk dance expressions different from Sardanes, which are much more extended. The very first troupe danced as far back as 1902 in Vic, Girona but the traditions they represent were originated long before.

November 05, 2006

Boy in Blue: Kid Playing at L'Illa Diagonal

Boy in Blue: Kid Playing at L'Illa Diagonal - CLICK to Enlarge
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Weekend!, buying sweaters for the sudden drop of temperatures in Barcelona. I am at the upper floor of L'Illa Diagonal shopping center. Aware of the sound of the many kids shouting down there in the hall of the main floor I look down and spot this huge box full of blue balls. As I told Kris and Edwin recently I have a knack for blue so I couldn't resist firing some shots. It was almost impossible to isolate just one kid, thus the custom vignette applied.

Recommended: People of Indigenous Cultures by Phil won't regret!

November 04, 2006

Fisherman and Couple in Bogatell Beach, Barcelona

Fisherman and Couple: Bogatell beach, Barcelona

Today I will be brief. This is just a picture I took at the end of one of the piers in Bogatell Beach. I arrived and fortunately there was just one fisherman with baggy trousers, suspenders and a hat (that's is not common here). On the other corner there was a young couple. Previously I went past a model having a pro photo session and changing her dress up behind an improvised curtain but I settled for my perfect match of the day at the far end of the wharf.
Check an Aerial View of this Pier at Bogatell Beach in Barcelona.

November 03, 2006

Giants at Monistrol de Montserrat near Barcelona

Giants at Monistrol de Montserrat

You probably have seen them in pictures. They are omnipresent in our traditional celebrations making children laugh or panic. They are the giants (gegants - cat.). I can never tell which character they represent. Women mostly represent queens, princesses or important ladies and men may be kings, catholic or moor but also just warriors. Of course you can find all sorts of other characters such as peasants, old people...Some say they are documented as far back as the XIV century, and that they first appeared as male characters. Later came women in the XVI century (discriminated as usual). Giants are made of papier mâché, sustained by a frame of wood to raise it from the inside. Carriers are organized in groups or associations called colles. Remember that there are also small figures called capgrossos (big heads - literally.) This picture was taken just in front of the town hall (ajuntament) at Monistrol de Montserrat. If you want to see them in action check this wonderful videos: Gegants at YouTube

November 02, 2006

Biker's Beer Pump at Escriba's in Barcelona

Biker's Beer Pump at Escriba's in Barcelona

Today it was a holiday, so we went to take a walk along the beach now that warm days are coming to an end. The day was sunny but a little foggy so most of my pictures came out dull and boring. We approached this restaurant with terrace facing the beach called The Xiringuito of Escribà, yes the same family that runs the pastry shops at Las Ramblas (remember my post: Antigua Casa Figueras ) and Gran Via, and while waiting for the waiter to accommodate us I set eyes on this beautiful beer pump fancied after a motorbike engine. The small letters on each side read "Escriba since 1908" and "For rock 'n' roll and its faithful beer drinkers", see detail here.

November 01, 2006

Tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Oil: The Cornerstones of Mediterranean Health

Tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Oil: The Cornerstones of Mediterranean Health

Well maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but olive oil and vegetables surely are the basic ingredients of a Mediterranean healthy diet. So why not showing some good tomatoes with garlic (good for the bones, or so they say!). As you can guess this dish wouldn't have surprised me much if it weren't for the marvelous display. One thing to point out here is that traditionally we use small juicy tomatoes (not these salad ones) to rub a toast or a slice of bread, which is then dressed with olive oil and salted. The toast garnished in such a way is called torrada de pa amb tomàquet and can be eaten as is or accompanied indistinctly with slices of ham, sausages, salami...anchovies sometimes or whatever you can think of. Garlic on the toast is optional but widely used and it must be rubbed first, before tomatoes of course. To finish, just remember this picture was taken in Monistrol de Montserrat in Barcelona. More to come...
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