Barcelona Photoblog: January 2008

January 31, 2008

Barcelona City of Angels

Barcelona City of Angels [enlarge]

Not that I ever counted all the angels in Barcelona! I just wanted to use a poetic license to honor my city and what better than this angel you can admire right after you leave Sant Jaume square on your way down Carrer de la Ciutat. You will find a small set of stairs to your right and voilà.

January 30, 2008

Contrabass Player at Barcelona Cathedral

Contrabass player at Barcelona Cathedral and sardana dancers[enlarge]

This contrabass or double bass player was part of a small band performing in front of a group of sardana dancers. The place is the square facing Barcelona Cathedral or Santa Eulalia Cathedral (video). If you check blogger labels below you'll find other musicians or instruments featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past.

January 29, 2008

Pirena Dog Show: Boxer

Dog show - boxer [enlarge]

A photograph of a boxer during a dog show taken from my archives. To be precise the animal was participating in a race along with other dog breeds and the show was part of Pirena 2007. To get a better idea about when this happened and what Pirena is please check my previous post: Pirena 2007

January 28, 2008

Blue Princess Costume With Crescent Moon

Blue  Princess Costume With Crescent Moon [enlarge]

A lovely princess in blue looking the other way as if to look into the future with sorceress intuition. I love it when kids stop to think this way. Is it that their innocence just gives them a detached rose-colored vision of the world or do they really see beyond? Do you remember what we used to think when we were staring like this? No, you can't, but they do look as if being somewhere faraway beyond the yellow brick road.

January 27, 2008

Costumes from Around the World: Barcelona Carnival 2008

Costumes from Around the World: Barcelona Carnival 2008 [enlarge]

More colorful costumes. Participants went by fast so I couldn't take notes or grab the names of the countries. I vaguely remember the name was shouted over a distant loudspeaker but I must work harder with my brain trainer nintendo game to recover the original status my numbed mind once had. Please help me find out what country was this woman in blue from. Yes, I know, you don't have the pleasure to know her but any idea about her traditional dress?

January 26, 2008

Carnival in Barcelona: Football Lady


Today I want to show you another carnival image, yes, yet another. This time we leave folklore for a while and set eyes on the weird football costume the lady in my picture is pompously wearing. I don't have the slightest idea about the meaning of the dress but she did let her imagination go. I realize I am being a real pain in the a.. with so many carnival photos. As you can guess I need to go out and take some fresh shots but believe me I don't have much time lately. I am aware of that and I do know the kind of images you prefer, me too! Today I added some extra memory to my PC and everything is working faster so maybe I squeeze more minutes for the posts. I never was too serious about buying memory cards and today I realized how wrong I was. It feels like being younger or getting your sight back, if you know what I mean.

January 25, 2008

Carnival Costumes: Bolivian Devil, Barcelona Carnaval 2008

Carnival Costumes: Bolivian Devil, Barcelona Carnaval 2008 [enlarge]

Now that we can easily distinguish the Bolivian flag next to our character we can dare to say that this is a Bolivian costume. Thanks to this clue and jumping to the conclusion that this must be some devil figure it is not difficult to investigate Bolivian carnival and discover that a devil dance or diablada is suppose to inagurate the famous carnaval in Oruro, Bolivia. The story deviates a little from our subject which is Barcelona but I guess many of you would like to learn about colorful costumes and traditions in South America. Please read the whole article about Bolivian Carnaval here. Today I was not pretty satisfied with the image so I asked my wife: What do you think? No need to say she didn't like it either. I had the hunch. But the figure is so hideous, and to make it worse, the fact that it was on top of a passing truck looked so bizarre and out of context, that I thought, hey, why not!!!. What do you think?

January 24, 2008

Carnival Costumes: Indian Chief Feather Hat, Barcelona, Spain

Kid wearing indigenous carnival feathered costume

Another one for the road, a boy wearing an Indian Chief feather hat during Carnival 2008 celebrations in Barcelona. I am trying to get more colorful pictures, I calibrated my monitor recently but as you know that's not an easy task. My screen is relatively big but not too good in quality. It looks somewhat softer now but I can perceive all the gray scale tonalities. Maybe in my attempt to make my images more contrasty they show too dark on your monitor. Perhaps they look more saturated now. No matter what the final result is I hate dull pictures, at least unintentional dull pictures. We may not be good photographers but at least let's avoid that disgusting washed out look. I know many of you obtain quite colorful images full of contrast, any tips that might help us all enhance our photos?

January 23, 2008

Barcelona Carnival Costumes: Clowns in the Mirror

Barcelona Carnival Costumes: Clowns in the Mirror [enlarge]

Barcelona Carnival costumes detail. Two clowns or is it just one, looking at herself in the mirror? As usual this picture looks better if enlarged. I could have cropped the faces but I wanted to keep the hand gesture and the out of focus clown in the far right to emphasize the fact they are on top of a carnival float. Am I digressing here? Well at least she is cute and those piercings give her quite a modern look. See if you can find her clown nose.

January 22, 2008

Carnival Costumes: Girl With Mantilla

Carnival Costumes: Girl With Mantilla [enlarge]

Another carnival photograph taken in Barcelona. This time, a girl covered with a colorful mantilla or manta cloak. Our Carnival 2008 has been a total success and fortunately it started to rain just when celebrations ended around 11:30 at night.

January 21, 2008

Carnival Costumes: Three Men In White, Barcelona, Spain

Carnival Costumes: Three Men In White, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

This is my second image about Carnival costumes. As I said most of them are regional clothes mainly from the immigrants, the new Catalans that added the brightest colors to Carnival celebrations in the city of Barcelona. This year a new variant has been introduced in the event: the Rua, that is, all the participants in the parade (about 3000 people) walked along Passeig Maragall, a long avenue in the Nou Barris and Horta Quarters about 20 minutes from the city center (subway or bus). As you can imagine to have such an important event happening in front of your door once in a life time makes all the citizens in this part of town quite happy. No more traffic jams going downtown to find that there's no room to watch the parade and then walk your way back because the subway is packed with people or buses won't stop. It was about time authorities organized Carnivals in other areas of Barcelona. I don't know who the smart guy or girl was, but hey, you can have yourself a couple of drinks, I pay!

January 20, 2008

Carnival Costumes: Sisters on Fire

Carnival Costumes: Sisters on Fire [enlarge]

With this post I start my Barcelona Carnival series. Most of my coming pictures are costumes, specially regional costumes. But as you can see kids make better images due to their spontaneity and that ability to find magic where our untrained eye hardly sees happiness and beauty.

January 19, 2008

Carnival Time in Barcelona!

Carnival Time in Barcelona! A Cry of Joy [enlarge]

Hereby I want to make clear that this blog is not dead. No way! With this enthusiastic cry of joy I want to declare carnival season open in Barcelona Photoblog. I know many of you wanted to know about this important event in Barcelona so I have a whole set of carnival images coming your way. Please forgive my irregular posting, I think sometimes we need a little break to gasp for some fresh air. By the way this February my photo blog will be two years old. I don't believe in celebrations but I am happy to be around and be able to share some time with you.

January 18, 2008

Casa Rocamora: Renaissance-Gothic-Inspired Art Nouveau

Casa Rocamora: Renaissance-Gothic-Inspired Art Nouveau

Casa Rocamora on the corner of carrer Casp and Passeig de Gracia very near Plaça Catalunya. 

Manuel Rocamora belonged to a Catalan bourgeois family that was prosperous making tallow candles and soaps. He was a collector of art thanks to his mother. The family industry of spark plugs and soaps was called Rocamora y Cia, and owes its growth to trade with the Spanish colonies of Cuba and Puerto Rico. It was founded as such by Marcos Rocamora in 1845. 

At the end of the 19th century Barcelona appears as the great Spanish soap-making center, and all due to the Rocamora family. Its growth is closely linked to trade with the colonies, for this reason the loss of colonial trade meant the bankruptcy of the factory. The factory will close its doors in 1956.

Casa Rocamora, one of the most beautiful representatives of Catalan Art Nouveau with a touch of Renaissance Gothic influence was built by Bonaventura and Joaquim Bassegoda in 1914. 

It is not the first time I include this house in Barcelona Photoblog but since the last picture was taken with an old camera which didn't favor the building too much I thought, why not giving it a second chance? Please check my original post: Catalan Modernisme: Casa Rocamora

January 17, 2008

Coach Drivers in Sant Andreu Quarter, Barcelona, Spain

Coach Drivers in Sant Andreu Quarter, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

These two coach drivers were taking part of Tres Tombs parade in Sant Andreu quarter recently. Although I decided to add some effects to the picture, both the drivers and the people in the background were really there, I mean there are no tricks as to the scene. I have only played with photo filters over the image in black and white to visually detach both the coach and the onlookers from the background.

January 16, 2008

Brain Cut at Cosmocaixa Science Museum, Barcelona, Spain

Brain Cut at Cosmocaixa Science Museum, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Where did all the knowledge go? In what secret chamber were my feelings stored? Which intricate volutes concealed the mistery of my soul? My nightmares, my childhood, my secrets, all that love, my deja vus, my premonitions, my nostalgy, my fears, is that all erased forever more? My humanity, my morality, my religion, my sense of beauty, my taboos, my sexuality! Oh Lord! What mighty purpose is there behind experiencing life so vividly and having to perish by natural laws?
The brain cut that serves as the inspiration for this philosophical conundrum was photographed inside Cosmocaixa Science Museum. In case you want to know more about your brain take a look at The History of the Brain

January 15, 2008

Cocoa Fruit and Grains Detail in Chocolate Trade Show, Barcelona

Cocoa Fruit and Grains Detail in Chocolate Trade Show, Barcelona [enlarge]

From last Barcelona Chocolate Trade Show is this basket with cocoa grains next to the original fruit. The basket was displayed in a beautiful stall adorned with all sorts of antiques related with the elaboration of chocolate.

January 14, 2008

Food in Barcelona: Cheese Cake Detail

Food in Barcelona: Cheese Cake Detail [enlarge]

Food also has a small corner in this blog if it is made in Barcelona of course. This cheese cake I saw during a chocolate trade show some months ago and is coming out of my archives cause I was having a lot of trouble to find more time for my photo tours around the city. We have been moving our office to another quarter and guess what, I am working downtown so luckily I will capture more interesting shots soon.

January 13, 2008

Modernist Balcony in Barcelona, Spain

Modernist Balcony in Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

This was a dull picture with blown up skies, askew and no size enough to properly crop, but yet it was a beautiful Catalan Art Nouveau (Modernisme) balcony I thought you might like to set eyes on. There are images I shoot so badly that it becomes really hard to use them afterwards. I tried to pretend a soft color, almost black and white with some grain but not on the stained glass windows. Both the balcony and the windows are a little emphasized with some light. I hope you appreciate the architecture in the end which is the main purpose of a wasted hour of image processing.

January 12, 2008

Strong Horse at Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona, Spain

Strong Horse at Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

I swear I had never seen such strong a horse although I am aware of morphology and breeds. This animal in the equine world would be the equivalent of a pro bodybuilder on growth hormones. Look at those legs, that's not only hair! And that in the background is not a cardboard rock. No, that was a huge stone on top of a sturdy cart. It makes no sense to force the beast to handle such a heavy load for such futile purpose but traditions are traditions and Tres Tombs parade is no less.

January 11, 2008

Horse Closeup At Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona

Horse Closeup At Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona [enlarge]

This is a close shot of a horse during Tres Tombs parade in Sant Andreu district, Barcelona. It was a very bright day but I think it turned out right in spite of the harsh light. Further on I will explain what this parade is about.

January 10, 2008

Columns at Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain


These are some of the 86 Doric columns under the terrace at Park Guell, Barcelona. The place was featured in Barcelona Photoblog a long time ago so here's a link to: Park Guell Columns

January 09, 2008

Serpentine Bench Detail at Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Serpentine bench by Gaudi in Park Guell
Serpentine bench detail at Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi

A detail of a serpentine bench at Park Guell, Barcelona. Not the first time I show you these modernist benches by Gaudi. Using the trencadis technique he composed curious patterns that not only included color tiles but several other pieces that look like bottle bottoms to me. If you enlarge the picture you will be able to see what I mean.

For those of you who have not visited the park I should say that the undulated benches encircle a big terrace with a view over Barcelona and the sea. More posts about serpentine benches in Barcelona Photoblog: Mosaic Work Called Trencadis by Gaudi, Mosaic Serpentine Benches Landmark of Barcelona and Trencadis Serpentine Bench at Park Guell.

January 08, 2008

Three Little Pigs Photograph

Three Little Pigs [enlarge]

Three little pigs playing in the straw. I am sorry but it was impossible to catch them all facing the camera, so one of them is clearly being somewhat rude. Those of you craving for more city pictures may be disappointed when I make these abrupt changes of topic. I think it is good to diversify and to create expectations about the future, like, what the heck is gonna show next time? The place, the medieval fair of Suria again. Long time ago, I know, this is from my archives so the poor creatures are not with us anymore.

January 07, 2008

Park Guell, Barcelona - Entrance Tower With Spire And Trencadis Work

Park Guell, Barcelona - Entrance Tower With Spire And Trencadis Work [enlarge]

This is a detail of one of the two towers at the main entrance to Park Guell (Olot street). Both buildings were once the houses of the park's keepers. In the picture you can see a narrow spire crowned by a four armed cross as well as a small mushroom-like cupola with some oriental reminiscence and the peculiar battlement around the edge, an ackward combination you only associate with fairy tales or very wild dreams. Notice the impressive trencadis work of the roof, in other words, the mosaic composition created with irregular shards of tiles omnipresent in Gaudian architecture.

January 06, 2008

Collier Making Charcoal - Medieval Occupations at Suria

Collier Making Charcoal - Medieval Occupations at Suria

This collier making charcoal, is a black and white picture rescued from my archives and taken long ago in the annual medieval fair of a town called Suria. The man, a neighbor of this fortress village, was impersonating a coal burner next to this sort of rudimentary pit kiln. Back in medieval times there were lots of occupations which are long forgotten now or that have considerably changed. Read more and check pictures of old trades in my previous posts about Suria: The Potter, The Stonecutter and The Basket Weaver. Today's image looks better if enlarged.

January 05, 2008

Children Photography: Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona, Spain

Children Photography: Tres Tombs Parade, Sant Andreu, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

This two children were driving a small coach in the Cavalcada dels Tres Tombs (Tres Tombs parade) in Sant Andreu district, Barcelona. I won't give you details about the parade because I want to concentrate on the kids' pose and due to the fact that I will post many more related images next week. I have pointed out sometimes in this blog that I love the way children behave in front of the camera showing that part of the soul we stubbornly try to hide every single day of the year. Take a look at each of them, dressed in elegant aristocrat costumes...the boy is concentrated so much on the reins that nothing in this world could distract him away from such magic experience; and what about the little girl, with that stern look, half conceited, half irritated and still finding some time to wave a hand with noble grace. Children can always surprise you with the most spontaneus gesture and they almost always look great in pictures, but still there are ways to take the most out of that sudden improvisation. Here are some tips about children photography:
The Complete Guide to Children Photography: This is a good course to get a general idea about how to approach a child in photography to get the best results in your pictures.
Depth of Field: DOF is used consciously or by chance but to make the best out of it we must know how it works in detail. Discover this excellent tutorial about DOF.

January 04, 2008

Boats on Sant Pol de Mar Beach Near Barcelona, Spain

Boats on Sant Pol de Mar Beach Near Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

A glimpse of Sant Pol with some fishermen boats lined up on the sand in the middle of the winter it is always a pleasure to the eyes. To know more about this beach and its town visit my previous posts: Sant Pol de Mar, Maresme Coast, Catalonia, Spain and Sant Pol de Mar, Maresme Coast, near Barcelona.

January 03, 2008

Sant Jaume Square: View of Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain

Sant Jaume Square: View of Palau de la Generalitat in Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Sant Jaume square with Palau de la Generalitat in the background, a place many of you will remember if you've ever been to Barcelona. In case you haven't, you ought to know that Palau de la Generalitat is the headquarters of the Government of Catalonia and of the Presidency of the Generalitat. The building was originally designed by architect Marc Safont and erected under his supervision in XV c. over a previous property bought by the Council, further undergoing important structure transformation and blending of architectural periods. The façade and two important sections are of renaissance style but once the Courts took over the building in the XVIIIth century the chapel was extended and the bell tower was crowned according to the predominant Gothic style. In 1914 a major restoration was carried out to recover the palace to its original preservation state right before the occupation by the Courts. Those works were directed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, the prolific modernist architect many times featured in this blog as for example in my post: La Diputació (Barcelona Provincial Government) not to be mistaken with La Generalitat!.

January 02, 2008

Modernist Balcony, Ali Bei Street, Barcelona


Catalan Art Nouveau also called Modernisme treasures real beauties when it comes to balconies. Take a look at this building for example at carrer Ali Bei with protruding windows covering part of the main balcony. A long time ago another building on the same block (about two doors away) was featured in Barcelona Photoblog: Art Nouveau Balcony

January 01, 2008

Butterfly Shot to Welcome the New Year

Butterfly Shot to Welcome the New Year [enlarge]

To celebrate the start of a new year and though this poor white lepidopteran aka butterfly is long gone since I took this picture in Sant Pol de Mar last October, I decided to show you something fresh that mitigates the sad and transcendental mood portrayed in the previous post, that is, last year!
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