Barcelona Photoblog: April 2009

April 28, 2009

Dragon and Umbrella at La Rambla, Barcelona


I brought you today a new picture I took of a subject included here in a previous post: the Dragon and Umbrella figures presiding over Las Ramblas at the top floor of an old umbrella store. Details can be read there so I just want to support that with an improved image. Please check: Casa Bruno Quadros: Modernisme or Eclectic Whim and Las Ramblas: Dragon and Umbrella Photo.

April 26, 2009

Fish Eyes

Red Fish at La Boqueria Market[enlarge]

Sorry if you came looking for the lenses. This is only a very quiet scene with some dead actors staring at the audience with very fishy looking eyes. Stop staring at me! Well, you can try moving from left to right and viceversa. See how they follow? Should anyone know the name of the species please help me on this. For the moment they are just some red fish at La Boqueria market, those small ones we normally use to make paella known here as peix de roca (fish living in the bottom rocks), in other words, with benthonic habits. They look like some sort of squirrelfish or Candil to me although those are tropical. Hmm, maybe.

April 24, 2009

Sant Jordi, A Book, A Rose and Lot of People

Sant Jordi, A Book, A Rose and Lot of People [enlarge]

First of all allow me to congratulate the publishing houses, the book sellers, the florists, the illegal flower mongers for the success. Today I decided to visit the book stands scattered along La Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. It was hot in Barcelona. A beach day. The first very hot day of the year. Fortunately I took my Coolpix instead of the big one. My back was sweating under the backpack. People shoving me all the time. When Sant Jordi comes, you are supposed to buy a book and give away flowers. I couldn't concentrate on the books. I finally bought a small one on digital photography but once I got home, in the nearest bookshop. I did the same with the flowers. It is a real nuisance for me to buy the flowers early in the morning and carrying them around all day till I get home and handle them to my wife and daughter. Why would I do that if I have a florist a block away from home! Oh, no, tradition is tradition and people enjoy some sacrifice. There were authors dedicating books and long lines of people waiting. This year I noticed different flowers. Many red roses were painted or tinted with some blue imitating FC Barcelona colors. Others were strange like these wire flowers.

April 23, 2009

Angel or Devil, A Popular Living Statue in Las Ramblas

Angel Living Statue in Las Ramblas

A very popular living statue in Las Ramblas. An angel, a golden angel showing off impressive wings that can be seen from the distance. This one is by far one of the most attractive human statues in this famous street of Barcelona. All in all the angel is sweet and gentle but if you take a close look you won't be so sure about which master this angel works for: God or the Devil. Click on the image for the big format and let me know what you see, good or evil? Maybe it represents some mythological being I am not aware of.

April 20, 2009

Bead Necklace On Wood

Bead Necklace On Wood [enlarge]

This is a bead necklace my wife bought while we were visiting Mirador del Alcalde today, that beautiful place from where you can enjoy a wonderful sight of Barcelona. I took some pictures that I will post later this week. It is funny but from all the snaps I prefer the macro instead of the landscapes. It was sunny and we laid the necklace on the upper part of a bench. I used a 70-300 mm lens.

April 17, 2009

Al Detall - Retail Commerce - 3rd Collective Exhibition by Barcelona Photobloggers in Maremagnum Center, Barcelona

3rd Collective Exhibition by Barcelona Photobloggers, Maremagnum, Barcelona

Last night I had the pleasure to attend the inauguration of an exhibition organized by our group of Barcelona Photobloggers in the main hall of Maremagnum Shopping Center in Barcelona. This is our third group exhibition and it is called Al Detall (Retail). I translate part of the post at our group's site: "Commerce is part of our daily existence. The exchange of goods has adopted many forms since the beginnings of time. For long, two models of retail commerce coexist in our lives: the local neighborhood shop and the shopping center. The relationship between them both is the theme of this exhibition". I took this picture so you could take a glimpse but it is better to visit Maremagnum, have some coffee and take some time to enjoy the exhibition in detail. 

April 15, 2009

Human Statues: Make-Up Time

Human statue putting some make-up on her face [enlarge]

When you are trapped in the living stream of Las Ramblas and you are shoved along the way from one end to another you probably don't have time to reason out the evidence that human statues are not part of the urban furniture. They are not part of a permanent exhibition either. No one comes and unloads the statues from a truck to gently place them on their improvised pedestals early in the morning. They are anonymous Barcelona citizens, made of flesh and bones, permanent residents or temporary visitors who rely on such unstable and tedious activity to make a living. They have their assigned areas, their timetable, their official permit. To attain that wonderful final look we are all familiar with they sometimes need more than an hour to be ready. It is not strange to see them arrive partly dressed to save time. After all the preparation which may include wearing tons of make-up and fitting into impossible costumes it may happen that the weather suddenly plays tricks on them and spoils the performance. Of course no insurance company will compensate for the cancellation of the show nor will the city hall sympathy with their cause. Las Ramblas certainly wouldn't be that great without the living statues so any help to pay for such painful and respectable effort is always more than welcome. Of course I don't tip them if I capture them before the acting begins as in this image but when they are on "stage" I try not to sneak between tourists to steal a picture from them. A good smiling face, nicely caught in connivance with the camera after you have expressed your gratitude can really make the difference.

April 13, 2009

Fish Market, La Boqueria, Barcelona

Fish Market, La Boqueria, Barcelona

The fish section of La Boqueria market is not only a good place to buy fresh fish but also an attractive spot to take your camera and let go your imagination. I think this image is rather cruel or looks like some still life painting perhaps but that's the way it is with food. We kill to survive. I hope someone bought the rest of this fish. At least, they didn't have to use its head as promotional bait in vain. La Boqueria is one of the most important markets in Barcelona and sells a great variety of products. It is said that what you don't find there you won't find elsewhere. I can't guarantee that but its stalls are a pleasure to the eye and a must-see during your stay in the city. Here is an old post with another image and a video: Visit La Boqueria Market in Barcelona.

April 10, 2009

Cafe Zurich, Pl. Catalunya 1, Barcelona

Cafe Zurich, Barcelona

This is a snap I took of famous Café Zurich located at carrer Pelai 39 or Pl. Catalunya,1. Better said, this is a reproduction of the original.

The well known café was founded on November 30th, 1920 on a canteen for trains going to Sarriá. In the 30s one coffee there would only cost you 1 or 1,50 pesetas! I digress.

Back in 1994 the whole block called the Golden Triangle was completely restored and important department stores and offices were built. Café Zurich was no exception and according to purists it is not the same in spite of official promises to keep it as it was. It is a good place for coffee and pastry although not the best.

Tourists seem to enjoy the terraces as you can see in the picture. Locals do the usual thing avoid it during the high season.

April 05, 2009

The Simplified Beauty of A Drop

Detail of Drop on a Leaf [enlarge]

Drops tell us not only of rain, of dew, but also of physics. You could talk about fluid dynamics, microclusters, cloud physics, applied optics, surface tension, cohesion, name it. But a drop is over all just a beautiful thing to look at. One of the many ways mother nature conceived to nourish and captivate us.

April 02, 2009

Aphid Plague Feeding on Flower Stalk

Aphids Feeding on Yellow Flower Stalk

A colony of green aphids (Sp. pulgón), all of them female by the way, plus a little extra company of assorted winged insects, feeding on the stem of this beautiful flower.

You may be wondering how do I know they are all female. Well not only they are all ladies but they are also pregnant. Yes, they are and in fact they are born pregnant.

Isn't that amazing? According to the source I consulted today this is what always happens at the beginning of the season in an aphid's life. To make it more complex, they give birth to more female aphids and so the process loops till the end of the season when females deliver males too. Mating starts and eggs are laid for the next season. Incredible!

Here is an article about controlling aphids in your garden and a beautiful image of a lady aphid giving birth. By the way this picture was just an accident since I took it on some flower pot at a friend's balcony. Strange as it may seem I didn't notice a single bug then so perfectly camouflaged as they were. Back at home on zooming in I found out.

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