Taller de Tapas

Here are some people in the gothic quarter of Barcelona sitting outside at a tapas bar, talking late into the night.

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Taller de Tapas
A typical night scene in the gothic quarter of Barcelona

Scenes like this occur over and over, and I think, are typical of Catalonian culture. Not that I’m an expert, but it seems quite friendly and puts a lot of value on spending time with family and friends.

more night photography from the gallery

It’s not difficult to see the appeal, especially in places like Barcelona. Sure, every area has its problems, but it’s fun to see different lifestyles and wonder what it would be like to live there, if only for a spell.

Melanie De Biasio

Probably the biggest festival of the year in Barcelona is La Mercè. Of course, we knew nothing about it until we were right in the middle of it.

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Melanie De Biasio
A midnight concert in from the Barcelona Cathedral during La Mercè
Here is a perspective with the cathedral that I took with my iPhone

We were walking around and stopped to listen to Melanie De Biasio perform a midnight concert in front of the main cathedral. Her music is a hypnotic jazz fusion that’s right down my alley. Like everything else, I’d never heard of her, but now she’s at the top of my playlist. 

During the La Mercè, many of the major plazas host outdoor free concerts, plus there are fireworks and parades each night. It’s called the festival of festivals for a good reason. In my case, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart. 

School Night in Montpellier

In my next life, I’ll be born in France and, when I go to school, it will be in Montpellier. They have by far the best nightlife.

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School Night in Montpellier
Medical students hanging out in Montpellier, France

Not that I am suggesting one should go to school because of the nightlife, but if one did, this might rank high on the shortlist. But to be fair, I’m rating it more on aesthetics than academic qualities. In fact, the medical school is quite good; it’s the oldest in Europe.

more from Europe in the gallery

Anyway, I wandered around the narrow streets shooting scenes on a school night. There were a lot of people out, and I’m sure some of them had to be up for class the next day. But, I suppose that’s just training for the sleep deprivation they’ll experience the first years of residency.

Night Enchantment

You haven’t seen Barcelona until you’ve seen and heard it at night. The combination of light, shadows, and music create an exotic enchantment that keeps me coming back for more.

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Night Enchantment
A busker in Barcelona

The harpist played behind the main Cathedral, and it is here that, over the years, I have heard some of the most talented musicians. The night before, I listened to a couple of tenors belting out arias reverberating as in the best opera venues.

more night photography from the gallery

Here is where the greatest from all over Europe and America come to perform in front of passing nighttime crowds. The echoing acoustics of the gothic cathedral walls remind me of the New York subway; only here they don’t get drowned out by passing trains.

Spanish Nights

This scene is typical among the towns of Spain. In particular, this is in Lloret de Mar along the Catalonian coast.

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Spanish Nights
A night scene in Catalonia

These types of street scenes are a favorite of mine because they convey a nightlife ambiance. I take photos like this by using a high ISO, (in this case, 2000), and a low f-stop, (in this case, 2.8). That combination allows picture taking as though it was daylight. Granted, I do post-processing to get the look I’m after – painterly is a word that describes this type of treatment.

more night photography

We stayed in Lloret de Mar on our first day of vacation. It’s a little over an hour from Barcelona airport and is an excellent way to decompress from an all-night flight. And, because the body clock was on North American time, it was easy to stay up late and get these scenes, despite the lack of sleep.

Skyway Light

There’s a reason they call it the Skyway Bridge. I like to think it has something to do with the sky. I’m just saying.

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Skyway Light
A long exposure image of Sunshine Skyway Bridge

I remember taking this after an afternoon rain. I pointed the camera from a rest stop along the highway facing northwest. I’ve been using different lenses lately, but I think I’ll bring this old 24-240mm along with me more often. By the way, this is a fifteen-second exposure, so it must have been quite dark.

more long exposure images in the gallery

According to the EXIF information on the photo, I took this on July 16th at 8:00 pm. But I think it’s wrong because the sun sets around 8:30 at that time of year. I think the clock in my camera was off by an hour, and it was actually 9:00 pm. Inquiring minds need to know; I’m just saying.

Carousel at Sea

Upon boarding one of these mega ships, the size plays tricks with your mind. Seeing a carousel in one little section doesn’t help.

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Carousel at Sea
The carousel on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.

I took this photo on the Oasis of the Seas last year. I was looking down from about eight decks above. And, there are another eight decks below that. So if your mind gets a little blown at the beginning, chances are it will last all week; which is about how long it takes to find your way around.

more cruise ship photos from the gallery

These ships would be impossible without a lot of elevators. Of course, with the amount you eat, it would be healthier to take the stairs. However, when entering a reality bubble, the standard rules and concerns don’t apply. At least that’s how it works for me.

Low Hanging Branch

A branch hangs over the water along the Sunshine Skyway in Tampa. This image was taken at dawn one weekend.

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Low Hanging Branch
From the Sunshine Skyway in Florida

During the weekdays, the skyway is inundated with cars commuting to work in the various counties that surround Tampa Bay. I traverse three counties just to get to Tampa, one county twice. The weird way Tampa is carved up, Hillsborough County is on both sides of Pinellas County, on the same highway.

more from this area in the gallery

Nevertheless, this is a long exposure that I took from Hillsborough County looking back at Manatee County. The Skyway is an impossibly long crossing of Tampa Bay. Not only is it a scenic drive, but it’s also a recreation area and one of the best rest stops in Florida.

Steam Clock

On the east side of Vancouver is an old steam clock. In the Steampunk universe, these things are commonplace.

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Steam Clock
A night scene in the Gastown section of Vancouver

Everyone stands around and waits and, after about fifteen minutes or so it gives off steam. In the age Apple Watch, it’s fascinating to watch a relic mark the hours by vapor and gears.

more from Vancouver in the gallery

The area is known as Gastown, and it has a lot of places to hang out. You could eat at a different place each night of the year. Whenever I’m in town, I come here and shoot night scenes. It’s been a few years so I can’t wait to come back. And unlike the glass towers a few blocks away, this Gastown is in a universe all it’s own.

Bridge Again

I take a lot of photos of this bridge; I should open a gallery and call it the Manatee Bridge gallery. With these types of scenes can you blame me?

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Bridge Again
Another image of the Manatee Avenue Bridge in Bradenton, Florida

What makes this so mesmerizing is the calm water of the intercoastal. When it’s like glass, it reflects everything and creates a dreamscape-like effect. That’s what I strive for but rarely achieve.

more bridges in the gallery

Anyway, if you go to my gallery and enter the keyword “ManateeAvenueBridge” in the search, you’ll get all the versions of this bridge I’ve taken over the years. In another five or ten years I’ll probably have quite the collection. Then they can rename the bridge after me. It will be called the Rick Bridge, or not.