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.

Torre de Collserola

This tower is one of the first things you see in Barcelona. However, in my case, it took me by surprise.

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Torre de Collserola
Overlooking Barcelona in the rain – click to purchase

It was raining, so I had it in my mind to drive up the mountain and visit the Sagrat Cor church. However, the clouds created a thick blanket of fog, and it was difficult to see more than a hundred feet. As I stood outside the church, the clouds began to thin, and the tower appeared rather dramatically.

Here is a close-up view that T took with the telephoto lens fully extended. The tenth level is the observation deck, according to Wikipedia.

Torre de Collserola
Close-up of Torre de Collserola

more from Barcelona

The tower sits atop the Tibidabo mountain and overlooks Barcelona. If I had Googled it, I would have known that it’s open to the public on weekends — something to add to my next visit.

Urban Beach

Here is another image I took on the beach in Barcelona. I photoshopped out most of the people, and believe me; there were a lot.

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Urban Beach
The beach in Barcelona

We stayed at the hotel in one of the tall buildings for a couple of days before a cruise. Walking up and down the beach is entertaining, especially with all the outdoor restaurants and bars. There are so many it’s hard to choose.

beach gallery

Nevertheless, the heat forced us into the shade of a bistro that served icy pitchers of Sangria. And there we sat the rest of the day, savoring the flavors, recovering from jet lag and enjoying the sights and sounds.

Passage of Time

Everything that has ever happened is in the past; we only have the present.

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Passage of Time
Time passes with a long exposure

Smarter people than I have put a lot of thought into this, the prevailing wisdom is that time is not real; it’s just something we made up to record or coordinate. I agree with this intellectually, but when I’m waiting, time seems genuine, if not slow.

abstract gallery

Attention is like a sail. When focusing on something, we move through time quickly. Maybe that’s why time seems to move faster as we get older. The more our attention is focused, the more time seems faster. If now is all we really have, it stands to reason that awareness at the moment is more precious than we think.

In Motion

I can’t remember if I was at the front or back of the train. I’m going to guess the end, but it’s not my final answer.

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In Motion
A photo from the Sky Train in Vancouver

In Vancouver, the SkyTrain is fully automated so you can sit at the front or back and watch the tracks through the windshield. I would often stand at the end of the platform and, once in a while, get the end seat. Sometimes I’d take videos with my iPhone but here’s one by Sigis Travel Videos.

I’m all for self-driving and can’t wait to get one. I would rather sit as a passenger and watch the scenery than pay attention to mind-numbing traffic.

Shop Local

I was somewhere off La Rambla watching other people shop. Not something I’m fond of, shopping that is.

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Shop Local
A customer talks with a shopkeeper in Barcelona

There are a lot of things I’m not fond of, but having a camera turns the most hated activity into an artistic endeavor. Like taking pictures of shoppers, suddenly I can go shopping with my wife and have a good time.

more European shops from the gallery

But nowadays the only place it seems you can take photos of shoppers is in Europe. Here in the states, shopping is in a mall and the last time I took my camera, the mall cop and asked not to take photos. He said I could use a phone, but not a camera. If that doesn’t sound ridiculous, I don’t know what does.

Big Banks

The big banks in Canada have done quite well. I know that because I see them everywhere in the United States.

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Big Banks
A Bank of Montreal building in Vancouver, BC

This image is from downtown Vancouver, BC. It’s another one of the photos that I’ve reprocessed. Below is the first image from about six years ago. Boy, I miss that Nikon 14-24mm lens. I think the Sony version is next on my list.

Bank of Montreal
Here is another version I posted about six years ago.

more architecture images in the gallery

The distortion of the monochrome image is very close to how it appeared in-camera. In the color image, I corrected the tilt in Photoshop so that it is less warped. I’m not aiming for realism, rather the architecture and the visual elements like reflections. The sense of confusion is what I’m going for here if that makes any sense.

Reminiscing BCN

This is a repost of an image of Barcelona from a few years before. At least for me, it captures the juxtaposition of the new and old.

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Barcelona City Center

I’m coming back here in a few months, and I was reminiscing. Like any big city, there are different vibes for different neighborhoods. This is from the gothic section with the main cathedral as the centerpiece. I’ll come back here but also explore different areas.

more from Barcelona in the gallery

While walking back to the hotel, I noticed this street framing the central spire. Down every road, there is something different to see. It’s a city people want to live in. It has culture, art, history, architecture, sports, and, of course, food. What’s not to like?

Going Somewhere

I took this one of the times I was in Vancouver. As I recall, the weather was terrible most of the time, so I got a lot of practice wearing cold weather clothing.

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Going Somewhere
A dreary day in Vancouver, BC

I’m not complaining but, my wardrobe in Florida consist primarily of shorts and tee shirts. I am aware that most people who don’t live here are envious of that. However, when I do leave town, it’s fun to wear warm clothing. By fun, I mean for a week or two.

more from Vancouver in the gallery