Non-Mall

I left my wife in a shoe store as I walked around taking photos in the old streets of Barcelona. This is not your typical mall.

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Non-Mall
A small street in the gothic section of Barcelona

There’s something pleasing about photos of people juxtaposed to the surrounding buildings; especially when the buildings are very old or very new. Even if the people are just going shopping, it’s better than hanging out at the mall.

more street photography in the gallery

Malls are becoming a thing of the past. Or, maybe, they are morphing into something else, less mall-like. I’m not sure I buy into that because as long as you have to drive to a mall, it’s still a mall. But I digress. Where was I?

Pigeon Portrait

Here’s a common pigeon from Plaça de Catalunya in the heart of Barcelona. It’s a fun place to watch the craziness in all directions.

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Pigeon Portrait
A common pigeon in Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya.

It had just rained, and that’s when the reflections are best. I used the Platypod to get a low perspective and shot this at f2.0 which creates big colorful bokeh balls in the background. It’s a technique generally used in portraits, so I guess this we could consider this a bird portrait.

more birds from the gallery

The pigeons are used to people feeding them they’ll come right up. They have almost no fear of humans. A little boy next to me caught one in his hands and then released it. I only had the desire to capture one with my camera. I got several shots, but I think this is my favorite.

Siesta Time

We walked down the road looking for a place to chill and found a quiet little beach bar with tropical beverages. It was our third stop, and it was a charm.

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Siesta Time
Hammocks at the Blue Angel in Cozumel, Mexico

It’s called the Blue Angel, and it’s about a mile south of central Cozumel. If you’re in the area, you can’t go wrong. It’s a resort and dive shop, and from what I could see, very laid back. There were half dozen cruise ships in port, so this is a spot to get away from crowds.

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We’ve had a problem with red tide in Florida, so it was refreshing to see so many fish in the clear turquoise water. There were divers and snorkeling which we lazily watched all afternoon. It’s the kind of place I could waste away in Margaritaville. I can envision myself napping in one of these hammocks half the day and the other half looking for my lost jigger of salt.

Ice Cream

They have it all wrong because I think ice cream is the real gateway drug. And besides, it’s highly addictive.

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La Rambla Ice Cream
A woman holds an ice cream cone in Barcelona’s La Rambla at night

I want to be in Barcelona at La Rambla on a warm night having an ice cream cone. I can be clumsy with food, so I got a small cup instead. There’s something about walking around with ice cream; for the time it takes to eat, reality gets suspended, and you have not a care in the world.

more travel photography from the gallery

We were walking back to our hotel after spending time in the gothic quarter, and I was randomly snapping photos of people and vendors. For me, this captures some of the magic of that night, and believe me; there is always a bit of magic here. But now looking at it again, I think it might be time for ice cream. Not that I’m addicted or anything like that.

Bo De Gracia

Having only one night, we had to find the best tapas in town. Fortunate for us it was just around the corner. In Barcelona, that’s any corner.

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Bo De Gracia
A view inside on of Barcelona’s best tapas bars

I really don’t think you can go wrong, but Bo De Gracia was especially right if that makes any sense. There were quite a few things we ordered, but I remember sardines and olives the most. My wife doesn’t generally like sardines, but we both had to split the last one. And the fresh green olives have a taste and texture I’ve never experienced in America. It was all washed down with a local Spanish wine that complemented everything perfectly.

more interiors from the gallery

But I’m a photographer, so I had to pick up the camera and take this quick shot from the bar where we sat. The only people here were us and this couple. Probably because it was early in the evening. Around nine or ten is when these places start to fill up. By “these places” I mean the worlds best tapas bars around every corner of Barcelona.

Angry Seas

Isn’t it funny how we anthropomorphize all things? Here are some defiant colors against the angry Mediterranean.

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The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona
The tempestuous Mediterranean as seen from the port of Barcelona

I do it all the time with animals, but between you and me, I think most animals have emotions, so it doesn’t seem like such a stretch. However, sometimes I do it for the weather or inanimate objects; then I’m surely projecting my own feelings into the world. The sea can’t really be angry, can it?

more minimalism in the gallery

As we journeyed out into the North Atlantic, things got worse. There was a hurricane a long way off that roiled the ocean. The winds across the deck were seventy-five miles an hour, and the swells fifty feet high. At that time I looked out at sea from the comfort of a massive cruise ship and tried to imagine myself on a small ancient craft crossing the ocean in the midst of a storm. Admittedly I had feelings, but I’m pretty sure the sea had none at all. And that was maybe, just a tiny, bit, scary.

NBA Cafe

It’s odd seeing an American sports bar in Spain. Maybe the NBA is popular here, what do I know? Or perhaps it just caters to American tourists.

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NBA Cafe
An American sports bar overlooking La Rambla in Barcelona

I was in Barcelona for only a day, so I took pictures of everything and anything. These are the windows of the NBA Cafe on La Rambla.

monochrome gallery

Anyway, I just thought it was cool how the windows were outlined with neon lights. Like I said, anything and everything.

So Good it’s Scary

Walking towards Plaça de Catalunya, we passed this shop. It seems Halloween is popular in Spain as well, or maybe just in retail. Nevertheless, I was dressed as a tourist.

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So Good it's Scary

This is Barcelona’s shopping district, and there is no shortage of things to see. The Barcelona Apple store is right next door and, man oh man is that a nice store; good thing I didn’t go in. Shopping and I don’t get along well, shopping always wins.

european gallery

Speaking of which, we were headed to La Ramblas to get Crystal her Espadrilles. Whenever we return, we go to Toni Pons in the Latin Quarter to get Espadrilles. They are less expensive in Spain and, they are made locally. While she was doing that, I went to take photos. The only problem with that is that I can lose track of time, but somehow I managed to snap out of it and meet her just as she was exiting the store with a big bag of shoes.

Urban Symmetry

This image was taken in central Barcelona from the rooftop of the Grand Central Hotel. At first glance, you’ll notice symmetry in the picture. That’s because I’ve mirrored the image, and then painstakingly altered it so that the equality is incomplete. In effect, I’ve taken something that was perfectly reflected and added randomness.

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Urban Symmetry
This mirrored image creates a sense of confusion on closer inspection

There are plenty of mirrored artifacts, but depending on how you look at it, it might play tricks on you. Our brains quickly suspect its a mirror, and then our eyes begin looking for proof. Depending on where in the image you look, it may not confirm your first impression.

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The photo is an exercise in abstraction and deception. It’s a time-consuming exercise to produce, but it’s fun at the same time. My purpose is to hint at one thing while throwing you off the trail and forcing you to figure it out. I hope you don’t mind a little harmless deception in the name of fun.

Santa Cova de Montserrat

That building on the mountain is a church known as Santa Cova de Montserrat. What’s impressive is that it’s only accessible by trail. Also, it’s very near the Abbey of Montserrat in the Catalonian region of Spain. When I took this photo, I was standing not far from the abbey on an overlook near the top of Montserrat. To get up the mountain, we had to drive a precariously steep and winding road.

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Santa Cova de Montserrat
A church that is only accessible by foot near Barcelona

The landscape here is extreme and, try as I do, still can’t imagine how places such as this get built. The construction must take many generations. Projects like this are not something we are likely to see again.

more from Spain

The Abbey of Montserrat is just an hour from Barcelona, and you can see the outskirts of the city in the distance. We didn’t plan it right and arrived in the afternoon which meant we only had a couple of hours to explore. But now that we know, next time we’ll spend the day exploring much more of this unbelievable monastery in the mountains.