Here are some people in the gothic quarter of Barcelona sitting outside at a tapas bar, talking late into the night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This scene is typical among the towns of Spain. In particular, this is in Lloret de Mar along the Catalonian coast.
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.
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.
This photo is the Central Park neighborhood aboard Oasis of the Seas. Personally speaking, it was my favorite place to hide.
For whatever reason, this area gets less traffic than the other neighborhoods, and if you want to find a quiet space during the day, this is it. At night we had tapas at the wine bar and listened to live music in the courtyard.
The setup of these mega ships are no different than cities; there is every facility of a small town and more. If we ever figure out how to make big spaceships, (and I’m sure we will), this is an early example of how to design one. Now fast forward two-hundred years into the future, and it would not be surprising to see Royal Caribbean cruises to Mars.
Upon boarding one of these mega ships, the size plays tricks with your mind. Seeing a carousel in one little section doesn’t help.
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.
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.
I expected to see a lot of bikes in Amsterdam, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, not until I visited the bike parking lot did it sink in.
Surrounding the public transit stations are huge bike lots. Some of them are multi-stories high and comfortably house tens of thousands. Some like this were outside and stacked to make efficient use of space. Maybe it’s not so strange, but I was amazed nonetheless.
Since everyone is accustom to it, biking seems like a natural thing to do here. It made me wonder why we can’t seem to get it together in places like Florida where I live. From a transportation perspective, we are like dinosaurs, relying on our cars to get everywhere. If we don’t figure out a better way, we may soon end up like the dinosaurs.
Arriving into Amsterdam from Florida I had the advantage of my time zone. So I walked around the central section of the city late into the night.
At that time I was doing some software work for a client. These days I do most of that type of work remote, so I felt it unnecessary to mention that I was out of the country. From my hotel, I could take meetings as if I was sitting at home. Then, when done, I would step outside and explore the city.
What brought me there in the first place was a photo exhibit I was participating in just outside the city. I was able to attend the exhibition, explore the city and, for all intents and purposes, continue helping my client as though I was sitting right at home. It was a new experience that worked out well on all fronts.
I took this picture at three in the morning as our ship entered the port in Miami. I am surprised it turned out given that we were moving at it was dark.
Its the second time I’ve taken this same perspective from a ship. The first time was a year earlier when I used an f2.8 lens; this time I used an f1.8: the f1.8 aperture is wider which allows more light and, creates a better result without too much noise.