Sitges Street

Walking along the streets of European coastal towns is an exercise in leisure. And if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is.

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Sitges Street
A leisurely stroll through the streets of Sitges in Catalonia, Spain

Actually, that goes for a lot I do on vacation – leisure and moron. Relaxation when traveling is a state of mind, sometimes easier said than gained. I do what I can.

more images from the Mediterranean in the gallery

In this case, I was in the town of Sitges, walking around on a Sunday. I was next to the main church that sits along the sea. Sunday notwithstanding, nobody was going in or out, just tourists, like me, walking around it, taking pictures, and practicing leisure.

Zen Pipe Smoker

This guy was sitting in a three-piece suit on a hot day, seemingly oblivious to everything around him. I don’t know if he was posing or just practicing the art of Zen pipe smoking.

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Zen Pipe Smoker
A cool character on a hot Barcelona day

Nevertheless, he seemed content to ignore anyone who stopped to look. It was his clothing more than the pipe that struck me. It was hot and humid, he appeared way over-dressed.

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There are loads of street performers up and down La Rambla, which made me think he was posing, yet he wasn’t collecting money. Now that I think of it, he probably works at one of the boutique hotels and was just taking a smoke break. Mystery solved.

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.

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.

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.

Crew on Deck

The Platypod is a mini holder for the camera that allows you to get these low angles. If nothing else that provides a different perspective.

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Crew on Deck
The crew washes the deck on the Symphony of the Seas

The crew of our ship would wash the decks with hoses each morning. Because I have a habit of waking up before dawn, I’d see them and then use the Platypod to take photos like this. I guess we can call these types of shots low angle studies.

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There are a lot of things to take pictures of on a ship, but after a while, I was wracking my brain for something new. Once I discovered this little trick, I made a ton of these studies. Eventually, it got old, and so the next time I go on a cruise, I’ll be looking for something else to keep me interested.

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

Bike Lot

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.

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Bike Lot
A bike parking lot in Amsterdam

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.

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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.

Park Scene

On a typical evening at Bayfront Park in Sarasota, people are walking along a scenic path or merely sitting on a bench. Given the view, can’t say that I blame them.

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Park Scene
Bayfront Park in Sarasota

Sometimes I come here to take sunset photos; other times I prefer to take pictures of people watching the sunset. I’m not sure which I like more, it depends on my mood I suppose.

more monochrome from the gallery

This is street photography, even though it’s in a park. The idea is to freeze a moment in time to preserve the essence of movement, place, and people. Street scenes are studies; they take something fluid and solidify to be examined in detail later. In scenes like this, I see things that were not apparent at the time. I think there is value in that, like maybe an appreciation for the multitude and beauty of things unnoticed.