Summer is finally here, in the northern hemisphere that is. It will soon be time again for this most sonorous of happenings, the Barcelona Harley days. HOG’s galore!
Well, I reworked it this morning. Anyway, the fantastic rock formations surrounding the Benedictine Abbey in Montserrat. You half expect seeing some hobbits…
I spent an evening on the beach recently, at a chiringuito, or beach cafe, with some colleagues. One of the rare times when I’m on the beach at sundown. So, plenty photos!
And back to Paris! Beaubourg, better known now by it’s official name of Centre Georges Pompidou (a former french president). It is a huge culture center/museum/library/exhibition center, with some cafes, situated in the Beaubourg area of the city center. Quite a lot to say about the place, you can click here and here for more info.
The oldest church in town, by a mile. St Paul in the Field was founded in 897 AD by the Earl Guiffre Borrell.
And it’s just around the corner, our parish church.
Another shot of the pint-sized Golden Iris. Even the World Trade Center looks good on this!
And a big hello to the friends working in the WTC!
A delightful little fountain in Ciutadella Park.
One of my great pleasures is to walk around town, in places I’ve been soooo often, and discover new details. And also to imagine how the photo could like after a bit of reworking. Here the original photo.
We did not have a real winter here (so far), it feels more like early spring. So, it’s time for some pruning, like here, in the garden of the old Sant Pau hospital in the Raval. A job best done in the sun!
This stunning building on Passeig de Gracia is Casa Amatller. Built in the Modernisme style and designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of the great Catalan architects at the beginning of the 20th century. It is just next door to Casa Batllo, of which you can see a small part in the upper right corner. You can see much more of it here.
That’s me, being savagely attacked by a hungry monkey!
Beauty and the beast?
The clown and the pussycat
Welcome to the dead zone!
Pulp, fiction or reality?
Have a banana now, it’s good for you!
Still Sitges, on the same sunny day… Or is it???
Regular followers of this blog know that I love balconies. Here is some more about them, just around the corner, in the Raval, in our green city of Barcelona. Warm enough for balconies, almost 20 degrees today, and they call this winter…
More from Horta, the park with the amazing maze.
More Weekend Reflections, right here.
… and posted on my other blog.
A combination of several programs, HDR, little planet and so on. This was originally a view of the old port, or Port Vell
One of the narrow streets of the old town, the Barri Gotic. Oh do I love getting lost in there…
Groovy baby! What more does a dude need?
Let me show you some Harleys!
And a couple of oldtimers
But you know, what I learned during those Harley days, is that you better start young. Like them…
So now, from all those wonderful machines, which one would you…adopt? I’d go for the surfing one!
Not just Elvis: Marylin was here as well, together with some stranger birds…
And what’s a biker without biker chicks???
As everybody should know by now (check the movie Men in Black if you don’t believe me), the King is alive. And speaks fluent Catalan! He was the special guest of the Harley Days. Good voice!
Second of the Harley days. Now, if anyone decided to give me one like this, I would kowtow very deeply and be very grateful…
Plaça Reial (In Spanish Plaza Real, meaning “Royal Plaza”) is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona. It lies next to La Rambla and constitutes a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night. On the plaza are a large number of restaurants and some of the city’s most famous nightclubs including Sidecar, Jamboree or Karma. It is also known for its many outdoor venues and is a popular meeting place during the summer and the annual La Mercè festival in September, when open air concerts take place, and during other celebrations such as New Year’s Eve, often being very crowded.
The Plaça Reial was designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó in the 19th century. The square is twinned with Plaza Garibaldi, in Mexico City. The lanterns there were designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, master of the Sagrada Familia.
Having a peek into the city archive.
La Formiga d’ or, or golden ant, is one of the nicer bookshops in town. We just love the place, being giant bookworms. There are 2 of them in town, one in the cathedral’s cloister, and one nearby. Both have a very medieval feel. What’s your favorite bookshop like?
In a semicircle on the sides of the back of the stage are the figures of 18 young women popularly known as the muses (although there are only nine muses in Greek mythology). The monotone upper bodies of the women protrude from the wall and their lower bodies are depicted by colorful mosaics that form part of the wall. Each of the women is playing a different musical instrument, and each is wearing a different skirt, blouse, and headdress of elaborate design. In the early days of the Palau, many critics found these figures unsettling or even eerie, but today they are widely regarded as perhaps the best sculptural work in the concert hall. The upper bodies were sculpted by Eusebi Arnau, and the mosaic work of their lower bodies was created by Lluís Bru.
The dominant theme in the sumptuous sculptural decor of the concert hall is choral music, something that might be expected in an auditorium commissioned by a choral society. A choir of young women surrounds the “sun” in the stained-glass skylight, and a bust of Anselm Clavé, a famous choir director who was instrumental in reviving Catalan folk songs, is situated on the left side of the stage, under a stone tree. Seated beneath this statue are sculpted girls singing the Catalan song Les Flors de Maig (The Flowers of May).
The Lluís Millet hall is a salon located on the second floor of the Palau that is named after one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. The hall is a popular gathering place for concert-goers and also serves as a teaching area for visitors touring the building. From floor to ceiling the hall is two stories high and affords views of the intricate mosaics on the two rows of columns outside its windows that are much better than those available from the street.
It is ornated by several bronze busts of musicians related to the Palau: Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives (Orfeó Català founders), Pau Casals, Eduard Toldrà (founder and first conductor of the Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona, Just Cabot (Orfeó Català president) and pianist Rosa Sabater.
The concert hall of the Palau, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches, and overhead is an enormous skylight of stained glass designed by Antoni Rigalt whose centerpiece is an inverted dome in shades of gold surrounded by blue that suggests the sun and the sky.
Our World Tuesday, right here.
The Palau de la Musica Catalana… So many things to say about this absolutely magnificent building, a must see, should you ever come to Barcelona.
The Palau de la Música Catalana , (English: Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall in Barcelona. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908.
The project was financed primarily by the society, but important financial contributions also were made by Barcelona’s wealthy industrialists and bourgeoisie. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Hospital de Sant Pau. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).
And once a year, you can visit it for free… So get ready for a small series about this marvel!
Oh the joys of HDR…
Playing music to the seagulls and the fishes. Cool!
One of the joys of HDR is that it can transform a boring grey sky into something rather dramatic. Did this one of Plaza Catalunya for Skywatch Friday.
Josep Subirachs, author of the Passion facade, also made some truly fantastic bronze doors for the cathedral, based on the gospels of St Matthew and St John, and depicting Jesus’s last days. Here are some more details. All inscriptions are in Catalan, not Spanish.
One fine spiral staircase, if I ever saw one! But wait… What could entice an adventurous mind more than a staircase to… where? Heaven? But no. Access forbidden. What a shame! But this makes it mysterious, and this is… nice. What might there be up there, in this place so different from any other churches?
Every few years, I like going back to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, to check out the progression of the work. Not sure I’ll be there to see it finished, as the dates quoted by different sources go from 2026 to… 2150. Don’t want to live till 2150!!!
Anyway, they finished the main nave 18 months ago, and I hadn’t been back since. It is VERY impressive! Will show you more on my next posts.
This is the ceiling of the main nave by the way.
A popular cafe 5 minutes from home, with a bit of HDR treatment.
During the recent Earth Day festival, these people were singing and dancing in Ciutadella park. I suppose they are dressed as Mayans. And I think they had central American accents. Does anyone know more about them?
To carry on with a small multicultural theme, here is a bakery in our neighborhood. DANGER ZONE! You wouldn’t want to fill your dentist’s wallet!
Don’t forget the CDP theme day on the first of may: bakeries.
One of many passages in Barcelona’s old town.
Click here to see other participants at James’s Weekend Reflections meme.
A few impressions from this year’s Earth Day Festival in Barcelona.
I have been meddling with HDR for a while now, even though I really don’t have the time to really learn it, read the books or websites. So basically, I am learning it the hit and miss way. Here is a detail of a church in the old town. Hit or miss?
I’ve been on holidays (a very busy time!) for the last week and a half. Today, back to the grind. And I will have to use this again: the metro. Oh well, it will be a short week. My world, on Tuesday.
…to be found at the back of the Boqueria market.
We just passed the 500 followers mark. Welcome to all of you!
Not much time at the moment, so here is one I made before, as they say in cooking shows… Plaza de Catalunya, one sad and grey spring day.
James’s Weekend Reflections, right here.
Watching the sky from the top of the cathedral…
We’re off and away for a few days. Will try to post anyway. Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everybody!
Skywatch Friday, right here.
Probably the nicest square in the Barri Gotic, the plaza San Filipo Neri.
Beautiful skies this day. Not so blue right now, spring started with the first rain in months.
Skywatch Friday, right here.
A last look at the magnificent 13th century cloister in Barcelona’s Saint Eulalia cathedral, and the garden within…
…and the 13th century urinal (yes, you read it right), which has now a section for the lady in need as well.
Back to the cathedral. Some of the sumptuous stalls in the choir, with the emblems of the Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The order held it’s 19th chapter in the cathedral in 1519. More about this order here.
The cathedral’s inside.
It has been a while I hadn’t been back inside our cathedral, and I ad almost forgotten how beautiful she is. Above, some of the 13 geese living in the Gothic cloister. 13, because Santa Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred by the Romans under Emperor Diocletian, and they subjected her to 13 different tortures. That’s European history for you.
Why geese? She was a geese shepherdess.
Many more interesting things in the cloister, even a 13th century urinal… Will show you much more during the coming week!
One of the nicer fountains in Ciutadella Park.
A very nice candle shop, just behind the cathedral shown yesterday. I will come back to the cathedral and it’s inside in a few days.
Our World Tuesday, right here.
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Catalan: Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, Spanish: Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia), also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The cloister, which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) was completed about 1450. The neo-Gothic façade was constructed over the nondescript exterior that was common to Catalan churches in the 19th century. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical.
The cathedral was constructed over the crypt of a former Visigothic chapel, dedicated to Saint James, which was the proprietary church of the Viscounts of Barcelona, one of whom, Mir Geribert, sold the site to Bishop Guislebert in 1058. Its site faced the Roman forum of Barcelona.
It is a hall church, vaulted over five aisles, the outer two divided into chapels. The transept is truncated. The east end is a chevet of nine radiating chapels connected by an ambulatory. The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt.
The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called Baixada de Santa Eulàlia). The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral’s crypt.
No, not some futuristic ark-kind of spaceship. It is the tree in the Science Museum, aka Cosmocaixa.
What tree is it, will you ask?
Here is some more about it, as seen in HDR.
Cosmocaixa (so called because it belongs to a local bank, the Caixa), is an absolutely fantastic place. You actually enter the museum by going down the long ramp around the tree.
I’ll show you more this week.
On October 18th of the year 1802, Don Juan Antonio Desvalls y de Ardena, Marquis of Lupia and Alfarras, owner of this country house with gardens, had the pleasure to welcome the royal persons, Don Carlos IV and Dona Maria Luisa of Bourbon, king and queen of Spain, the infants Don Carlos and Don Francisco de Palla, Don Luis the First, king of Etruria, and the Infant of Spain, Don Antonio Pasqual.
It was quite a party! And these were the girls they were all looking at!
Sooo…. After 3 1/2 years in Barcelona, we finally went to the famed maze and garden in Horta. And it immediately became our favorite place in town! Will show you much more in the next few days. For today, suffice to say that it is a right royal place!
And if anyone knows how to get rid of the halo in HDR, please let me know?
The entrance to a catholic school in the old town. Nice, no?
Someone’s dream house come true in Montjuic, with a bit of HDR. A dream…
Barcelona, city of the future…
One of the buildings along the Ramblas, in the sun.
Been learning a lot lately about High Definition Range photography, aka HDR and ARW. Just playing around really for the moment. Anyway, pigeons on Plaza de Catalunya.
We forget easily that Barcelona is still a working fishing port. Here is one of the rare remaining working boats.
Well, not really mine, or ours, just a nice place to have a drink. With a bit of HDR.
Couple of simple things you can do with your photos. For this, I used a small but nice program called Artizen. It is a HDR program, but you can use it for tonemapping single photos as well.
Watery Wednesday, right here.
Let’s get out of Barcelona, even Spain, for a bit. Some swans in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, some time ago.
A few more trade secrets… Above, a photo processed with Artizen, a High Dynamic Range program.
In image processing, computer graphics, and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight, and is often captured by way of a plurality of differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter.
The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR) or standard-dynamic-range (SDR) photographs. Tone-mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.
Sounds complicated, but it isn’t really. Basically, it allows you to recreate on your photos what you’ve really seen. Up to a certain point, of course.
There are many places where you can learn more about it, for example here. If you want to start doing it, I would suggest a little free program called EasyHDR. Or Photomatix.
And you can find many fantastic examples right here.
Below, the original SOOC, or Straight Out Of the Camera picture.
The bar at the entrance of the Palau de la Musica. Nice, no? You might notice the ‘no filming’sign on the side. Well, no photos either, as we have been firmly told by one of the minders. We played the not-knowing tourists, of course… Well, we didn’t know, we noticed the beauty of the place, not the ugly little signs next to the trash cans.