The best street photography cities serie
This was my first city trip to Barcelona. Actually my second time Spain. Don't let me tell you about my first experience. oh yeah... it was Benidorm.
For those people who have never been to Benidorm. My advice: don't try it, or you like to see a lot of rebellious elderly behind their rollators. Although, you can have some crazy pictures of these people I think. Benidorm isn't a really great place to see the real cultural Spain. Enough about this, let me take you to Barcelona and write about my trip and share the best pictures I captured.
I booked a trip to Barcelona in December and what a great idea. The weather was great. Blue sky and about 15 degrees a perfect setting for photography. Why is December awesome for photography, I tell you why in this blog.
My trip started at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. If you going to visit a city for only a couple of days, try to get an early flight and fly back as late as possible. Within 2 hours I flew from Amsterdam to Barcelona. It feels like a city around the corner. Once you made the touch down you enter the big hall where you find two types of persons. The stressed ones, because of the departure and tired people are arriving from a long flight are coming together :). I walked around with a big smile. You can feel the heartbeat of Barcelona already. It is slowing down. Totally different from the heartbeat in the Netherlands. You can feel a different kind of energy floating through your veins. During my walk towards the exit I looked around and I saw these enormous windows, a giant wall of glass. It was 9 am, the sun has just risen and shining through the large windows into the big hall. As a photographer, my heart missed a beat. You can imagen what kind of amazing shadows and lighting were visible.
I stayed at a good and modern hotel, definitely worth booking if you are going to visit Barcelona. Hotel H10 Casanova. It is located in the Eixample district between Metro station Universitat and Urgell. There is even a rooftop bar where you have a great view over the city.
Within 10 minutes you are at Plaça Catalunya, a big square with wonderful fountains. From this location, you have the begin of the La Rambla (Ramblas) and the biggest shopping street (Portal de l'Àngel)
After you checked in, go to the hotel lobby with your camera and capture the beautiful light and shadows caused by the windows and objects on the streets.
All my pictures are captured with the Fujifilm X100F, aperture mode and a mix of integral and spot light metering.
The photo below is captured around 11 am in the lobby of the hotel.
What I have seen in three days of Barcelona:
- El Gòtic district (The old Roman part of the city)
- Parc Guell
- La Sagrada Familia
- Tibidabo mountain (amazing view of the city)
- Plaça Reial
- Kilometers of wandering through the incredibly beautiful small streets.
For me personally, most of my street photography pictures where taken in Amsterdam so far. This was my first opportunity to visit a city abroad.
Barcelona is very very very photogenic, almost every street has something special. you can days wandering through all those small streets and find amazing scenery for your photos. Why are these streets so beautiful? It is because of the light and the colors of the buildings. Most of the streets art quiet dark, the shadow is in the lead. When the sunlight comes it creates amazing spots full of contrast and interesting scenery to create depth in your photos.
If you love to work with shadows. These streets are the place to be. The brilliance of the reflections onto the wet stones on the ground. The reflections of sunlight within buildings and offices that illuminate the streets, persons and objects. You do need some patience to get an interesting person into your lens, but it is worth waiting. There are always people everywhere. While the city is rushing, slow down and observe what is happening around you.
The pictures below are were taken during my El Gòtic tour also just wandering through the city looking for these special moments and Parc Guell.
Since I started with photography I see light different than before. I have learned it from one of the best street photographers, Ian MacDonald and he told me:
"If you understand the light and using it. That is the difference between a good and a great photographer"
The light in Barcelona is amazing, because of the location of the streets and the path of the sun. During sunset, the sun is shining with the same direction of many main streets. This brings amazing opportunities for shadows and silhouettes pictures. Due to the month (December), the golden hour is between 16:00 - 17:24. The yellow warm light, the beautiful roman buildings brings magic to your lens. I have often used the reflection of light caused by metal objects. Let me show you some of my pictures:
Sunset at a shopping mall
Never thought a shopping mall would be an interesting place for a sunset. Plaça de l'Odissea at the harbor is one of the many perfect spots to watch the sunset. The buildings across the water have a wonderful brilliance and reflection. Also, a great spot for making portrait photos with the natural light of the sunset.
The shopping mall is also a nice place to experiment with compositions. The entrance has mirrored glass above you. I used this scene with the golden hour. People where upside down with long shadows. A very artistic location in the middle of a very modern building. Let me show you some images.
The El Gòtic district tour
I want to help you with a tour I have found on the internet during my preparation. I found this website of Hola Barcelona (it is a Dutch site). This website is started by a girl (Marta Rubio) who grew up in Barcelona, now living in Amsterdam. She wrote this blog of the walking tour through the old El Gòtic district.
On her website, I found one of her blogs. Also written in Dutch. Let me help you and share her map and the name of the place showed on the map.
All the credits of this tour are going to her! It is an amazing tour to do!
Below the map and below that, the locations and links to more explanation of some of the locations.
You start the tour on Playa Catalunya, the big warehouse (El Corte Inglés)
- Plaça Catalunya (NL)(ENG)
- Portal de l’Àngel (shopping Area) (NL)(ENG)
- Els 4 Gats (Cafe)
- Font de Santa Anna (fountain)
- Catedral de Santa Eulàlia (NL)(ENG)
- Plaça Nova (ENG)
- Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (ENG)
- Monastery of Catedral de Santa Eulàlia
- Gòtic bridge (Carrer del Bisbe)(ENG)
- Plaça Sant Jaume (NL)(ENG)
- Roman temple of Augustus (NL)(ENG)
- Plaça del Rei (ENG)
- Museu d’Història de la Ciutat (NL)(ENG)
- Cereria Subirà (oldest Shop of Barcelona)
- Pastisseria La Colmena (bakery)
- Carrer del Sots – Tinent Navarro (ENG)
- Plaça de Sant Just (ENG)
- Pati Llimona
- Carrer de Milans (ENG)
- Basílica de la Mercè (ENG)
- Passatge de la Pau
- Plaça Reial (NL)(ENG)
- Herbolari del Rei
- Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi (NL)(ENG)
- Carrer Petritxol(ENG)
- Font de Portaferrissa (NL)
- Ramblas (NL)(ENG)
- Via Sepulcral (NL)(ENG)
- Gelateria Giovanni - Ice Cream (NL)
Barcelona is a city you have to visit at least once in your life. You can have fantastic food for a decent price. The atmosphere is relaxt although it's a big city. People are very friendly.
Most of the people who are reading my blogs are photographers and this city very photogenic. Take some extra memory cards and battery packs with you ;).
Thank you for your time and if you have some tips or comments about my blogs, please drop them below.
All the best,