Category Archive for: ‘Travel’
Photography Locations in Barcelona – The Labyrinth Park
The oldest garden park in Barcelona, designed in 1792 for an aristocrat, Joan Desvalls. It’s explorable in half a day and can be a great location for a full day’s photoshoot.
The Parc del Laberint is outside Barcelona’s centre, so is usually quiet and safe. It’s slightly busier on Wednesday and Sunday when it’s free. There’s actually a cap of 750 people per day anyway. The neighbourhood is called Horta/ Montbau.
Obviously the park gets its name from the labyrinth, but with its hedges as mangy as an old fox such that you can see straight into its interior, this isn’t a highlight; though it does make an interesting background for your photos. Maze aside, the amazing feature is the ornate but beautifully decaying stonework and water features – canals, ponds and waterfalls. These give a great feel to the photographs, especially as part of a series.
There’s a neo-classical theme, with statues of Eros, Dionysus, Ariadne and Theseus among others. The themes of love and death abound in the Horta Labyrinth park.
1st April – 31st October: Daily from 10am to 8pm
1st November – 31st March: Daily from 10am to 7pm
Christmas Day, December 25th: 10am to 2pm
Last admission is one hour before closing time.
Less than 3 euros, and free on Wednesday and Sunday.
No pets, skateboards, bikes, balls or food. The latter is obviously important if you’re planning to spend the day there. ‘I’m a diabetic who promises not to leave any litter…’
There are lots of steps, but the Parc del Laberint has been (re)designed with ramps etc for disabled access.
Address: Passeig dels Castanyers 1, 08035, Barcelona – 41°26?25?N 2°8?44?E
Metro: L3, Mundet. Green line, about 15 minutes from Placa de Catalunya. The entrance is about a five minute walk from the metro, uphill.
Bus: 27, 60, 73, 76, B19
The Holi colour festival in Barcelona – ‘The Crazy Holy Color Party’ in other parlance – is an annual event in Barcelona that we photographers love! The Holi Festival originates from India, and has spread around the world. Worshippers and revellers alike cover each other in brightly coloured powders, so the crowd transforms from glowing white to a myriad of hues in impressive rainbow explosions. There are countdowns for this, so the photographers are standing by for these beautifully photogenic moments.
Sitare from the Holi Festival has an excellent open approach for the photographers – anyone can get access to the steps for an elevated position above the festival for free if they apply; you needn’t be an accredited professional photographer. This is excellent; we know from teaching photography in Barcelona, London and around the world that often keen, talented amateurs are just as talented as full-time pro photographers, especially with continual training to keep up to date with the latest photography techniques. The Holi colour festival proves this time and again as photographers of all levels of experience come to take photos of the colours in Carmel.
One major question they have is how to protect the camera from the coloured powder. The best solution is to use a waterproof camera or a waterproof housing so you can wash the camera afterwards. Some models, and Pentax stands out for this, make their cameras tougher and with more weather sealing than others, so they are great for taking photos of Holi colour festivals. The most popular technique is to use plastic bags and duct tape, together with a UV protective filter, to shield the camera. This can work pretty well, though it does make it trickier to compose the pictures. Many photographers simply opt for the ‘dangerous wildlife’ approach to photography; using long voyeuristic telephoto lenses to take photos of the people at the Holi colour festival from a safe distance. Other more dedicated photographers get into the midst of the fray and are necessarily rewarded with more engaging pictures.
Having done done both approaches in previous years, and with my professional flash equipment lent to one of our alumni, I brought along a white background, a large silver reflector and most importantly, a Bluetooth speaker loaded up with Clandestino by Manu Chao, and set up a mini walk-in studio. I was fortunate enough to find an assistant, Daniel Lopez (https://www.facebook.com/dadasphotography) who did a great job photographing the groups – you can see his pictures on his Facebook page. The idea with the white background was to get a clean, high key feel a la Avedon. The event itself was messy and, in the middle of the action, a blur of colour, so I used a slower shutter speed to give a sense of Impressionistic movement. The hard sunlight was used for standard butterfly lighting, with the silver reflector used for fill to brighten up the images and add an interesting catchlight to the ubiquitous sunglasses. Amusingly, a toddler with a water pistol adopted the reflector at one point as a huge frisbee, and many colourful festival-goers thought it was a shiny circular mat.
The other photographs were taken more candidly around the Holi Colour festival in Barcelona. At the sight of the camera, most groups would ask for photos and double in size as nearby party-goers joined the picture. The crowd itself, and particularly the people, aloft like Catalan castellers, who stood out above it, were photogenic and became more symbols than individuals. Certainly a great many photographers were there, so it’s with pleasure that I look at the same scenes photographed from multiple different angles as the pictures of the Holi Colour Festival appear on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Here are some of the photos from the Holi festival; you can share them with friends legally as long as the watermark stays intact. High resolution ‘fotos’ without watermarks are available too on request.
Every year, the people of Valencia compete to make towering hand-painted statues as tall as the buildings they nestle between. When Valencia native Modes offered to host us and show us around, we packed up the cameras and off we went!
There was a lot going on, and Valencia itself is a beautiful background for the photographs. For street photography, it seemed like a mix between Barcelona and Madrid. It’s smaller than both cities, and less touristic, which was a good change.
The quest was for photographs that went beyond the normal photos that just preserved what other people had created.
But really our favourite photos of Las Fallas didn’t just use them as subjects in themselves, but as material for artistic expression.
To see all of the photos from the trip, have a look here and here!