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Posts Tagged ‘spain’

Postcards from Barcelona – Under the Sagrada

La Sagrada de Familia overlooks the city of Barcelona with the old Plaza de Toros in the foreground.

Around two million people annually visit Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. Since many of Gaudi’s plans for the structure were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, teams of architects have been continually tinkering with the elusive structure since his death in 1926. Because Gaudi seemingly didn’t use regular or repeating forms–relying instead on color, light and organic sculptural motifs–architects working on the completion of La Sagrada Familia have faced many daunting design problems. Though slated for completion by 2007, the building is still very much under construction with the completion date having been pushed back many times. As the structure is dedicated to the holy family, Gaudi would often joke, “The patron of this project is not in a hurry.”

One projection anticipates construction completion around 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death

Postcards from Barcelona – Gaudi’s Grandeur

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Looking up can get disorienting – good thing there’s a saint to point the way.

Vivid and vibrant colors paint the floor and pillar in the morning sun shine.

The Nativity Scene Facade entrance spares no inch in detail.


Gaudi’s Doorway to God

Intricate details of the main doors to the La Sagrada de Familia show off the achievements and knowledge of man.

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Gaudi’s basilica has three facades filled with precise symbolism: the Passion Facade on the west; the Nativity Facade on the east; and the Glory Facade on the south. Each façade has three portals representing the virtues of Faith, Hope and Love. The Passion Facade, dedicated to the suffering and death of Christ, is nearly complete and has the main entrance to the building.

There were hundreds of hidden images and religious items – sacred coins, ancient scripts and holy symbols. One of the most important secret messages placed around the Cathedral is the magic square. A magic square is a 4×4 square of non-duplicating numbers, that when added up in any direction, the constant number equals 33; the age of Jesus at the time of the Passion.

Subirach’s cryptogram mounted on the façade of the main door surrounded by carved verses and repeating words.

La Sangrada de Familia – Gaudi’s 150 Year Vision

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Antoni Gaudi, one of the most visionary architects the world has ever seen, was also one of the most prolific of the 19th and 20th centuries. So much so that UNESCO has designated seven of his buildings as World Heritage Sites in and around Barcelona. And La Sagrada de Familia, which has been under construction for the last 150 years, is considered the finest achievement of all. . This images with the chandelier (with Christ as the center piece) hanging over the altar in the main central vault looks like you are standing in a forest of light and color. No matter who you are and what you believe, there is a mysteriousness and wonder to this place that is hard not to feel.

To give you a sense of space, this image is a stitched panorama of four images put together from a wide angle lens. A few months back I got to visit this place in person and will revisit it this week with a series of  postcards uploaded everyday. Stay tuned!

Graffiti Streets Project #1 – Spain

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Graffiti Streets Project #1

Trickin’ Out in BCN

After a sunny afternoon walking along the beach in Barcelona I came across some talented teens tricking. How does one trick you ask? Pretty simple. Step 1: buy a nautical bouy at any nautical shop. Step 2: bury it halfway under the sand Step 3: test it out to get the alignment right. Step 4: get some speed, tuck in the legs in, and you’re trickin! These guys could literally fly across the sand…and it was amazing to see. So amazing in fact, that I had to try it out for myself haha. (scroll down to the bottom) Here are some images I have put together….

[iPhone] Streets & Art

 Valencian afternoon streets

The Thought of a Woman – check out the amazingwork from Conrad Roset

Plaza de Toros – Valencia, Spain

The Mind of da Vinci – wallpaper download 4/5/12

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April 5th, 2012 – Standard The Mind of da Vinci - Las Falles Valencia, Spain (1280x1024) (418)  Wide – The Mind of da Vinci - Las Falles Valencia, Spain (1920x1080) (414)

For the past several hundred years come Spring, Valencianos have been burning things. And of course, keeping the tradition is the tradition here in Spain. Today Las Falles is one of the biggest Spring festivals is Europe and as the entire city of Valencia explodes in a firey paella party! The term Falles refers to both the celebration and the monuments constructed for and burned during the celebration. A number of towns in the Valencian Community have similar celebrations inspired by the original in Valencia. (see the earlier photo essay about the Magdalena Festival)

Supposedly started in the Middle Ages, when carpenters disposed of the broken artifacts and pieces of wood they saved during the winter by burning them to celebrate the spring equinox, the tradition continued to evolve into something much more meaningful. Over time, and with the intervention of the Church (of course), the date of the burning was made to coincide with the celebration of the festival of Saint Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. Many times well-known people from the neighborhood and government were often portrayed as well. With time, people of the neighborhoods organized the building of the falles and the typically intricate constructions, including their various figures, were born (and burned). Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the falles were tall boxes with three or four wax dolls dressed in fabric clothing. This changed when the creators began to use cardboard. The fabrication of the falles continues to evolve in modern times, when the largest displays are made of polystyrene and soft cork easily molded with hot saws (but Im sure isn’t very friendly to anyone inhaling it…let alone the environment). These techniques have allowed the creation of falles over 100ft high – now that is how you party! Out of all the Falles I got to see (there are around 600 or something) this one was one of my favorites.

I managed to see it burn from a distance and got off a few shots. As you can see it was incredibly close to the surrounding apartments so instead of spraying down the fire, the fire department sprayed down the buildings. I found a short video about the da Vinci ninot (little brother to the falles) that highlights all the details. I love the notes and tools they put in the back of his head….check it out -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rznADT6QU8


Here is the view I had of it all coming down… (the ‘vitruvian man’ had already fell down by this point) YouTube Preview Image

Photo Essay – Festival de la Magdalena 2012 – Castellon de la Plana, Spain

One thing I really love about photography is that many times I use it as my excuse to get out and see the world. I feel the pull to get up, grab my camera and go for a walk –and the feeling is doubled while living abroad. Although, it helps if you know where the action is, it’s also nice just to run into those serendipitous moments where you’re at the right place at the right time. Sometimes to the bigger events I will intentionally bring my  heavy and assuming camera and lens that allows me to slip into the mix of media people to get a few shots — all it takes is a bit of acting like you belong there. A trick I use (when I haven’t already been granted a press pass) is a pretty simple one. I find a gang of press photogs just before the event and strike up a conversation with one just so I can be associated with the group. Usually the person checking credentials won’t have time to check them all and there’s my in. It’s a balance of knowing when to pull out the big guns and go for it, or hang back and play it cool.

This week was the start of The Festival of La Magdalena in Castellón de la Plana, Spain. A week long party that commemorates the birth of the city over 700 years ago. This year unfortunately, it falls just before another major festival just a few miles south of us in Valencia called Las Fallas so, we will only get to see the start of the week. I had no idea this quiet little city could get so loud. I think it helps that the Mascletas (daily at 2pm), parades, concerts, and parties (think marching bands with guns mixed with European techno) are only a few steps away from our apartment.

One event during this Festival called  Romería de las Cañas (Pilgrimage of the Cane) is the most meaningful and historical part of the week for the local residents. Its a symbolic walk from the city center plaza to the ancient ruins of Castellon city in the hills a few miles away that honors the past residents of Castellon who moved the city to the plana (or plains). It was an early wake up call for me (gasp 6:45am!) but my camera made me get up and I couldnt argue. I thought there would be a few people who would get up early from the long night of beer, wine, parades and parties to actually brave the chilly morning walk. Turns out, half the damn town got up and the other half seemed like they hadn’t been home yet. It was amazing to see so many people ready to make the walk, like their ancestors did over 700 years ago.

My spanish is not yet to ‘conversationable’ level so I had to rely on my trick — where were those photojournalists?? There were a few sitting around so I waited until they started to group together because I knew I would get some good angles staying close to them. Due to the masses of people, they had to stay one step ahead of what was going on otherwise it would be impossible to get close. Thankfully, I kept up with them and got a few shots — even though I had no idea what anyone was saying haha. Here are a few shots from the first few days of the Festival de la Magdalena 2012….

At 7am the sun rises just enough to warm the top of The Fadrí – the 200ft. tall bell tower in the Plaza Mayor — and marks the start of the Romería de las Cañas (Pilgrimage of the Cane) for the Festival of La Magdalena in Castellón de la Plana 2012.

Pilgrims young and old grab their bamboo canes to start the  Romería de las Cañas (Pilgrimage of the Cane) for the Festival of La Magdalena in Castellón de la Plana 2012.

A young girl and boy dressed in traditional Spanish clothing prepare for the ceremonial start to the walk.

A great costume is in the details.

A father helps his son with his waist sash before the start of the opening ceremonies.

A young girl wearing the traditional Spanish jewelry and hair pieces.

Waiting to march to the cathedral across the Plaza de Mayor.

Pilgrims enter into the Cathedral de Santa Maria for a blessing before the walk.

The Queen of the Festival gets a few glances as she enters the Cathedral de Santa Maria.

A young woman is escorted by a man during the procession out of the Cathedral.

A family dressed in traditional clothing meet together before the walk through the city.

The city of Castellon follow the procession through the city streets and out to the countryside.

A boy drums to start the first parade of the festival which displays the long and colorful history of this area of Spain.

The festival is also a celebration and competition for the different barrios (neighborhoods) of the city. You can see them
wearing all purple in this image and green in the image below.

A man dressed as a mid-evil joker to start the Cabalgata del Prego (the Ride of Prego)

Men dress like Africans who initially inhabited the Spanish area in the Iberian Peninsula long before Europeans.

Flamenco dancers dancing for miles.

Shotguns blasting into the night sky down a main street to commence the second day of parades.

A Infantils de la Ciutat (Catalan for Kids of the City) are dressed in traditional costumes and walk along side their older counterparts turning every so often for the crowds to clap.

A typical Gaiata fully electrified rolls down the street. Gaiatas represent each barrio and each of the 19 have a different style.

Children and men walk down the street in religious (Catholic) costume.

People get a good look at the Gaiatas from all angles.

Wandering home though the back streets while the parade goes on (…after 3 hrs into it)

The size and scope of this parade as the large Gaiatas roll down the narrow downtown streets and people fit in where they can.

Tree of Alhambra – Granada, Spain – free wallpaper download 2/23/12

A tree rests its shadow against one of the Alhambra's outer walls - Granada, Spain

Download this week’s wallpaper  – February 23rd, 2012 –

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Photo Essay – Foguera Dels Velluters 2012 – Bonfire in the Plaza del Pilar

Foguera Dels Velluters – Here are a few images from the protest/celebration. Watch a short video of it here.

 Children ride on the shoulders of the men through the crowds and around the fire in Valencia’s in the Plaza del Pilar.

A boy concentrates to stay balanced as he rides around the bonfire.

As a show of strength and unity the group balance each other two high. The Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of Pilar Parish) Catholic Church in the background.

Protesters place charactertures of local politicians dressed as sausages into the fire to burn. Many people feel that public funds have been mishandled while teachers and other public occupations’ wages are continually being cut.

A member of the drummer troop is hit in the head by an object thrown from an apartment window. It’s still unknown who threw it or why.

A girl throws another stick onto the fire in the Plaza del Pilar. Smaller fires were set up to cook various foods and hang out with fellow people from the neighborhood.


[Video] Foguera Dels Velluters

Foguera Dels Velluters (Neighborhood Bonfire)
This celebration/demonstration was just 50 ft. outside our front door the other night so we decided to head out and join it without really knowing what it was about. After talking to a few people with our broken spanglish we found out it’s a great tradition! This year the ‘Foguera dels Velluters’ celebrates the 156th anniversary of the silk workers (aka velluters) who staged a mutiny in 1856 for better wages – the first of its kind in Valencia (now the neighborhood bears the name Velluters). Today the spirit is still alive with protesting the cut wages of area teachers and day laborers, the lack of public facilities, and excessive public and private lots in a state of neglect.  After the march and the fires were  blazing, the celebration moves to fellowship with dancing, wine, and roasted meats over the fire. Naturally we fellowshiped along with them too! Learn more here: https://n-1.cc/pg/forum/topic/1036202/la-foguera-dels-velluters-2012/ A quote from the website – “We want people living in Velluters, to find a reason to meet and participate in the life of the neighborhood. Also to welcome the new neighbors begin to live with us and invite you to take part in the actions from the neighborhood association or other organization to improve the shortcomings we have.” An amazing night in support of our new barrio!
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Waiting for the Sun – Valencia, Spain *wallpaper 1-19-12

Download this week’s wallpaper from Valencia, Spain –

January 19th, 2011 – Standard Waiting for the Sun - Valencia, Spain (1280x1024) (360)  Wide – Waiting for the Sun - Valencia, Spain (1920x1080) (354)

Our first few days in Spain have been pretty normal so far but not to say it hasn’t been stimulating. Consisting mostly of time spent working in front of the computer and mostly at night since our brains are still connected to the Central Time Zone of the US – so until that pendulum starts to swing the other way, we’ll still be wide-eyed at 2 a.m. It’s strange being here in such a new place but continuing to live as we did just last week – but this trip isn’t a vacation, but a relocation for a breath of fresh air to our creative and wonder-lusting minds.

Rarely do I post a wallpaper from the same location that I’m currently in (mainly because I have too many old ones to post) but this image, taken from our apartment window this afternoon was worth it. Our apartment is in the oldest part of Valencia’s city center but remodeled with many modern conveniences – it’s nice to open the windows to hear the goings-on among the streets below…something that would be a bad idea back home right about now. Check out the listing on Airbnb and experience it for yourself someday!

The Great One – Córdoba, Spain *wallpaper 11-24-11

Download this weeks *wallpaper – December 1st, 2011

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 The city of Córdoba lies in the Andalusia region of southern Spain and at one time over 1 million residence it was at the time considered to be the most populous city in the world. But now it has about 320,000 – making it only the 10th largest in Spain. The city’s incredibly diverse history is pretty extensive dating back to some of the first traces of human presence 32,000 years ago until the actual city was founded by the Romans in 169 B.C. Córdoba eventually became the city it is today because of the peaceful coexistence of three different cultures: Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Where in the world is this?? Check out where I shot this exact picture on Google Maps

Google Maps