Carrers de Barcelona

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After my trip to London, I was a little frustrating that many of my photos had come out blurred. I decided I needed to practice, and so as a reward for being so close to finishing my university deadlines, I went on a stroll with my Nikon.

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I explored the neighbourhoods of the Barrio Gotico, Raval and El Born. I love these neighbourhoods, not just because they’re closest to my flat, but because each one has character and life.

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Everywhere you look seems to be inspired by both art and a sense of community – it is why I loved living in the East End of London, and why I love it here.

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The heat is sweltering though! If you’re going on a photo session don’t be afraid of cafe breaks or keeping hydrated.

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Although once again I felt frustrated with my end results – I felt like my camera didn’t capture the charm of Barcelona streets that I saw. However these are a few photos I liked.

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The great thing about living in such a charming city though, is that once you become used to the well known sights, you can really appreciate the quirks and lesser known sights to capture on your camera.

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Nomad Songs

Every life, every moment deserves an awesome and fitting soundtrack.

Although I think calling myself a nomad is a little pretentious, and not true, I haven’t really lived at “home” in a long time. Nowhere I can think of as permanent, and when half of my belongings are in boxes somewhere in Yorkshire, and I am in Spain, and in a few months time I’ll be somewhere else, at times I can feel a little lacking in roots. But I don’t complain, I love the feeling of freedom and being able to decide my life on my terms.

Although I am expecting to be living at my Dad’s for a while after graduating whilst I job hunt (he seems thrilled), I like the idea of getting work experience in different places before I find a city to truly call my home. We can dream..

Or alternatively, I will just save every penny and save my free time for travels.

A while back I wrote a post Wanderlust Playlist for a soundtrack to accompany the love of travelling. But nomad is different, for a nomad is more of a permanent wanderer who never stays in one place for too long. These are songs which I feel encapsulate the moments anyone feels like a nomad, for any reason. I like songs that suggest home can be found anywhere, in the people we meet. To me thats love (friendship, romantic, familial etc), and thats what makes any nomad or wanderer feel safe and happy.

Home – Gabrielle Aplin

House by the Sea – Moddi

People Help the People – Birdy

Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford and Sons

Wanderlust – Frank Turner

I am Disappeared – Frank Turner

Home – Phillip Phillips

My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit

Parc Guell Revisited

I did a post on Parc Guell a while back when I visited Barcelona for the first time. This time around a friend and I went to take pictures, because he had just bought himself a new camera, and I’m glad to have friends who are also into photography. We missed out the section you have to pay to enter, but it was fun taking landscape shots in the morning before the large crowds arrived. Barcelona is beautiful in winter – not too cold but still sunny!

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The amount of anti-tourism graffiti was uncomfortable, after all without the tourist industry Barcelona would not do well…

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Novels to make you think

Being tied up with university and far too many deadlines has meant my reading for pleasure is on hold for the moment. I miss it. I got so many books for Christmas, and had to leave them all behind *sob*.

But I was reflecting on novels I have already read. Novels that stay with you long after you have read the last page, because their message or story is so powerful you are left slightly lost for a while, not really sure where to go from finishing. I love those novels. Even if they are a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Possibly one of the most famous novels in existence, and sometimes scarily close to the truth. Orwell’s dystopia is not only achievable in the modern age, but shows how easy it can be to slip into something similar to this novel’s world. Humans can be too easily manipulated, and as a great lover of language, Orwell’s invention of doublespeak is an amazing reference to understand how language really does influence our own thought patterns without us realising.

Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”

This novel is famous for being rude, although in the modern age in which the 50 shades series is a standard read this can be surprising. However it is more than just a few giggles, it really is an amazing read about the complexity of human connection. We grow up believing thought is more important than the physical, but Lawrence turns this around and argues that we need a physical connection above all else. Agree or disagree, he makes some good points.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxely

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

Another dystopian novel that shows what the human race can turn into if we lose all sense of humanity in favour of a simple, carefree life. Which is so often what we ask for, yet Huxely gives us this in an extreme example to prove that life without it’s messy bits is not really a life lived.

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

One of my favourite contemporary British writers, Ishiguro’s novels capture perfectly the themes of nostalgia and looking back with perspective. The Remains of the Day does this alongside looking back at the events of WWII, and analysing the aftermath based on the actions of different people. Ishiguro is the master of showing how people learn from the past, albeit too late to make a difference, but that is human nature.

Polaroid Workshop

Happy Polaroid Week! To kick off this week that is celebrated by polaroid enthusiasts and companies all around the world, Impossible Project Barcelona hosted a workshop for people to listen to tips given by an expert, and to have fun taking photos and receiving feedback. All for 20 euros, which was the price of the pack of film used in the workshop.

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The workshop was in Spanish, and my Spanish is still poor (embarrassing that I hardy use it in Barcelona. The downside of such a cosmopolitan city is that English is widely spoken, so even if you try to speak Spanish they often switch to English because it’s easier for both involved). But I still went, for a bit of language practice (although I had been out the night before, so my delicate head maybe wasn’t the best prepared…)

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What I could grasp, was the usual tips on taking good photos. Always think about light, distance from subject, and I got to see the new Impossible Project I-1 camera in action. This camera combines analogue with smart phone technology, so it was pretty interesting.

When the guy looked at my photos and realised my camera is one that always uses flash (no option to switch flash off), he told me mine is best for portraits and shooting bright colour photos. Then he modelled for me. This is very useful to know, but now of course I want another camera, one with flash as an option. But that might be a long time coming…

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I’ve neglected my photography whilst I’ve been settling in (also I left my memory card for my DSLR in the UK which I want my dad to mail so I don’t have to buy a new one – it’s brand new and 32GB!), but this workshop was great to reignite the passion and interest, and seeing other people in action and their photos was inspiring!

Ribblehead Viaduct

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Found in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales is this Victorian viaduct that is a popular local landmark for visitors to admire. It is close to the Three Yorkshire Peaks, which is a challenging hike of three mountains to complete in one day (or in your own time), so finding muddy and weary hikers is common, and it has a nearby pub for the thirsty!

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Travel Photography Tips

If you have a love for wanderlust, you probably also love to capture your memories of adventure. Travelling not just opens up your mind but also a world of photography possibilities. From stunning landscapes to once in a lifetime candid shots, each photo is unique and holds personal meaning. To bring out the best of your photos when seeing the world, there are a few factors to bear in mind that can help you bring out the travel photographer in you!

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Choose Your Camera

First and foremost, what type of camera best suits you, personally? Camera phones are so advanced these days it can be worth it just relying on your phone (especially if you love to share your moments on social media), but that drains battery and you may need your phone for other things (emergencies, using a map, searching the best places for food…) I own a DSLR camera, which in a simplified nutshell are those that come with lots of mechanisms and functions to bring out the best photo for each moment. The cheaper ones are good for amateurs like me, and the more expensive (and we’re talking a few thousand pounds) are used by professionals. These cameras are great for possessing full control over your shots, and the quality is hard to beat. The downside is not just the cost, but the size can be too annoying to carry around when you’re travelling. Some people prefer a simple point and shoot camera for travelling, as these are easy to use and can fit in your handbag or pocket. There are even ‘bridge’ cameras which combine DSLR qualities with point and shoot simplicity! With so many options out there, it is always worthwhile exploring what best suits you and your travelling needs.

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Choose Your Equipment

Owning a DSLR also comes with a huge range of accessories to use and have fun with. I sometimes use filters, and in particular the polarizing and UV filters are  handy to have when shooting in bright, sunny locations to reduce glare appearing on the photos. I have toyed with the idea of buying a tripod, which will help shooting the perfect landscape shot or a group shot if your travelling with friends! However they will not be easy to carry around, so sometimes the extra equipment it isn’t worth it. For any camera, other things are important to bear in mind. Will you need an extra memory card or two? If you’re only going away for a long weekend, it might be good to charge your camera before leaving and leave your charger at home for more space, and less risk of losing it. Perhaps even a spare battery could come in handy if you really like shooting all day, every day! And don’t forget a decent camera case is a lifesaver.

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Practice

Before you jet off with your camera, it might be worthwhile taking it out for a spin and have a few practice sessions – especially if it’s a new camera or you’ve just learnt a few new tips and tricks to maximise your photography potential. Practice in different light and weather settings to really get to know your camera, and it will essentially become your best friend. Then when the opportunity comes to snap, you can be confident the result will be brilliant!

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Take Your Time

When out and about sightseeing it can be a problem trying to take that perfect shot when everybody around you also is. Hot spot tourist locations are popular for a reason, and it can be frustrating trying to navigate around everyone to get a shot that isn’t marred by strangers in the corner of the frame. Although often you are pressured to take a photo quickly and let someone else take over your shooting location, try as hard as you possibly can to take things slowly, and only snap when you’re ready. This way you are exploring your options before taking the perfect photo, rather than hurriedly snapping away without properly looking in the hope that at least one photo will turn out okay. A bonus of taking your time also means you can take in your surroundings more, and you truly get to enjoy your travels rather than just seeing everything through a lens!

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Look for “Offbeat” Shots

Sometimes you want the photos you take to be personal, and mean something special to you, rather than looking like a postcard photo or something everyone has a photo of. One handy tip I once read is to look for unusual shooting viewpoints, perhaps zoom in on something in particular that catches your eye or choose a different angle. Instead of relying on posed photos maybe take lots of candid shots of your travelling buddies – they might even appreciate the profile picture possibilities! You want your photos to speak to you, so if something grabs your eye – capture it!

And most importantly- enjoy each moment! Travel and photography are passions, and the best photos are those that come with the best memories!