This is one of the two big hotels on the beach in Barcelona, well surely there are many more but two that I know of. One is the Hotel Arts Barcelona and the other is this, the W Hotel. I stayed at the Arts but one of my first questions to the bellman was what building this was. Others must ask the same because he quickly mentioned it’s just become a sister hotel. They both fall under the Marriott parent company.
The next day we walked down the beach to have a look at The W. The architecture vaguely reminded me of the sail motif of the Burj al Arab, only it’s not nearly as big. This one was designed the Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.
This is a vertorama, three images stacked in a vertical panorama. Because I was using a prime lens I couldn’t zoom out, so I took several images knowing I would recombine them in Lightroom.
The architecture is such that it defines the skyline along one end of the beach while the Hotel Arts defines the other. It’s interesting enough for me to want to capture it.
I’ve been a Marriott member for years and so it’s fortunate for me that they keep growing. It’s getting to the point that I can pick and choose which hotel to stay at in any city. So maybe I’ll stay here at some point, although the Arts hotel is pretty amazing too, so who knows, I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.
When I have the time, I go out late at night and take pictures of places in big cities. This is Columbus Circle at midnight, also known as central park south in Manhattan. It was late and I had just finished touring the park on a bike and taking all kinds of cool photos. Once you’re in the zone you don’t want to stop and time is the last thing on your mind.
While I was taking these, a gentleman came up and asked about what I was doing. He was visiting from DC and we stuck up a conversation. He suggested that I needed to go to the nation’s capital to take pictures of all the monuments. That’s on my list now.
For me I like going to places where I can go out walking with my camera and tripod late into the night. I’m drawn by architecture, leading lines and light. That’s essentially what this photo is all about. It’s doesn’t have to be anything in particular, just something that combines those elements.
European cities are great for this type of photography. And in general, Europeans stay out late into the evening so what seems late by American standards is quite normal there. Anyway, it’s all about having the time. And once I make the time then I get in the zone and suddenly, time is not an issue, if you know what I mean.
So often when travelling we find ourselves in places where there are a lot of tourists. There’s nothing wrong with that and quite often I am one of them. However from a photography perspective it presents a challenge. For me the challenge is either how to incorporate crowds into an image or avoid them altogether. In this case I sat on a bench watching the people at One World Observatory and noticed the reflections creating this scene. I took several photos and this is my favorite.
This is also a good example of post processing. Because right out of camera the people looked more like silhouettes, you couldn’t see too much detail. I was able to bring that out in post processing, and primarily because I used a Sony camera with a great sensor. That sensor captures much more shadow detail something like an iPhone. So this is closer to what the scene actually looked like because of course our eyes are able to capture a wider range of light. I used post processing to bring the detail back from the shadows.
Getting back to the challenge of crowds, the other approach would be to avoid them altogether. To do that you need to get to places early or stay late. I don’t know about you but for me that’s easier said than done. Sometimes it can be difficult to get up and out early. I still try and sometimes I make it and I’m usually rewarded with softer light and scenes without a lot of people.
But these are just common sense tips. What makes an interesting photo is entirely in your head. With photography we can take the most common and mundane of scenes and express something transformative. That’s true for any art form, so whether you decide to include crowds or avoid them is just a technique, the thing that’s really important is what you see.