When I am new to a city, I often take a tourist bus to get an idea of where the main sights are in relation to the transport links. I did this in Glasgow last year and it worked well, so earlier this month in Barcelona I got myself a two day ticket on the “bus touristic” and got a great tour of the place on two different routes. Fortunately I was able to get a seat on the top deck of this open top bus and whilst stopped at the traffic lights, I noticed this interesting sign post. The background was one of those buildings that is covered in scaffolding and construction workers, but hidden by canvas, with fake architectural details printed on this. There is a lot of talk of authorities controlling what photographers can and can not do, and although this sign is probably more to do with a camera watching the lights it still amused me.
The Sagrada Famalia is a massive Roman Catholic church in Barcelona. Construction started in 1882 and continues to this day, it is scheduled to be completed in 2026. This church was designed by Antoni GaudÃ, who worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavour, he died in 1926. It was the idea of being able to take the above photograph that really drew me to the city of Barcelona. At 170 metres high this is just a couple of metres taller than Manchester’s Beetham Tower to give you an idea of scale. It does disappoint me when people complain about the cranes or scaffolding – come back in 2026 and take the photo again when it is finished. That’s what I am aiming to do!
The Sagrada Familia is the reason that the city of Barcelona was such a draw to me photographically, I knew there was a lot more than just this massive Cathedral to photograph, but it was this church that caught my eye. Whilst sat on a bench at the western side (or Passion facade), I noticed branches from a nearby tree framing the top of one of the spires in this interesting way. The reason I was waiting was I had already got my daytime photos a day or two earlier, but had returned with my tripod for some night photography. After scouting my locations it was just a matter of waiting around. After seeing this interesting composition I used a shallow depth of field and long focal length to blur out the tree’s leaves and keep the Cathedral’s detail in sharp focus.
Graffiti is something I always look for in big cities as I enjoy studying the details. I knew the Barcelona being an artistic city there would be some great graffiti if I could find it. Whilst sat on the top deck of the tourist bus I looked down to see a 400-600 metre stretch of wall about a quarter of a mile away from La Ramblas. At the time I wasn’t in a position to jump off the bus but I noted the location down on the map and looked at where the sun was to work out the best time of day to return. The following day I took the tourist bus to Museu National d’ Art Catalunya (MNAC) then took the Montguic Cable Car to get some good views over the city centre and harbour and then walked down the hill into town via this graffiti. In my opinion the above photograph was certainly one of the highlights of my walk that afternoon.