Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reality of here

Been here 5 days now.

One thing is obvious, life can cost you living in this part of the world.
The Euro (last time i checked) was 1.4x that of the Canadian dollar, that means somethiing for 10eu here, would cost you $14ca. Doesnt sound like much till you realize things are expensive here.

The basics are ok and not much different than home, the luxuries will cost you.
People take the bus, drive scooter, motorcycle or bike. The costs of a car and then trying to find a place to park it, will add up in a hurry. Add the price of fuel, insurance etc. Have not seen one car that does not have some kind of damage to it.

But one thing for sure people like to eat out.
The quality of food available in restaurants is amazing, specially the well established places.

Our pick based on the taxi drivers suggestion was The Salamanca Barceloneta located across the street from the beach, it had indoor and outdoor dining. we at outside, place was packed , service was awesome, food was fantastic.

The Waiter recommended a seafood starter plate for us to enjoy while waiting for the main course.
What we found out later was that when it came to seafood , they would actually bring a try with the ingredients out to the table , so you could see that it was fresh etc.

the next table was having various shellfish, fish and lobster.

Throw in a bottle or two of wine no complaints.

Also had time in the last few days as part of our running around the city to visit Sagrada Familia the unfinished church , under construction since 1882 !! YIKES

Big and old and covered in work equipment. Its not until you walk around it and really take a close look that you start to see some of the details being built into this amazing structure.

Look atthe picture above (click it to open larger) and notice the fruit sculpture topping the turrets you see.

Or the intricate carvings found on the colums supporting the roof, each one a different retile on the side I was on.

The plan is to return oi this place at night to catch it when all the lights are on , should be quite spectacular.

Of course no day goes by here with out your head being spun off haha.  Quite obvious that the women of Spain have it turned on all the time !!
I dont think she is a natural blonde, but then what do I know.

Joshua makes another appearance, praising the great god Starbucks.

ok back to the show.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Barcelona !!

Ok so we are in Barcelona, Spain, after flying out of Toronto.

Obiglitory airport seating pic from Pearson, Terminal 1 , gate 181.

Not sure how to describe it in words, wonderful weather, beautiful city and imagine.....beautiful women !!
We arrived on Tuesday Sept 20th, after 8hrs in the plane from Toronto and jumping ahead 6hrs from the time zone change. By the time we arrived at the hotel was around 9am and none of us could sleep so we headed out into the city. Why waste our time in bed when we could be drinking coffee and walking around.

Yes there is Starbucks here, every Metro exit there is one close by - strategic planning at its best.
My fearless leader, Josh in my new series, What Starbucks is Josh at , haha

Headed out into the city, walked countless km's to try and wear ourselves out.
First on the agenda was finding the show venue and getting signed in etc, as it would simplify the first day. Of course we ended up at the wrong location, the business office instead of the actual conference center.
We got out of the taxi to get our first view , which was Pl d'Espania.

Had to take that pic in B/W,  color just wouldnt cut it.
And if you turned around on the street behind you had this view.

More on that one later.

Then we picked a street and headed down , eventually finding a cafe to sit at (Cafe Zurich) watched people, enjoyed the afternoon.

Every corner is somethign new to see, different spaces.
Proof of life pic in some sqaure. One of those great corner buildings, that you see so many of here.

Without knowing it we had actually stumbled into a famoous walking street called La Rambla, one of the places to visit when in Barcelona, lots of shops, small hotels, displays, street vendors etc.

Word to the wise in Barcelona, watch your bags at all times, dont walk around with your bag hanging from your back and not paying attention. This is the capital for pick pockets. I know some of you out there have experienced this.  All about traveling around being aware and smart.

People here are curtious, friendly, more speak or at least will try and speak english with you. Traffic is not that bad, taxi's are great, and of course Starbucks close by.

Farther down La Rambla , stumbled into a market in full swing.

jam packed solid with just about anything fresh you could want to buy, vegetables, meat, fish and candy ?
Mounds of the stuff, piled high.

from there we headed down closer to the water, to check out the beaches.
One thing you notice here amongst all the old and historic buildings is the fabulous new architecture, sculptures, art etc.

And then the beach !!!!  ok more pics of that to come, needless to say things on the beach are a little more loose than Canada haha
That is one of maybe 15 or so beach areas along the shoreline of Barcelona. All public, with restaurants and bars on the boardwalk, Very well setup. clean and pretty relaxed.

The views on the beach are awesome

More beach is on the agenda once the show is over.

Girl with Camera pic taken after diner on the boardwalk, she was out taking pics of all the cafe's and took one of me also.

ok time to get back to work, ,more to come. Internet at hotel is very slow so can only connect when at the venue. next update in a day

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Interesting !!

Switched to the new Blogspot interface today as I was looking for some way to know how many views I have had of my small piece of the interweb.

Was astonished to find out that aside from friends and family that I would expect read this and those that get email updates,i have views from other countries.  Would like to know what they think of my words and pictures.

Here's an extract from the stats, no China of course since they are unable to view this directly and have to work through a piece of software to bypass Chinese internet security blocking most blogs and most likely running thru a VPN server in some country listed below.

Wonder what a guy in Pakistan or Poland thinks about what I write or see ?

Canada              252

United States      46

India                   26

United Kingdom 10

Germany              9

Switzerland          6

Pakistan                4

United Arab Emirates 3

Malaysia             3

Poland                3

Pretty quiet out at the Festival, just music acts playing, not a lot of people. Took a few pics , enjoyed a coffee and headed out back to The Ranch.  Gotta get organized as we blast off from London towards Toronto and the airport around 9:30am.

Couldn't resist some more shots of bass players, green seems to be the common cool color i have seen, not sure why ??
Fender Precision - squeeky clean new
And an Ibanez metallic green with pearl pick guard and an addition to Girls With Bass hehe
Nice instrument !

Extra bonus Belly Dancer outside the Yoga Studio that opened up on Dundas St earlier this year.

More music shots 

and guitar of the day , a Gibson Les Paul Recording 

Stepped into an Art Gallery downtown - my first time. Art Project was originally a Hotel back in 1876 and was a popular destination amongst travelers for its fine European Restaurant. During its history was also a show store and  Canada's largest independent shoe retailer.

Now it houses art of mixed media types and has artist and photography studios on the upper floors in spaces that would have been hotel rooms at one time. 
There is also a small Black Box theatre located at the back. Black Box is a theatre type where once a theatre company is done showing, any painting can be easily repainted using flat black paint.

A local award winning photographer Rob Nelson has a small studio space for portraits , he is mainly a location photographer. He had some prints hanging in the gallery, spotted this one of the Twin Towers. Sorry its not so clear as glass was reflecting everything in the room. The picture appears as dark and ominous as it looks here.

Ok time to iron, fold and pack up a suitcase or two.  Have to pack business for 8 days plus relax time - makes it hard while trying to keep the weight of the suitcases below 50lbs (22kgs) so I dont end up paying extra cause of Baggage Handler Union rules.

Next stop Pearson International Airport.........

Downtown All Day !

Ok was downtown London all day

Dundas Street closed from Talbot to Wellington - about 4 or 5 blocks.
This is a combined Car Free Days - hence why Dundas is closed off and Oh Fest - Indie Music Fest.
Great idea to combine the two !!

So the usual attendants, various Environmental groups, local charity orgs, health orgs all out. See the same familiar faces I have seen at all the past events.

Music is a good twist to the Car Free Day - adds a lot, brings out a different crowd, specially with university in full swing now at Western University of Ontario.

Oh! Fest is an independent music festival in downtown London. Outdoor events are all-ages and free. Organized by London's Open House Arts Collective in its first editions.

Some nice hardware on stage - everyone doing their retro look etc - lots of Traynor Guitar Amps from the 70's and 80's - wish I had kept all my stuff is worth money now.  Though I still have the Traynor Mono Block sitting in storage. hhhmmmmm am sure its worth about the same as some camera gear haha.

All the players seem small and skinny - not sure why - starving artist thing ?  No fat guys playing Heavy Metal here.

Cool guitar of the day haha
The Hondo Explorer Bass in some scary 80's New Age Blue.

Of course my preference is Bass being a fumbling player from the past, so always have to get shots of the Bass players in action. And a beat up Fender Bass.

And what festival is complete without some colorful people added to the mix.
Nice coat.

And even nicer shoes !  Red Shoes that is !!

Ok I have a number of photo book ideas. I wrote of one for high heel shoes after my observation in China.  The red shoes above qualify !!  So you have sene in the past my "Girls With Camera" my new book idea.

First thing I noticed was the amount of hardware out there on the street. Was a Canon and Nikon Fest. Obvious pros out with big camera bodies and lens. Very obvious that big high end cameras are more common place than ever.

Highlight of my day was having a chance encounter with Colombian Super Model, Maria - not seen in public very often. She keeps a low profile and out of the media spot light. 


Her managers and security close at hand. Actually her parents as Maria is daughter of one of my coworkers.  Obviously the genes have not fallen far from the tree.
Here Mom and Dad pose as tourists - funny shot !  Classic travel brochure pic haha

ok my artsy shot of the day and then am off to warm up the camera for another day of picture taking.

dang I still have to pack !!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time Flies when your busy

Wow Sept 13th already !!

6 days till blast off to Barcelona, Spain , guess I should pull out a suitcase and get packing haha.

not much photo taking in the last week or so , been busy.
To make up for it I have two days at Car Free Days downtown London , combined with Open Doors London all running Sept 17th thru t end of day Sept 18th.

Did hit up Wortley Village version of Car Free day last Sunday, was small and quiet.
My shot of the day was this young bulldog, waiting patiently.

Next photo fun for the week was taking pics of Miss Laurel, have known her for about 3 years and she wanted some pics of herself and I managed to get the job. She wanted nice natural looking, everyday kind of picture. This was my first job taking actual portraits outside for someone. So like every other assignment I take it was a learning experience.

This was done at the end of the day, with the setting sun behind me, at the fork of the Thames River.
Light was great, focus was right on, out of all the pics this is my favourite.

Speaking of the Thames River, I went out one night last week to try long exposures of the Fountain, located at the Fork of the Thames.
This particular picture was done with 30 second exposure (meaning camera was open for 30 seconds) and then I actually used my flash and manually ht the flash button about 20 times to light up the water even more. I was standing to the left of the picture about 75 feet from the camera.

Will go back and take more of this, winter is coming and should be interesting with some ice and snow involved. To bad for the wacky sky color because of the city lights !!

Time to dust off the suitcase and get it open and start packing before the weekend is here and I am out of time.

ok lets see, camera, batteries, 70-200mm lens, 50mm lens, 30mm lens, Oh cant forget the 10-20mm wide angle, flash............ (priorities haha)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September ? Where has the summer gone

Yes September already.

Seems like summer had just started, and poof we are done
Kids go back to school, life starts to change as we get ready for fall.

Oh so whats been the fun.

Joined up to Model Mayhem , its a website for the model, photographer, makeup artist etc crew.
Found Katie and Eden up there and added them as friends and now have connected with a few other aspiring models.
Figured if I put myself out there I can continue to hone my skills and meet some people, including other photographers (learn something from them)  and some agencies. all great part time fun.

For picture fun in the past few weeks, hit up the Iron Horse Festival in St.Thomas,ON.
Pretty much the same as any other festival you would find in Ontario, same vendors, same displays. IN this case more people as they shut down the main street, had midway and various stages setup.

And what is a festival in rural Ontario without some cars haha !
Big engines, chrome, Sunday drivers as they are called.

Not sure at $1.30/litre if this is even worth starting,  Environmentalists shudder !
Though is nice to see people's hard work restoring or modifying cars, nothing bolt on about creating your own personal statement.
Or taking a classic Buick and making it something special.
And then the few that restore a car to near perfection, down to minor details. Unfortunately there were so many people out that getting full shots of cars was quite the chore.

They don't make hood ornaments like this anymore.

And this Labour Day Weekend, long weekend for Canada and the USA, got invited out for pics from various people.

The lovely Miss Morgan txt me to say her and a friend would be in the Green Space behind the Old School House practicing with Silks hanging from one of the big trees.

Actually Morgan and I have been trying to plan a picture session for some time now, not only to do a portrait session but also for capturing some of the poses using the silks.

Basically one long Silk tied in two sections hanging from a tree, small piece of foam underneath that you hope you hit, if you fall and your in business. 
This is not easy stuff !

And a certain amount of strength with flexibility is required.
Once it got dark I pulled out my one flash and with some help tried to keep them lit up.
This one lit from behind looks great, a little kick of light in front would have done but still happy.

Her friend was able to get into some great poses that only practice and ability to contort your body will get you to.
Cool stuff. And with it being evening, the background can be made black with little effort.

And since we were in Wortley Village, it was short walk to hook up with my other invite.

Hurtin Merv (see my previous posts) and the boys were rockin up the Wortley Roadhouse in Wortley Village. A village located in the middle of London and one of the desirable places to live. a mix of old and new.

My observation of the night was the amount of leopard and tiger prints being worn by the women. Can you say 'Cougar Bar' haha.  For Merv that was great has he had a full dance floor most of the night, which translates to beer sales. Everyone's happy.

Starbuck's shot of the month, well actually August , taken at the farmhouse while the girls prepped for Matt & Lauren's wedding.

Barcelona, Spain is now 15 days away. Few final preps and away we go.

Last Car Free Festival of summer is coming Sept 17th and 18th also with the combination of OH Fest and Doors Open London. More music orientated theme, am expecting big crowds out as University and Colleges  are back in session and the number of students on London has increased.
2 days of pictures before flying out on the 19th.