Thursday’s Special

This week Paula encourages us to consider the differences between taking a landscape or portrait format. What factors make you decide which way to go? Is it the lens on your camera that forces you into a particular format, or are you making a more conscious decision about what it is you want to portray and what is the best way to do that? 

These two images are of the haunting bronze sculpture that I have featured before in black and white. The close-up landscape version(s) were deliberate compositions to focus on the detail of the women and children as they wait for their husbands and fathers to return from sea.The decision to take a portrait shot was based purely on the desire to capture the entire sculpture and show exactly how small these figures actually are.

I tend to take most of my photos in the landscape mode unless I am photographing something particularly tall like a building or a tree. Of course with editing software it is easy to change any photo into any size afterwards, so it is not always necessary to make the decision at the point of clicking the shutter. I think the most important decision you should make when taking that shot is whether you have thought about what it is you are trying to capture and have you considered carefully that this is the best composition. That helps you take a great shot rather than several mediocre ones when you simply ‘hope for the best’.

I am interested to hear your thoughts.

Thursday’s Special: PICK A WORD IN APRIL

Casa Amatller (Josep Puig i Cadafalch) is next door to two other Art Nouveau houses on Passeig de Gràcia, between Aragó and Consell de Cent streets in the Eixample district of Barcelona.

On the left is the Lleó i Morera House by Lluís Domènech i Montaner – he of the Sant Pau complex that I am currently blogging about, and on the right is the Batlló House by Antoni Gaudí.

Mansana de la Discòrdia or Block of Discord, is the name given to the block, (click on the link to discover the reason) where these exquisite examples of Modernist architecture are located.

I felt that this beautiful building with its projecting balconies and gargoyles and arresting stone sculptures and ceramic tiles would be perfect for Paula’s Word challenge this week.

I’ll try and find an excuse to post some pictures of the other house, but if you want to have a look inside as well as out then visit Casa Lleó i Morera .

Thursday’s Special

Winding: a twisting movement or course

synonyms: twist, turn, turning, bend, loop, curve, zigzag, convolution, meander, meandering, looping, serpentine, sinuous, snaking, snaky

Looking down on Nature Square and the undulating bench

Welcome to Park Güell, one of the major works of Gaudí in Barcelona. Access to the Monumental Zone of Park Güell is limited to 400 tickets every half hour. Which seems an awful lot of people on such a short time frame as you are not obliged to exit within half an hour and most likely explains why it is so busy! To avoid having to wait for several hours to enter the Monumental Zone it is best to purchase your timed tickets beforehand.

Eusebi Güell entrusted to Gaudí the plan to create an estate for well off families in a large property that Güell had purchased in the zone known as ‘bare mountain’, a location with magnificent views over the plain and the ocean.

Monumental Flight of Steps. Framed by two convex walls with merlons (crenellated parapet).

Only one sixth of the plot could be built on for residential use only. And in the beginning work progressed well, but the difficulty of transport to the plot made it nonviable and in 1914 Güell decided to stop the project.

Upon the death of Güell the estate was offered to the Barcelona City Council who opened it as a public park in 1926. The UNESCO declared it a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site in 1984.

Hypostyle Room – the ceiling is formed of small domes in the Catalan vault technique. It was conceived as a covered space that could serve as a market for the estate.
Portico of the Washerwoman

I think you might agree with me that this site definitely complies with pretty much all the meanings of winding.

Thursday’s Special

On a rather damp and grey day in Barcelona my daughter and I decided to take the Tourist Bus and see the city at leisure. One place we wanted to stop off at and have a look was the Monastery or Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes in the north-west of the city. Due to road closures we had to disembark at the Palau Reial-Pavellons Guell and walk up the Avenue Pedralbes to the monastery. No great hardship.

The Royal Monastery of St Mary of Pedralbes, founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada in 1327, stands as a unique historical and cultural testament to the Poor Clare community who lived there continuously from 1327 until just recently.

The different rooms are grouped around the three-storey Gothic cloister. They include St Michael’s Chapel, the dormitory, refectory, kitchen, infirmary, storerooms, abbey room and chapter house, plus various day cells.

The chapel of St Michael is decorated with a magnificent series of murals, which according to two contracts dating from 1343 and 1346 were a commission given to the painter Ferrer Bassa by the Abbess Francesa ça Portella, who wanted to make the room her private cell. They have recently been re-opened to the public after a ten year period of restoration.

The Sepulchre of Queen Elisenda de Montcada (c. 1292-1364), consists of a marble, two-sided tomb occupying two storeys of the cloister within an arcosolium (an arched recess used as a place of entombment).

The medicinal garden of the cloister is a representation of how the medieval herb garden would have looked. Considered the world’s largest Gothic cloister, it has two galleries with twenty-six columns on each side made of nummulitic stone – limestone containing fossil remains – from Girona, and a third upper gallery added later.

The exhibition “The Monastery of Pedralbes – The Monastery Treasures” is located in the old dormitory. I will show some of the exhibits in a separate post as they are quite unique.

There is so much to see including the abbey room and the refectory, that we could have stayed much longer. I would recommend that you make time to visit this wonderful place if you are in Barcelona. There is much more to the city than Gaudí .

It is easy to reach by public transport, buses  H4, 63 and 78, as well as the Blue Tourist Bus.

The Monastery of Pedralbes site gives you a lot more information about the monastery and Queen Elisenda de Montcada.

Paula’s (Lost in Translation) challenge this week is Traces of the Past

Lincoln Cathedral: Choir Screen

The †13C limestone choir screen is a marvellous example of decorated Gothic architecture with pinnacles and arches with tiny carved animal heads.



The walls of the screen are covered with carvings of leaves and flowers. Traces of red and blue paint can still be seen on them.

Carved head of a tongue-puller journeyman in his leather cap.




I only wish I lived closer as I could spend many an hour focussing on the details of this screen.