Barcelona, Montserrat, the creek path to the upper chapel

in and out of Barcelona

a newly painted steam locomotive sitting on a section of old rack railroad exibits what passengers travelling to the sanctuary of Montserrat experienced between the 19th and the middle of the 20th Centuries. The steep climb with breathtaking views is nowadays negotiated by a modern 2001 commisioned electric rack railway.

Once in the sanctuary one can take a Funicular to the mountian top or walk either the path of the south over the moutain side or the more shadded ravine path. In a clear day the particular crevassed rock formations of the Montserrat (meaning the sawed mountain) make for a playful motive in the eye of the photographer.

not too far from Barcelona and overflown by landing planes on their way to the 07L/07R or 02 runways a low mountain range offers an unexpected landscape of shrubland and fan palms. Incidentally a former palace turned into a buddhist monastery is set in the midst of this denuded coastal range.

Barcelona’s townspeople can enjoy a neighbourhood cafe in a back street of a not so run by tourists area. Those with a passion for horse riding meet Sundays at the free municipal grounds. They chatter and greet excitedly as they meet with their horses. The light of January turns the most unexpected scenes into captivating motives for photography.

us and nature

It is a sunny morning of January and birds roam the trees in “Serra de Mariola Natural Park”. The light is gorgeous and it is hard to put the camera down and follow Virgilio Beltrán who take us around to spots were we can watch the local species. I got so entangled portraying a walnut tree that I almost lost him. We also visit a ravine were vultures were successfully reintroduced a few years ago. Magnificent and ugly birds they are! I wonder why I perceive them ugly.

“If we want to keep nature the way it was, we have to work the land the way we used to”

Joan Cascant, microvinya.com

Virgilio has a special treat for us, and we end up at Joan’s “microvinya” as part of a combined program named birds and wines. Joan is directing a program to return to the former use of the land in order to preserve the nature we received from the past. He advocates specifically for the sustainable use of minifundios (small-holds). Incidentally, a few days before, in Tarragona, my old friend Saül also explained us of his project to revive the abandoned town of Solanell in the Pyrenees. Are they the fall of small stones that starts an avalanche?

two days in Valencia

Along the streets of Valencia you can see the legacy of many architectonic styles from the gothic, renaissance, baroque, neoclassic, modernist, to bauhaus, constructivism, brutalism, and… well some things by Calatrava too.

The city seems big but not too big, modern but not too modern, opulent but not too opulent, burgeois but not too burgeois. It has it all but nothing becomes invasive. It may be that it is January, but Valencia still seems to belong to its citizens and not to the tourists. And I long with melancholy for this to stay this way, despite being an impossible act of balance in a world of seismic schockwaves of tourism.

The defensive Torres de Quart in the west-end of the old city of Valencia were made for one clear purpose. Being there you cannot help but imagine soldiers loaded with bows and quills hurrying upstairs, dropping boiling oil through the outlet above the doors, atop the towers scouting the horizon with squinted eyes under the sun of the afternoon.

The building of the Lonja de Valencia feels at the end game of commercial opulence but still displaying its former functionality: the polished by use floor tiles, twisted solomonic columns, gothic arches. A photographic feast indeed.

Tarragona and a look back

here I look back almost 50 years at the same streets, houses and windows of Tarragona were I grew up. The little park-inside-a-roundabout. Everything looks changed but not changed and certainly tiny now. The same aluminum late-60’s windowframes with possibly the same thin surviving windowpanes I looked out at the world. The same narrow walkways and small storefronts, but now mostly shut; They look like little cave entrances compared to the grandeur of nowadays’ retail-chain halls somewhere else.

The old harbour, once a row of small fishermen houses with workshops where wives tended to the blue nyon fishnets and boats docked just before the horn blew the end of the fishing day at 5 PM, is now a strolling alley decorated with fountains. Fishnets gave room to icecream and coffee shops. My uncle used to be one of about 50 fishermen captains. He had his own boat and a crew of 7. Now five boats with a crew of 2 are allowed to operate from a little corner of the harbour. Yet the same moon rise over Tarragona, come night.

Katharina highkey photoshooting

Katharina

Bypassers going about their business in the Maffeistrasse, Munich, Germany

steps and raindrops

“Eine Tretmühle, die die Welt mit Füßen trat, Menschen in der Großstadt wurden erst richtig eigenartig, wenn man nur ihre Füße filmte, das Räderwerk einer gesichtlosen Fabrik, die nie Stillstand, von der jedoch niemand wußte, was sie produzierte.”

Cees Noteboom, ALLERSEELEN (translated by Helga van Beuningen)
Fashionable lady going about her business in the Odeonsplatz, Munich, Germany

sit and look

Street-photography in Odeonsplatz in Munich. Bypassers busy with their thoughts parade in front of the camera on a Saturday morning. People on their way to do some shopping or to meet a friend, a business partner, a lover.

city night lights and day markets in taipei

Taipei City at night vibrates with its young population and offers a mix of all. From the beloved classy japanesse quarter in Zhongshan to the Zhongshan Park around the 101 Tower, or the electronic market off Zhongxiao in between.

©hugo ormo 2018 | Fujifilm XE-3 + XF18mm F2

Wandering off the main roads in Banqiao will probably send you into the street market in Fuzhong. A place so full of color and scents that you may want to turn the visor of your camera to a rather less distractive black-and-white mode.

©hugo ormo 2018 | Fujifilm XE-3 + XF18mm F2