Milano, street life – A collection of pictures, with a Leica SL

Milano, here we are! It took me almost 13 years before I could come back to the city where I’ve studied and lived for three years, from years 2003 to 2006.

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of this city, but I cannot ignore the fact that is the only real big city in Italy, undoubtedly, the only city with a vibrant and dynamic life that flows between its streets.

Comparing to 13 years ago, Milano has grown and changed a lot, and even though it is not the place I would love to live in, it is for sure a great playground for street and travel photographer, like me.

Unfortunately, I had only 24 hours to get the most out of it, and, of course, my Leica SL and the two great lenses I always carry along. the Summicron M 28mm f2 ASPH and the Summicron M 50mm f2.

24 hours is not too much but can be a lot, If you stay around until 5 am… 🙂

Go to Duomo in the middle of the night!

Visiting the area of  Duomo, the Milano’s gothic cathedral, at night, totally empty from tourists, is a unique experience that I highly suggest you.

There is a kind mystic atmosphere, where the magnificent Duomo dominates over everything making you feel a tiny ant.

But one of my requirements, for my photography, is to always add a human being element to the scene, so I had to wait a bit for someone to cross the empty square, and it happened just very few times.

This is one of my favourites:

A city full of tourists, a challenge for myself

About my street photography, the challenge was to capture a candid moment of life, trying to avoid the tourists as much as possible and, mostly, avoid being trivial and obvious.

That was not easy at all.

To achieve that, giving the fact that I could only be in the city centre, I had to walk continuously and obsessively observe everything to find the perfect moment. And there were few captured moments, I’m quite proud of:

1. Love has no gender.

Maybe an obvious shot, but to me, it isn’t. These two girls were passionately kissing each other, ignoring everyone else all around. Pure love.

They grabbed my attention and so I’ve tried to approach discretely while contextualizing the scene adding the dominating Duomo in the background and the small pigeon in the foreground.

2. The smoking lady

Here, I like the way the light is somehow shaping the scene, guiding your eyes from the bench to the cigarette, and up toward the castle.


And here is the rest of the pictures… I hope you will find something interesting…

Milano, street life – Series of 20

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See you soon Milan, I hope to come back soon as there is still a lots of life to photograph!


Useful links:

To buy as prints or digital high resolution files, please go to my official porfolio page here:

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Cheers,
Sabino

 

Bologna, a collection of street photos

Recently I was in Italy for a very short trip over the weekend and during that time I spent one day and one night in Bologna., in the Emilia Romagna region, just an hour far (by train) from Milan.

It was not the first time for me, actually, I did the military service in Bologna, just around 20 years ago! Woow, time flies…

Since then, I never came back and, 20 years ago, I was not even close to being a photographer, so I had no pictures taken.

Frankly, I found the city to be exactly the same as twenty years ago, and I still remember where to go and all the main spots.

But this time, I’ve observed it with the eyes and the mind of a photographer, certainly with a different point of view, and with a Leica SL.

Of course, 24 hours, even less, are not enough to really get the soul of a city, but I did my best to capture as much as possible street life.

The city shows its best side at night when the old warm lights illuminate the elegant and endless porticoes, a peculiarity and symbol of this historic city.

Walking around with the Leica SL and the two compact lenses such as Summicron 28mm and 50mm it was so light and relaxing, and the manual focus, in low light was very easy and fast.

Here are the final pictures:

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Thanks for watching,
cheers,
Sab

Sneak preview of my photo shooting in the forest of Luxembourg

A sneak preview of the photo shooting I had today, totally immersed in a beautiful forest somewhere in Luxembourg. A very special place that seems to be coming out of a fairytale.

Autumn is definitely the best time of the year to enjoy the green areas all over the country. The nature shows so many shades of warm colours and the underwood is full of different types of mushrooms.

Guess, where am I?

[momentopress url=https://momento360.com/e/u/642984540a034523aa1356194a17ad53?utm_campaign=embed&utm_source=other&utm_medium=other]

You will discover it soon, in the next few days I will upload the final pictures out of my wonderful Leica SL camera.

For now, just enjoy these few pictures I took with the iPhone 8Plus that demonstrate again to have a very good camera!

Thanks for reading, and please, come back soon for new pictures!

A presto,
Sabino

15 photos of the amazing Mezquita de Cordoba, Andalusia (with a Leica SL)

As already mentioned in my earlier post about Cordova, the Mezquita is the most famous spot of this nice city in Andalusia, other than being the most important testimonies in Islamic culture in Europe.

In this post, I show you my best 15 photos I have taken with my Leica SL

15 Photos of the Mezquita de Cordoba

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

Conclusions and photography reflections

The Mezquita is a very nice spot for photography, full of interesting details. I had the chance to visit the inside of the ancient Mosque, but I could not enter the tripod so all the photos have been made with the Leica SL, hand-held, and ISO 800.

The main issue I had, other than the very low light, it was the presence of tourists scattered all around and, you can imagine, invading any framing I tried to make. I love placing a human being in my pictures, but It should add value to the shot.

To make some nice pictures I had to really move a lot and act very quickly, shooting as soon as I had no people walking in front of me.

At some point, I thought that the only way to get rid of the tourists was to have long exposure time, but I had no tripod!

So I found a nice spot, placed my leather bag on the floor and stabilised the Leica SL on it.

That was a good idea though, the final photo was indeed very good. (picture nr. 1 of this series)

 

About you, which picture from this series do you prefer the most and why?

I would highly appreciate your comments.

Thanks for reading,
Sabino

Alla scoperta di Cordova, foto e consigli utili – Viaggio in Andalusia

La terza tappa del mio viaggio on the road in Andalusia, è la storica città Cordova, serenamente adagiata lungo il fiume Guadalquivir e ai piedi della Sierra Morena.

A differenze delle più dinamiche Granada e Siviglia, Cordoba infatti è molto tranquilla. La vita intorno alla maestosa Mezquita e tra i vicoli del quartiere arabo de la Juderia, nominato Patrimonio dell’Umanità dall’Unesco, scorre ad un ritmo blando e tranquillo.

Cordova in un giorno?

Si, la città di Cordova si potrebbe visitare anche in un giorno, essendo non troppo grande e tutto è raggiungibile con una passeggiata di pochi minuti. Ma la serenità che trasmette questo posto invoglia a passarci molto più tempo, perché, ve lo assicuro,

passeggiare lungo la riva del Guadalquivir o attraverso il bellissimo ponte romano al tramonto e poi cenare seduti ai tavolini di uno dei tanti ottimi ristoranti nel centro storico, è un’esperienza rigenerante.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

La Mezquita

Costruita dai principi Omeya, tra l’VIII e il X secolo, questa moschea è una delle più importanti testimonianze nella cultura islamica in Europa oltre che uno straordinario esempio di architettura moresca.

Come già successo per altre moschee in Andalusia, la Mezquita venne convertita dopo la conquista cristiana, in Cattedrale a partire dal 1523.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Ingresso gratuito all’apertura!

Essendo il sito più noto e visitato di Cordova, ho programmato di visitarlo e fotografarlo non appena fosse aperto al pubblico. Il costo del biglietto per la visita, senza guida, è di 8€ ma, con molto piacere, una volta sul posto, ho scoperto che l’ingresso è gratuito per chi accede all’apertura,quindi alle 8:30. 

Purtroppo però, anche se presto, c’era gia un bel gruppo di visitatori per cui il mio entusiasmo è calato immediatamente appena entrato. L’interno della Mezquita è molto bello e suggestivo con questa serie di colonne ed archi ma non appena i visitatori si sono sparpagliati, è diventato difficilissimo fare foto decenti. Inoltre, non è permesso entrare con il cavalletto e quindi ho dovuto tenere gli ISO alti e scattare a mano libera.

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Ad un certo punto mi sono seduto per terra e piazzato la Leica SL sulla borsa per dargli stabilità, e scattato qualche foto con tempi bassi per cercare in qualche modo di eliminare i turisti.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

La Juderia e qualche foto di strada

La Juderia è forse il più famoso quartiere ebraico d’Andalusia. Perdersi tra le sue bianche viuzze è la cosa migliore da fare per godersela al meglio. Anche qui, come a Granada, non c’è molta vita, tutto è abbastanza statico ma pulito e finemente decorato. Per un fotografo di strada come me, siamo al limite del noioso.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Plaza de los Capuchinos

Questo è stato per me uno dei punti più suggestivi e fotogenici di Cordova, per la sua atmosfera mistica. Una piccola e graziosa piazzetta dove si trova il Cristo de los Faroles, un crocifisso illuminato da otto lanterne, e il convento dei frati cappuccini.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Plaza de la Corredera

Questa piazza, molto simile per stile architettonico alla piazza di Madrid, è lo spazio porticato più esteso d’Andalusia. Delimita un ampio rettangolo chiuso da edifici residenziali di tre piani in mattoni, nella quale si allineano centinaia di balconi. Molto bella e fotogenica.

iphone 6s

iphone 6s


 

Dormire a Cordova

La mia esperienza a Cordova è stata fantastica perchè l’hotel che ho scelto si è rivelato davvero eccezionale sotto tutti i punti di vista, quindi ve lo consiglio caldamente:

Hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir (Esperia )

Posizione strategica, a pochi passi dal Ponte Romano in una zona con parcheggio gratuito e splendida vista sulla Mezquita. Stanza matrimoniale ampia e letto enorme. Bella anche la piscina sul tetto, piccola ma molto piacevole.

iPhone 6s

La mia fotografia, a Cordova. Come è andata

Niente di esaltante e memorabile. Le opportunità di foto di strada sono state molto rare. Ho alternato un pò tutte le lenti, cercando di stimolare lo sguardo con diverse focali, ma alla fine i soggetti sono stati quasi sempre di tipo architettonico.

Posso dire che fotograficamente, Cordova, non è stato un posto che mi ha stimolato particolarmente.

L’opportunità fotografica più bella?

Sicuramente la foto panoramica al tramonto sul ponte romano e sulla Mezquita, dal tetto dell’hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir, dal quale avevo una vista privilegiata e unica. Anche se questa non il mio tipo di fotograifa preferito, almeno ho giustificato lâver portato con me il cavalletto, essendo questo l’unico posto in cui ne ho fatto uso.

Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

 

Conclusioni

Mi è piaciuta Cordova? Si, molto, soprattutto per la sua atmosfera tranquilla e rilassata. Come per Granada, mi ha un pò deluso il quartiere ebraico della Juderia, per lo stesso motivo: mi aspettavo un quartiere più genuino e pieno di vita. Forse ho troppo negli occhi e nel cuore le atmosfere delle medine marocchine, e questo influenza parecchio le mie aspettative. Ma di certo il voto globale su Cordova rimane positivo.

Voto: 7

Se avete bisogno di altre informazioni, non esitate a contattarmi, sarò felice di rispondervi.

Grazie per la lettura,
a presto,

Sabino

 

 

Discorvering Cordova, photos and useful tips – Andalusia on the road

The third stop of my trip on the road to Andalusia is the historic city of Cordova, serenely lying along the Guadalquivir river and at the foot of the Sierra Morena.

In contrast to the most dynamic Granada and Seville, Cordoba is in fact very quiet. Life around the majestic Mezquita and in the alleys of the Jewish quarter of Juderia, named World Heritage by Unesco, runs at a mild and quiet pace.

Cordova in one day?

Yes, the city of Cordoba could be visited even in one day, as it is not too big and everything can be reached in a few minutes walk. But the serenity that transmits this place invites you to spend much more time, because, I assure you,

stroll along the Guadalquivir shore or cross the beautiful Roman bridge at sunset and then dine at the tables of one of the many great restaurants in the historic center, is a regenerating experience.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

The Mezquita

Built by the Omeya princes, between the 8th and the 10th centuries, this mosque is one of the most important testimonies in Islamic culture in Europe as well as an extraordinary example of Moorish architecture.

As happened to other mosques in Andalusia, the Mezquita was converted after the Christian conquest, in the Cathedral from 1523.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Free admission at the opening!

Being the most popular and visited site in Cordoba, I planned to visit and photograph it as soon as it was open to the public. The cost of the ticket for a visit without a guide is 8 € but, with pleasure, once on the spot, I found out that the entrance is free for those who access the opening, so at 8:30.

Unfortunately, though, there was already a fair group of visitors so my enthusiasm dropped instantly as soon as I got in. The inside of the Mezquita is very beautiful and impressive with this set of columns and bows but as soon as the visitors are scattered, it has become very difficult to make decent photos. Also, it is not allowed to enter the tripod so I had to hold the ISO high and hand-held.

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

At some point I sat on the ground and placed the Leica SL on my bag to give it stability, and took some photos with slow exposure time to try to somehow eliminate the tourists presence.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 Asph

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

The Juderia and some street photos

Juderia is perhaps the most famous Jewish quarter in Andalusia. Losing yourself in its white lanes is the best thing to do to enjoy it at best. But also here, as in Granada, there is not much life around, everything is static but clean and finely decorated. For a street photographer like me, it is almost boring.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Plaza de los Capuchinos

This was for me one of the most striking and photogenic spots of Cordoba, for its mystical atmosphere. A small and cute little square with theCristo de los Faroles, a crucifix illuminated by eight lanterns, and the convent of the Capuchin friars.

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2.8 ASPH

Plaza de la Corredera

This square, have a very similar architectural style than the one in Madrid, and is the most extensive portico of Andalusia. A large rectangle enclosed by three-story residential buildings, in which hundreds of balconies are aligned. Very beautiful and photogenic.

iphone 6s

iphone 6s

Hotel in Cordova

My accommodation experience in Cordova was fantastic because the hotel I chose turned out to be really great in all aspects, so I highly recommend it:

Hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir (Esperia )

Strategically located, just a few steps from the Roman Bridge in an area with free parking and a beautiful view of the Mezquita. Large double room and huge bed. Nice also the rooftop pool, small but very pleasant.

iPhone 6s

My photography, in Cordoba. How did it go

To be honest, nothing special and memorable. Street photography opportunities were very rare. I alternated all the lenses, trying to stimulate the look with different focal length, but in the end, the subjects were almost always architectural.

I may say that, speaking on photography, Córdova, it is not a place that has stimulated me particularly.

The most beautiful photo opportunity?

Definitely the panoramic photo at sunset on the Roman bridge and on the Mezquita, from the roof of the hotel NH Cordoba Guadalquivir, from which I had a privileged and unique view. Although this is not my favorite type of photography, at least I justified bringing the tripod with me, as this is the only place I used it.

Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

 

Conclusions

Did I like Cordoba? Yes, much, especially for its quiet and relaxed atmosphere. As in Granada, I was disappointed by Juderia’s Jewish quarter for the same reason: I expected a more genuine and loud life. Maybe I still have in the eyes and in the heart the life in the Moroccan Medina, and this influences my expectations a lot. But certainly the global vote on Cordoba remains positive.

Vote: 7

If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer you.

Thanks for reading,
see you soon,

Sabino

 

 

20 foto di strada della splendida Hoi An, Vietnam

Oggi vi porto con me per una piacevole passeggiata tra le eleganti e colorate stradine di Hoi An, in Vietnam. Dichiarata patrimonio dell’umanità dall’UNESCO, come esemplare ben conservato di porto commerciale sud-orientale, questa piccola città ha subito nei secoli diverse influenze dalle popolazioni straniere che vi si insediarono, come portoghesi, olandesi, indiani, cinesi e giapponesi.

Il delizioso centro storico infatti, oltre ad avere una forte atmosfera vietnamita, mostra una fusione unica di tradizione locale ed influenza straniera.

In giro con una Leica M

Ovviamente le opportunità fotografiche sono tantissime, anche se le strade sono invase dai turisti in qualsiasi momento della giornata. Io l’ho fotografata con una Leica M, alternando le lenti Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH e Summicron 50mm f2.

20 foto della bellissima Hoi An

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(selfie time 🙂 )

Quale di queste foto vi piace di più?

Grazie per la lettura, a presto,
Sabino

20 street photos of the lovely Hoi An, Vietnam

Today I take you outside for a pleasant walk through the elegant and colorful streets of Hoi An, Vietnam. Declared UNESCO World Heritage Site as a well preserved southeastern commercial port, this small city has been subjected to influences by foreign settlers such as Portuguese, Dutch, Indian, Chinese, and Japanese.

In fact, the delightful historical center, in addition to having a strong Vietnamese atmosphere, shows a unique fusion of local tradition and foreign influence.

Chilling around with a Leica M

Obviously photographic opportunities are many, though the streets are invaded by tourists any time of the day. I photographed it with a Leica M, alternating the lenses like the Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH e Summicron 50mm f2.

20 street photos of my lovely Hoi An

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(selfie time 🙂 )

Which of these photos do you like the most?

Many thanks for,
a presto, Sabino

25 photos that brings you inside the stunning Alhambra in Granada

After telling you about my experience in Granada, today I bring you into an authentic wonder of architecture and history, declared Unesco’s Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1984: the Alhambra.
(I will not write here the history of this place as you can easily read it on Wikipedia.)

Instead, I want to describe it through the photos I took with my Leica SL and consequently through the emotions I felt, the environments, atmospheres, and details that struck me most.

Most of the photos were taken inside the Royal Palace, Palacio Nazaries, the most beautiful Islamic building in Europe, a series of rooms and patios in the most classic and sophisticated Moorish style. A real wonder.

Unfortunately, I can not write the aperture value for each shot because I used old and uncoded lenses, so the camera doesn’t show it.

The following first picture was taken by Mirador de San Nicolas at sunset, on a tripod, with an old Pentacon 135mm f2.8 with M42 mount, a lens that gave me amazing results on Leica SL.

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8 

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

 

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

 

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8 

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

 

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8 

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Leica SL + Pentacon 135mm f2.8

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 50mm f2

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

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Leica SL + Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH

Conclusions and photography reflections

With so many tourists around, it is very difficult to take special pictures. Even wanting to insert the human element, which I usually love to do, I can not isolate it from others, aside from being, the tourist, not especially photogenic.

In this case, the only way to make the photo interesting is to use the cinematic technique of the “fifth”, a predominant element set in the foreground but out of focus, as in photo N.11, where the child makes almost unnoticed the presence of other people in the background.

Photo N.5, on the other hand, is the one where I managed to get what I wanted, that is to isolate and insert a distinctly human element in a frame that characterizes and identifies the place. I saw the image as soon as I entered that room, but I only had a few seconds to shoot, because then it was a continuous flow of tourists passing by, outside and inside.

For the rest, I have focused more on the beautiful architectural details, often placed above me and thus free from other disturbing elements.

About you, which picture from this series do you prefer the most and why?

I would highly appreciate your comments.

Thanks for reading,
Sabino

Discovering Granada, 4 walking routes and useful tips – Andalusia on the road

The first city I visited in the Andalusian region is Granada, one of the most important provinces and home of the famous Alhambra, an ancient Arab citadel (medina), then conquered by Christians and now an UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage.
In this city, with a strong Moroccan atmosphere, there is so much to see and, above all, to explore, but beware, it is also full of climbs and downs, so be well trained!

Traffic jam, just entering Granada

Arrived late in the evening, after the desert of Tabernas desert and the beautiful landscapes of the Sierra Nevada, the impact with the city was quite traumatic due to huge traffic jam: to drive the last 7-8 kilometres, we needed almost an hour. But we are in Spain, and here it is never too late, not even to go out and eat. So, left our luggages in the great Abadia hotel, just a short walk from the cathedral and centrally located, we immediately went out to the street in search of refreshment.

Calle Elvira, Moroccan atmosphere between Tapas Bar and The houses

The most famous street for tapas and cervezas is, without a doubt, Calle Elvira. This narrow street, in the centre of Granada, is less than a kilometre long and has plenty of tapas bars, tabernas, souvenir shops, Kebabs and the houses. It feels to be in a Moroccan village and until late in the evening the atmosphere is cheerful and vibrant.

Choosing where to eat, with so wide offers is always difficult, but we had a good address for a fresh seafood and so we headed to the Bar Los Diamantes , in Plaza Nueva, right in time before it closed.
About this tapas bar, I’ll talk deeply in a dedicated post, but I can tell that the food is just great!

Walking route N.1 – Plaza del Triunfo> Plaza Nueva – 850 m

Below is the route map. By clicking on “More options” you will be directed to the detailed route on Google Maps.


Best of Granada, in one day

Having a full day available, here’s what we did to visit Granada at its best.


Morning –  Alhambra and Albaicin

After a nice and sweet breakfast in the small bakery / pastry shop La Tentacion, we walked to the beautiful Alhambra, without a ticket, hoping to find some still available at the ticket office (read below). There are obviously city bus services, as the citadel is on top of a hill, but walking, albeit almost uphill, is very enjoyable and lets you discover and photograph glimpses that you would not otherwise see by bus.

Tickets purchased (€ 14 per head), we spent a couple of hours visiting the Generalife, the wonderful outdoor garden, crowded with tourists. The visit to the Royal Palace, Palacios Nazaríes, the most important and scenic, is set by fixed entry times and our turn is at 2:30 pm, so we split the Alhambra visit at two different times of the day.

Walking route N.2 – Plaza Nueva > Alhambra – 1.5km (mostly uphill)

Below is the route map. By clicking on “More Options” you will be directed to the detailed route on Google Maps.

Pastelleria – La Tentacione

Pastelleria – La tentacione

The view of the city on the actual Alhambra route

A nice graffiti art of Alice in Wonderland, along the path to the Alhambra

The beautiful gardens of the Generalife within the Alhambra

The beautiful gardens of the Generalife within the Alhambra

L’Alhambra

L’Alhambra

After leaving the Alhambra around 11 am, we headed, always by foot, to the Arab district of Albaicin, along with a long and deep descent leading to the banks of the Darro River. From here, it begins to climb through a labyrinth of narrow, clean and decorated lanes with flowers hanging on the walls. We are in the Arab quarter. The most frequented area in this neighbourhood is undoubtedly the Mirador de San Nicolas, from where you have a stunning view of the Alhambra and where most panoramic photos are taken. But it is not yet the right time, so we continued to explore the area around.

Walking route N.3 – Alhambra > Albaicin- 1.5km (long descent and then uphill again)

Below is the route map. By clicking on “More options” you will be directed to the detailed route on Google Maps.

The long descent that from the Alhambra brings to Albaicin

The long descent that from the Alhambra brings to Albaicin

 

The view over the Alhambra from the Mirador San Nicolas

 

Plaza Aliatar, a nice spot in the Albaicin

Detail of a Moresque style window, in Albaicin

Albaicin

Albaicin

Before returning to our visit to the Alhambra, we had lunch at the Tabernas La Cueva de 1900, with great tapas based on Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, tomato sauce, bread croutons with ham and a glass of red wine. A very good restaurant near Plaza Nueva I recommend for a stop & go.


Afternoon – Alhambra (Royal Palace and Alcazaba)

At about 2pm we returned to the Alhambra, this time by bus (1.20 €) for the visit to Palacios Nazares and Alcazaba. Despite the time, we still found many tourists, confirming that this site is always crowded, regardless of the time of the day. After a long wait under a burning sun, we finally entered the Royal Palace and the wait was gratified. The interiors are gorgeous, in the typical Moorish style made of arches and gorgeous stone ornaments. The visit is very pleasant and the halls are very photogenic, as well as fresh. Too bad, because of the presence of so many tourists, it was difficult to take particularly interesting photos …

After exiting the Royal Palace, we visited the Alcazaba, the military area, the Alhambra defence and surveillance centre and represents the oldest part of the complex. To get in there, you need to show your ticket.
From one of the towers you have a great view of the city and suburbs of Albaicin and Sacromonte, so it’s worth it.


At the end of the visit, at around 4 pm, tired by the heat and the intense half day we had, we returned to the hotel, walking for about 2km for a well-deserved rest of almost 3 hours.

Details of the wonderful Moorish decorations inside the Royal Palace


Evening – Tapas in the Albaicin, sunset at San Nicolas and Zambra in the Sacromonte Gypsies district

Refreshed and rested, at around 19:30 we went out to walk back to the neighbourhood of Albaicin with final destination the Sacromonte gitano district where we will attend the  Gypsies Flamenco called “Zambra” in the tabernas Venta El Gallo.

First, however, we stop at the Mirador de San Nicolas for the classic Alhambra photo at sunset. The route once again is beautiful but everything is uphill. It starts from Plaza del Triunfo, where there is a beautiful Moroccan door, Puerta de Elvira, the starting point of the famous tapas road (see below). This door reminded me of Bab Boujloud in Fes, Morocco, which is, of course, more beautiful and scenic, but for a moment brought me back there.

Arriving at the San Nicolas Mirador, I found a huge crowd of tourists and photographers ready to capture the sunset scenery. With a pinch of difficulty and with the experience gained on so many trips, I managed to make room for me and take a spot in the front row, but I had to wait almost an hour without doing anything before the sun began to fall.

But now I’m no longer a landscape photographer, or rather, this is not a picture that I’m thrilled as in the past, so I left the place before the sun was completely over.

The Zambra show waited for us in a few minutes, and for me it was much more important from a photographic point of view, or at least I was hoping for it.

And this high expectation has been fortunately confirmed:

The Zambra’s dance, the Gypsies flamenco, overwhelmed me and I left with the goose bumps at the end of the show. Wonderul, full of suffering, passion and rithm. Unforgettable. I would see it again and again, a thousand times.

Obviously in Granada there are several shows of Zambra, more or less touristic places are all along the Caminito de Sacromonte. Now I do not know how the others are, but that of Venta el Gallo has been incredibly beautiful and nothing touristy. I talk about the show itself, not the place, anyway cute. But I will discuss this in more detail in a separate article.

Walking route N.4 – Plaza del Triunfo > Sacromonte – 2.1km (mostly uphill)

Below is the route map. By clicking on “More options” you will be directed to the detailed route on Google Maps.

Waiting for sunset on the San Nicolas Mirador’s Alhambra

The stunning view over the Alhambra

Zambra dancer in a relaxing break

The “Venta El Gallo” restaurant in the Sacromonte gitano district

A gitanos Family

The stage, a few minutes before the show


By summing up, the best of Granada and some helpful advice

The Alhambra 

Of course, the main attraction of this city is undoubtedly the Alhambra, although afterwards, after my experience, there is another attraction for which I would happily return to Granada, the Zambra.
If you look around the various sites, they will tell you that you need to buy the ticket for entry several days in advance, online, because the number of accesses is limited every day.
This is true, especially if you do it like me and try to buy the ticket a day earlier, probably finding it all sold out. However, it’s also true that the limited number of entries relates only to the visit to the Royal Palace (Palacio Nazares), while the whole citadel and then the gardens of Generalife and the Alcazaba are always available.

Now, I do not know if mine was just lucky, but considering that the ticket office opened at 8:30 am, I arrived around 9:30 am and there were several still available tickets for entering at 14:30 (There are 3 pre-established visit slots). Of course, it’s not the ideal time of the day, either for the heat or for a photographic point of view, but I always like to think that any situation can offer great photographs and I do not have to force the case.

My best pictures are always the most casual and instinctive ones.
So do not be discouraged if you can not book the ticket in advance, you probably will find one at the tickets counter desk.

5 useful notes to remember about the Alhambra

  1. Opens at 8:30h
  2. Always crowded and very large. Consider 3 to 4 hours for the visit.
  3. There are fountains with drinking water at various points.
  4. With one ticket you can go in and out several times in the day, except for the Alcazaba and the Royal Palace where you can only enter once.
  5. We arrive from the center of Plaza Neuva with the C3 minibus at the cost of the bus ticket (1.20 € on the bus) (much better to walk on foot, 30 minutes walking)

The arab district of Albaicin

The Arabian district of Granada, also named UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage, stands on a hill in front of the Alhambra. Losing yourself into its beautiful streets is the best way to explore and photograph it.

5 useful notes to remember on the Albaicin

  1. It is advisable to visit it from 19:30 onwards when the light is warmer and the temperature is less strong
  2. Very nice walk from Albaicin to Sacromonte.
  3. Do not miss the sunset on the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicolas
  4. Great tapas bars or restoraunts, from Plaza Larga to Calle Panaderos
  5. Souvenirs. Negotiate the prices, high for tourists. I’ve got a magnet, from 3 € to 2 €

Accomodations in Granada

Here I can only bring my (great) experience with the hotel Excellent our Abadia hotel, central located and with a coffee machine to use for free in the lobby. The rooms are not large but very clean and overlook a beautiful patio where you can relax. The Hotel staff is very nice and helpful. Highly recommended.

The nice patio of the Abadia hotel

My photography, in Granada. How did it go

Unlike what I expected, I did not take a lot of street photography here in Granada. The Arabian quarter, Albaicin, where I expected a more local and genuine life, is actually a tourist area, with well-groomed streets and postcard scenarios. This aspect has disappointed me a bit, which does not mean I did not like it, indeed, but from a photographic point of view it turned out to be uninteresting. I did mostly panoramic, landscapes and details, especially during the visit to the Alhambra.

The most beautiful photo opportunity?

The most beautiful and intriguing photos I made during the Zambra show where, thanks to the fact that I sat in the front row, I had the opportunity to photograph the artists without having other tourists in between. Here I used the Voigtlander Skopar 21mm to capture the whole scene, but also the Summicron M 28mm and 50mm f2, and even the Pentacon 135mm f2.8 to try to capture some details. You will see the pictures in a dedicated article.

In this situation I discovered the convenience of the zoom function in the Leica SL electronic viewfinder, which facilitates the manual focusing even in moving actions and with complex lights as in this case.

 

Conclusions

I liked Granada? Yes, of course, even if I expected, as I said before, to find more real and true traces of an ancient Moroccan medina, which unfortunately is not. That said, the Alhambra remains a wonder to see and the Zambra show worth a trip to this beautiful Andalusian city. I did not mention the Cathedral of Granada, because unfortunately, for lack of time, I only saw it from the outside and quickly. In one day and a half, you can see the best of Granada, but the ideal would be to stop for two full days.

My rating: 6.5 (9 for Zambra only) 🙂

If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to answer you.

Thanks for reading,
see you soon, Sabino