Barcelona Day Four: Easy Mazes and the Gothic Quarter

Our last day here in Barcelona started slowly as our over-priced cocktails from last night took a grip. After re-hydrating we sloped towards the nearest cafe we could find. Typically we found the best breakfast spot on our last day. It was a tiny, albeit slightly cramped veggie cafe. But it was cheap and delicious.

After consuming some food (5 plates of food to be precise..) we strolled around the nearby gothic quarter; home of the town hall and very impressive gothic cathedral. The area was buzzing with locals, tourists and street sellers.

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When i’m in a new city I like to try out the different modes of transport they have on offer, and Barcelona has trams. So we boarded a tram to our next and last destination of the holiday- a hilltop maze. unfortunately it turns out the tram lines are very limited and we had to get off after two stops to get a bus. We both needed the toilet and luckily we had got off the tram near a new, and very modern shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. There was music playing out speakers around the shopping mall, if you’ve ever played Sims, you can imagine the music playing.

We also realised we hadn’t consumed any water for a very long time so headed into a CarreFour super market- well we tried. The entrance wasn’t very clearly marked (considering Alex speaks both Catalan and Spanish)  so we just headed backwards through the self checkouts so we could get into the supermarket. But one lady on the checkout did not take us ‘breaking in’ to the shop very kindly and proceeded to shout at us then call security..

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So after that slight misunderstanding we boarded the bus; drink-less.  It dropped us at the bottom of a massive hill, on a road, with no pavement and no phone signal. Against our better judgement we started to walk up the giant hill.. And to our surprise the winding path did lead us to a beautiful gardens complete with a maze..

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Although often the main selling point of these gardens is the maze, it was very small thus easy to complete. The real charm of the place is the hidden, secluded paths winding through forests, past waterfalls and beautiful wildlife.

As we reached the exit of the gardens and the entrance of the metro it dawned on us that this was the end of our holiday. So we collected our luggage, stocked up on tapas and spent our euros in duty free. So here we are at Barcelona airport planning our next trip whilst waiting for our delayed flight home..

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
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Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

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Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

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Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

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Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Visiting Camden Market

As a street photographer I have a few favourite spots around London; busy places with interesting characters (and good food is always a plus!). Camden market ticks all these boxes so with an hour before I needed to be at a meeting in central London I hopped on a tube for 10 minutes and explored Camden.

 

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Despite being a week day, Camden was packed with tourists, businessman and market traders.

There is almost too much choice when it comes to food. There are hot food stalls including pizza, Indian and Chinese, but there are also more street food-type options such as burritos and burgers.

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Of course you can avoid the British art of queuing and save yourself some money by bringing a packed lunch.

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I would definitely recommend a packed lunch if your staying in London for a few days and on a budget. As delicious as most of the food is- it’s not cheap. Camden also has a river running through the market, it acts as a great picnic spot.

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If you want to check out Camden I would also recommend heading north and walking to Primrose hill, after a sweaty walk up the steep hill you can see my favourite view across the London skyline..

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Bangladesh Travel Summary

After almost 4 months my time travelling and working as a community worker in Bangladesh has come to an end. I have met friends for life and am already planning my return to the complicated yet beautiful country.

Coming back to the UK has provided some shocks; my first warm shower in over 3 months, not sleeping underneath a mosquito net or using a squat toilet and eating with cutlery!  Although I oddly miss using a squat toilet..

To put my experience into perspective I have put together some facts and figures:

-Flip-Flops Lost: 3 

-Weight Lost: 1 Stone

-Hospital Stays: 1

-Rickshaw Rides: 70

-Homemade Monopoly Boards: 1

-Mice Found in Bedroom: 3

-Power Cuts: 200

-Tea Breaks: 300+

-Average Temperature: 28 Degree’s

I am currently in the process of putting together a video documenting my time and developing 7 rolls of 35mm film, but for now, here are my favourite digital photos I shot during my time in the must-see country:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

72 Hours in London

I recently spent 72 hours in London seeing as many exhibitions and locations as possible. I hope you enjoy..

72 Hours In London 

The first place we visited was the Barbican. One of my favourite places in London. It’s a mix of brutalist architecture, flowers and world class exhibition spaces.

I was there to see Richard Mosses exhibition ‘Incoming’ for the second time. Made up of a few images and an outstanding triptych video installation.  The images are  created using military  cameras and focus on the migration crisis.

The video Installation

Food. Food is vital for having the energy to navigate around the busy streets of London. so we headed to the famous Borough Market. There was a great atmosphere and I was more than happy with my chocolate ‘mis-shapes’ I bought from an artisan chocolate stand and the 2 donuts I purchased (for myself).

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My ‘Mis-shapes’

The next day was a busy one; The Photographers Gallery, Tate Modern and Soho. I was at the photographers gallery to check out this years Deutsche Borse prize. This is where 4 photographers are nominated and shown at the gallery with one lucky photographer winning the £30,000 grand prize. (I should be so lucky). Most years I came away loving two pieces of work and two going over my head. This year was no different but my favourite without a doubt was ‘Imperial Courts’ by Dana Lixenberg. Photographed over 2o years Lixenberg returned numerous times to Imperial Courts housing estate in Southern LA. The portraits are consistently strong and often haunting.  A must see if your a portrait fan or just passionate about photography like me.

Visitors taking a break at the entrance of The Photographers Gallery

Just behind The Photographers Gallery is Soho, China Town and Leicester square. These areas are always super busy and not somewhere to go for a cheap meal. But it is perfect for people watching and a bit of street photography.

Next up Tate modern. This is a brilliant resource, filled with art and art lovers. And not only that its free to enter! The new building extension is a great draw for both artists and architecture enthusiasts, especially the 360 degree viewing platform.  Not one for those scared of heights or cramped lifts (you will be squashed against at least 3 other people)  then this is a London must see.

The Millennium Bridge leading to Tate Modern

Views from above

It was a great 72 hours fitting in as much as possible and of course we stopped for some much needed breaks at cafe’s and restaurants (Vapiano’s is always a crowd pleaser). I also fitted in time to go to a friends house party. Returning at 3am I got to use the night tube for the first time. I was a little tentative travelling on my own but the staff were as helpful as always and the carriages weren’t filled with lots of drunk people instead lots of Londoners suited up looking like their returning from a dinner party. But if you are in London especially at night, please don’t take anything for granted and stay safe! I am slowly working through editing all the photos and will be posting them on my Instagram @madisonbeachphotos. Please comment below if you want any London recommendations or if you have any for me!

Combining Travelling with Creativity

Over the last year I have been lucky enough to experience many new cultures which I have always wanted to capture.  But it’s not always been easy juggling photography, filmmaking and experiencing a place for the first time.  I have written an article for a great new magazine, 99% Lifestyle, which is available to read on their website.

I hope you enjoy the article, comment below if you have any questions or what you’re getting up to over the weekend. I Hope you have a great Easter!

Seeing the Northern Lights For the First Time

This time last week I was in my Reykjavik hotel room putting on as many thermal layers as my body would allow in preparation for our midnight adventure; northern light hunting. I was a little naive before I touched down in Iceland, I assumed they would be visible most nights in an Icelandic winter.Nope. When we arrived we spoke to numerous people who had been there for over a week and there had be no sighting of these mysterious lights due to cloud.

We arrived on monday with tickets for that evening to be taken out on a coach to the middle of nowhere to witness the lights. It was cancelled and we re-scheduled for tuesday. Needless to say it was cancelled again and again. We were slowly running out of hope until we woke up on thursday, our last full day, and the sun was shining through the clouds.

We were picked up at 9pm and drove an hour South-West from Reykjavik to the edge of the ocean (although it was so dark we had no idea). The city lights were dull in the distance allowing for whats known as black spot to provide the perfect backdrop for the northern lights..

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A dodgy photo of me looking the wrong to prove I was actually there

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Iceland was one of the most photogenic countries I’ve ever visited. I shot hours of footage while travelling and have put it into a short video:

I shot 4 rolls of film which I’m very excited to be picking up today, I’ll be posting the photos on the blog and to my instagram @madisonbeachphotos