Korčula, Croatia

A week spent in Korčula, Croatia is a brilliant way to capture amazing travel photography, while getting spectacular nature shots as well. In addition to drinking beer, eating local cuisines, and going for daily swims in the Adriatic Sea, we also visited some of the smaller islands that are in the vicinity of Korčula, including Badija where there is a Franciscan Monastery, and Vrnik where we enjoyed Croatian “fast food” at Škoj.

Croatia is definitely one of those places where a photograph can’t truly capture everything that makes it special, but hopefully these few images give you a taste of what it’s like. One of the main reasons it has remained so beautiful is the country has barred private development of the beaches, so there is not excessive pollution or overdevelopment. Hopefully that will remain the case for a few more decades, at the very least.

If it’s ever a possibility, I highly recommend you check out Croatia – Korčula, in particular – and see some of the bluest seas you will ever experience.

Take a Walk

This will be short today. My laptop which I bought when I was living in New Orleans six years ago (damn, that seems ages ago), is officially on its last legs, and could very well die before I even have a chance to

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, it’s still alive, but not for much longer. I’m currently in the midst of shopping for a new laptop here in Spain which is not the easiest of processes since specific computer spec vocabulary is not exactly first level Spanish.

Electronics are also more expensive here in Spain than they would be in the States. As much as I’d love to be able to hold off, though, it’s just not going to happen. Without a computer, most of my income would disappear and I don’t think the gigalo industry is what it once was out here.

On top of that tech purchase, I’m expecting some hefty dental fees in my immediate future, and possibly some travel expenses. Needless to say, I’m in that old familiar place of stressing about money again.

This is my life. Something’s got to give.

Since the firsts days of 10×10, my go to method for dealing with stress, financial and otherwise, was to get outside and just walk until my feet hurt. I’ve worn through the heels of enough pair of shoes to know that I’ve probably matched Jesus in the number of miles I’ve trekked, first across America, and now Europe.

Madrid is an extremely walkable city, and a lot smaller than it seems upon initial impressions. Some days or nights, I pick a direction and just walk until I’ve listened to a full album or a couple Spanish podcasts. I’m not far from Retiro Park, so when I’ve got no other destinations in mind, I usually head there.

Fuente de la Alcachofa 3

Even on a cold day, you’ll always finds some people lounging about in Retiro, though when the sun is shining and the temperatures start to inch up above 14 C, that’s when the park comes to life.

Since I need to get out and find a laptop that a) functions at least as well as my six-year-old model yet b) doesn’t require selling a kidney, I think I’ll leave you all with some idyllic photos from one of my recent walks, and hopefully next week I’ll be back up to full speed.

Cheers,

~L

Figuras de guerraEstanque Grande remeros 2

La VigilantePalacio de Cristal (Sunbeam)

Aerial Black and White

Eriana is a dancer who splits her time between the US and Europe. We met over Christmas and arranged a photo shoot just a couple days before she returned to the States.

This was an incredibly fun shoot and a lucky one: it had been cloudy and cold all week, but on this day, the sun came out and the temperatures were reasonable for late December in Madrid (I wouldn’t have wanted to try this shoot in New York). 

Red BW Web

This set was far more complex, both in the shooting and the editing, than anything I’ve done before, and a great learning experience. Luckily, Eriana was game for most everything and a versatile model (quite important when you have someone literally hanging upside down on a bridge).

Aerial BW 2 Web

Every new shoot is a chance to learn more, and boy did I learn a lot. As I’ve discussed previously, I’m shooting with very limited equipment (just a camera), and lack a lot of the tools (light bounce, varied lenses, etc.) that a professional might use. That means getting creative with the light I do have, and learning new editing techniques in Photoshop.

I’m far from a pro, but I’m learning bit by bit.

Crosshatch BW 2 Web

I’m posting all of my black and white photos from the shoot here, but if you would like to see the full color set (and all my sets), you can click on 1000 Words in the top menu or go directly to Eriana Aerial.

Click on the images to see them full size.

And a couple tinted experiments:

Thanks for taking a look and let me know what you think in the comments. And if there are any models (or aspiring models) in or near Madrid who would like a free shoot, click on my contact page to get in touch.

Cheers,

~L

 

Dia de Muertos

The Day of the Dead – Dia de Muertos – is a traditional Mexican holiday that involves praying for family members and loved ones who have died in order to help them on their spiritual journey “on the other side.” This holiday has spread through much of Latin America and even into Europe and throughout the world. And now, with the release of the new Pixar film, Coco, it’s probably about to become a much bigger deal among the world’s toy-loving children.

Since the Day of the Dead falls on November 1, in the United States, American’s tend to associate it with their own death-themed holiday, Halloween, which falls on October 31.

In Spain, though, November 1 is a different holiday known as All Saints’ Day (Todos Los Santos), a traditional Catholic celebration that recognizes, as the name suggests, all the saints in the religion. Across the country, there are numerous regionally-specific holidays dedicated to individual saints throughout the year (for instance, the Feast of San Antonio in La Alberca), but All Saints’ Day is celebrated nationwide.

Halloween in Madrid

On Halloween last month, my roommates and I went out into the Madrid night to see how – if – the city celebrated the morbidly amusing holiday. As has been explained to me by locals, Halloween was not traditionally celebrated in Spain, but over the last decade or so, it’s slowly grown in popularity here (America is insidious like that).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A little make-up goes a long way on Halloween

Though the Day of the Dead and All Saints’ Day are very different holidays, their roots are similarly based in commemoration of the deceased (either relatives or the saints) and a celebration of the changing season. Likewise, Halloween shares many of the same roots, so though the three holidays hold very specific cultural meanings within each country, they make for pretty natural bedfellows.

While All Saints’ Day isn’t traditionally associated with costumes, the mixture of American and Latin American expats has created a blended holiday here in Madrid. On the streets, not many people were dressed up for the night, but those that did opted for rather simple costumes (including me and my roommates). There were quite a few Day of the Dead-inspired skull designs.

El oso y el madroño

I’ve experienced some of America’s most enthusiastic Halloween cities – New Orleans and Chapel Hill are two must-visit spots for any Halloween-obsessive – so in comparison, Madrid was fairly subdued, even considering that the next day was a national holiday.

Yet, when our group split up and a few of us attempted to find a taxi home, we found ourselves S.O.L. in Sol, Madrid’s tourist-heavy, bustling city center. Ubers and Cabifys were unavailable and every passing cab swung past the crowds like they were urgently navigating through hordes of zombies. By the time we finally found a ride, we’d been stuck for over two hours.

Model Shoot

Speaking of Dia de Muertos (look at that segue), last week I was contacted out of the blue by two artists from Los Angeles who were traveling through Spain and wanted to do a Day of the Dead-themed model shoot. Erika, the make-up artist and founder of Drop Dead Gorgeous Artist, specializes in Day of the Dead designs, while the model, Marcia, is a wardrobe stylist who serves as Erika’s go-to travel companion/make-up guinea pig.

Meeting on a Tuesday night, we walked through Madrid’s richly decorated neighborhoods, looking for unique and colorful backdrops. The shoot lasted a few hours, and in the process I saw areas of the city that I had never known existed. Our wandering took us from Sol to Matadero Madrid and back up to Chueca (we might have hit a few bars along the way).

I had a blast doing this shoot, though it offered me a number of challenges, not all of which I’d say I overcame. For one, I had to quickly adapt to a variety of light sources I could not control as well as a number of areas with very low light. Additionally, shooting such bright and expressive make-up on top of a luminous red dress, while wonderful for eye-popping imagery, created some editing headaches.

Los ojos de la muerte

Of the 150+ photos I took for the shoot, I’m solidly happy with maybe half of them. A professional photographer certainly could have advised me on how to make my failed attempts work better, especially if I had more adaptable equipment (for instance, a portable light source), but for my first make-up-centric shoot, I ain’t mad. It’s all a learning process.

Chueca (Colors)

To see the full Dia de Muertos model shoot, click here or go to the 1000 Words link at the top of the page. Let me know what you think.

Guijarro

 

1000 Words

I’m currently in Paris, France (or somewhere in the air between Paris and Madrid). While I’m traveling, I wanted to draw your attention to a section of the website you may have never noticed.

Up on the menu above, you will see the option 1000 Words. That’s where I post my photo portfolios. I’ve only added a few so far, but today I’ve added my most recent. Like I said in my previous post, I’ve been looking to expand my photo skills. This past week, I was fortunate enough to shoot with a fantastic model, Nicholettee, who, like me, has transplanted from the States to Madrid.

I’ve never done a shoot like this and I learned a lot, mostly through mistakes, naturally. I’m working with minimal equipment, so it forced me to look for creative solutions, especially as the light waned.

I hope you’ll check out the set I’ve added to 1000 Words. It’s a set of 20 pictures, only a fraction of the over 200 photos we took together. I anticipate be even more model shoots in the future, and always opportunities to improve.

As far as first times go, though, this couldn’t have been better or more fun.

And next week, I’ll tell you about Paris.

Cheers,

~L

Vida futura