Los Indignados

Its mostly youth that make up "The Indignant", a protest group that is p!ssed about the unemployment rate, economic crisis, and the housing bubble burst amongst other things. In a run up to some kind of election the protests started in Madrid with the Indignados occupying Puerta del Sol and moved on to everywhere in Spain. I posted previously about what i saw in Madrid when i was there when it first started. Now here is a look at Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona a few weeks later after elections. It's looking pretty sparse and seems most people have moved on. I don't have a finger on the pulse of "the revolution" mainly because I don't speak Spanish and i'm not Spanish so I care a lot less about it. To me it looks like the credibility of this protest is gone and that the misguided youth of Barcelona are still living in Plaza Catalunya. From time to time i will see small marches or protests around Barcelona with the Indignants banging on things. I see tons of dreadlocks, instruments, tightropes, yoga mats, sleeping bags, camping gear, beer, tattoos, piercings, cigarettes, dogs, and all the other hippie trappings. It looks like a giant hippie fest where people have lost sight of the goal, or a goal. Again, I don't know what's happening, maybe there is a reason and effect this is all having. I'm just stating what it looks like with my eyeballs. If any of you out there do know what's happening let me know.

This happened a while ago, the European cup football match was to be played the next night and FC Barcelona was a favorite to win and Plaza Catalunya is where the footie fans go to celebrate only it was occupied by the indignados. So the city claimed they wanted to clean the plaza before it was flooded with thousands of footie fans if Barcelona won the next night. Is that true, or did they just want an excuse to go in with some good ol' police brutality. What do you do when a thousand people will sit cross-legged on the ground and refuse to move? drag each on out personally? This video show a little of what i saw on the news here but there are parts missing like the police hitting women, the police finally ordered to leave and people throwing things at them and the police not being able to do anything but keep walking away like they were ordered to. To me this looks like a bad move by the po-po.

Fast forward to weeks later. Two indignados walk through a significantly reduced camp.

Plaza Catalunya is just one giant hangout floor now that people wallaw around on all day and night

the Guy Fawkes mask from the movie "V for Vendetta" has become a symbol of the revolution just as it was in the movie. Fawkes is famous for being the guy that was supposed to light the fuse to blow up the British Parliment and kill King something. He also fought for the Spanish for a few years for something or other. I saw on the news at some point some hackers hacked something kind of important and used the guy fawkes mask as the sign too.


This is another day a few weeks later. Generating power by bicycle. A crowd of 6 people listens to an old dude. Is it hard to see how it looks like the fire is gone? It looks like shirtless dudes hanging out on the porch of the circus the day after its left town.

library for the indignados

great job you guys, you're really making a change and making us all think this hasn't turned into an 8 year old boys dream world by lounging around in that giant hammock for adult babies all day. It looks like the set of "Hook" only dirtier and less charming. I know i'm being harsh but it's hard for me to take them seriously when i see this. I mean, WTF are they doing?!!!?

the defacing of public property has some kind of meaning I know, but weeks and weeks after the main protest? Now you're just making your city look like garbage. Barcelona is super small so doing this is like sh!tting on your own doorstep no? People have spray painted protest slogans and what seems to be just random defacing of stuff with spray paint all over the city making it look like Gotham city pre-Batman coming in to clean sh!t up.

We're not anti-system, the system is anti-us

Here is this video again. You can see it in high quality if you click through to the Vimeo website, they show a crappy version when you view it from another website. 'm putting my videos on Vimeo now because they have the best compression quality so you can see higher quality vids. the Bob Dylan song was actually playing at the time furthering the hippie comparison.

next to the Barcelona Cathedral there are frequently breakdancers and such

this guys cup of coins spilled out twice in 1 minute while i was there making me think he is one of those pickpocket dudes that make you spill his coins on the ground and the robs you. He masquerades and a super stupid and sad homeless guy.

random fashion show that was horrible. Here they are dressed up like that picasso painting of women.

Santa Caterina Market's cool roof.

street behind marco's house

sometimes it looks like im waking up to the apocalypse in my room.

gallery miscelanea near the statue of colon and la rambla. they had a cool illustration exhibition.

i really like outsider art for all the reasons people like outsider art.

Albert, Miquel, and Aitor, the party guys. Albert, Aitor, and Marco are all roomates. I like to call them Los Calle Comerc Cabrones. Aitor is from Valencia and has a basque name. Miquel is catalan. Albert and Miquel are going for a year to New Zealand to do a working holiday

Barcelona Life

Burlesque show at Ada gallery with hitler as our performer

our bathroom.

somewhere below plaza universitat

some bar across the street from the black sheep.

there are tons of motorbikes here. This means there are lots of hot girls riding motorbikes wearing helmets. Its kind of mysterious and badass to see a girl wearing a helmet because you can only see her eyes. oftentimes they take the helmet off and look not so great (like in this example) but i guess its that gamble that adds to the appeal of girls wearing moto helmets. Come on dudes, you have to admit that if you saw ladies in tight summer gear with heels and a helmet in New York that wouldn't turn your crank?! If you cropped this photo with just the helmets you would think there are 3 douche bags sitting to the the left of them not 3 aging fashionistas (maybe someday ill get a shot of 3 hot motobike gals aforementioned).

Marco's illustration class at Escola Massana

one of the painting studios at Escola Massana

impromptu painting party at Luis's house. Marco, Flavia, and Laura collab'in

this place in gracia has awesome Catalan food.

big tostadas. this one is tuna and roasted peppers which is super common and o-some.

crema catalana is basically creme brulee and its still awesome. its maybe the most common desert. Not pictured here but also super common is potatoes with alioli which is mayo, olive oil, and a ton of garlic and its a ton of awesome. I am gonna try to make this when i go to my parents house in NY this x-mas cuz it's the only time I'll have access to a blowtorch.

marco once took a creative writing class. he often goes to eat dinner with them on thursdays and sometimes i come along. this woman is in the class. She is Catalan but has lived in Mexico with her husband for like 40 years. she is like 65-70 yrs old. She recently divorced him and came back to Catalonia within the last year. Since then she joined this writing class, traveled to India and hangs out weekly. And she speaks english. What a woman. I hope i can still be at her level when i'm 70. I hope i can still speak english.

La Arenas used to be a bull fighting ring, now they turned it into a shopping mall. Just a different form of treachery. They have an observation deck and restaurants on the top. It's cool and if you're in the area you should check it out.

on the adjacent corner is Fira de Barcelona. I don't know what it usually is but it was hosting a huge art expo kind of like they have in Beijing but smaller.

Marco found a suitable table top piece of something and i cut it but needed legs for it so i bought two work horses (burros in spanish which means donkey so kind of the same thing) I checked a couple places with no luck and then found them at servei estacio. so if you need hardware stuff that is your place. buying stuff when you're only gonna live there for 3 months sucks and makes you not buy anything. I didn't even buy a drawing lamp yet.

while out trying to find a place to fix a bike tire me and marco stumbled across this kind of art foundation somewhere and they had some exhibit action going on. thought this was cool.

there is a deadly e coli epidemic spreading in europe now and the germans are blaming the spanish cucumbers for it and other countries are blaming other countries cucs for it so i've seen pics of lots of cucs going to cuc death camps to die. I don't know how they destroy literally megatons of cucumbers but they've been ordered to do it. Eat these and die! (so says parts of Europe).

another assortment of spanish beer. they ranged from not bad to pretty damn good.

spanish dude friends before club Apolo. I have learned that 3 months is not enough time to fully know a country or city. Ok well maybe you can know a city but 3 months gives you enough time to know it but not enough time to start enjoying the knowledge and friends that you have made. I only have 4 weeks left in Spain and have started making friends and know my way around and then when it starts getting good I will have to leave. So anyone out there if you can get longer than 3 months in whatever country you want to live in do it, or else you will feel like you are on a 3 month vacation instead of actually living there.

Hello Canon 5D Mark II

I finally made the leap and bought a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera. The body alone costs $2,500 and the price isn't going to budge for a long time. The thought of buying this camera haunted me nightly for months and months. I resolved to by the camera when I was in Japan but the earthquake sent me packing and I didn't have time to buy it. It was cheaper there too. I finally decided to order it while I was staying at Yoon's house at the US embassy housing compound in Seoul because lots of merchants ship to APO/military addresses. after 3 weeks I still didn't have the camera and something was wrong. The camera was lost somewhere in the mail and still is. To make a long story short, I didn't take their "we don't even have tracking information for shipments to APO addresses" policy for an answer and battled with them for weeks until i finally got the camera shipped to me in Barcelona for $2,000. Saving $500 is cool but I still lost out on photographing my first month in Barcelona with it. This is way too much camera for me but hopefully I'll grow into it. My reasons for getting this camera are:

1. If there ever was a time to have the best camera in my life it would be now while i'm living in different countries doing awesome stuff all the time
2. I need video capability
3. I need awesome low light capability
4. I need full frame to capture all the amazing interiors amongst many things

Caveats: You probably won't be able to tell that I have a new camera by looking at the pictures on this blog because you won't be able to see the full resolution. But I will be able to capture more nightshots and wider shots so there will be more of those on the blog so you will indirectly see the benefits of this new camera.

they sent it to me 2 day global priority or something. I missed receiving this before i made a trip to Madrid by 1 hour. but wait, no i didn't, because there was crap with UPS i had to deal with i found out later. Like sending a passport copy and other info because i'm technically importing this American product and I'm the importer. They paid the duties and everything though, which is probably a lot.

this post is probably just for photo dorks. but if you read this blog a lot this might interest you because from here on out hopefully at least 75% of the photos on this blog will come from this camera.

21.1 megapixels
photos are 5616 x 3744 pixels
ISO 100-6400 (expandable super high but useless)
High Def 3 inch monitor with Approx. 920,000 pixels (VGA)
1920 x 1080 Full HD video
Weather resistant body
superior in low light settings
crystal clear view finder
3 user customizable shooting modes
the cons are negligible

has no built in flash (rarely need it though)
autofocus points are so close to the center point they are kind of useless
video mode doesn't continuously autofocus and audio is unacceptable
they still haven't designed the canon bodies so you can playback the shot you just took while shooting one handed
eats up tons of space on your computer due to the larger photo/video sizes
can't shoot 60 fps like the 7D, only up to 30 fps making slow motion harder
It's safety is more on your mind when you're out and about because its a bigger liability.
You will naturally spend many more hours editing photos.
memory card door feels weak especially when shooting one handed and all the pressure is on it.

outfitted with my 20-35mm f/2.8 L lens. it looks the same as my old camera. If you own this camera or are interested in this camera you will find yourself looking for a flash of the "Mark II' symbol on the lower part of the camera when someone walks by with a canon camera. maybe its a superiority complex, or a tip of the hat when you see they do have it, or interest in a person that has the need for a $2500 camera. I probably have all of these but hope that its mainly because I just wanted a tool that could take better photos. And as they always say on the intertubes, a better camera doesn't make a better photographer, which is true. Hopefully I will grow into this one.

40D always on the left, 5D mark II always on the right. the 5D mark II is slightly bigger and weight slightly more. Not enough to matter or notice.

important thing here is the viewfinder in the 40D is not so clear. looking through the 5D's is like night and day. the monitor on the 5D is like HD vs. standard television, it can't compare. Now I can actually evaluate my photos in full resolution on the monitor.

here the 40D juts out at the top because has a flash but the 5D doesn't. on the interwebs people always say you never need a flash with the 5D so stop complaining. well sometimes you do because its not a vision camera. and sometimes you need to get pics of your friends doing stupid things in the night and not pefectly lit photos so it would be nice to have a flash.

The 5D Mark II is a "Full Frame" camera. see how much bigger the mirror and sensor is on the 5D mark II vs. the 40D? that translates into a lot more photo being captured in the frame. most DSLR cameras that people own have "APS" sensors unless you spend $2500 and get a camera with a "Full Frame" sensor like the 5D mark II. In short, most less expensive DSLR cameras crop the image at a rate of 1.6 so that means if your shooting at 50mm x 1.6 = 80mm. that means you're actually shooting at 80mm, which is why if I wanted to take your portrait I would have to get on the bus, go to another town, and turn around and take the photo to get all of you in the shot my old camera. Now with the 5D mark II's full frame capabilities I can capture interior rooms and other stuff in close quarters!

this example grabbed from kenrockwell.com shows how much more you get with full frame cameras. P.S. full frame is the same size as traditional 35 mm film.

2 examples with my widest lens at the widest setting. the 5D captures waaaay more.

same with widest lens but at narrowest setting. even the narrowest setting with the 5D still captures a little more than the widest setting on my old camera.

now with my fixed 35 mm lens i can capture almost the same as my old camera with my widest lens. this is great news because the wide angle lens weighs a lot and this lens weighs nothing.

sharpness example with the 5D mark II using a 35mm f/2.0 prime lens at f/8, 400 iso, 1/800 second. i'm not even showing 40D examples because that camera has a sharpness problem. All of these test photos are from the raw files, no editing, straight out of the camera. All are 100% crops.

sharpness example using 20-35mm f/2.8L shot at a 28mm focal length, iso 400, f/8, 1/640 second.

next are high ISO examples. all of these test between my 2 cameras are like comparing apples to oranges though because the resolution is so much higher on the new camera and its full frame vs. APS crop frame. 40D at 3200 ISO

5D Mark II at 3200 ISO

40D at 1600 ISO

5D mark II at 1600 ISO

I also got a new strap "system". It's a closed loop system so that means you can reach down and instantly pull the camera up to take a photo. No more fumbling around with taking the camera off from around your neck every single time to take a photo. Seriously I don't know how you can live without one. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this kind of strap system. You can leave it around your neck and shoulder, bayonet style which is the most secure way to prevent theft and camera damage, and never have to take it off to shoot. The Black Rapid R-strap is what i went with, but i don't like how all their straps look super serious and make you look like a photographer out on assignment so I bought a narrow leather belt from the men's section of H&M in Barcelona (summer 2011). Someday i want to find a belt/strap or have something custom made to match the quality and color of the awesome leather strap that Norman and Naoki bought me for my birthday. I also looked at the luma loop but didn't like the quick release function that would make it easy for thieves. Also looked at the sun sniper strap too. The cons about this strap system is that the camera can't sit exactly behind your back but sits behind your hip. sometimes this makes your "footprint" wider. As with a normal strap, if you bend over the camera will swing forward and smash into something if you're not careful but all straps have the problem. Overall these seem like problems that you have with normal straps and the benefits of being able to grab and shoot instantly while wearing the camera in the most secure way means that you'll be taking more photos and being less lazy because you have to take your camera off every time.

this german video shows a woman's version of the strap in action but you should get the idea.

FastenR-3 screws into the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera then hooks to ConnectR-2 which you loop the strap through. I think they were both like $13 each.

it all slides alone the closed loop strap. so your camera hangs upside down, but that's no problem. On the interwebs people have concerns about the safety of using the tripod mount. I feel there is no way this will come unscrewed or rip out, if feels very secure. the textured rubber washer makes the seal tight.

leather belt from the men's section of H&M in Barcelona (summer 2011). Was like 10 euros or something. crappy quality, but i still like it way better than a serious neoprene black strap.

This strap from Leather Factory Roberu in Japan is of the highest quality and looks awesome. I wish there was a way i could use it with the R-strap stuff. I guess I will use it when i have to go to super formal function. Its expensive and super nice so it's sad :(
and finally here is an HD video sample. You can see it in high quality if you click through to the Vimeo website, they show a crappy version when you view it from another website. The problem with this camera is that its high quality pro equipment now and doesn't look awesome unless you are using a steady cam attachment or tripod or other pro video equipment because of camera shake. Also the audio is not really acceptable so you need an external mic. You can hear every button you press and even hear the focus ring turning. that said they shoot movies, tv shows and other award winning stuff with the award winning video capabilities of this camera, so it is sought after by videographers as well. I'm putting my videos on Vimeo now because they have the best compression quality so you can see higher quality vids.

Spain's youth have taken to the plazas in protest over government corruption, the unemployment rate, the financial crisis and almost everything else it seems. I don't have a full understanding of the situation but to me, an American who doesn't understand what most people are saying in Spanish, it seems as if the whole thing has turned into a hippie parade and hangout party. Is seems as if the legitimacy/effectiveness of the protest is long gone. Shot in Plaza Cataluya in Barcelona, the Bob Dylan song was actually playing at the time furthering the hippie comparison.

In conclusion this camera is awesome and everyone on the intertubes agrees. I've been shooting with it for about a month now and love it and don't regret it. I've gotta get it insured for theft ASAP. Salih's got stolen and i'm sure its like losing a child.

Next I need to buy an Intervalometer (for timelapse videos), a flash, a tripod head and tripod legs, and i'm thinking about the 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens someday.......