Casa de la Pedrera – Barcelona, Spain

Also known as Casa Milà.

Casa de la Pedrera at night, Barcelona Spain

I strategically chose a hotel on the east side of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. It would be in “walking distance” to many of the locations I wanted to visit and near the main metro lines. After shooting La Sagrada Familia in the blue hour, I walked west to Passeig de Gracia to capture Casa de la Pedrera and Casa Batllo. Avinguda Diagonal always made me smile a little when I crossed it. It may have inspired Rowling.

The Gaudi buildings are lit very well, too well in some cases (see Casa Batllo later on). Capturing this view meant I was across the very busy street of Passeig de Gracia and at a cross junction. I wanted to get some traffic light streaks however timing was a little frustrating. The traffic system in Barcelona is such that cars were crossing through this scene, or waiting at the junction at the bottom right of the frame, beaming their headlights straight in to the lens.

So I used the method I employ in major cities where I want light streaks. Wait and watch how the traffic system flows. It only takes two rotations of the system to start to predict how the cars will start to flow and which part of the system will be a problem. More importantly, I’m looking for, what I call, “The Gap” or “The Scene“.

The Gap is where all the cars are stationary (all the lights are on red). This is a very short time and you would not get any light streaks. This time would be used to get a clean and clear view of your subject matter. The Scene is the same view but with the light streaks. However, you have to imagine the light streaks first to get the scene you want. Then you’ll know where you are in the rotation and when to trip the shutter.

Otherwise it is all just luck. Which is unpredictable. Better to arm yourself with a technique so you get it right quickly and can move on.

I’ll create a separate tutorial post on capturing traffic light streaks.

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