Last weekend I shot a roll of black and white Tri-X film and a roll of Kodak Color film. Abiding by the save the best for last principle, here are three photos from the color roll. I actually really wish the first two were shot in black and white as well, for more texture and more of a sense of timelessness. I wanted to stay away from the typical mountain vistas for this post; those are magnificent but too common. 

Photo 1: The cable hook driven into the bedrock is symbolically strong. The Molieres Refuge Hut survives avalanches, high winds, and other extreme alpine conditions at 2390m. Eleven of these metal cables secure the small edifice.

To go along with my last post, this is my favorite web video of all time. Its about a year and a half old, with clips from the Tenerife Islands, which are owned by Spain, Israel, and most likely the U.K.. This guy rides really fast and his tricks are simple. Simplicity, speed, and great filming/editing in diverse locations make for an amazing video. It has 633,878 views, but you will have to do your own math on that one.
It's hard to imagine any other group of people, besides the locals, that knows the landscapes of Barcelona better than BMX riders. 
PictureThe Forum on the cover of a magazine.
I watch a new video from Barcelona nearly every day. There have been literally hundreds of BMX videos out of Barcelona. Every major DVD has clips from Barcelona in it. I could go on, but the audience of this blog wouldn't understand the BMX lingo and subculture. For example, I first saw the MACBA Big Four stair set about 7 years ago in a video with some pro killing it. 

The total views on Vimeo alone for the seven videos below is 842,500 and rising.  One alone got 316K views. That one video is 3 minutes, 43 seconds long. After doing the math, that one video has been watched for the equivalent of 19,574 hours. If watched on a single computer, it would take well over 2 years to continuously watch that one short video for the same amount of time!

The following is an exerpt from my sketchbook written immediately after the challenging ascent to the Molieres Refuge from Tunel Vielha during the afternoon of October 4th, 2013. 

17:00: Molieres Refuge Hut (2390m):

PictureBus drop-off location, notice the low cloud level

“I thought I was a goner just a couple hours ago in the Val d’Aran region of the Spanish Pyrenees. I started hiking tired and slightly sick from not sleeping and drinking the night before, followed by a 6-hour bus ride. The mountain forecast for today called for light rain with about 10mm total rainfall in the afternoon."

For today, I have decided to record the amount of bicycles available and open bicycle parking spots at Bicing Rental Stations around the city. Bicing is a bike rental program run by the City of Barcelona aimed at providing cheap rental services to local inhabitants, not tourists. City officials didn't want to interfere with the bicycle tourism economy, so in order to get a subscription to Bicing, you need to have a spanish bank account. However, with the help of an app for smartphones that is free and designed to help Bicing subscribers find bikes, I was able to keep track of this information from our apartment using our wifi. Every three hours today, I will record this information in my notebook. It being a Tuesday, this data will provide insight into midweek bicycle rental use. I will also go through the same procedure on a future weekend day to compare.

PictureRandom Site #1 on the Diagonal
For my main study, I am looking at a combination of site inventory/analysis, data interpretation, and experiential techniques to get a well rounded knowledge of the Bicycle Transportation System here in Barcelona. I have not decided exactly how many sites I will be studying, but I do know that I want them to be a combination of chosen and random in order to see the better and perhaps less optimal sides of Barcelona from a bicyclists point of view. 

PictureVielha from the tunnel
So I just got back from hiking in the Catalan Pyrenees. The five of us stayed at an "aparthotel" in a small mountain village called Vielha in the Val d'Aran Valley. We only stayed for 2 nights and 2 days total, but it was a blast. 

Brief History: The first people settled in the Val D'Aran about 6000 years ago, known as the Arans. Due to its isolation amongst 3000m peaks, this culture has remained intact. It is part of the Basque Culture Region, which is only found in the Pyrenees. Many of the buildings in the town were built in the 11-13th centuries by the short-lived Roman occupation and the few roads present are directly based off the Roman street/road layout. Vielha was once 100% isolated from November until June, until 1948, when the Vielha Tunnel was built. It is a long tunnel that brings you underneath a high mountain pass and was once the longest tunnel in the world, at around 5km. During the summer months (pre-tunnel construction), people were forced to hike the 2500m elevation mountain pass, a distance of roughly 10km, to get to the Val d'Aran.    


On select Fridays, I am going to upload one to three photos with brief descriptions. 

Today I got back my Kodak Tri-X 400 film from Fotoprix, not far from Placa De Catalunya. Shooting with film is much more rewarding to me since you have to think about the composition of every shot and you don't know how the photo will turn out until the roll is developed. There is also a limited amount of exposures on each roll of film and therefore each shot is relatively expensive, especially compared to rapid firing with a digital camera or iPhone (however I am sometimes guilty of that too). 
Photo 1: This was one of the first photos I shot on this roll of film. My BMX bike sits perfectly on our living-room balcony and I wanted to focus more on the bike and less on the street-scape background. The white stickers really pop out of my frame and fork and you can notice my boxers drying on the railing behind my bike since we currently have no washer or dryer. There is also a nice contrast from the over exposure and out-of-focus at the top left of the photo to a darker and more focused lower right. 

This is a quick Instagram-video that was filmed with Zach and Nate's help a couple days ago. Now that the three of us have bikes, getting around the city is more convenient, way faster, and a lot of fun. These clips were filmed at Parc de Joan Miro, Glories, and Parc de L'Espanya Industrial (in that order). 

I have been using Instagram a lot, so follow me @willardsbruce to see a plethora of photos and videos of my travels. 
PictureThe Paulaner Hefeweizen Draft was a favorite
Paddock is an awesome pub just up the street from us. The bartenders are bilingual, so we have begun to dabble in conversational Castilian Spanish. The only significant words I have take away are "tirador", meaning draft, and "trigo", meaning wheat beer. Another rad aspect of this bar is that it's a biker bar (the type with an engine). There is an Isle of Man poster, race memorabilia, and the tap looked as if was a retrofitted Yamaha engine! Make sure to take a look at the photos at the end for that. The bartender even stated that televised races at the pub are comparable to a football game at a sports pub in the states. The next one is "15 days away", can't wait!

Be sure to check out more photos by clicking "Read More"!