Now for a virtual tour in Catalonia, where Jordi Viñas Bascomptelives. He brings subject material that illustrates the advantage of photography focused on where one lives. His posts and this feature have allowed us to peek into cultural experiences, details of architecture, and places with familiar names all of which we may never have seen except through Jordi.
“I have an engineering background, having worked in the fields of automotive vibration isolation and industrial gearboxes for years. Since 2014 I have managed a small plant making top notch servo-motors for robotics industry. This professional story leads to intense international exposure, and also to interests in many areas, from reading, literature and history to architecture, computer science or AI. I also consider myself what would be called in the U.S. ‘a tinkerer’, as I love working in many crafts and DIY.
I’m blessed with a family with four ladies who have different areas of interest. With my three daughters in college now, this broadens the spectrum of knowledge even more. They make me feel like a renaissance guy, a generalist.
We live in Manresa, an old nice city (Roman Minorisa) 50 miles north of Barcelona, in Catalonia. A few famous things about our city are the draftingof St. Ignatius - Spiritual Exercises in Manresa and his later founding of the Jesus Company. Manresa is ‘strategically’ placed at a one-hour drive from the Pyrenees Range and 1 hour from Mediterranean beaches, and rather close to Montserrat Mountains. Opportunities for photography are vast and diverse.
I tend to take lots of pictures while hiking, either in the Pyrenees or in Montserrat, or even across the fields and forests surrounding Manresa.
Barcelona city offers many photography opportunities, with many monuments, public events and a broad range of cultural activities.
As a lover of Gaudí’s architecture, I have a project in mind to illustrate the geometries he used for his designs.
In the city of Manresa itself, in addition to some interesting monuments, there are many opportunities for street photography, as it is a rather active city. But this is not what I like the most. I prefer going out to the mountains, forests and old vineyards. I am reluctant to say that just one hour away, Barcelona offers much wider opportunities.
We also like to travel around on vacation with the family, hence taking also lots of pictures.
Photography for me is a great hobby. Time spent once in the darkroom and now before the screen, helps me relax. And taking pictures during hikes, trips or social activities helps preserve and share our memories. For one project I even illustrated the official family cook-book.
When travelling I enjoy shooting wild flowers too. I have a wide collection of them. And now I’m trying to start with nightscapes, despite that it is difficult to find clear skies here.
Quite often, I end up taking pictures of our girls or of our yellow lab Xerpa, who makes an excellent model. One curiosity that I love to shoot is old windows and doors from old houses and farms - another collection I should publish someday.
I particularly love the way some images restore the textures you find in some objects.
Shooting macro attracts me as it involves a fair amount of preparation, which I like. This helps me also with some work-related product photography that I use in my presentations.
I found Nikonians in 2009 while seeking advice to buy a D300. I saw immediately the vast amount of information made available by Nikonians fellows, so I became a member and tried to contribute too. But I must honestly admit that I have learned a lot more from patient advice that has been offered. From choosing a tripod to focus stacking, HDR, and many, many other techniques I use for either shooting or post processing.
It helped not just to learn about photography but to hone my English language skills too. Seeing posts from others or getting honest and educated comments for my own posts helps to improve.
I appreciate the patience and the knowledge within the community. Most posts are polite replies and I’ve never been let down when seeking information or advice. I think this creates a lot of confidence, especially for newbies asking some really basic questions.
Despite the fact that Nikonians members seem to be mostly based distantly in the U.S. and other countries I’ve made good friends. Some have even crossed the pond and we have met up which I found great. I dream of one day joining an ANPAT.
I borrowed some advice for youngsters from a famous American: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay foolish’ (Steve Jobs). I use this with my kids and young collaborators. I think it also applies to photography, which is rapidly changing with the advent of new technologies. You must be avid to learn new techniques, and learn from others, but also be foolish to be creative and dare to experiment.
I had a scary experience visiting a closed salt mine with some friends and the kids. There was a safe place provided to keep people away from old facilities. While everybody was returning to the cars, I stayed a bit longer to take some shots. I saw what I supposed to be a big dried up puddle with spectacular splits in the pristine smooth surface of the mud. The cracks produced tile-like patterns. To add drama to my picture I decided to enter the puddle and drop something colourful - a key ring.
Big error! The puddle was a deep mud well from the mining wastes - really deep apparently and soft. So, I started slowly sinking into the mud with no idea how deep the well was. It was late evening, nobody was there to help, and the parking area was too far away for anyone to hear me. While sinking, I managed to think that I should offer more resistance and tried to move to a flat position. This stopped vertical motion and I was able crawl to get out of the well. That could have had a fatal outcome but I was lucky, and in the end, there was nothing a good shower and washing machine could not solve. But I will definitely stay away of sand and mud stacks forever.”
Nothing like finishing with a little adrenalin and an anxiety provoking experience. I found myself reading faster and faster worried, about the outcome. Jordi as well as all other contributors have such unique and fascinating landscapes and subjects to photograph. I know that this is a busy time for you, Jordi, in your professional pursuits to have made time to take part in this interview. Jordi brings a friendly and gregarious quality to his interactions on Nikonians making it so enjoyable to see his posts in addition to what he adds to the photography experience.
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