As I sit here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, choking on the smoke haze that is drifting across from Indonesia*, I can look through my watery eyes at this photograph taken in Spain last month and remind myself of what an unpolluted sky looks like.
This was a glorious late summer’s Sunday afternoon in the Spanish capital. The young couple in the bottom right had taken up a position right in the middle of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor to take advantage of the sunbathing opportunity that the hot afternoon provided.
Plaza Mayor, at 300 ft x 360 ft (my photograph shows a little over a quarter of this Castilian Baroque plaza), is one of the largest public squares in Europe. Since the 16th century, it has been used for bullfights, executions, royal marriages, canonization of saints and many other significant events. I wonder if the young couple realised what history they were sleeping on?
PP: As I took this with an ultra wide angle lens, I did a perspective adjustment in PSE, resampled the image to bring it back to its original dimensions, and then USM at 250%. The apparent halo effect on the roofline is not due to PP – it was there in the original, possibly light reflecting off some roof capping.
[*Indonesian farmers use the slash and burn method to clear forests for agriculture. In the first dry season of the year, the smoke usually blows out into the Indian Ocean, but in the August to October period, before the second monsoon, the wind changes direction and it blows across to Singapore and Malaysia, polluting the air in those countries to unhealthy or hazardous levels for weeks on end. If you want to see what smoke haze looks like on film, here is a link to a photograph of the haze that I posted about this time last year. Spaniards are so lucky that they don’t have such inconsiderate neighbours!]
Critiques | Translate
Floydian (30970) 2006-10-19 8:55
It seems the smoke this year is even worse than other years?
Your picture although is bright, crisp and clear, and thanks to the polariser full of contrast and saturation...just the way i like them to see.
Strong composition and high detail on the square...perfect..!!!
pasternak (15181) 2006-10-19 9:22
Hi David, a comprehensive view of Plaza Mayor bathing in a strong Spanish light under the deep blue Spanish skies, and enlivened by this couple. Of course the sky in Madrid is polluted as well, as in every big city, but looking at this photo one starts to believe it isn't:) Good shot.
bibs69 (3251) 2006-10-19 9:39
Beautiful picture. The composition with this building making a 'L' over the plaza. It was a good idea to include these people in the right foreground. And also, wonderful vivid colors.
Best regards, Laurent.
MIG13 (0) 2006-10-19 22:58
Hi David! Great POV and wonderful sky! Madrid is an easy-going city and you've well captured her spirit! Nice work! Miguel.
fireflyz (2097) 2006-10-20 13:07
This is when wide angle lenses show their true value. It's amazing how much is covered in one frame. Excellent composition and great exposure. As usual, I enjoyed your note! thanks!
Philippe (11836) 2006-10-23 12:04
Hi, David. This is indeed a very blue sky and I understand you can long for it if you have to endure pollution. I like how you have placed the couple in youir composition to give the scale of the picture and give depth to it. The square with its geometrical pattern and the large buildings (which look very similar to each other) around it looks very impressive.
josepmarin (57829) 2006-10-23 12:26
Excellent composition with a good POV and a great setting in diagonal of this great square. Your photo shows us with great quality of image the beauty of this place and of his architecture, as well as the atmosphere of a sunny Sunday of the summer's end. The sky is magnificent, and the colors of the image have remained perfect thanks to the good management of the exposure.
Very nice work.
PJE (20758) 2006-10-23 20:07
Hi David. I have seen this photo of yours for a few days now and finally have time to comment.
What impresses me about this photo is the fact that its a capture of and old place that was built many years ago, and yet with this setting we have a capture showing a much different culture in the present. By that I am refering to the fact that I am sure back then you would not see a couple lying here like this. This is what I like about this shot.
cunejo200 (7281) 2006-10-24 6:31
A fine architectural photo of a Madrid landmark. So many engaging elements with good details and sharpness. Intense yet pleasing blue sky probably enhanced by a circular PL. Best wishes. Danilo
John_F_Kennedy (42903) 2006-10-25 6:09
Nice photo, architecture typical for Spain - good natural colours, good sharpness and well composed
PixelTerror (0) 2006-10-31 7:17
A lovely and well polarized image of the plaza Mayor, I like the funny detail of the sleeping guy in the middle. When I visited, my dog felt like it was time to unload right next to the statue of King Philippe and did it under the eyes and cameras of a japanese busload, they had a lot of fun shooting this street scene... Of course we collected this "souvenir", I'm still wondering what have all these pictures become, possibly they'll appear on one of the TE sites one day ;-)
Have a nice day,
Mikos (4326) 2006-11-02 12:01
Well I liked it this one a lot, it`s an incredibling beautiful perspective of Plaza Mayor in Madrid, it`s not easy to take good pictures of places like this one, great great job, it`s a beautiful square isn`t it???? :-)
have a nice day, and take care ;-)
balatrek (7455) 2006-11-04 4:18
Excellent composition, the lens wide angle creates an interesting perspective in this so emblematic place of Madrid, the polarizador increase the intensity of the sky, creating beautiful contrast, The square of Spain has the great history, much people meets there, good time to visit it is in Christmas, I like east work, you have created a beautiful image, congratulations.
stego (24030) 2006-11-30 23:26
Majestic pov, vibrant lighting and colors. I am stunned. It would be a great photo without it, but the detail of the couple sub bathing on the ground gives it a punch of good humour.
quillo (11850) 2006-12-26 16:09
I recognize east fantastic sky and luminous of Madrid, that although not always is thus, there are days that give pictures to us like this. This photo of "Plaza Mayor" I like by the POV and the detail of the young people taking the sun.
Congratulations David friend and thanks.
Regards from Spain.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-09-17
- Categories: Daily Life, Architecture
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED, Circular PL
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/200 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2006-10-19 8:53