Barcelona through a 50mm lens

Barcelona through a 50mm lens

Last week I was enjoying the warm autumn days in beautiful Barcelona, while catching a terrible cold. The risks of pretending that if it’s warmer than back home, it’s perfect for t-shirts. Well, it’s not.

What was particularly interesting about my trip was that I went traveling with just my prime lens, a Canon 50mm f1.8 (and the camera body, a Canon 450D), for the first time ever.

I don’t know about you, but for me this was a big thing because I am used to capturing the whole scenery in my travel images. I usually prefer to take the 18-50mm lens with me, which offers a perfect range for traveling captures. It’s wide enough to get the whole view in, while it can also zoom, perfect for capturing details and other little snippets, without needing to move around too much. It’s a comfortable and very affordable lens.

However, this time I had very little space in my carry-on luggage for cameras and such (the 50mm lens is smaller than the 18-50mm one), plus the 18-50 had some focusing issues. On a whim, I decided to leave it behind and take a risk.

Turned out it was probably the best thing I could do!

How it’s like to travel with just one prime lens

I feel this lens gives a cinematic feel to the captures (consider it was attached to a crop sensor camera), like sort of “frozen movie scenes”, and the wide aperture was great to play for adding depth to the image. Shooting through leaves, having just the object in focus, getting some nice evening captures in low light.

Plus, it forced me to think twice before snapping a capture. I couldn’t just zoom in and out to my liking and snap away. I had to move, cross the street, hide between bushes or cars, in order to get the right frame and composition.

The absolute best advantage was that I didn’t carry additional lenses with me and the camera itself was super manageable in size with just the 50mm lens. I love to travel light and having a DSLR with a big lens often felt like a burden in the past. Now I often even forgot about it on my shoulder and I could easily squeeze it in my backpack when I wanted it away.

It was a completely different experience and I arrived to the conclusion that if you want to improve your photography, limit your gear and find creative ways to use the little you have.

A highlight I discovered in Barcelona

This trip I realized how my traveling habits have changed over the years. From a photographic perspective, I’m not anymore into getting that perfect travel image of a popular spot, but more into discovering new angles and details and snapping bits of life.

Seeing everything is not a priority anymore and just chilling out and enjoying the place is THE thing to do. I spent one of the days simply lying on the beach, listening to the sea and warming myself up like a bug in the November sun, no obligation to be anywhere or visit anything. It was pure bliss.

Well, I did some visiting as well. I can’t stay put for too long.

As I had already previously visited a few of Barcelona’s highlights (Sagrada Familia & one of Gaudí’s famous houses, Casa Batllo), this time I wanted to discover something a bit off the popular touristic route.

And guys, I found a gorgeous jewel that is a must if you have enough days to spend in Barcelona: Monastir de Pedralbes. It’s a monastery with a wonderful inner courtyard surrounded by arches, where I spent a peaceful afternoon away from the chaos of the city.

And if you’re hungry…

La Macchina, for delicious pasta, made in front of you!

Santa Gloria good pastries and decent coffee.

Les Dues Sicilies have yummy pizza, for just 2€ a slice (in 2015)! Once we found this one out, our Barcelona diet became almost exclusively pizza.

Pastel de nata! Rings any bells? It’s a traditional little bundle of sweetness and joy from Lisboa. I went nuts over them last year when visiting Portugal, so imagine my happiness of finding them here at Nata Lisboa! A sweet bit of Portugal in the heart of Barcelona.

We had paella on the famous boulevard (Passeig de Joan de Borbó) that goes to Barceloneta, which it’s said to be more of a tourist trap. We were super hungry and didn’t care anymore, but the paella was actually unexpectedly good! We topped it with an overpriced sangría, because hey, it was our last evening in Barcelona and damn I wanted to drink a freaking refreshing sangría!

Do you have any favorite spots in Barcelona? Share them below!

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2 thoughts on “Barcelona through a 50mm lens”

  • Was just watching a travel programme on Barcelona. Plus my favourite lens is the 50mm. So I Googled and found your site.
    Love the photos! My last holiday to Morocco I took 28, 50 and 85mm plus two D700’s.
    The majority of my photos were taken with the 50mm.
    You have given me the courage to take the one camera and lens on my next journey.
    Cheers.

    • Hi Peter,
      Happy to hear that! I used to carry additional gear with me as well, but in the end realised that traveling light and using just the 50mm lens tells the best visual story for my liking.
      You might be a bit nervous at first when finding yourself stuck with a single prime lens, but I’m sure it’ll pass! 😁
      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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