My wife surprised me with a birthday gift of a weekend city-break to Seville, Spain. It’s a city that I’ve never visited before, and so I was genuinely excited to see what this southern city of Spain had in store 🇪🇸
Making A Rough To-Do List …
What I’ve learnt from previous road trips and visits abroad is how important it is to have a basic idea of what to see & do – otherwise you’re simply rambling aimlessly, potentially missing wonderful experiences and sights, quite literally around the corner from you.
To that end, it became very clear that Seville had a lot to offer: sights, cuisine, history, and art. Soon a quick hit-list emerged.
|Plaza de Espana||Las Setas de Sevilla||Catedral de Sevilla|
|Giralda tower||Royal Alcázar||Casa de Pilotas|
|Torre del Oro||Triana area||Santa Cruz area|
And of course … plenty of unique experiences !
- Try as much local tapas food as possible !
- Ramble the narrow streets & alleyways old Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz
- Climb to top of the Giralda bell tower
- Visit some of the local bars and simply take in the atmosphere
- See flamenco dancing and wandering street performers playing Spanish guitar
Looking at the weather ahead, it was to be mild / warm temperatures (16°C / 60° F) but cold in the evening, requiring a light coat.
Bringing A Film Camera …
The big debate I had internally was would ISO 200 film really be suitable – on one hand, it’s Spain so there ought to be plenty of bright sunlight during the day, but on the other hand, the cathedral quarter of Seville is a rabbit warren of shady streets & alleyways.
Also, I was conscious that I didn’t want the flow of this enjoyable weekend experience to be spoilt with film photography unnaturally slowly down proceedings, so autofocus was a must.
In the end, I decided upon the following:
|Camera||Canon EOS 300V|
The predecessor to Canons very last consumer film SLR, the 300X. An amazing super compact, super lightweight interchangeable 35mm SLR released in 2002. It has an accurate 35 zone metering system, and 7 snappy autofocus points. Perfect for hassle-free quick snaps and easy to carry around.
|Lens||Canon EF 24-85mm f3.5-4.5|
Amazing, inexpensive lens – tack sharp in the center from 24mm through to 80mm, only needs f8 for sharp edge-to-edge images
|Film||2 x Kodak Gold 200|
Has nice grain, reasonably good dynamic range, and an overall warm orange tone that would match the anticipated light of Seville
As I write about the film equipment choices here, let me give a big shout-out to my friends at www.printpoint.ie for the incredible dev & scan service. The detail and tonality captured from my negatives was superb, as always 💯🏆
Orange Trees & Alleyways …
A walk through the cathedral area proved to be absolutely breath-taking – large swathes of orange, yellow and red walls everywhere, gorgeous leafy orange tree alcoves, hidden fountains and quaint churches.
What made it all the more enjoyable was the fact that there were lovely cafes & tapas bars dotted at almost every intersection ☕️ With the cusine being excellent in most of places.
Before you ask, yes, there really are oranges on the trees, despite it still being technically winter 🍊
Looking back at the images, I was really happy about my equipment choices : a) the modern film SLR allowed me to focus on creating compelling images instead of being distracted by the equipment & process, b) the flexibility & sharpness of the Canon EF 24-85mm lens was truly excellent, and c) the metering accuracy of the Canon EOS 300V was shockingly good. Some of these shots could have been easily fooled with a 60-70’s center-weighted metering system, if you weren’t skilled enough to override it, but my 2002 cheap & cheerful Canon 300V rocked it !
Plaza de Espana
Getting to visit some of the iconic architecture of Seville was a real treat, but of course, number one on the list has to be the iconic Plaza de Espana. Built in 1928 for the World Fair exhibition of 1929, it was designed to showcase the latest in Spanish technology and industry at the time.
A quick look at Google Maps the night before revealed that the Plaza was only a 10 minute walk from where we were staying – great. However, when we woke up the skies were grey, it was cold, and other than the wonderful street art we encountered, it wasn’t looking all that inspiring as we headed over. However no sooner had we arrived did the sky above the Plaza start to clear 🌤
We spent hours walking through the Plaza, admiring the styling, design, colours, the intricate tiled mosaics … simply jaw-dropping ! It was all cleverly divided into the 4 ancient kingdoms of Spain, while each of the ornate alcoves representing the different provinces …
What made the visit here all the more memorable was the impromptu Flamenco dancing to traditional Spanish guitar music we got to experience.
For almost 800 years the Moors ruled Andalucia, and their North African influence is both unmistakable and mesmerising.
I was pretty excited to be visiting Real Alczar, a Spanish palace which is still in use today – with its beautiful ornate gardens, elaborate mosaics, stunningly tiled walls, and wonderful water features.
Added to that, was a visit to Catedral de Seville with it’s 104m high Giralda bell tower. Apparently the cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world … and the views from the top of Giralda tower across the city were breath-taking.
I thought that nothing could top Real Alcazar and the Cathedral, but the 15 min ramble through the confusing, narrow alleyways to Casa de Pilotas was the biggest surprise of them all. This unassuming building had some of the most incredible architecture and artistry I’ve ever seen !! I quite literally had to sit down at one stage, as there’s so much to take in !
Waffles – Mushrooms
Before leaving Seville, we took a leisurely walk up to the north of the city, through the commercial shopping area, to see Las Setas – an amazing 25m high wooden structure completed in 2011, that you can walk above.
This was a photographers paradise – with me thanking my lucky stars I had a focal length of 24mm to capture what was on hand, as it was quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced !
My roll of Kodak Gold 200 was simply loving the cyan-blue Seville skies, the warm colour laden shadows, and the bright light reflected off the structure.
Well, what a surprise – I never thought a city could offer so much, especially from a photography point-of-view. The colour, the textures, the light, the shadows and the variation !
Whether you’re shooting analog or digital, if you want a city break that’s both relaxing and full of sights, make sure you put Seville on your to-do list.
In the meantime, keep shooting film !
Instagram :: #irishanalogadventures