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Thread: Alhambra Photo Tips

  1. #1

    Alhambra Photo Tips

    I'm traveling to Spain next month and will be visiting the Alhambra sometime around the middle of the month. So far I've learned that tripods are not allowed in the palaces. Needless to say that puts a crimp on HDR opportunities. Does anyone have any suggestions on gear, best time of day for shots and the any prime areas to shoot ? I have a Canon Xsi with the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-250 lens. I was considering the Sigma 10-20 mm but it's a bit slow as are the other lenses I have. Thanks -

  2. #2
    Cadebou's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Baton Rouge, LA, USA

    Re: Alhambra Photo Tips

    I can't speak to anything specific about Alhambra, but you may want to investigate the possibility of using a monopod. Most places don't like tripods because of the "trip" factor so a monopod is a sneaky way around this.

    The monopod won't necessarily give you HDR steadiness, but could make you're life easier in low light situations.


  3. #3
    David's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Cheshire and Dumfries & Galloway
    Real Name

    Re: Alhambra Photo Tips

    Hi BlueFin - I've been to the Alhambra in 2005. There are a few things worth knowing prior to your visit. First, it will be busy, even at non-busy times of the year. It is the most popular visitor attraction in Europe. Consequently, you will have lots of other people getting in your way. Patience is the prime virtue.

    Second, normally there are timed tickets, i.e. you buy a ticket for entrance a set time. Go to the booking hall as early as you can and get a ticket for the very earliest you can. You will be in the Alhambra for some time.

    Third, you will find it difficult to go back, there is a through route that is almost impossible to circumvent. Thus, take your shots as you go. If in doubt shoot it!

    Fourth, there are interiors and exteriors and lots of places in between. There are pools and plants, ceramics and ceilings, palaces and plazas. The whole experience can be overwhelming. Exterior shots should not be a problem, there is normally plenty of light. Interior shots are more demanding and if the authorities let you a monopod would be of use (tripods are not recommended - too busy). I seem to recall flash is not allowed - none of my shots were flash. Note also that outdoors there are lots of strong shadows. Here is where HDR techniques could be of use, but keeping a camera steady for 3 bracketed shots will be difficult. Again a monopod might be of use if your camera has high speed continuous capture. Oh - don't forget to take some panorama shots over the city from the walls.

    Fifth, apart from documentary shots of the big things, you might want to take shots of tile work, ceilings, and murqana (stalactite-like architectural features on ceilings. There is scope for abstracted images using these features.

    Sixth, there are two other aspects of the Alhambra that you could consider: the Generaliffe which is the garden area (I think I had a combined ticket so that I did both), and a night-time visit to the palace. That is extra but the experience is memorable and the photo opportunities are superb.

    Seventh, buy a guide book prior to your visit so that you can plan where you wish to spend most of your time.

    Good luck.


    PS Here's a shot of a ceiling with murqana - to whet your appetite.

    Alhambra Photo Tips
    Last edited by David; 5th January 2010 at 02:46 PM. Reason: addition of photo

  4. #4

    Re: Alhambra Photo Tips

    Thanks for the great suggestions and tips David. I have a small tripod (about 7" or so) that has small legs that tuck up inside the body tube. It could be placed on any horizontal surface that could be used for HDR exposures. If it works that's fine, if not that's OK, at least I'm prepared for it now. The monopod idea is good but I think I'll be pressing my luck with the
    regulations. - In any case I'll have the rest of Souther Spain for HDR shots. - Mark

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