Architectural Wanderings

Spain is teeming with architectural masterpieces from the Middle Ages, the early and later Gothic periods, as well as works of well-known 19th and early 20th century architects.  There is also plenty of modern 21st century architecture to make a photographer’s heart beat a little faster.  When David Aguado photographs these jewels, ZEISS lenses are among his most important companions.

5D Mark II, Distagon T* 2/35, f/2, 1/250, ISO 800
Historic façade in the old city of Salamanca
Full resolution on Flickr

Aguado has always been interested in architecture, whereas his passion for photography only started in earnest in 2011. While building up his photographic gear, he regularly came across positive user reviews of ZEISS lenses on the various online fora. He decided to begin by purchasing the Distagon T* 2/35 , followed by the Makro-Planar T* 2/50. He has never regretted the decision.

It was in Salamanca, in northern Spain, that Aguado discovered the slowness of photography — i.e., concentrating on the essentials and details, such as specific elements of a facade. “A few days after buying my first ZEISS lens, I visited Salamanca for the first time. Despite switching from auto- to manual focusing, I immediately found that taking pictures with the Distagon T* 2/35 was a great experience.  Manual focusing is really wonderful; it’s another form of photography. It makes you concentrate more intensively on the motif and determine the focal plane very consciously. As a result, you become much more alert and attentive.  That’s how I noticed this historic façade at dusk. With its glazed, rounded bay windows and battlements, the building feels like a castle. It’s a nice image that also demonstrates well the very minimal distortion of the Distagon T* 2/35.”

5D Mark II, Distagon T* 2/35, f/3.2, 1/15, ISO 1600
Morning atmosphere in the New Cathedral of Salamanca

Among the first pictures he took with his new lens was also this photo showing the New Cathedral of Salamanca, built between 1513 and 1733 in the late Gothic style. "That morning I was one of the earliest visitors to the church. I had just entered when I saw this lone figure sweeping the floor. The contrast between the tiny person and the vastness of the nave fascinated me.”

5D Mark II, ZEISS Distagon T* 2,8/21, f/5, 1/160, ISO 200
“El Capricho”, detailed shot of a balcony and minaret above the entrance
Full resolution on Flickr

Since discovering the world of ZEISS photography three years ago, Aguado has already made some changes to his equipment. He replaced his Distagon T* 2/35 with a Distagon T* 2,8/21, whose larger angular field is particularly well-suited to architectural photography. This can be seen in an image of one of Antoni Gaudí’s earliest work. The “Villa Quijano“, better known as “El Capricho“, is located in the town of Comillas, near Santander. It was built between 1883 and 1885 as the summer residence of a wealthy businessman.

“For students of Gaudí this building is important because certain details — such as his use of the Mudéjar style — are already visible here that play a recurring role in his later work. Personally, I’m fascinated by the play of light, forms and conventions. For example, the metal seat on the balcony faces the interior of the building, instead of away from the building as you would normally expect. The name “capricho”, meaning ‘whim’ or ‘impulse’, really does capture the character of this building: it is a ‘mood’ set in stone.”

5D Mark II, Distagon T* 2/35, f/8, 1/250, ISO 200
Puente de l’Assut de l’Or, Valencia
Full resolution on Flickr

When it comes to contemporary architecture, Aguado is particularly attracted to bridges because of their clear forms and lines set against the sky. A good example is the Assut de l’Or Bridge in Valencia, also known as the "jamonero” (the Spanish name for a cutting board with a holder used for Spanish hams) or the “harp bridge”. Another example is the Castilla La Mancha Bridge, which recently opened in Talavera de la Reina, Aguado’s birthplace and current hometown. Both are cable-stayed bridges. Measuring 192 meters (630 feet) high, the Castilla La Mancha Bridge is the highest construction of its kind in Spain and the second highest in Europe. It’s an impressive piece of architecture that Aguado wanted to capture in an image taken from an unusual perspective.

“When I look at these two pictures, I realize how fascinated I am by the architecture of cable-stayed bridges. The cables are able to support the entire construction and completely new forms are created as a result. Unfortunately, the viewing platform hasn’t opened yet, but I’m sure there’s a fantastic view from up there which I definitely want to capture later on with the Distagon T* 2,8/21.”

5D Mark II, Distagon T* 2,8/21, f/11, 1/125, ISO 100
Castilla La Mancha Bridge, Talavera de la Reina, Toledo
Full resolution on Flickr


About David Aguado

David Aguado studied electronic engineering and today earns his living as an IT service technician. A fan of architecture for many years, he developed his passion for photography relatively recently and only discovered ZEISS lenses in 2011. Today he devotes pretty well all his free time to his new-found hobby.

More of Davida Aguado's photos on Flickr:

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