Saturday, 14 May 2011

Noche de Fuego - by Theo

It's San Isidro weekend, which means the city is laying on loads of free events to celebrate its patron saint. I'd been meaning to go out and take some night time photos of Madrid, so when I saw one of the events was a fire display on the riverside I immediately requested a late pass from Kate and invited our photographer friend Anne along.
Starting from the beautiful old Puerta de Toledo, now pedestrianised, we walked past the Vicente Calderon Stadium (home of Atletico de Madrid) through the brand new Manzanares river park. It's very well done, with lots of interesting use of spaces (swings under road bridges) and lights, and a haven for cyclists, runners and roller-bladers. Dodging these, we finally made our way to the Puente del Rey, which is where the Noche de Fuego began.
From the brief glance I'd had at the San Isidro programme I'd thought it was going to be a firework display, but actually it was a fire show, with various arrangements of flames along the river and adjoining paths. Some large, some small, some static, some in motion, it was all very magical and photographer's dream! There were certainly plenty of cameras around, with the illuminated Royal Palace and cathedral helping to create a stunning backdrop.

For all the lack of enthusiasm for San Isidro that my students had demonstrated, the place was packed, mostly with Spaniards, who had all brought their children along, despite the fact it was getting on for 11pm. Some little girls were dancing like mad in front of the beautifully laid out stage area where two musicians were creating looped soundtracks. Their frantic movements and long shutter speeds helped create awesome photos, leaving them (as I explained to their father who was worried about them blocking my shot) as faint, ghostly images.

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