Beauty of the Barcelona Metro – L9N, L9S and L10

After taking a lot of rides with the new Barcelona Metro lines L9N, L9S and L10 it appeared to me that the stations have a lot of beauty in them. They share the same architectural principles, but each station still has its little difference in lines, patterns and arches. In this article I will display photos from many different locations and explain a bit how you can take breath taking pictures in a very easy way.

Metro Lines L9N, L9S and L10

The meto L9 Sud goes through Barcelona, L’Hospitalet and El Prat de Llobregat. It links the Zona Universitària district with the airport’s terminal 1/2 and serves areas that previously had no metro service. L9 Nord connects La Sagrera to Can Zam. Construction still continues to connect the Northern and Southern L9 lines. It the final stage when Zona Universitaria is connected to La Sagrera, it will be the largest automated metro track in Europe. The L10 is just a small branch of the L9 with six stations from which three stations are shared with L9.


A handful of photos taken in the escalator areas

Below you see some examples of the great picture that can be taken in the metro lines. As you can notice it is all about symmetry.

Equipment – The more wide-angle, the better

The camera body I use is a Nikon D90 I bought in 2010. Quite vintage nowadays with 12MP but still decent. Always thought when my level of photography was progressing, there is no need to replace the camera. From my extended benefit personal work budget, I decided I needed a SamYang 8mm f/3.5 for my marketing activities. Good investment. No need for a tripod.

Taking the picture

The trick is to use the 5 seconds timer and lay your camera on the floor. I recommend avoiding business rush hours. Bringing a tripod gives you more flexibility but it also puts your camera in a higher position and therefore limits your range. Just put the camera on the floor, press the button and run away from your camera to not be in the picture. This actions often causes suspicion among people, especially security personnel. It is just a camera, no fireworks, no bomb.

Finding the exact middle, the most important thing is to take your picture from the exact middle of the hall. Because of the great focal range of the lens you will notice the difference even when you are just a few centimeters off. This is something you cannot correct with Photoshop. Always try to find a point or line that defines the exact middle. If it is on the floor it is easy. Otherwise you have to make some imaginary line or use some duct tape to find the center.


Practical considerations

A typical T-10 transport card allows you to travel into a direction for one hour and 15 minutes, be sure you are inside that time interval. If the time expires, exit the station and start a new trip. It is less than a euro and prevents you from receiving a fine. Taking pictures in a TMB metro is not officially forbidden, but sometimes you will be sent away if the TMB security finds you to be a threat to the public’s safety. So if you there is security personnel, make clear to them you are taking pictures, show an example of your pictures and tell you are not taking pictures of people. This mostly prevents you from being sent away.

You can find the regulations here:


Camera settings

When taking the picture, I put the white balance on automatic. There is no daylight there, so the results will be quite the same in the pictures. You can also set it manually to around 3200K. You can use really small apertures because it is a static subject (f/16 or smaller like f/22).

The shutter speed is determined by the camera, because I always put it on aperture control and overexposing it a bit, because you are taking pictures of the lamps. Just +0,3 or +0,7 stop is enough.

The focal point is the easiest part, it is a fisheye, so everything is far away, set it to manual focus on infinite. This way your auto focus does not come up with any bright ideas.

If you don’t have a fish eye lens, no worries. You can create great pictures with a 35mm fixed lens for example. So give it a try in any of the stations, once you took some great pictures you move on the next one.


Other perspectives beside the one picture exactly in the middle

Of course you can pictures than the one from the middle, so you are not limited to that one-great-picture-per-station. So try other locations like the hall ways or go really experimental like these 90 degrees turned examples. Happy shooting!