November 2017, a look back at October

November 02, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

November 2017, a look back at October

Welcome to my monthly blog post for November 2017 which will, as usual, be a look back at what’s been going on in October.

In my last blog post I announced the start of my Vlogging project and provided a link to my first video on Youtube

Since then I have produced and shared another four videos with a fifth coming soon.

Now that I am doing a lot of the background to my landscape images in video format I did begin to wonder what this blog was going to cover and, for the time being, I’ve decided to split these monthly posts into four sections.

  • Section one will be a kind of general “what’s been going on?” summary.
  • Section two will be about events, exploration and non-landscape photography
  • Section three will be about how the vlogging project is going
  • Section four will be about landscape photography and I will try to include some additional information that may not be included in the videos.

So, with that explanation out of the way… Let’s get started

What’s been going on?

October is an interesting month here. The summer season is over. The lifeguards that have been keeping an eye on the beach all through the summer have packed up and gone and some of the ‘summer only’ businesses and residents have now gone.

The beach hasn’t been empty most days, but there has certainly been a lot less people about.

The temperature has started to come down, as has the humidity, and that makes things a lot more comfortable for getting out and about.

Having said that, we also had some family visitors here during the month and we actually popped back to the UK for a few days.

Our UK trip was split between some ‘errands’ that we needed to perform, basically some appointments and other bits and pieces, and a chance to catch up with some people, including some friends we hadn’t seen for over a year and some family that we hadn’t seen for more than two years.

Also, October is the month in which El Campello celebrates the Fiesta of the Moors and Christians, and that seems like a nice link into the next section.

Events, exploration and non-landscape photography

We haven’t managed much in the way of exploring new places this month, basically there have been too many other things going on. We did however enjoy the massive parade that forms part of the Moors and Christians celebration.

The fiesta starts off on the morning of the 12th October with a huge battle on the beach. The Moorish invaders come in from the sea (having first left the port under the cover of darkness) and the Christians mount a defence using cannons, muskets, swords, staffs and pretty much anything else that comes to hand. Believe me, nobody gets to sleep late in the area that morning.

Last year we watched the battle on the beach and I posted about that in my blog post HERE 

This year we gave the battle a miss but we did go to the big parade in the evening.

The main streets in El Campello are closed off and seats are set up along the side of the route. €5 gets you a seat for the evening and we arrived nice and early to be at the front.

The parade itself kicks off at around seven pm and goes on for nearly three hours. The winning side in the battle, this year it was the Christians, goes first and the Moors follow up. I should perhaps mention that, each year, the winning side alternates. I should also mention that the parade is repeated on the next night and the order is reversed so that the losing side goes first.

The parade is a superb spectacle of colour, noise and action.

There are loads of bands with drums beating and lots of other instruments. Sometimes the bands are so close together that the different music they are playing overlaps, but somehow it all works.

There are people in incredible costumes with amazing detail and colour

 

 

Even the animals get to play a part, like this beautiful horse being put through it’s paces on the street

 

 

and there are also performers 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to check out the rest of my images from this parade I have a specific collection on Redbubble that you can see HERE

Of course all of these images are also available to buy as prints and on a variety of merchandise while you’re there.

 

The Vlogging project

As the vlogging project is new to me I thought it might be of interest to just share how I think it’s going, what I’m learning from the experience and, perhaps, a bit of what I have planned for the future.

When I started out with this I did so with the intention of adding an extra element into my landscape photography. I thought it might be interesting for people who view my still images to have the chance to see what goes on behind the scenes when I am shooting them.

My first video was far from perfect. I know I had lots of technical issues with focus and sound and I suspect my own performance left a lot to be desired.

As I have made a few more I have started to identify areas for improvement. I had some issues with focus and realised that this was, mostly, because I wasn’t familiar with the camera that I was using and wasn’t getting the focus set up correctly. I have, for the most part, overcome that but occasionally I still make some mistakes (my next video includes an example of one of those mistakes).

I also realised that I needed to do something better about the sound. Using the cameras built in microphone was only possible when there was no wind. As soon as the wind got up the audio was horrible.

So I moved over to a separate audio recording device where I can fit a microphone on my collar and even fit a furry wind muff. So far this seems to be working out well. It does require extra work in editing the videos as I now have to align the video and audio clips but, with practice, that is getting easier.

Also, watching myself on video really highlights some annoying habits and mannerisms that I hadn’t previously noted. In my first video I lost count of the number of times I said “errr”.

In my fourth video I struggled to find clips to use where I wasn’t constantly pushing my glasses back up my nose. OK, it was hot and I had my sunglasses on which are a bit heavier, so they were slipping more than normal, but I still hadn’t realised just how often I did it. Hopefully some adjustments to the glasses have partially solved that and some new, lighter, glasses that are on the way should also improve things. (I needed them anyway, I didn't buy them specially for the vlogging :-).

The other thing I’ve noticed is that watching the videos afterwards actually enriches the experience for me. When I shoot an image I normally feel an emotional connection to what I’m shooting. To be honest, if I don’t feel that connection, then the image normally doesn’t work. 

However, reviewing the images later on the computer, it can sometimes be that the emotional connection is not as strong in my memory, and that can make it difficult to see how I need to process the image to recapture in the picture them feeling of the scene at the time.

Watching the video that I shot at the time really helps to take me back to the scene and that’s something I’m finding really beneficial when I look at and process the images.

It’s also providing some insights into my own thought processes and feelings that I may not notice at the time.

I still have a lot of improving to do. I sometimes think my narration to camera is a bit ‘flat’ and I also need to work hard to make sure that I make the right links between the scenes I’m shooting on video and the final images that I present.

Still, I’m enjoying the process and I hope that, if you haven’t already, you’ll check out my video channel and, if you like my videos, subscribe to the channel (which doesn’t cost anything of course). Check it out HERE

Landscape Photography

This month my landscape photography has been pretty close to home

The start of the month saw me making a trip to Cabezon del Oro mountain. 

This trip was one of those occasions when the weather forecasts were completely wrong (all of them). There was supposed to be light cloud and mostly clear skies. What we actually got was some pretty heavy cloud, especially over the top of the mountain, and a constant threat of rain that somehow never materialised. 

Not that I’m complaining. The conditions were actually really great for photography and I got some images that I was really pleased with. A lot of patience was required as it was all about waiting for light to break through the clouds and hoping that it happened in the right place to make the image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The video that accompanies these images is HERE 

A trip out, early in the morning, to the beach of Almadrava required some rethinking when the conditions I was expecting didn’t pan out.

I had some ideas about shooting a large flat rock that sits out of the water just off this beach. Some clouds in the sky and some nice waves could have made this an interesting scene but, when I headed out in the morning it quickly became apparent that the sea wasn’t going to play. The waves were small and barely breaking over the rock.

I still made an attempt at the original plan but it didn’t take long to realise that I had to completely rethink. Rather than the dramatic scene with crashing waves that this composition needed I had to find a composition that would be more about tranquility.

I didn’t have to explore too far before I found a small rock partway up on the sandy beach that the gentle waves were occasionally washing around. This provided the opportunity for several images with some recomposition at different points throughout the shoot to deal with the changing light and the appearance of the sun.

 

 

 

 

 

The video that accompanies these images is HERE

In the middle of the month I made an attempt to get up to the tower at Reixes Lloma. I have shot this from the nearby pebble beach a few times but I really wanted to climb up to the top and see what opportunities this would present.

This was another day when the weather wasn’t ideal. Pretty much completely clear skies which really didn’t go well with the scene.

The climb up the hill started in a small urbanisation nearby where I parked the car and, although neither massively tall nor a massively long walk, the climb is actually pretty steep and a bit tiring.

I explored along the narrow ridge that leads across the top of the hill and finally reached the summit that has some spectacular views and even looks down on the medieval watchtower.

A further scramble got me down to the tower but, given the lack of clouds, I didn’t feel there was anything be gained by staying there until sunset to shoot. So, I returned along the ridge and decided to see if a composition looking across to the nearby Cabezon del Oro mountains would work, especially as that was the only direction that had any cloud,

A lot of patience was needed while I waited for the light to paint the scene. This was going to be all about the play of light and shadow over the hills between me and the mountain.

In the end I managed one image that I was quite pleased with but I then managed to take a wrong turn on my way back down the hill and almost got lost. Fortunately I found my way out OK :-)

 

The video that accompanies this image is HERE

A trip into Villajoyosa early in the morning saw me at a rocky beach next to the Torre del Charco. This is another medieval watchtower, this time perched on the edge of a steep cliff.

Arriving well before sunrise gave me time to consider my composition options. There were no clouds again (the penalty of living in a country that has so much sunshine) so I really didn’t want to have too much sky in the scene. 

I decided on a vertical composition that I would then crop down to around an eight by ten format and waited for the light to be nice on the scene, and for the tower and cliff to be nicely reflected in the rock pool and took the shot.

 

 

I then decided to try a horizontal composition and, at the time, I wasn’t sure it worked. Once I got it home on the computer however it was obvious that the same crop factor would also improve this composition and now I’m not sure which one I prefer.

 

It was as I was packing up to leave that I spotted another opportunity and, despite being really hungry and more than ready to go home for breakfast, I decided to shoot it. This was a wonderfully wind bent tree on the side of the path to the beach that also allowed a view of the watchtower.

 

 

The video that accompanies these image is HERE

 

And so that wraps up my landscape photography for October.

I haven’t been out as much as I would have liked, just because of various other things going on, but when I have been out I think I’ve been pretty lucky with the images I’ve captured.

I should probably say at this point that not every trip is a success. Sometimes I go out and get nothing including, this month, a particularly disappointing trip when the weather and light really didn’t work out. I had sound problems in the video because it was too windy and the one shot that I thought I had managed to salvage turned out to have some motion blur issues because I hadn’t got the tripod quite as stable as I needed in the conditions. Needless to say the image was consigned to the trash. Had the video been OK I might have published it as an example of how it sometimes doesn’t all come together but, considering the poor sound, I decided not to.

With that I’m going to wrap up this months blog post. I just want to leave you with a sneaky still from the next video I will be posting. Don’t forget to head over to my Youtube channel and subscribe. If you set the notification bell then you’ll never miss one of my videos.

 

My Movie 3My Movie 3

My Youtube channel is HERE

Also, I have two calendars available for order right now

The first is my El Campello Calendar

You can see the calendar in more detail and place your order HERE

The second is called "Landscapes by Ralph Goldsmith"

You can see the calendar in more detail and place your order HERE

In the coming month there will be more landscape photography, hopefully some exploration, and, if all goes to plan, some images and video from a different area of Spain.

Don’t forget I’ll be posting my usual Landscape Photography tip around  the middle of the month as well. If you've already subscribed to my blog then you will get an email telling when I post. If not then you can subscribe now. Just enter your email address in the box over at the right of this page.

Until the next time

Have a great month 

 

 

 


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