An Andalucian Adventure Part 2

February 17, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

An Andalucian Adventure Part 2

Welcome back to our Andalucian Adventure.

We left it, last week, at the end of the post, as I was heading out to the end of the Roman bridge to get ready for some sunset and night shots.

I got to my chosen location and explored some potential compositions, finally deciding on a couple of possibilities, and set up to await the sunset. It was at this point that I started to wonder if the sunset shots were going to work.

The sun would be setting off to the left of the scene and I was hoping for some nice side lighting on the bridge and some colour in the sky. The problem was the amount of cloud out where the sun would be setting. There was quite a lot and it was pretty much blocking out the sun.

I decided to shoot some long exposures. With the cloud and the water movement this would be the best option if the colours didn't appear and I ended up going for black and white. 

As the light started to fade there came an all too brief moment when some light managed to get through. Not the vibrant colours I was hoping for but enough to make the scene interesting. I decided to stick with the long exposure and kept my 10 stop ND filter on to get a 76 second exposure that has some subtle light from the setting sun and also a nice soft effect due to the blurring of the sky and the water:

I then settled in to wait for the lights to come on. 

After a while the daylight really started to fade and the lights came on along the bridge. This looked nice but I was waiting for the lights on the Mosque to come on as well. After several minutes I saw a faint glow and, very slowly, the mosque started to light up.

I changed my composition just a bit and took a 25 second exposure (it was now dark enough that I didn't need a filter to achieve this) and I liked the result:

While I really like this shot there is one problem with it. It's kind of a classic view, one that I've seen lots of times. I decided to see if I could get something a bit different and set out to get to the other side of the bridge.

When I arrived I found a good viewpoint that put the bridge on the left of the frame and the mosque almost straight ahead, This also gave me some nice light in the water:

I then headed up onto the bridge to check out the view from there and see what opportunities there were before it got fully dark.

This view of the lights reflected on the river appealed to me:

as did this shot of the statue of the Archangel Rafael ( the patron saint of the city) that sits in the middle of the bridge:

and then it was time to head off for a nice dinner after the activities of the day. I was pretty happy with what I had in camera and was looking froward to getting them on the computer, but there was going to a couple of more days of shooting first.

The next day saw me heading up to a reservoir a short distance away for a quick exploration. I had one evening and one morning left and I was trying to decide how to use them.

The reservoir sits in some nice rolling landscapes and, once again, I was struck by the difference to the Costa Blanca region and, specifically, the amount of green:

After a look around I decided that I probably wouldn't come back here later for an evening shoot. It was pretty but the sun direction wouldn't be that great. That didn't mean I couldn't get in a few shots while I was here. The beauty of the winter is the sun is pretty low, even in mid afternoon, and so the light was reasonably good.

I decided to focus on some of the shots of the fields and trees. As I was exploring I came into a dip in the landscape with some trees and spotted a short jet trail in the blue sky. I thought it kind of looked like a shooting star so I tried a shot that I think works quite well:

On the other side of the reservoir there was a nice view. I liked the division between a brown field of ploughed earth and a green field of grass. With some trees, a hill and some rocks I thought it made for an interesting scene:

There was actually a very impressive vista here and I really wanted to capture the whole thing. I ended up shooting a 16 frame panorama of the entire view. In the middle of the frame you can see the old chimneys at the derelict mines in the nearby village of Pueblonuevo del Terrible. The village is named after the mine El Terrible. The mine is named after the dog that is reputed to have discovered it. It was, according to the story, a particularly nasty mastiff, hence the name El Terrible:

A final stop off was in the actual village of Pueblonuevo del Terrible. The search for a parking space led me to discover a wonderful and elegant looking building that is a residencia de mayores (literally an elderly residence), a retirement home. I have to say I can think of worse places to spend my later years:

With the decision made not to return to the reservoir for an evening shoot I decided to head back up Belmez, where I had photographed the castle and stars on the first night.

I headed up there early enough that I had time to explore while waiting for the sun to get lower. I wasn't expecting an actual sunset shot. The sun was not going to be in a good place and there was far too little cloud for that to work out. Instead I was going to focus mostly on side lit shots as the sun moved lower in the sky. 

My first opportunity was when I spotted a horse grazing in the fields nearby. I wanted to just have the horse as some foreground(ish) interest and still have the main feature being the castle. There was already some nice light and shadows going on so I set up, waited for the horse to be in the right position and captured this shot:

I then considered moving in a bit, making the horse more of a feature. However, as I did so the horse decided to wander off and it was no longer in a good place for the shot I had in mind, Just then, a small Shetland (or similar) pony put in an appearance. Far from being shy, this little guy just kept on coming towards me and I had to keep moving back in order to frame the shot:

Finally, after he'd had a bit of a stroke on the nose, and had satisfied himself that I didn't have any food for him, he wandered off and left me to find some other views.

Moving a little further along I found a nice view that included some of the village and where the low sun was creating long shadows from the nearby trees.:

Finally, I wandered along one of the trails that led towards the village and castle. There I found a puddle of water and, with the low sun, it was possible to get the castle reflected in it. I'm a sucker for a nice reflections picture so I set up to take one:

By this time the sun was almost gone and, just a few minutes later, the light disappeared from the landscape. With very little cloud in the sky there wasn't any colourful interest and, while I was tempted to hang around and see what night shots would be possible, I had no idea what time they turned the illuminations on and I really needed to get back so we could get ready to go out for dinner.

And so we came to the final morning. We had a long drive ahead of us, about 6 hours plus a rest stop, but there was still time for one more morning shoot. 

Almost opposite our hotel was a wooded area and, on this morning, there was a bit of light frost on the ground. I headed in shortly before sunrise to see what I could find and quickly spotted an interesting looking tree that I could shoot straight through with the sun coming up behind it. 

There wasn't any real colour in the sky but, as the sun started to break through, I got an unexpected bonus. A thin low mist rose up from the grass and the rays of the sun picked it out and made it glow. I shot three exposures to keep some detail in all areas of the image and merged them later in Lightroom. I really like the way this image came out:

Then it was time for breakfast and to start the long drive home.

Next week it will be back to normal on the posts with some information about what I've been doing back in the Costa Blanca area.

Until then, have a great week 


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