Scenes from El Campello and Villajoyosa

February 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Scenes from El Campello and Villajoyosa 

Another week over, where does the time go?

Well, this week some of the time was spent on some photo shoots

But first a quick weather update. The cold and rainy weather appears to be mostly over although it is still a bit chilly out of the sun and there was a bit of rain to go with grey skies on Thursday. Looking out across the local landscapes and the snow has now all gone from Puig Campana mountain but there is still a dusting on the Aitana mountains that are further inland. Even that has started to look a bit more grey than white and I suspect it won't be there much longer.

OK, the photography.

Well, first off, a bit of really local stuff, all shot in El Campello.

On Sunday morning there was some quite odd and hazy light and an almost eerily flat sea. I took a shot of a sailing boat cruising past one of the stone breakwaters on Carrer La Mar beach with a long lens. The combination of the hazy light and the long focal length produced an interesting effect that I chose to enhance a tiny bit in my post processing rather than trying to correct it.


It’s one of those images that I’m not sure about. Maybe it works and maybe it doesn’t. Either way I think it has a certain something different about it compared to my usual work:

Later that same day I did a walk along the front, heading up towards Playa Muchavista. It was quite late in the afternoon and I was prepared for the possibility of some interesting shots as the sun got lower in the sky.

Before too long I started to notice that there seemed to a lot of flowers about. Some of them were growing in the 'flood' area at the end of the Rio Seco and I decided to have a quick look.

The more recognisable flowers were some Daisies and I decided to get a close up of one of them:

I wasn't using a macro lens so I was reasonably pleased with the way this came out.

There were also some other yellow flowers around, seemingly in considerable numbers. I decided to get a shot of them and use it to find out what they were. Some investigation online seems to have identified them as Oxalis pes-caprae also known as Bermuda buttercup or Sour-grass:

I ended up around at Zofra corner, the point where Play Muchavista ends and Playa Carrer La Mar begins (or the other way around if you prefer). 

While I was wandering around the area I came across a beautiful Snowy Egret in the water but, as I didn't have a long lens with me, I couldn't get a decent shot of it. Oh well, maybe another time.

The beach here is all pebbles and rocks and I discovered a whole mass of flowers and plants along the edge of part of the beach. The light over the buildings of Muchavista and San Juan was looking quite interesting so I decided to try a shot with the buildings as the background and the flowers in the foreground:

Zofra corner is best known for the upturned boats on the rocky beach and I have used some of these in shots before. The clouds out to sea looked quite nice and I found one of the boats that had plants and flowers growing all around its bow. The light on the scene was nice and I got down low to the ground to get the image I wanted:

I then started the walk back and, as I was crossing the river (it's really the dry river because most of the water is taken for irrigation further inland, although there's a bit more water in there than usual at the moment) I noticed that the recent rains had left it looking quite green with plants and that there was some nice clouds over the distant mountains. That made my final shot for the day:

My second trip of the week was to Villajoyosa. I planned to make this a duel purpose trip. First I wanted to scout out some potential locations for a morning shoot. Second, if conditions looked promising, I was going to see what I could get as a sunset shoot while I was there.

I started out with a hike along the coastal trail that leads along the cliffs from Playa El Torres towards Benidorm. I checked out and discounted a number of potential locations for either shoot and decided to start heading back and look at the opposite end of Playa El Torres which involves a climb up some steps. 

As I was working my way back along the trail I stopped at an area that had a lot more of the Oxalis pes-caprae flowers (also known as Bermuda buttercup or Sour-grass) and I liked the look of them in the foreground with a low wall and tree in the mid ground and a blue sky with some cloud as the backdrop. 

This shot meant getting the camera as low down as my tripod would allow but the end result is quite nice:

I also stopped off on one section of the coastal path to take a sunburst shot looking out to sea with the path catching the light quite nicely.

I recently wrote up my tip for avoiding lens flare when shooting directly into the sun. You can read it HERE 

I headed back along the length of the beach and climbed the hill. I looked around for my possible sunset shot but I wasn't really seeing anything that I felt was going to work. I did however find a scene that I felt would work well for a sunrise. 

While I was looking at this scene I realised that it was looking pretty nice right now. The sun was behind me and to the right, and getting quite low, but still putting some nice light on the scene. I felt it was a shot. If it didn't work out at least it would be a good reference shot for when I came back at dawn.

In the end I think it worked out well as an image in it's own right, a little bit earlier in the day, or even a little bit later, and I don't think the light would have been any good:

I still hadn't got a sunset shot and I wondered if I should have explored another area back at the far end of the beach when I was there. It had possibilities and I had time so I climbed back down and walked quickly back along the beach to the cliffs at the other end.

Once I climbed up the hill  I went down a side path and I found an interesting spot. 

The sun was still over the sea and getting lower. It was about 50 minutes to sunset and I set up for a shot. I thought there might be a couple of opportunities here. The first one with some nice side lighting on the scene would work, if I kept the sun just out of frame on the left and waited until it was in some thin cloud, so I set up and waited for the right moment:

The second possibility would only work if there was likely to be some gaps in the cloud over land where the sun would be setting. I waited for a while and it soon became clear that the clouds were thickening up and my idea wasn't going to work.

I had one more idea that I thought might work but it meant getting back up to the top of the hill, right at the other end of the beach again.

Another brisk walk and climb followed and I made it up on to the top of the hill which has a fine view of the landmark mountain Puig Campana.

This mountain is actually quite difficult to get decent shots of. Get up close and you can't really capture the shape. From further away there are all sorts of buildings and things in the way.

I decided on a shot that would include the buildings and roads on the edge of Villajoyosa (where I was) and use them to draw the eye towards the mountain. The clouds were moving quite a bit and I ended up shooting with a 10 stop filter to get a 100 second exposure that created some nice blur in the colourful and moving clouds. In the end I quite liked the way this came out:

I managed only one decent shot before the clouds closed in and the light on the mountain disappeared, so it was time to head home.

Another day and another chance to take some pictures. Earlier I mentioned a missed opportunity with the Snowy Egret. Well, I decided to try to do something about it.

I went for a walk back up to Zofra corner, only this time I put my long zoom lens on (a 150 to 600 zoom), and hoped that I might spot the Egret again. 

I was in luck, as I came around the corner there it was. I lined up a  shot of it standing in the shallows and, before I got a chance to press the shutter release, in a burst of sound it took to the air. I frantically swept the lens around, trying desperately to get the focus to lock on the fast moving bird and hit the shutter button.

The rest was, if I'm going to be honest, more luck than skill but at least I got it:

Finally, when the weather forecast looked right, I did my early morning back at Playa El Torres in Villajoyosa.

Arriving nice and early I parked the car and climbed up to the vantage point I had been at the other day. 

I like to arrive early because, sometimes, the best images are shot well before sunrise, during the blue hour.

About 40 minutes before the sun came up it was quite dark. The section of cliff I was standing on was quite exposed and the wind was chilly. We were just starting to get some nice light in the sky and there were still streetlights illuminated on the paths near to the beach. I needed a long exposure to capture the scene in the near dark and 61 seconds worked out perfectly to bring out some detail in the darker areas without blowing out the highlights. Because there wasn't any light on the foreground I decided to crop a lot of it out of the final image so this is a 2:1 ratio crop:

It was then a case of waiting for the sun to put in an appearance. It looked like there was some cloud sitting on the horizon right where the sun should appear so I guessed it might take a few minutes after official sunrise before we actually got to see it.

I was right, official sunset came and went and, although there was diffuse light and colour coming through the clouds, it wasn't the scene I was hoping for. I fired off a couple of shots, just while I waited, but I didn't think any of then would make the final cut.

Eventually, about 12 minutes after sunrise, the sun broke through. I got the light on the foreground I was looking for and also the chance to include the sun in the frame. It was now quite a high contrast scene and I shot three exposures to get detail from the bright sun through to the darkest shadows so that I could merge them later. The result came out pretty well:

I thought that was about it but, while I was looking out from this vantage point my eye was caught by some scrubby gnarled trees down on the rocky beach. The light wasn't quite hitting them yet so I had a bit of time.

A quick walk back down the hill and out on the beach and I found that one of the trees was not very nice, but the other had some interesting shapes and textures, exposed roots and some nice colours. 

I set up with the camera low down and waited just a little while for the light to hit the tree. 3 exposures again as there was a lot of contrast and the final result, after merging and then cropping to a square format finished off the morning nicely:

So that's it for this week. Plans for next week are shaping up and I'm sure there will be something worth capturing in camera and I'll share it with you in the next post.

Until then, have a great week


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