Life and Landscape Photography, what happened in February

March 02, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Life and Landscape Photography, what happened in February

Welcome to my March 2018 blog post and my look back at February

What’s been going on?

February is a bit of an odd month. Because it’s the winter, and because it follows on from the various events in January that keep places busy, quite a few of the bars and restaurants use this time to close for some rest before preparations start for the upcoming season.

We’ve also seen the weather turn a bit colder, at least at times, and we’ve had quite a few days with overcast skies and cool winds. There has also been a bit of rain and, in the mountains just to the north, there has been a bit of snow. Compared to last year there has been a lot less rain and snow and that will certainly result in lower water levels in the rivers and reservoirs over the summer.

Events, Exploration and Non Landscape Photography

There have been no events of any interest to us going on in the area this month and most of our trips out have been photography related so I will pick those up in the landscape photography section of the blog. 

We payed a visit to Santa Pola, to the south of Alicante and spent a bit of time exploring a few places, mostly scouting for photography locations, and I returned there one morning for a dawn shoot. The area has a lot of salt lakes and salt extraction facilities and there’s a small wildlife sanctuary and a museum of salt to have a look around.

We also did a shopping trip to Murcia where we spent a bit of time at Ikea and a few nearby shops.

Vlogging

The vlogging continues. During February I have published a total of 8 videos shot at various locations and encompassing dawn and sunset shoots as well as a couple that are based ‘in the office’ in order to demonstrate post processing.

I have started using an action camera that I had from a few years ago to shoot most of the video, it seems to have better dynamic range than the old Canon camera I was using and the wider angle lens helps. It does, however, struggle with low light and the first time I took it out backfired a bit, more of that in the Landscape Photography section.

Landscape Photography

Again, I will be letting the videos tell most of the story but I will try to add a bit of background here.

In my last blog post I mentioned that I had just released a video. It was my final shoot in January and said I would talk more about it in this post.

As a reminder… Here’s the video

 

So… this video started with a trip up into the mountains, specifically to Cabezon del Oro, and the mission to get a woodland image.

I went out quite late in the afternoon with the intention being to get some nice low side lighting in the woodland. Although there are wooded areas that would have been easier to get to I decided to go to one that I thought had the best chance of a nice composition, and of getting some nice light. This meant a reasonable hike but, I hope, was rewarded with a nice scene that made for a pleasant image. Here it is:

That video was pretty short and so I decided to carry it on to a dawn shoot down on the beach in El Campello.

That morning started out with some quite clear skies out to sea but that very quickly changed as the cloud started to move across the scene. I went out to get some images of the rocks on the shoreline at the far end of the beach but, although I did get a couple of nice images there, the best shot was one that was totally unplanned. 

As the scene started to get brighter I looked north east, towards the end of El Campello and the mountain Puig Campana, and saw a wonderful scene with layers of mist and cloud picking up colour from the early morning sun, even though the sun itself was hidden. 

Here’s the image

My next trip out was to a location on the outskirts of Villajoyosa. The general area is known was Malladeta but I was specifically going to the area around the Villa Giacomina. 

I had scouted this location out a couple of months before and I returned here on this particularly day because of the weather. All day there had been very low but thin cloud, almost a haze, the sun was shining through it, very diffuse most of the time but, just occasionally, breaking through stronger.

It was a bit of a gamble. The thin cloud could light up nicely and put some lovely colour on the scene, or it could all be flat and horrible. 

When I left the location I still wasn’t sure if I had anything worthwhile. There had been some nice colour in the sky but I wan’t convinced that the light in the rest of the scene had been good enough. As it turned out the image was quite nice. here it is:

and here’s the video

It wasn’t long after this that we had an evening and a night with some really heavy rain. Sometimes, when this happens, the rain leaves some really interesting trails and patterns on the local beach and I knew that these could make for a nice composition.

So, I headed out well before sunrise to see what I could find, only to discover that the council clean up crew had already been out and used the big tractor pulled rakes to clean everything up.

Still, I was out and about and I decided to see what I could get by using the breakwaters as a focal point. 

I did manage a couple of images, including a rare (for me) black and white but, once again, the most interesting image came as the scene brightened up a bit and I realised there was some snow on the nearby mountains. 

I managed to get an image of a snow dusted Puig Campana mountain with the El Campello Marina in the foreground.

Here’s that image:

and here’s the video for that shoot

In reality I had been out on an attempted shoot a couple of days before that. I had been up to the hill and tower at Reixes Lloma (or Barranc de l’Agues) to try to get some shots of the tower. The conditions had proven to be poor for the location with no cloud and, reluctantly, I came home without ever getting the camera out of the bag.

A week later I was back there again and this time there was cloud, but mostly in the wrong place. I spent a while there trying to get some images and, in the end, I came home with a couple of images but neither of them was what I had really envisaged. 

I still believe that my expectations of what the site could offer were getting in the way of me seeing potential compositions. I have decided to give that location a rest for a few months.

Here’s the video that covers those two trips and the two images that finally came out.

Earlier in this post I mentioned that we went on a trip to Santa Pola to check out some locations. Well, my next trip was back to Santa Pola to do a dawn shoot.

My target location was the Tamarit watchtower. This is one of many towers along the coastline that date to the 16th century. This one is one of the more unusual ones for two reasons.

First, it’s square. Most of the towers along the coastline are round but there are a few square ones. 

Second is it’s elevation. Most of the towers are on the tops of hills or cliffs. This one is pretty much at sea level on a tiny island in one of the small salt lakes.

The tower was extensively renovated about 5 years ago so perhaps doesn’t have quite as much character as some but it still makes a nice focal point.

The weather forecast for the morning was pretty much clear skies and almost no wind. The reality was a lot of cloud and a very stiff breeze. I had to re-plan as the hoped for reflections wouldn’t be happening.

In the end I took three images, my favourite was the one taken after sunrise when the tower really lit up.

Here it is:

I actually made two videos from this. The first one was the On location video

The second one was how I processed the images in Lightroom

So… where next?

The next trip was to a park. Yes, that’s right, a park.

This was a location we had heard about and decided to visit to check out. It’s call Parque el Palmera (The Palm Park) and it’s on the outskirts of Alicante city, just a stones throw for the sea and the port.

I was interested in visiting this place for three reasons. First, I wanted to show a location that was ‘easy access’. Somewhere that didn’t require miles of hiking or clambering over slippery rocks or anything like that.

Second, I wanted to see if it was possible to get some really nice images in a totally artificial environment.

Third. There are waterfalls here. OK, they’re not exactly Niagara falls, and of course they are artificially created, but waterfalls are a rare thing in this part of Spain.

The park itself is very nice, lots of palm trees (you probably guessed that by the name) and small lakes and some nice little waterfalls.

I actually got three nice shots here but this one was my personal favourite of the group

and here’s the video

My final trip for the month was a trip up to Cabezon del Oro mountain. The weather forecast was not promising at all. In fact I almost didn’t take my camera gear as I didn’t think there was going to be much point. I had thought I might just go for an explore. 

In the end I decided to take the camera and tripod etc but, not the video gear. I did decide to take out a small ‘action camera’ that I’ve had knocking around for a while, just to take some test footage with it.

Well, as it turned out, the conditions changed rapidly during the afternoon and I soon realised that we were in for a great time, and possible a great sunset. So I decided to try to video everything on the ‘action cam’. I didn’t have a tripod or anything for it and, worse still, I hadn’t checked what memory card was in it.

I managed to get some footage but, the memory card filled up immediately before sunset and, as it was a micro SD, none of my spare cards would fit it.

I briefly debated deleting some of the earlier footage but in the end had to make the choice on capturing stills during, what turned out to be, a very nice sunset.

I actually got several images on this trip

One of them is a black and white

and I really liked this image that was actually just the first frame of a panorama that I shot but, when I looked at it, I decided that it worked well on its own

I did end up posting the video as well, it kind of ends a bit abruptly but I thinks it’s still not too bad.

Here it is

OK… so that’s it for this month post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it

I’ll do my usual tips post in the middle of March

Until then

Have a great couple of weeks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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