Aitana Mountains, Guadalest and Tibi

April 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Aitana Mountains, Guadalest and Tibi 

It's been a good week for getting out and about, seeing new places, or old places from new vantage points, and for capturing some new images. We've had some very nice weather, warm and sunny but also a bit of cloud to help keep things interesting. For my trips out I've been wearing shorts and it has been plenty warm enough.

I'll start the week with an unplanned dawn shoot on the beach at El Campello. 

I happened to wake up early and just decided to grab the camera and tripod and head out before the sun came up. I had no idea on what the conditions were going to be like but I was only going to be a few minutes walk along the beach so I didn't worry about it too much.

It turned out to be a mostly clear sky, just a bit of cloud down near the horizon, and I decided to use a long focal length, put the end of the stone breakwater in the middle area of the frame and try to capture some wave movement in the foreground. The longer focal length meant that I had a bit more interesting sky and I took several shots as the sun rose. I eventually picked one shortly before the sun cleared the clouds as I felt it was the best overall and I liked the tones and the wave patterns in it:

My first trip out this week was a return to the Aitana mountains. Further research meant that I hoped to be able to find the trails that I couldn't locate the previous week and this time I met with success, at least on the navigation front.

I had hoped to locate, what was described as, the waterfall cliff. The literature did say that the waterfall was only there occasionally but, given the amount of rain we have had over the last couple of months I was hopeful. Alas, it was not to be. I found the cliff and there were definite signs that water runs down it from time to time but, at the moment, it was bone dry. I suspect that there is only water coming down immediately after heavy rains.

Still, It was a beautiful area and I very nice hike on some lovely trails and with some spectacular views and I decided to make the most of it.  The result was a couple of nice images:

The overall hike ended up being about 9 kilometres on some fairly hilly terrain so I was feeling pretty tired afterwards. nevertheless we had another trip planned for the next day. This time we were going back to Guadalest.

We'd only been there a couple of weeks ago but this time I was planning something different. I parked in the normal area by the town and then walked down the road that leads to the dam on the reservoir. It is possible to drive down and park up but I wanted to do it as a bit of an exploration and to get a chance to take in the views, hence the decision to walk it.

The first thing was an opportunity to shoot a familiar subject, the bell tower on its high rocky outcrop, from a different angle:

As I headed further down the road I started to get to where the end of the reservoir and the dam were visible. The surface of the water looked very still and the sun was still low enough in the sky to create some pleasant lighting conditions. I took a long shot of the scene that I really like, and that really shows how full the reservoir is at the moment:

Getting down to the dam itself was easy and offered up another couple of opportunities for reflections shots. I had to be fairly quick because, as the sun was getting higher, not only was the light starting to become less appealing, but the surface of the water was starting to get a few more ripples which would soon break up the reflections. I managed two more shots before that happened:

I then had to face the prospect of the climb back up a pretty steep road back to the car park. I confess that my legs were aching a bit by the time I got back.

After a day of rest I headed out to another location on the 'to do' list. Tibi.

Specifically I was interested in the reservoir and dam at Tibi and I had some directions on how to get there.

A drive down the motorway for about 30 minutes and then exit at a service station. At the back of the service station car park is a small road that winds its way along the sides of the mountains until, after about 5 kilometres (say about 3 miles) it ends with a locked gate. I parked up by the gate and walked around a small trail to get back onto the road on the opposite side of the gate and then followed the road on foot for about another 1.6 kilometres (about a mile) to get down to a couple of old stone bridges that lead to the base of the dam.

As I was walking down I started to hear a loud noise. It sounded like a big helicopter. The noise increased and, suddenly, it burst over the top of the nearby mountains. It was one of the helicopters equipped with a 'bucket' to collect water for fire fighting. I believe they may have been doing practice runs over the reservoir. It was gone all too quickly but I did manage to get one shot of it:

The dam at Tibi is the oldest masonry dam in Europe that is still in use and it was built between 1579 and 1594. Following flooding of the dam in 1697 a spillway was constructed that results in a waterfall running down the cliffs in the valley. I played around with a few different shots here. I finally decided to use a combination of a 6 stop ND filter and a circular polarising filter to get a 1 second exposure of this view. I just had to wait a few minutes for the sun to break through some clouds:

Moving further along the path and I switched the 6 stop filter for a 10 stop filter in order to get a 20 second exposure of this close up view of the waterfall, again I had to wait a few minutes as the sun was appearing and disappearing behind clouds every few minutes:

As I couldn't find a way to get up to the top of the dam, more research is required I think, I decided to head up the road, back towards the car, and perhaps explore some of the narrow trails I had seen further up.

It was a hard walk back up. The road is pretty steep and the temperature was quite high. Once I got back near to the car I picked a trail that looked promising and started out to explore.

The path led higher and higher up the hillside. I kept getting tantalising views of the reservoir some distance below but always with lots of trees in the way. I finally found a spot with a good view, perhaps not as completely unobstructed as I would have liked but I felt the view worked well. There was quite a bit of cloud about and it was creating some nice textures and patterns on the landscape and on the distant mountains. 

I waited until I felt the light was at its best and managed this shot which worked out pretty well:

I retraced my steps along the narrow trail and eventually made it back to the car. There is definitely some more exploring to be done around Tibi and I think I will be back here soon.

That's it for this week. I hope you've enjoyed the read. Until next time, have a great week 



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