Life and Landscape Photography, what happened in March
Life and Landscape Photography, what happened in March
Welcome to my April 2018 blog post and my look back at March
What’s been going on?
March has been quite a busy month, although a lot of that has been about photography. We have managed a couple of trips out but most of those have been photography related as well, mostly scouting out new locations.
I was delighted this month to be invited to give a talk at a camera club in the nearby town of Castalla. A nice group of people and maybe I’ll get the chance to do some more with them in the future.
Weather wise we’ve seen the first indications of the shift towards summer, although the first part of the month remained quite chilly, and it seems safe to say that the heavy rains and snow that hit the region the previous winter are not going to be repeated.
Events, Exploration and Non Landscape Photography
Most of our trips out have been entered around photography so I’ll cover those in the landscape photography section. There have not been any events of any real interest to us going on locally so nothing new to report there.
During March I published 9 videos to my Youtube channel. I have still used the action camera that I mentioned in the last months post for most of the video but I have also used my old DSLR (the Nikon D7100) to shoot some video, particularly in low light conditions and when I don’t have too much hiking to do to get on location.
I think one of the areas I need to put a bit more work into is the ‘b-roll’, basically more footage setting the scene and showing the location more. so that will start to become a bit more of a focus in future videos.
As usual I will be letting the videos tell most of the story but I will introduce them here and fill in a few extra pieces of information.
My first shoot of the month was very local. Just a 20 minute walk to the rocks at El Banyets. It was a dawn shoot and there was a lot of cloud about. With no chance of getting an actual sunrise image I concentrated on getting a moody and dramatic shot of the rocky shapes and the dark skies. I also decided to show the post processing for the image that I captured here.
Interestingly, I took a test shot when I first arrived on location but didn’t think the composition was going to work. However, when I got it back on the computer I quite liked it so I ended up with two images instead of one.
Here’s the image that I didn’t think was going to work
and this is the one that I planned and showed the processing for
For the rest of the story, check out the video
For my next trip I headed out to the next town to the north, Villajoyosa. Specifically to one to the cliffs near to the medieval watch tower at Calla del Charco.
It was an almost clear afternoon / evening and I concentrated on finding a single composition that would work with side lighting. There were some challenges with the scene, mostly trying to avoid my own shadow getting in the foreground, but in the end I got an image that I was pleased with and managed to explain in the video some thoughts about finding compositions
and heres the video
My next trip took me to the hills north of the village of Orxeta, I was looking for mountain views and possibly getting some altitude to see if there were views down to Amadorio reservoir. When I first got there conditions looked quite good but clouds started to close in towards the west as the afternoon moved on and I quickly lost hope of a beautiful sunset. I did end up with a couple of images, one of them a panorama, but it was one of those trips that really didn’t work out the way I wanted.
Here's the panorama
and here's the video
After the trip to Orxeta we had a period of really gloomy weather. The skies were grey and overcast and the sea was flat and dull and boring. For four days I waited and then, when I could stand it no more, I went out.
Actually, the weather forecast when I went out was quite promising. There was supposed to be heavy cloud but also strong winds, and that could mean some dramatic shots of breaking waves.
I headed out to Cap de l’Horta, which is where the lighthouse is, and spent some time exploring. It was very windy and the waves were crashing over the rocks. Some interesting looking compositions were just too risky to try as the waves could easily have swamped me. I did eventually find a location where I could photograph waves but the weather forecast proved to be wrong again and the clouds all started to clear.
After getting one shot in the bag (this one)...
...I started heading back around the cape and then discovered another scene that I couldn’t resist capturing.
Here’s the video
Next… it was time for a road trip.
We headed out to visit the town of Cieza, in the region of Murcia. The timing was specifically to see the seasonal even called La Floracion (the flowering) when the almond and peach blossoms all come out.
I’m not sure if we timed it as well as we could have. Most of the almond blossom was gone and the peach blossom was only just coming out.
We did some walking around the town, mostly along the side of the river, and then drove around lots of small country roads looking for potential compositions that would let me capture the beauty of the blossom and also give some sense of the overall scene. I’m not really keen on driving around looking for compositions but there wasn’t much choice as there was too much ground to cover walking.
I managed a few images but I think this one was my favourite
Here’s the video story
Of course I also have to find new locations to shoot and there was a period of about four days in March when I did nothing but location scout. This meant spending quite a lot of time driving around to get to new areas, and then spending a bit of time exploring them.
Some of those locations didn’t work out. They just didn’t offer enough for me to make the effort to go back and shoot them, but some of them did.
One of those that did was the Lighthouse at Santa Pola.
This is an interesting place. The lighthouse was built in1858 on top of an old (16th century) watchtower atop a 137 meter tall cliff. A modern metal walkway extends over the cliff edge to provide spectacular views down to the sea below.
I went there for a dawn shoot, arriving when it was still very dark. I set up on the metal walkway, which presented some challenges as it was not entirely solid and wobbled slightly so I had to be really careful about staying still while I was taking shots, especially long exposures.
Conditions were superb with a really lovely sky and I ended up getting three images I was happy with. I think this one is my personal favourite of the three
and here’s the video
After doing so much driving around over the last few day I decided to head somewhere local for a relaxing afternoon of hiking, and maybe a bit of photography, so I went to Cabezon del Oro mountain because it’s only a 20 minute drive from home.
I thought I might explore some of the woodland areas and try to get some shots in there. I find woodland photography a challenge, both from the point of view of seeing compositions in the chaos, but also because the woodland here lacks the character and mood you might find in some other places.
Add to this that fact that I couldn’t stay out late, so a sunset image was out of the question, and I really wasn’t getting very far with my search.
In the end I changed my plans, after all, if it’s not working then it’s better to try something else, and I came out of the woodland to get some shots of parts of the mountain using the telephoto lens.
Despite it being a long way from the golden hour I actually had some nice light and managed a few images I was pleased with, including this panorama:
here’s the video story
By this time March was starting to get away from me but I really wanted to squeeze in a couple of extra photoshoots.
For one of these I headed back to El Banyets, where I had been earlier in the month, this time to get s shot in very different conditions.
It was another dawn shoot but, unlike the last time, the skies were almost completely clear. I wanted to get the sun rising over the horizon with the shapes of the rocks pools leading the eyes out to it. Timing was everything. Too soon and the sun wouldn’t appear, too late and lens flare would probably ruin the image. A little bit of cloud broke up the sky just a touch and I got an image that I really like:
and here’s the video story
Now, for the final shoot to be included in this post, a return to Enchanted Gorge.
I have been here before, a couple of months ago, and I wanted to come back and explore some more. My original thought was to come back after heavy rains and maybe after some snow on the mountains had thawed. I thought we might get a lot more water flowing through at that time. However, given that we haven’t had those conditions this winter, I decided to go back anyway.
I had a nice afternoon exploring, got a bit frustrated with not being able to get to some of the scenes at the bottom of the gorge that looked really nice, managed to make a mess of one part of the video but got a couple of images that I liked.
Here’s one of the images
and here’s the video
So… that’s about it for this month, but in early April there will be a couple of new locations being photographed.
One of them will be an afternoon shoot at Elche reservoir, which looks really impressive, and the other one will be a very early start to get to a location called Cave of the Arches (Cova dels Arcs) before sunrise.
Of course there will be more than that, I’m working on my plans for the rest of the month right now.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my Youtube channel (CLICK HERE) so you get to see my adventures as soon as I post them.
I’ll be back in the middle of the month with my ‘Tip’ post.
Until the next time, have a great month
Category: photography blog
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