Life and Landscape Photography - What Happened in April
So… this months blog post is a bit late. Sorry about that.
What’s been going on?
The April weather has been a bit different this year compared to the last couple. A lot cooler and a lot more cloud, wind and rain. There have been some sunny days but there have been a lot more that have been overcast.
That’s no reason not to go out and take photos though :-)
Events, Exploration and Non Landscape Photography
We haven’t been out on that many ‘non photography’ trips although we did make the effort to finally go and have a look at the old town in Benidorm. Lot’s of small shops, bars and restaurants. Not really our cup of tea.
We also went into Alicante for a shopping trip, mostly because I needed to get some new hiking shoes as the grips on my old ones are too worn out and they were getting too slippery for clambering around on some of the loose rock and sandy conditions around here. Actually I had been saying I needed some new ones for a while but I slipped and fell over on one of my trips and that finally prompted me to go and get some.
Well, it continues. I released 8 videos in April and a couple at the start of May that I might as well include in this post. I have been mixing up my blogging cameras between the little action cam (light weight, waterproof and very robust) with my old Nikon DSLR (better quality especially in low light, and a range of focal lengths available but a lot heavier to carry around)
I said in the last post that I need to focus a bit more on getting ‘B roll’ and on some of the videos I think I’ve succeeded and some I haven’t.
So… let’s start the month with a trip I made to Elche Dam.
I had heard good things about this place and really wanted to visit. After a lot of research on-line I finally figured out how to get to it and headed out one afternoon to have a look.
I only really went for a short trip, to do a bit of exploring and maybe, if I was lucky, get a shot of the scene. I didn’t plan on staying late because I had plans for an early start the next day (more on that in a minute).
When I first arrived it became clear that this place was not going to disappoint. The dam is 17th century and of masonry construction and, best of all, it has a continuous flow of water over the top that then falls onto big rocks that are pressed up against the wall.
It was while exploring around here that slipped and fell as I mentioned earlier. Nothing serious but a bit painful on the hard surface and that’s what made me decide not to delay getting new shoes any longer.
The conditions were actually really good with some quite heavy and dramatic cloud but still with some quite strong light on the scene.
I managed one shot that I was really pleased with while I was there:
To see the full story of the trip see the video
The very next day I was up early and driving north along the coast for about an hour and forty minutes.
I was going to a location that I had scouted a few weeks before, A coastal cave called Cova dels Arcs (which is Valencian for Cave of the Arches).
I arrived on location a good 40 minutes before sunrise and got set up inside the cave. It was a tricky location to shoot as the interior of the cave was very uneven and it was difficult to find space to set up one tripod, never mind getting one set up for shooting video as well.
Still, I managed.
I got two really nice images on this outing, one was shot almost as soon as I arrived, so pretty much still in the blue hour, and the other one just as the sun was rising through one of the arches. Both were tricky shots from an exposure point of view due to the bright sky outside the cave and the darkness inside so I did some exposure merging on the final images.
On the whole I think I slightly prefer the later shot, with the sun rising, so here it is:
and here’s the video story
My next trip was very different, mid afternoon on my ‘local’ mountain of Cabezon del Oro where I was trying to see if I could find scenes that would work under the harsh light of mid afternoon and an almost cloudless sky.
I don’t think they are my best images but I think they came out OK.
Here’s the video of that trip
Another day and another dawn shoot. This time I headed south to one of the beaches in Santa Pola and, a real rarity in this part of Spain, a small pier.
The weather forecast was completely wrong and the mixed cloud and clear skies ended up being completely overcast but I was there well before sunrise and able to make the most of the blue hour light tones and some long exposure work.
Here’s the result (I actually did a B&W version of this as well but, after much deliberation, I think I prefer the colour. I rarely choose B&W for my images).
and here’s the video
When I visited Elche dam I had already decided that it was worth another visit. I wanted to go back and see about getting some detail shots, and also explore the other side of the dam.
I found a location to park on the opposite side and headed out one afternoon to do some exploring.
My first clue that things would not go to plan was when I pulled up to the parking area I had found and saw how many cars were there. There were some picnic areas nearby and these were full of people.
I followed the trail up to the dam and, at first, I thought all of the people were in the picnic areas. When I made it to the dam I discovered that wasn’t the case and there were people everywhere.
I set up for one shot and had to wait about 15 minutes to get a few clear seconds with no people in the frame.
Here’s the image
I then decided to give it up as a bad job and try again another day.
Here’s the video
There followed a few days of grey, overcast and generally boring weather. Finally, one morning the weather forecast hinted that we might get some light so I headed out to a rocky cove to see what I could get.
As usual I arrived well before sunrise and, after checking the realty of the weather and realising that the chances of any light were pretty slim, I changed my planned composition and got set up.
I did manage one shot that morning, here it is:
It did come at the cost of a bit of discomfort as the elements fooled me completely.
Check out the video to see what I mean
Not to be put off, my next shoot was another dawn shoot, this time a little drive away in Villajoyosa on a beach that mixes some sandy areas and some nice rocks.
I had hoped to get a nice shot of the sunrise here and, if all went to plan, something nice just after sunrise with a bit of side lighting.
It all went pretty well and I did get two shots. here’s the sunrise:
Watch the video below to see the full story and the other image
At this point I seemed to be on a roll for morning shoots so I headed out again, this time to the northern end of El Campello to a location call Barranc d’Aguis.
This is a location I have been to before and I was hoping for nice conditions.
Arriving early (as I always try to) I got a nice blue hour shot and then settled in to wait for the sunrise.
After being briefly checked out by the police, who probably wondered what I was doing standing around on a lonely pebble beach in the dark, the sun finally managed to break through some low clouds and I got a second image that I was happy with.
Here’s the full video where you can also see the Blue Hour shot
Sometimes it’s just about being out in the open air, just enjoying the experience and the exercise. On those occasions getting the camera out can feel like the wrong thing to do so, on my next trip out, I didn’t take any pictures.
That didn’t mean I didn’t still check out some possibilities and then go back and shoot them another day.
Watch the video below to see what I mean.
So, finally for this month, I wanted to try Elche dam again. I picked a day that was going to be overcast (much easier for photographing waterfalls) but took a chance that the showers that were also forecast would be short and light. That didn’t work out so well so my detail shots at the dam required a bit more persistence than I thought. Still, I got a couple of images I was pleased with.
Here’s one of them:
and here’s the full video story
So… that’s it for another month.
The mid month tip will probably also be late this month but I’ll still do one.
and, of course, I’ll be back at the start of June with a look back at May