Photography

Ecomuseo La Alcogida

Having photographed a ruined, traditionally built Fuerteventuran village at La Florida, I was delighted to find the Ecomuseo La Alcogida.  We’d passed through this place many times not realising just how extensive this museum was.  A whole village, just like La Florida had been, renovated using the traditional building materials available to the builders just as the village of La Florida would have been constructed.  We had traversed the island many times and passed through this museum on numerous occasions.  I’m so glad we decided to stop.

Limestone is plentiful on the island of Fuerteventura and was used to build the houses.  A lime and sand mortar was used to build and fill the gaps while lime plaster lined the walls inside the homes.  Bamboo laid across beams and the covered in mud and straw provided a nearly waterproof roof.  Most houses had an oven, built in the same way, attached to the house for baking bread.  These ovens and this method of making the daily bread as well perhaps, as making casseroles, still exist, attached to many properties and are still used to this day.

These are simple dwellings with dirt floors but with no need for heating given a very temperate climate all year round, I found the idea of moving into one of these simple houses very attractive.  However, I didn’t come across any bathrooms.  Certainly no showers in the older properties.  I wonder how they managed these particular needs.  A dip in the ocean perhaps..?  I’m sure I could manage without electricity, not sure I could manage without a toilet and a shower.

Anyway, here are some photographs of what La Florida would once have looked like.

I Was interested to see the same stains down the walls in the refurbished homes as I’d seen in the ruins of La Florida.  Clearly on the rare occasions when it rains, the rain finds a way in where the mud roofs meet the walls.


I’ve been trying something new but..

I’m still a landscape photographer at heart and the Fuerteventurian landscape has so much to offer.  When clouds hang over the middle of the island and a few drops of rain are perhaps in the offing, not likely but maybe, of course I’m ready with my camera.  After a wonderful day on the beach, much needed recharging of the batteries before facing the British Winter, this was the scene as we crossed the island from east to west.

The second picture, taken just a few minutes later as we approached the west coast, is of this wonderful lone palm tree with lava field and mountain beyond.  I posted another version taken at dawn that wasn’t quite right.  This version was taken from the car as I was whisked by, by my companion, impatient to get home for that late afternoon, holiday gin and tonic.  I will definitely try, before I leave, to get the composition I want with the conditions I want but if I don’t, there’s always, hopefully, the next trip. :-)


La Florida

I’ve written two posts now about the abandoned and ruined buildings to be found on the island of  Fuerteventura.   I’ve posted a very modern abandoned apartment complex, a much older and rather grand house and now Lal Florida, the oldest of the collection of ruins I’ve come across.  Each I believe representing periods of economic hardship over generations.

La Florida is a complete abandoned and ruined village.  Found on a very narrow road that links highways FV-30 and FV-511 there’s no way of knowing why the village was abandoned and left to slowly decay or even when that happened, I’ve not been able to find any information.

It was kind of eerie walking around these buildings that were once homes for families displaced.  It would be so nice to know where they went, what happened to them.  Perhaps it all came down to modern buildings that were much more attractive to move in to.  Life in these buildings, even complete, must have been harsh

It’s been extremely difficult to whittle these photographs down to a manageable handful.  This village of La Florida was a photographer’s dream.

I’m very grateful to Lynn over at BlueBrightly, who produces the most exquisite posts with beautiful photographs that always have an eye to detail.  These last few posts have been a bit of a departure for me and it is Lynn’s work that had inspired me to take this step away from the grand vista that has hitherto, always been my focus and look a little more closely at things within the landscape rather than just the landscape itself.

All the images I’ve taken before have featured graffiti.  There was no graffiti in the village of La Florida except in the final building I entered and it consisted of a perfect blue circle.  I have absolutely no idea of it’s significance but with the shadows and the colour, it was every bit as much a piece of art as that that I’d encountered previously.

What a view these people had from their homes once upon a time though..

I hope you enjoy these images.. :-)


Weather Photographer of the Year 2017

I mentioned a little while ago that I’d been shortlisted in the Weather Photographer of the year competition.

The organisers, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Royal Photographic Society received over 2000 entries from 60 countries for this year’s competition.

Quite bizarrely, whilst not taking the overall title, I came in first place.  This is a link to the results – https://www.rmets.org/weather-photographer-year-2017-winners-announced

I wish I’d been able to attend the awards ceremony in London last night, that would have been my first.  I’d have been worrying about just how happy I could look for the winners, certainly not expecting I’d have been one of them.  However, I’m honestly very happy to be here in Fuerteventura, exploring a whole new angle to my photography.  I’ve another post to follow about ruined and decaying buildings very soon.

I got a Google alert on the beach today (great to have 4G  while lying in the sun) to say that I’d appeared on the BBC News website.  Certainly not something I thought would ever happen.

Here’s the picture, once again, that got me first place..

 


Abandoned

I mentioned in my last post that there was clear evidence of periods of economic hardship on the island of Fuerteventura over generations.  This building I think is evidence of the latest.

Sitting on a roundabout just outside Correlejo in the north of the island just a couple of hundred yards from the sea, I found this abandoned apartment complex.  I imagine the project was abandoned post the 2008 financial crisis but I can’t be sure.

No doubt in the UK, and I expect in many other countries, such a building would be surrounded by security fencing with ‘Warning Keep Out’ signs and probably a picture of a German Shepherd dog or two about the place.  But, luckily for me, the graffiti artists and the Ashram Yoga people, this building isn’t.  Nor incidentally are the many others I have spotted around the island for future photography.

I mention the Ashram Yoga people as they appear to be squatting in the building.  I’m glad to see that it’s being used at least on some level.  The people there have built a little ‘garden’ and with the toys scattered around it, there are clearly children here.  Whether they are just using the building during the day or living there, I couldn’t ascertain.  I didn’t want to go prying and left that part of the building largely unexplored.

Perhaps if I go back, I’ll ask some questions.  I’m sure I heard hens clucking away in one of the rooms in this part of the building, cut off to prying eyes with makeshift hessian sheets.  Perhaps if I go back, I’ll make a documentary photographer yet.

One thing to note about taking these types of photographs, one needs a wide angle lens.  I’ve been using my Sony A7R with a 24-70mm lens.  Although at 24mm, this isn’t as wide as my Nikon 14-24mm can give, one still gets distortion that cannot be corrected with lens correction in Lightroom alone.

The answer is to take the photograph into photoshop, select it and then under the Edit tab, select ‘Distort’  You can then pull out the handles from the selection and correct the wonky pillars and the buildings appearing to head uphill where no hill exists.  I did do a tutorial on this some time back.  This is the link to a post entitled ‘Converging Verticals’.  https://cornwallphotographic.com/2014/04/07/converging-verticals/

I hope you enjoy this particular set of images.  These were tricky images to take, the interior ones at least.  I didn’t have a tripod and even with the very light Sony, these days I need a shutter speed of 200 at least to get a sharp image and in low light, that’s not easy, but they came out OK.

Buildings photographed within this wonderful landscape (I am predominantly a landscape photographer after all) will follow.  This particular building though just kept on giving.  It’s difficult to take in the waste.  Who lost money? Pension funds that invested? Pension funds funded by people like you and me?  I can’t say but I can take a pretty good guess.. :-)

 


Austerity

Austerity was introduced in the UK by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, following the 2008 financial crisis.  It basically means that the least well off in society pay, and are still paying, for the greed of the richest that led to the crisis in the first place.  Oops mustn’t get political again. :-/

Here in Fuerteventura, there is evidence of austerity through many decades from humble one room dwellings, part of an entire abandoned village, to once grand houses, reduced to rubble along with modern apartment complexes left skeletal and unfinished presumably post 2008.  I’ll get to those.  Clearly here, it’s not just the poor that have suffered from harsh economic times.

You can guess my next project.  I’ve set about, in between enjoying the beach and the fine restaurants, to document this in a photo essay and articles to be produced when I get home.

Here’s just a taste of what I’ve found in a few days.  I hope you enjoy the photographs.. :-)

 

 


I’m still here..

It has been the most unbelievably busy year.  I have been working on a project that is about to come to fruition but will keep under my hat for now.  I’ve also had two new book covers since I last posted and been shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition as well as Weather Photographer of the Year, a competition organised by the Royal Meteorological Society in associating with the RPS.  Both competitions feature photography from around the world.

I’ve been very lucky, anyone who follows this blog will know that I have been able to travel to Iceland a few times, a place where a lot of weather happens so you can guess where my shortlisted photograph was taken.  This has all involved a lot of work organsing prints, profiles and narrative to accompany the photographs as well as work on my project.

Though a bit of a ghost in the blogosphere over the last year, I am still here, still dipping into blogs and though not as actively engaged, I have been enjoying all the posts that I’ve been following through my reader.  At the end of the project, end of August, I will be away, recuperating for a few weeks and then will be back, I hope, to being a more active member of this amazing community.  Thank you for your patience.  I wouldn’t be so busy if it wasn’t for all those on WordPress who have been so supportive over the last four years.

For all those suffering the heat of the summer, I hope these pictures can cool you down a little.  For my friends in the southern hemisphere, it could be colder.. ;-)

Below is my shortlisted picture for Weather Photographer of the Year, I’ve added a couple of others.  Some of you may have seen this image before.  Just one of those shots taken when you find yourself in the right place at the right time and you happen to have your camera with you.

You can see all the images shortlisted in this years competition by following this link.  Amazing photography.  Well worth clicking the link.  Not sure what I’m doing there but I am looking forward to the awards ceremony where I’ll get to meet some of these amazing photographers.  The winner will be announced at the ceremony.

Eye of the Storm – f/11 1/100 sec. 26mm

Dawn – F/8 3 Sec. ISO-100 52mm

Volcano – f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-50

 


Hvamstangi

I’ve been revisiting Iceland recently.  Not physically, sadly, but through the photographs I took in the years before the island became quite so swamped with tourists.  I was a tourist myself of course but I enjoyed being in the minority, not the majority. Now tourists outnumber the Icelandic people themselves.

I was lucky to visit Iceland when I did.  I made some good friends who have seen their home transformed since the financial crash and banking crisis of 2008.  I can understand why the Icelandic government took the route they did but of course politicians rarely experience the outcome of their actions.  They are far removed from the lives of the ordinary citizen.

Some in Iceland are of course making a lot of money out of tourism, taxes are boosting the economy, but for a lot of people, finding a home is becoming difficult because it’s more lucrative to rent to tourists than to the indigenous population and with thousands of people trekking and driving off road, not respecting the incredibly delicate ecosystem that exists on such a young island, well this makes me very sad.  I look back at these photographs with pleasure that I was there in the wilderness alone, and sadness that I’m not likely to ever be able to experience the same again..


WordPress Birthday

Blizzard at Reynisfjara

Hello,  It’s now 4 years since I started writing this blog.  When I picked up the camera again after many years of absence I was encouraged by a friend, Marina Chetna, to start getting my photography out there and that is what I did.  I created a WordPress account.

The response to the work I have posted over the last four years has been humbling, the encouragement from fellow bloggers incredible.  I’ve come a long way.  I don’t want to turn this into a boast post, that’s not what I’m about but I’ve just been invited to write for Outdoor Photography, a leading landscape photography magazine in the UK, I have a piece that will be published in the March edition.  That has been rather special, along with the invitation to submit a book proposal, the Icelandic landscape in Winter.  Like I say, I’ve come a long way from taking a few landscape photographs when I could get out, in and around Cornwall to traveling overseas to places I wouldn’t have dreamed of visiting.  None of this would have been possible without the support of all of you.

I’m not a confident person.  I never have been.  The continued support and encouragement, the comments, the very real friendship and appreciation from those enjoying my photography has allowed me to peek my head above a parapet I might never have dared to even approach and the results have been incredible.  Thank you so much for that.

I thought very hard about the picture I might post.  There have quite a few over the last four years but for me, the photograph below came out on top.  My love of Iceland is known to many of you.  This country in winter is incredible.  It’s hard, it’s difficult but if you persevere as a photographer, the rewards are amazing.

This photograph was taken after traveling several miles from Vik in the most horrendous driving conditions possible.  The snow ploughs were working at full stretch.  Turning off the main Route One, we followed a road that had snow drifts so deep we were not at all sure we’d get through.  We did.

Setting up on the beach I thought this is absolutely crazy, the snow was falling so heavily, visibility was nil but then, just for an instant, the snow cleared and I could see exactly why I was there.  Capturing this scene with that single bird putting in an appearance was an absolute gift.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.  This was an occasion when it most certainly did.

Blizzard at Reynisfjara

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Season’s Greetings

Perhaps not the most seasonal of images for many but the reality of the weather at time in the UK now is for rather warm, often wet, conditions so I’ve avoided posting a snowy picture from Iceland and instead, decided to post this picture, taken at Priest’s Cove in Cornwall very close to Lands End, the most south-westerly point in the UK, a few days ago.  It looks like Christmas Day is set to reach a record high, temperature wise this year so perhaps the Christmas Card industry, at least in the UK will have to start to re-thinking their snowy Christmas cards.

I’d like to wish all the followers of my blog a Happy Christmas, Happy Hanukkah (as I understand the two celebrations coincide this year) and to season’s greetings, happy holidays to everyone else, however and whatever you celebrate.

It’s been a turbulent year on so many levels around the world so lets hope for better in 2017.  That will certainly be my Christmas wish.

Catch up in the New Year.  All the very best. Adrian :-)

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When the sun doesn’t shine..

On my recent visit to Fuerteventura, out of the 23 days we were there, we had two really quite stormy days and rather than spend my time, as so many visitors appeared to be doing, wandering around shopping malls looking thoroughly miserable, of course for me as a photographer, this was an opportunity.  I grabbed my camera and headed off into the mountains but not before catching one last photo of the sunshine on the beach before the clouds finally took over completely.

If you look closely, down in the bottom left, you can just see a tiny red flag on the beach indicating it was no longer safe to swim on what is normally a very safe beach indeed. Stormy weather indeed!

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Such a wonderful backdrop to this tiny village in the heartland of Fuerteventura.  This extinct volcano, its caldera so clearly defined

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What was wonderful to see after the rain, just a couple of days remember, was the scrub and even the sand come alive with green plants and fresh green shoots.  It was as if spring had arrived in the island though of course it was autumn.

Fuerteventura is a wonderful place to visit and I can recommend it to anyone.  For me, in the off season, this is the very best time to visit even though you can’t be guaranteed that every day will be clear blue skies, that’s perfect for me and my camera.

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In Focus..?

Whilst I’m busy sorting my photographs from Fuerteventura and the photographs I took this morning when I made a trip with my good friend and fellow blogger Poppy to capture the sunrise, I thought I’d write this quick article that I hope some of you will find useful.

With modern digital cameras, we tend to take focus as a given.  We all have auto focus so why would we ever resort to manual focus?  There are times however, particularly with landscape photography, when auto focus can let us down and to get optimum results, we do need to think about manual focus if this is an option with a particular lens.

When taking landscape photographs, we’re usually looking for maximum depth of field.  We want our pictures to be sharp from front to back.  Using auto focus, if we focus on our foreground interest, there’s a good chance that whatever our background might be is going to be soft.  Similarly, if we auto focus on whatever is in the distance, our foreground interest is going to be soft.

To get over this, we might resort to focusing at the hyperfocal distance using an app on our phones to determine where that is but again, there’s a good chance this won’t actually give you the best result.  Hyperfocal Distance Focusing is great for producing column inches in photography magazines but not much else in my experience.  The hyperfocal distance will give you a theoretical optimal point but in all probability, your photograph will not be as sharp as it could be.  The optical physics maybe spot on but I have never managed a good sharp result using this method and boy did I try.

As a rule of thumb, if we auto focus approximately one third into a scene, we’re going to get a sharp picture with good depth of field but where exactly is one third into a scene?  This can be a little difficult to determine.  This is where a bit of experimentation comes in as every lens has a sweet spot.  A spot on the focus ring where you’re going to get optimum focus from the front of your picture to the very back.  An hour or two spent in the garden determining the sweet spot on your particular lens can be time very well spent.  Particularly when it comes to long exposures at night where there’s a good chance there’s not going to be an option to auto focus on anything anyway.

I’m lucky enough to own an AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f2.8 lens.  It’s a beauty but when I first bought the lens and started using auto focus, I wasn’t particularly happy with the results I was getting.  So, I got an app for my phone having read various articles on hyperfocal distance focusing but I was still not happy with the results I was getting.  I knew this lens to be an exceptional one so I wasn’t really sure what was going on.  I solved the issue by going out into the garden with tripod and laptop nearby and started to experiment.  After a little, well actually a lot, of trial and error, I found the sweet spot on the lens where everything, front to back was sharp.  I never auto focus with this lens now.  I don’t focus at the hyperfocal distance.  I manually set the focus ring to my sweet spot and it works everytime.  Here it is, conveniently right on the right edge of the infinity symbol so I didn’t have to mark my lens in any way..

dsc09423frNow, even if I go out in the dead of night to photograph the Milky Way for example, I don’t need to worry about trying to auto focus my lens maybe using a torch to illuminate a distant object to get a focus point.  I just set my lens to the sweet spot and I know I’m going to get a good result.  An hour or two spent experimenting with your particular lens, really getting to know it, can save an awful lot of hassle whenever you go out to take pictures.

To prove my point, here’s one of the pictures I took this morning, up on the Malvern Hills just before the sun rose.  As you’ll see from the very tight crop below particularly, the bench and the buildings way below the hills and the trees in the distance are all in perfect focus.  You can even read the dedication on the bench, ‘In memory of John Alfred Knight who with his wife Maureen and family, loved these hills’.  The combination of the Nikon D800e and this amazing lens really do create images with the most incredible detail.

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And here’s a picture taken just as the sun rose above the horizon bathing everything in golden light.  It was about minus 3°C up on the hills this morning.  A little different to Fuerteventura to say the very least.  I had to get up at 4 to make it to this point in my wheelchair by first light but I think it was worth it.. :-)

malvern-sunrise14mm f/11 1/8 sec. ISO-100 Lee .9 graduated neutral density filter

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I’m back..

And as you can imagine, missing Fuerteventura very much.  I’ve attached a few pictures.  This was my home for the last three and a half weeks, the squat white apartment bulding up in the dunes on the far left.  There were 4 apartments in this building, all with terraces and fine views. Leaving Fuerteventura Airport with the temperatures hitting 27°C, arriving at Bristol Airport to temperatures of -3°, the shock to the system was considerable.

Staying on the Playa de Sotovento de Jandia at Risco el Passo, has been a real pleasure.  This beach stretches for miles and miles and has to be one of the top beaches in the world.  It is relatively sheltered here from the strong winds that tend to blow in the Canary Islands, however a very refreshing breeze is the norm keeping the temperatures for me off-season, quite bearable.

But, I’m back now and lots to get on with not least catching up with all of you which I’ll be doing in the coming days.  Thank you for your patience.  I didn’t think I could manage a day without the Internet let alone 3 weeks and more but it’s been a very refreshing change and one I can recommend every now and then.  That said, coming home to nearly 1000 emails in my inbox means there’s a fair amount of catching up to do.

I didn’t do a whole lot of photography, I was needing a bit of a break for reasons I’m hopefully going to be sharing with you all very soon.  However, when we had a couple of stormy days, I couldn’t resist getting up into the mountains with my camera! Those pictures will follow.. :-)

Sotovento BeachPlaya de Sotovento de Jandia, Fuerteventura

Sotovento BeachPlaya de Sotovento de Jandia, Fuerteventura looking South

driftwoodDriftwoodriddle-of-the-sandsRiddle of the Sands

sunrise-from-casa-de-redondaSunrise from Casa de Redonda (The Round House)

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Enjoying the Sunshine




I’ve just arrived in Fuerteventura. I’ll be here for the next the weeks enjoying the sunshine and the wonderful sandy beaches. In staying in a villa just yards from Sotovento beach, a few miles south of Costa Calma. It’s heaven.

We’ve no WiFi here so I’m going to be out of touch for a little while. I’ll hope to catch up with you all on my return.

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I’m Publishing this post from my smart phone, not something I’ve done before and it’s not going smoothly to say the least but fingers crossed.

See you all soon..


It’s nice when..

The Wizard's Hat - Iceland Adrian Theze

..you get that email that tells you one of your images has been chosen or shortlisted for one thing or another.  It’s not what we set out to do as photographers.  The images we take are all that matters but when those images are recognised and validated by judges of competitions, it feels good.

I heard this afternoon that one of my images, that shown below, has been shortlisted for the Royal Photographic Society membership card competition.  There are some great images in the shortlist but if you like my photograph, well, your vote would be much appreciated.  You don’t have to be a member of the Royal Photographic Society to do this.  Simply follow this link and leave your email address.  You won’t be spammed I promise..

https://www.rps-365.org/events/365/membership-card-2017/finalists/

Here’s my image.  Taken in Iceland last winter.   The Wizard’s Hat has become one of those iconic Iceland images.  I was very lucky with the weather and the light the day I was there to capture my own take on this iconic landmark.

The Wizard's Hat - Iceland Adrian ThezeAdrian Theze Photo logo_2

 


Book Covers

I was informed today of another two book covers I can add to my name.  One of the books is  La Tour de Malvent by Gilbert Bordes.  The cover can be seen below.  This cover is taken from a photograph I took of Roche Rock (A print of which hangs in my hall) taken a mile from my then home in Cornwall.  This hermitage and chapel dates back to the 12th century and was used as a location in the Hollywood Film, Omen III – The Final Conflict.  It’s an interesting place to visit and has a lot of history and folklore surrounding it.  Having been there before first light for a dawn shoot, I can testify it’s not somewhere you really want to visit, in the dark, on your own.  The imagination really does start to do overtime. :-)

The other, Ildarnet by S. K. Tremayne is to be published in Denmark and I do not have a copy of that cover yet.  However, it is the same image that was used for my first ever book cover.  The photograph, one of my favourites of all time, I’ve included below.  This picture has been incredibly good to me.  Regular followers of my blog will have seen it quite a few times now.  This was one of the first pictures I took when I picked up a digital camera for the first time, just under four years ago.

The picture happened.  It was a cold, grey, miserable day in December and for those of you who know Cornwall, you’ll know just how miserable that can be.  However, I’d ordered myself a Christmas present from Amazon.  I had my shiny new Nikon D7000 and I was going to get out there and take pictures regardless of the weather..

As it turned out, I was in the right place at the right time.  The conditions, that on the face of it were not particularly promising, proved to be perfect. As I was setting up my tripod on the sand, a shaft of sunlight broke through the heavy cloud, hit the engine house and I had my picture.  I’ve been chasing such conditions ever since. This is why it’s so important to just get out there and take pictures. The more pictures you take the better.  You just never know when you’re going to be in the right place at the right time to capture that special image.

If you’re considering joining an agency to make your pictures available for things like book covers, check the small print.  Make sure that you know what you’re signing up for and what rights you might be signing away.

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Any day at the beach is a good day..

Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze

Whilst I was visiting Bude recently, I had to deliver some pictures that are being featured in an exhibition in Taunton, Somerset.  This journey took me from north Cornwall to south Devon, on into somerset and rather than return the same way I’d come, I decided to drive north to the north Devon Coast.

In 1976, here in the UK, we had the most extraordinary summer.  Weeks of Mediterranean type weather.  I was lucky enough, as an 11 year old boy, to spend that summer staying with a great uncle in North Devon.  Everyday we visited the beach.  Saunton Sands was the destination of choice and this was somewhere I really wanted to revisit.

Unfortunately, the weather was certainly not that of the summer of ’76 however, it was great to see people enjoying the beach regardless.

Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO 100

 Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze70mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

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Bude and the North Cornish/Devon Coast..

I have just returned from a week of much needed R&R staying in a lovely barn conversion just outside Bude in North Cornwall with my good friends Poppy and AJ.  Poppy is now blogging again with a shiny new photography and art blog so if you haven’t checked it out yet, follow this link.

The north Cornish and Devon coast is rugged, the surf fantastic and as ever for me, a pleasure to visit.  One particular feature of Bude is that it has a sea pool.  The pools were constructed in the 20’s and 30’s for people to be able to enjoy a swim in the sea, without having to swim in the sea.  A safe environment without the waves and treacherous currents so much a feature of many Cornish beaches and coves.  These pools cropped up all over the country but few now remain.  The Bude Sea Pool has been restored with donations and fundraising and for both Poppy and myself, a sure fire subject for a photograph or two.  The pool is replenished with fresh sea water at every high tide and it was high tide that was bound to elicit the best pictures.

With spring tides in the offing and occuring very accommodatingly at around 10 in the morning, on one of the few sunnier days, we were there, tripods at the ready.  Surfers often use the pool to launch themselves into the water, timing the moment with great precision.  I was able to capture one such surfer, contemplating and timing the waves.  This picture forms part of the series below.  I hope you enjoy them.. :-)

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Sometimes you just get lucky..

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze

A trip to the passport office in Newport, Gwent, South Wales doesn’t on the surface appear to be the most likely of chores to illicit a photograph but one just never knows.  With a 4 hour wait between handing in the application and picking up the finished passport, a trip along the coast to Penarth, just the other side of Cardiff seemed like a nice distraction.

Arriving at the pier and parking the car, it was immediately clear that there was something really quite special about the early autumn light.  A thin layer of high cloud was obscuring the sun that promised an unseasonably warm Indian summer’s day.

Crossing the road and claiming a bench, a group of swans put in an appearance and the following pictures were the result of a very pleasant hour spent by the sea.  Shooting into the partially obscured sun, the effect was quite magical.

The moral of the story, always, always always take your camera with you.  Even if you’re just making a trip to the supermarket.  You just never know.  You might just get lucky.  I hope you enjoy the photographs.. :-)

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze33mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/1250 sec. ISO-100

The Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1250 sec. ISO-100

The Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1000 sec. ISO-100

Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1000 sec. ISO-100

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A Wild Encounter..

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze

I was visiting with my good friends Hanne and Klausbernd in North Norfolk again last week.  I met Hanne and Klausbernd through our respective blogs and it was such a pleasure to see them again.  The weather was superb, the end of August.  It was evident that Autumn was nipping at the heals of summer first thing in the morning but during the day, we enjoyed glorious warm sunshine and I did something I thought I would never do in the UK again, I went into the sea.  The North Sea at that!.

I struggled down to the water’s edge on my two crutches, dipped my toe in and was surprised to find the water was really OK so I went in further.  As a wave crashed in, surging water, that suddenly seemed a whole lot colder that it had initially, up over my belly, that was it so I thought I’d have a swim.

Of course swim is a fairly loose term when you’ve two crutches strapped to your arms but I floundered about a bit for a while.  The waves were quite large so it was a bit of a struggle but I was managing OK when I saw two people pointing at me.  I figured at first they were a bit concerned about the guy with the crutches getting washed about by the surf but then I became aware of something in my peripheral vision.  A dark shape.  I turned to face whatever this was in the water and came face to face with the most beautiful seal with the blackest, deepest eyes.

We bobbed there in the water for the longest time, just blinking at each other.  He ducked under the water, swam around me a few times but always bobbed back up again to face me.   I honestly believe this seal was concerned for my welfare and when he was sure I was OK.  He swam away.  It was one of those very rare encounters with a wild creature when you know you’ve connected.  It was incredibly moving and I will never forget it.  These sea mammals are super intelligent and seem to possess something that sadly far too many human beings lack, empathy.

These photographs were taken on my previous visit to Norfolk.  Norfolk with its creeks and salt marshes, broads and of course the ocean, is all about boats and I love boats.. :-)

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm  f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

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The Sun Also Shines – Part Three

In the third part of my series showing photographs taken on sunny days as opposed to my preferred, rather more dramatic weather days, I’ve included pictures of some of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks, in the sunshine.  Some of these images you will have seen before but I think they can stand a dusting off and a second showing. The reality for a lot of people visiting Iceland is a lot of very grey weather.  I’m lucky to have visited enough times now to capture some of these places at their very best.

The Seljalandsfoss pictures were bizarrely taken at midnight after a very long day of commercial photography in the central highlands for a Reykjavik car hire company.  Getting back to the apartment late after a long and difficult drive on deeply rutted dirt roads, I saw the barely setting sun and I knew my day wasn’t over.  I had to make the hour long drive to the falls.  I’m so glad that I did.

Click on the images for a larger, sharper view.. :-)

Skogafoss

SkogafossGodafoss

Godafoss

Hreyndýr í Álftafirði, East FjordsHreyndýr í ÁlftafirðiSeljalandsfoss

SeljalandsfossBúðir Church, Snaefellsnes Peninsular

Búðir churchSólfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture, Reykjavik

SólfarGodafoss Dawn

Godafoss DawnJokulsarlon Sunrise

Jokulsarlon SunriseHeveravellir hot springs, Highlands, Central Iceland

HveravellirHaifoss

HaifossSeljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss 2Dettifoss

DettifossHvalnes

Hvalnes

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Iceland on the sunny side over the last few posts.  I’ve been very lucky to visit Iceland many times now experiencing all seasons and all weathers.  An incredible and very beautiful place and very warm and welcoming people.  I have made a lot of friends in Iceland.  Their hospitality second to none.

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The Sun Also Shines – Part Two

Jökulsárlón

Last week I posted some sunny pictures from Iceland.  These are not the pictures I like to take of the dramatic weather that happens there but when the sun shines, it’s a delight and so I decided to share some of my sunny day pictures for a change.  These pictures were taken of the Vatnajökull Glacier as it spills down from the massive volcano summit at two of many locations, the much photographed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the not so often visited Hoffellsjökull.  I say not so often visited, I mean by tourists.  There are hot spring pools here that are very popular with local people. 

The day we visited there were a plethora of huge oversize wheeled pick-up trucks, the bigger the wheels the better apparently, as is the way with some Icelandic men and I have to say, probably unfairly, a certain piece of banjo music came into my mind.  I’m sure in reality, they’d have been very welcoming (no not welcoming in the “Deliverance” sense) if I’d stripped off to my shorts in the sub-zero temperatures and joined them in the wooden tubs fed by the hot springs but I had photographs that needed taking.  Maybe next time.

For those of you not of a certain age, I apologise for the movie reference made in this post but can recommend the film Deliverance, made in 1972 with Burt Reynolds, John Voight and Ned Beatty.  A very scary movie with a brilliant bit of banjo playing at the beginning.  Look up Duelling Banjos on YouTube if you’re not familiar.  The film follows three guys who decide to take a canoe trip into back woods USA with terrifying results.

..And now I feel old.  I’ve just realised that when I was a youngster they’d only just mastered sound on films 4o odd years old and certainly hadn’t cracked the colour equation yet.

But I digress, here are some pictures of these two beautiful locations.  Glaciers can look downright grey and dirty and not at all attractive in the summer months but in winter, they are stunning.. :-)

Jökulsárlón230mm f/5.3 1/250 sec ISO-50

SpacerJökulsárlón70mm f/11 1/80 sec. ISO-50

SpacerJökulsárlón70mm f/11 1/50 sec. ISO-50

SpacerJökulsárlón31mm f/11 1/40 sec. ISO-50

SpacerJökulsárlón70mm f/11 1/40 sec. ISO-50

SpacerJökulsárlón24mm f/11 1/30 sec. ISO-50

SpacerHoffellsjökull24mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-50

SpacerHoffellsjökull195mm f/11 1/160 ISO-50

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The Sun Also Shines – part one..

As followers of this blog will know, I like bad weather.  At least, I like to photograph dynamic weather.  As a result I feel sometimes that I do Iceland a disservice as many of my photographs tend to be taken when the weather is doing its thing.

However, of course the sun also shines in Iceland and when the sun shines in the winter months, it’s magical.  Daylight is very limited, just a few hours a day and with the sun hanging so low in the sky, the light has a wonderful quality.

Last week I shared some pictures of Vik in the Sunshine.  This week I’m sharing a few more blue sky landscapes.  As I started to go though my archives, I realised there were far more sunny days over the last couple of winters I’ve been in Iceland than I’d remembered so I’m going to be posting these picture postcard winter landscapes over several posts.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them..

Picnic Bench, Iceland by Adrian ThezeSpacerBlue sky landscape, IcelandSpacerFinding the road can sometimes be an issue..DSC_5578ASpacerAnd wondering what’s coming next..DSC_5627ASpacerDSC_6022ASpacerDSC_4661ASpacerDSC_5360ASpacerAdrian Theze Photo logo_2Spacer


Vik, Iceland

Vik (pronounced Vig) has the dubious honour of being the wettest place in Iceland.  Having visited many times I can certainly vouch for this however, on one particular winter’s day this year, driving from Höfn in the east of the island, as we headed toward Vik, a sort of half-way point between Höfn and Reykjavik, we emerged from heavy snow and  leaving the blizzard behind, we drove into a wonderfully bright sunny day.

Here’s a few rare, at least in my collection, picture postcard photographs of Vik in the sunshine. The town is hidden behind the dunes but the church can clearly be seen up on the hill.  The rocks are known as Reynisdrangar and are basalt sea stacks.  I’ve also included a look back at the blizzard we left behind which incidentally pursued us relentlessly as we continued our journey to Reykjavik.  Finally catching us up a few hours after we arrived in the capital, it made the drive to the airport the following morning for our flight home a little more hazardous than we’d have liked as it was still snowing.. :-)

The Church at Vik by Adrian Theze32mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-100

SpacerThe Church at Vik by Adrian Theze70mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

SpacerReynisdranger, Vik, Iceland32mm f/11 1/6400 sec. ISO-100

SpacerBlack Beach, Iceland32mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-100

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