Archive for the ‘Photos’ Category

After a simply fantastic meal at Bodega de Enfrente on Friday night to celebrate Andy’s birthday I was gutted to discover there seemed to be some sort of technical problems with the photos I’d taken and I couldn’t view any of them. As it turned out I’d inadvertently taken all the pics in RAW.

The lighting was quite low and as usual when it’s shots that I’m going to use on a website, I just ramped up the ISO. I’ve been meaning to try shooting in RAW for years – in fact after every time someone says ‘I can’t believe you don’t take RAW images’ – and was quite impressed with how the pics compared to the usual grainy high ISO images. So I went on a wee walk around the house experimenting taking more RAW shots;  it made me look at some things that I’ve just got used to seeing and don’t really register any more.

The Green Fairy’s Spoon

Absinthe spoon

This is one of my favourite possessions, a bona-fide absinthe spoon with a wormwood design. It has only been used once.

The Library

The Bookshelf

The bookshelf looks great (it was here when we bought the place) but it isn’t practical and to get anything down requires balancing on the table or getting ladders from the shed. Subsequently we don’t read as much as we would like.

Skeleton Keys

Skeleton Keys

Another bizarre touch we inherited, the dried out carcasses of two lizards and a dragonfly. It’s a risky business being a lizard here (their own fault) in the last week one has been squashed in the door (they like to hang about in door frames) and I’ve just found a charcoal lizard head in the water boiler cupboard. It must have climbed in and been napalmed when we turned the hot water tap on.

The Recipe Books

Recipe Books

My favourite recipe book is New Tapas. I don’t think that we have ever used a recipe from it as they are a bit fiddly, but it is absolutely gorgeous. The books around it are from when we didn’t eat meat and are still used massively because the recipes in them are so good.

Raffles

Raffles

Cheesy, but we loved this poster and wanted a memento from one of the most famous hotels in the world.

The Lock

Polish Lock

Yet another inherited item, an 18th century Polish lock. This comes with a key that looks as though it belongs to a castle. It’s a simple mechanism that is so effective that friends can’t open the door from the inside let alone from the outside… and that’s when it’s unlocked.

Chess

Chess Board

I love this old chess set. It was a present from Andy. We use to enjoy playing chess (badly) in front of the roaring fire; all very Thomas Crown. Haven’t had a game in ages; we must rectify that.

Buddha

Buddha

Simply a beautiful little batik bought direct from a little batik factory in Sri Lanka.

The Mossie Net

Bed & Mossie Net

Despite what some think, there are mosquitoes in Tenerife but not many. We live in the middle of a banana plantation and even we don’t get many. August/September is probably the period when there’s most. We just got used to sleeping under a mossie net. It’s very cosy.

The Tiles

Antique Tiles

The previous owner was an antiques dealer and says if we ever feel like ripping these tiles out we should call him first, so I guess they must be worth something. They’re in an odd position, stuck in the middle of one of the living room walls. Can’t say I’m a big fan but they’re useful for blu-tacking Christmas cards to.

A thought occurred to me as I focussed my camera on a sun-dappled, tree-lined street populated by smiling strollers wearing chic summer clothing; the women in colourful, light cotton dresses of various lengths that complimented their curves; the men in loose shirts and three-quarter length pants that were both casual and stylish. The camera liked them.

The thought that occurred to me was that my camera likes some places on Tenerife more than it likes others and that has possibly fashioned my view of some of the towns and resorts on the island.

Over the years I’ve photographed many towns, resorts, villages and hamlets on Tenerife for print and web publications. For many of these I use the images to compliment the text by trying to show the subject at its best. This isn’t always easy as there are lots of places on Tenerife that I don’t find particularly photogenic.

You can more or less point and click in La Orotava and get a result

The old towns and cities are easy. There are places like Garachico, La Orotava, La Laguna and Santa Cruz that I could return to again and again and still find new things to photograph. The rural places like Masca and Santiago del Teide have scenery to boost their lack of streets and historic buildings.

Towns with a fishing community have harbours, colourfully bobbing boats, fishing nets piled high and grizzled fishermen and those are always good subject matter.

Hill towns can sometimes pose a challenge, especially when the population has grown and breeze block buildings are in the majority like in Santa Ursula, La Victoria, La Matanza, San Miguel de Abona and Granadilla de Abona. But these have history and there are always quirky corners to uncover.

It's got a church and the buildings are inoffensive - but it's 'blah' lifeless

It’s the purpose built resorts where I struggle. Remove the beach from the equation and there’s usually very little left to interest the camera. Being new they don’t even possess any urban grit.

Funnily, Playa de las Américas, which is often unfairly held up as Tenerife’s tackiest resort by those who don’t know it has a lot of potentially interesting shots. Whereas once I move away from the beach at Playa del Duque in ‘upmarket’ Costa Adeje my camera positively yawns with boredom.

Worst of all are the purpose built resorts without a beach where the architecture is new-ish and often characterless. What the hell do you photograph there? And if there’s no sunshine, forget it. I’ve tried Callao Salvaje, Playa Paraiso, Golf del Sur and Costa del Silencio a number of times and never been satisfied with the result.

I tried to use the holes in the wall in Playa Paraiso...but still no cigar. Just can't get a decent picture.

Of course that could be my limited creativity, but search Flickr for any of the above and the evidence suggests otherwise.

The upshot of this is that there are places on Tenerife that bore me in photographic terms and subsequently I avoid spending time in them.

Another thought occurred to me as I focussed the camera and that was the people in the photograph. I point a camera up La Noria in Santa Cruz and the people in the frame are very, very different than if I point it along the promenade at…say…Puerto Colón. But that is the topic for another blog completely – and I’m not sure I’m brave enough to go there…for the moment.

If there’s anyone who has managed to get really good shots of the places that I mentioned I struggled with (I don’t mean HD, sunsets or over processed so that they don’t match what the eye sees) I’d love to see them.

Free time has been short on the Costa Brava blogtrip so far. This has meant that actually writing about the trip has been put on the back-burner whilst we privileged bloggers are exposed to experiences that are almost too overwhelming to absorb fully.

This is a brief photoblog to summarise a voyage through Costa Brava that has not only exceeded expectations but blasted them to smithereens.

A tranquil start in the Santa Clotilde Gardens

Deliciously sweet gambas & an even sweeter experience in a fishermen's hut in Cala de Llirius

The creative kitchen of one of the world's best restaurants, El Celler de Can Roca

Divinely surreal in the Dali Museum

The charismatic Antoni Pixot brings Dali to life in the great man's house

A simply exquisite spot for lunch at Mas Perfita

Bohemian Cadaques; chilled chic

There’s going to be a lot written about Asturias over the next few months. The writers on this incredible trip have our work cut out if our words are to come remotely close to painting a realistically vivid picture of this ‘secret’ region of Spain that has surprised, delighted and charmed all of us.

For the moment I’ll once again let images do my work for me.



Images from top to bottom: Niembro, Cheese maker in Picos de Europa, Cudillero, Covadonga, Llanes

Everybody knows Tenerife, course they do – sun, sand, Brit bars aplenty and feels about as abroad as Skegness.

Oh yeah? Well anyone who really believes that clearly knows jack about Tenerife. A visit to one of the biggest fiestas in January, the Fiesta de San Abad in San Antonio in the La Matanza hills, might make them reconsider their views.

On a damp and dreary day we made our annual trip to the ganadera (livestock fair) to mingle with the farmers and caballeros and share a Pepsi bottle carafe and a goatskin of vino del país.

These are some of the faces of the real Tenerife.

If you want a real taste of the Fiesta de San Abad and get some tips on what colour not to wear at a gathering that includes bison-sized bulls , have a look at Andy’s blog and video.

Cruelty to animals or just an unusual fashion accessory?

Actually it’s neither; at the Fiesta de San Abad in La Matanza in the northern Tenerife hills it’s custom to dress up your animals for their party day.

Anyone who’s walked past the wonderful sculpture of the fishwife in Puerto de la Cruz is already familiar with the work of Julio Nieto. But pretty though she is, she’s only the conventional tip of the iceberg when it comes to his creations.

Some of his other sculptures are products of a vivid and fantastical imagination that clearly knows no bounds. So it was with childlike delight that we discovered a street exhibition of his work in La Orotava’s plaza when we visited between Christmas and New Year.

I can’t do them justice with mere words, so I’ll let the images speak for themselves.