The May Super-Moon

Well, all this talk of the super-moon of May got me excited on my trip back to the UK… and there I was on Saturday night, camera & tripod ready and guess what?? Too cloudy!!! So, back the following night (Sunday) and guess what?? Actually, not as cloudy as the night before but never-the-less, not that brilliant where I was.

So here is a photograph of my parent’s house taken by the much-diffused moonlight – me?? Disappointed??? Nah  :-(

Halfway Farm

Halfway Farm

Snow Moon

I guess it comes as no surprise that all the full moons have names (see this) and in the case of February, the name is “Snow Moon”, actually amongst others! The Snow Moon is the one that appears during the European Freeze that we’re all experiencing – coincidence or magic, you decide!

So during last night’s full moon, I wandered off into the freezing cold, windy night for yet another photography session. In complete contrast to previous sallies, I decided to photograph a little chapel that I’d recently seen, Ermita de Torregarcia (Chapel of Torregarcia). On the second Sunday of January, there is a procession of La Virgen del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea) to the Ermita. La Virgen del Mar is a Marian devotion of Catholicism in the Virgin Mary, patroness of the city of Santander and Almeria. Her picture (an anonymous Gothic style carving on walnut wood) was found on the Torregarcía beach by a lookout called Andres de Jaén on 21 December 1502, probably from a shipwreck.

The night was indeed cold and extremely windy at times which didn’t help the production flow. Please bear in mind that each exposure by moonlight can be between 20 – 25 minutes duration and a sudden movement of the tripod due to gust of winds can ruin a potential photograph, hence ending up with only three useable images from the evening – better than nothing I say!

More Full Moon Fever

Well, it’s a full moon tonight so I’m hoping to be out taking photographs… can’t wait!!

Here’s a photo of Playa el Embarcadero from a previous full moon outing, can you see the movement of the stars?

Playa el Embarcadero

Playa el Embarcadero

Almería

I love living in the province of Almería and I think this is largely due to the diverse nature of the environment however, I’m never sure what to make of the city. Amber & I had decided to spend some time away from San José this weekend and although only a short distance away, we decided to stay in Almería. During the first few hours of walking around, I wanted to be elsewhere – I really couldn’t see a reason to like the place but shortly after this initial feeling, there is a different story to tell.

Valentine's Day Dummies

Valentine's Day Dummies

Almería has some truly amazing tapas bars and bars in general and the people in Almería are some of the most friendliest I’ve ever met. At night, the city comes alive with the bustling of people hopping from one bar to another and enjoying a wide variety of tapas specialities that each bar offers. We enjoyed an amazing night of Flamenco in a bar that you might of ordinarily walked by; it was an unassuming but fairly full bar – there were a few guys standing around outside, one with a guitar strapped to his back and one with a cajon in his hand who told me that they were playing there. So in we went and what an amazing evening we had. For a more detailed account of the Flamenco plus a few movie clips, please click here.

Subsequently the next day wandering around the city I had a better feeling in my bones and rather than the “wanting to be anywhere else’ feeling I had yesterday, I was much more open to being there and enjoyed it greatly, though it was pretty cold!!!

So, after a quick and simple breakfast, we headed to the fantastic Centro Andalauz de la Fotografía to take in two wonderful exhibitions one by Robert Frank and one by Simon Norfolk, who I hadn’t heard of. The Simon Norfolk exhibition was stunning and I recommend it highly. After the photography centre and a little wandering around, we had lunch in an amazing Arabesque restaurant called Tetería Almedina where we also had some very fragrant teas the day before.

Padlocks

Padlocks

The rest of the day was spent wandering around and taking photographs with a brief stop at the Museo de Almería, that is the fantastic archaeology museum on the Rd. de Ronda. As most readers will probably know, I love abstract photography and so I’m afraid to say that my studies of ram-shackled buildings and derelict building-sites might not be the best advert for the City of Almería but I would say miss it at your peril.

Fountains, Avenida Federico Garcia Lorca

Fountains, Avenida Federico Garcia Lorca

Black and White

Often in the past and mostly when I was studying photography, I’d proudly show off my black and white prints, still smelling of fixative and be met with such comments,
“Can’t you afford colour then?” or “Ooh, they’re black and white”. I would then try to explain sometimes to no avail, the whole point of the black and white photographs.

Rotterdam Library, Holland

Rotterdam Library, Holland

The absence of colour forces me to focus (excuse the pun) on other elements of the photograph; the shadows, the light, the sense of space and drama, amongst other things. Sometimes when we view colour photographs, we overlook such aspects whilst perhaps admiring a pretty red hat that someone is wearing. Of course some photographs do not work in black and white and colour actually accentuates the sense of scale, for example the work of Eliot Porter would not be the same in monochrome conversely, the few colour photographs that Ansel Adams produced have nowhere near the dramatic effect of his black and white studies.

From time to time, I like to use black and white photography to convey a mood or an emotion rather than to show a tangible subject, especially when looking at landscape abstracts.

As to whether black and white or colour photography is best – this is a discussion that could go on forever; there is some merit in both styles of photography and each suits a different subject and audience. I show some of my black and white photographs and some people prefer the colour versions, the reverse also happens so to coin a cliche, at-the-end-of-the-day, it’s all subjective, as most things are I guess :-)

La Graciosa, Lanzarote

La Graciosa, Lanzarote

View black & white set on Flickr

Contact details:

Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography
http://martynthompson.net
http://martynthompsonphotography.wordpress.com
martyn@martynthompson.net
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More luna madness

Arrecife de Las Sirenas

Arrecife de Las Sirenas

 

I’m going to make it my mission to produce a set of photos from various locations at each full moon. I love the eeriness and “other-wordly” quality of the light. Someone recently told me that the photos look like they are from a fantasy film location… which was nice :-)

The latest set of photos are taken at the Arrecife de Las Sirenas in Cabo de Gata; a stunning location anytime of the day. A bit of a tricky stumble-in-the-dark, clamber-around-the-rocks to get there though but of course there is the full moon and the lighthouse showing me the way.

Here is the link to the Flickr photostream of the entire set as it stands.

La Luna Llena

Playa de Monsul

What an amazing few days it’s been; Amber and I spent some time in Las Alpujarras wine tasting and generally chillaxing and then last night, I went on another full moon walk with my trusty camera.

I set off along the rough dirt track towards Playa de Monsul and Playa de la Media Luna, surprised at the number of people bearing torches for a moonlit walk, but then I’m out too! Armed with tripod, torch and camera I set about my mission.

I’m still perfecting my newly learned skill of night-time photography; focusing in the dark is difficult, even with a powerful torch. The results at times can be a bit hit and miss but I love the combination of eerie lighting and colours and what beautiful places these beaches are to practice!!

Photography by moonlight

Well last Monday was a full moon and it was time to put into practice a technique I’d learned in Spain. There is a beautiful, eerie quality to photographs taken under the light of a full moon.

Amber, Nadjib & myself met up outside The Stag at Burnham Beeches at about 11.00pm to begin our walk into the woods and to the ponds within, the quiet of the night broken only by the sound of birdsong.

We set up our tripods and cameras and fired off a few test shots whilst waiting for the moon to reach a decent height and then to begin in earnest.

In summary it was a great evening out and it was good to develop a technique that is new(ish) to me. We finished about 1.30 am and wandered back to our cars.