Fire

Well, this is my fifth (and last) post for the day!

Ever since I can remember I’ve been fascinated by fire – amazing colours, beautifully destructive and unpredictable. These photographs are from the Noché de los Candiles.

…I AM trustworthy with matches though – just thought I’d mention that 🙂

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Cortijo la Luna

There is near Agua Amarga the most amazing bohemian cultural association who base themselves at a place called Cortijo la Luna. They meet at least each Saturday and arrange musical events, rastrillos (kind of mini-flea market) and provide the yummiest food at the most cheapest price you can imagine. Of course as there’s a musical element, you’ll find me there most weekends jamming with whoever else is there. This is a wonderful non-profit organisation really doing something for the community and I am proud to be part of it, well as far as playing my sax goes anyway…

Cortijo la Luna

Cortijo la Luna

Because I’m usually carrying my sax I tend not to take all my camera equipment, there’s only so much stress one back can take! Therefore all the photographs I have are either taken using my mobile phone or what other people, mostly Amber have taken.

Cortijo la Luna has a lovely relaxed atmosphere, the food is amazing, home-made and really good value. I have taken a number of people along and always have to stress that this place is NOT a bar, it is NOT a cafe, it is NOT a restaurant but it IS a beautiful community get-together that tends to attract the more “arty” musician types and artisans.

So, let’s talk about the music first, it’s usual to have a band or DJ booked for the afternoon on top of which a number of other musicians will turn up and play with whoever is there, often resulting in members of two or three bands playing together. In fact, I have been there when there has been a “scratch band” playing inside whilst three flamenco guitarists and singers have been belting out their sound on the stage outside and a DJ has been playing in the bar area – a truly wonderful, creative and inspiring environment.

Members of reggae band Global Warning

Members of reggae band Global Warning

House Djembe

House Djembe, primed and ready-to-go!

So next up is the rastrillo. Nothing goes to waste and recycling is alive, well and fully supported at Cortijo la Luna. Fairly often there is a table-top sale of clothing, children’s toys and all sorts of bric-a-brac including at times, hand-made / modified jewellery!

Hand-modified Clothing

Hand-modified Clothing

Children's toys

Children's toys

Costume jewellery

Costume jewellery

Cortijo la Luna is a lovely colourful place to be on a Saturday afternoon and for those looking for something different and alternative, a fantastic place to be – you will be welcomed with open arms having made new friends and the views are amazing 🙂

Cortijo la Luna

Cortijo la Luna

Cortijo la Luna

Cortijo la Luna

If you want to visit Cortijo la Luna you can find their Facebook page, add them as a friend and you will be kept up-to-date with their activities. The link is http://www.facebook.com/lunadoble.cortijolaluna, alternatively if you KNOW someone who is in the KNOW, you can get an invite this way…. nudge-nudge 🙂

Featured Experience – Los Molinos del Río Aguas

Have you ever wanted to be part of something unique and different? Or fancied escaping from your routine and experiencing a more beautiful and fulfilling lifestyle? How about visiting a lush world full of enchantment and wonder?

Los Molinos del Río Aguas

Chumbos y Pitas

Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography together with the Agave School (Pita Escuela) offer you a fantastic value two day experience in the photographer’s paradise of Los Molinos del Río Aguas, a unique oasis of wonder in Paraje Natural Karst en Yesos de Sorbas in the Province of Almería where you can do ALL of the above!

Combining photography with an overnight visit to this picturesque valley, you will not only get to explore and photograph this area of outstanding beauty but will learn about and possibly take part in the activities of the Agave School, our home during this experience.

The Agave School is an environmental and cultural association founded in 2008 by German artist Timbé who first came to Los Molinos del Río Aguas in 1993. Timbé has now adopted the research into the uses of agave plants as a way of life and uniquely specialises in giving new life to the agave wood.

Los Molinos del Río Aguas

Sun Flowers

The Andalucían land-house which is host to the Agave School, is a good model for self-sustainability and comfort. The 2Kw of solar power, river water supply and eco-futons in all the rooms are all adapted to a respectful lifestyle and without compromise. This is a house that is truly “off grid” where you CAN use a hairdryer!

Please click here to see photographs of the house that will be our home for this experience.

For further information, pricing details, itinerary and to make a booking, please visit our Photography Experiences page and then click the “Read more »” link under the heading “Los Molinos del Río Aguas“.

The valley around Los Molinos del Río Aguas is fairly unique; an oasis of wonder in the Paraje Natural Karst en Yesos de Sorbas. Without the spring waters which originate not far up the ravine from the village of Sorbas, Los Molinos del Río Aguas probably wouldn’t have come into being. Rainwater percolates down through the gypsum rock beds into underground pools from which it finds it way to the surface at the lowest point in the ravine. The bamboo cane along with many other species of succulent plant, thrives along the ravine floor where the spring water flows to it’s destination, the sea at Mojacar.

Los Molinos del Río Aguas

Los Molinos del Río Aguas

Contact details:

Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography
http://martynthompson.net
https://martynthompsonphotography.wordpress.com
martyn@martynthompson.net
Facebook / Twitter / Etsy / Flickr

Music in Almeria

…here are just a few of the many “pop” music videos made in the province of Almería 🙂

So are you gonna come and visit me and see why this is such a popular location for filming???

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

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Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl

Contact details:

Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography
http://martynthompson.net
https://martynthompsonphotography.wordpress.com
martyn@martynthompson.net
Facebook / Twitter / Etsy / Flickr

Night of the Lamps

Noché de los Candiles
Noché de los Candiles

Every year towards the end of April, the beautiful Alpujarran village of Almócita hosts a strange and curious spectacle. At dusk, all the street lights are switched off and the whole village is lit by candles, lamps & fires. There are numerous small candle-lit stages dotted about the village where you can watch performance art and musical activities, there are street entertainers, exhibitions and street vendors. The festival commemorates a period of “black out” during WW2.

Almócita is located in a hollow between the slopes of Sierra Nevada and the Gador and a little way on from the village of Padules. It has narrow, winding streets and is divided in three zones or “barrios”; the Flats or the Jewish quarter, the Espeñuelas and Secanillo of the virgin. Almócita is steeped in folkloric traditions not only because of the characteristics and cultural roots it shares with the Alpujarras, but also with an added touch of its own – determined by the essence of its people.

Noché de los Candiles

Noché de los Candiles

During the evening we were treated to the sounds of the local choir, Los Trés Caños, who’s mission is the interpretation and the revival of the oral folk tradition of the municipality. It was founded in 2006 and the first public performance came at the Festival of Traditional Music of the Alpujarra held in the same year. Their music has a very medieval feel to it and the instruments included are recorder, guitar, violin, mandolin, tambourine and various objects that are shaken, hit or scraped, including an empty anís bottle!

Noché de los Candiles

Noché de los Candiles

Throughout the evening of Noché de los Candiles, the wind was wild and strong and sadly prevented some of the more delicate candles from being lit. Instead, the fires and flares that could be lit were either constantly extinguished by the wind or hot burning embers were being blown all over the place – quite dangerous actually but it didn’t dampen the “spirit” of the evening!

Most of the photographs I took during the course of the evening were using a hand-held camera for which I had to set the ISO really high resulting in a lot of noise – some of the photographs I feel are enhanced by this but some, I’ve tried to reduce the noise using software. So, here is a slide-show of some of the photos, I’ve kept some of the fire photographs back as I might make a feature of these 🙂

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Photography as Therapy

Esther's winning photograph

Esther's competition winning photograph

Following on from my post about Personal Landscapes a while ago, I came across this article which for me is an interesting read as it supports my theories about using photography as a complementary therapy and inspires me to look at this idea further. I am of course extremely happy that photography has helped Esther Lynn and congratulate her on her winning photograph. I am now even more convinced of the validity of photography as a form of therapy either in its own right, or as part of a more holistic approach.

Please, please, please read the blog article and perhaps if you feel so inclined, read more about the issues that people are having with mental health in the rest of the website & blog – 1 in 3 people have mental health issues.

This is the link – http://www.mind.org.uk/blog/6757_snapped_out_of_it

I believe in what I am doing!

Inside one week I have been on Spanish TV in a programme promoting the regeneration of Andalucian traditions, I have become involved in a working group (round table) for active (sustainable) tourism and subsequently got my photo in the Diario de Almería and today delivered a presentation to some students at Almería University. OK, in truth, the TV programme was recorded about a month ago but it was broadcast on national TV last Saturday.

Diario de Almería

Diario de Almería

All of these activities are important and I’m proud to be involved but the subject and content of my presentation to the students really sums up what I am trying to do and what I am passionate about. I have come to the province of Almería and especially Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata to set up a small company running photography experiences and using these experiences to promote respect for the diversity of nature and the environment of the province. The theme of my presentation was how and why photography can be used to do this and also about the need to work with others towards a common goal of sustainable tourism.

There are still a number of companies operating illegally in the Parque Natural de Cabo de Gata in activities that are not good for the environment; motor-cross, quad-biking, jet-skiing, etc… these high-adrenaline activities may offer momentary thrills that may be conversation matter for about a week but we should be considering the environmental impact of such activities and collectively changing the way we think. Thankfully the number of eco-friendly activities for tourism is on the increase and it’s good to see and be involved with the regeneration of local traditions as part of these activities. Moreover, it’s good to see the arts included in this increase. Photography, painting, ceramics, etc… can ALL form an integral part of the sustainable tourism industry and most can be combined with other activities to promote an understanding and respect of the environment and ultimately a richer visitor experience.

Pita (Agave)

Pita (Agave)

Promotion of respect for the environment and working (with others and by myself) towards a common goal of sustainable tourism are things I value highly and I believe I have much to offer people who would like to visit me and be part of what I am doing. In any industry it’s difficult to change the mindset of the customer, especially when they are used to going to a resort for their holiday and taking part in high-adrenaline activities as mentioned above, but promoting the well-being of the natural world not only is a must but is becoming more widely supported by organisations and to some extent, industry – so it’s becoming easier!

I believe in what I am doing and that we can strive towards our goals more effectively together, promoting the most beautiful product called Almería. There is a lovely saying within the network of friends that I work with here, Juntos Podemos – Together We Can.

It’s taken me a while now to write all this up and I certainly hadn’t intended for it to be so… what’s the word???? Intense maybe(?) But these are things I feel passionate about and once I get started, there’s no stopping me LOL!!! This IS however a very beautiful part of the world and unique in many ways and there is lots to show people so come one, get your cameras charged up and out you come 🙂

Contact details:

Martyn Thompson – Landscape Photography
http://martynthompson.net
https://martynthompsonphotography.wordpress.com
martyn@martynthompson.net
Facebook / Twitter / Etsy / Flickr