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

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Concurso de Fotografía / Photography Competition

I’ve entered a photography competition and need your votes – I don’t really care (that much) about winning but it would be great to do well. If you all voted for ALL photos it would be great or even just the ones you like 🙂

This is the page of all my photographs – http://concursotaranna.com/fotografia/2011/author/martyn-thompson/

And my photos (in case you don’t know them) are between this one…

Arrecife de las Sirenas

Arrecife de las Sirenas

and this one…

Playa del Silencio

Playa del Silencio

So go tell your friends, relative, loved ones, hated ones and everyone you can think of!!

Many thanks in great anticipation 🙂

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

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
https://martynthompsonphotography.wordpress.com
martyn@martynthompson.net
Facebook / Twitter / Etsy / Flickr

December 2011

What an amazing month December has been; a road-trip through Spain, a visit to and an enforced stay in the UK, two birthdays and of course the very silly season-to-be-merry!

En-route to the UK, the intention was to spend a bit of time around the Asturias region of Spain as there are many beautiful beaches, mountains and villages to behold. The drive up through Spain was amazing; snow-capped mountains overlooking still-lakes, small sleepy villages nestled between the mountains, sometimes looking like they are clinging onto the hill-side for dear life. Unfortunately the desire to reach our destination took priority over stopping to take photographs.

After the grueling 12 / 14 hour drive from San José our first resting place for the night was the small town (pueblo) of Pravia in the Asturias region. Pravia is a bustling town full of very friendly and welcoming people. The region is known for many things but people kept telling us of it’s cider (sidra) and bean stew (fabada) of varying recipes so of course we had to try them and how nice they were!

Playa del Silencio

The following day we were off to a beach I’d heard so much about, Playa del Silencio and what an experience that was.

Playa del Silencio (AKA The Gavieru) was anything but silent at the time we visited, the sea that is normally safe for diving and snorkelling was anything but safe. Even during my short walk along the beach, I felt like I was risking my life.

After visiting Playa del Silencio, we made our way east for our next stop, the town of San Vicente de la Barquera via a few beauty spots along-the-way. One such place was the stunning Playa de Vega in La Vega, between the towns of Berbes and Barredo.

Playa de Vega

Playa de Vega is a golden-sand paradise which is (apparently) known for it’s windsurfing and therefore (I guess) can get fairly busy. At the time of our visit, there were only a handful of dog-walkers and customers for what looked to be a very nice busy restaurant overlooking the beach. I took this opportunity to take some long exposure photographs using a neutral density filter and open shutter.

For a while now, I’ve wanted to try and replicate some of the slow shutter speed effects that I’ve achieved during my moonlight photography sessions. After a small amount of research and a bit of practice I’ve succeeded and found it to be relatively easy… well, certainly easier than moonlight photography – watch this space for tutorials!

Playa de Gulpiyuri

Following a night in a remotely situated hotel just outside San Vicente de la Barquera, we went in search of the curious inland beach of Playa de Gulpiyuri. North of the village of Naves and halfway between Ribadesella and Llanes, the unusually located Playa de Gulpiyuri is declared a natural monument. The sea has carved it’s way via a series of collapsed caves and sinkholes into this phenomenon from behind the cliffs not too far from this beach.

Having then attempted to visit another of the region’s beauty spots which had to be aborted due to the time it would’ve taken to wade through muddy fields, we set off for the ferry from Santander to Portsmouth.

Lake at Alice Holt Forest

So now we’re in the UK and with all birthday celebrations, festivities, etc out of the way, I’m ready to begin my return journey but hey wait, what is this? My ferry from Portsmouth to Santander has been cancelled and replaced with a ferry the next day to Bilbao… oh and then the replacement ferry to Bilbao was cancelled and I was left stranded in the UK until the next one.

Eventually I arrived home on 22 December, one week later than I should’ve done; cold, hungry, very tired and almost seeing double after the long 12 hour drive from the frozen north 🙂 Whilst it was nice taking the car and being able to do this road trip, the moral of this tale is not to book ferries in the winter! Still, I managed to squeeze in a nice little photography trip to the Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, Surrey and a few extra family visits and so made the most of my time… though I was concerned at the rate things were going, Dale & Heather would arrive in Spain before me!

So… home at last but hardly anytime to prepare for the imminent arrival of said Dale & Heather, aaargh!! Fortunately it all worked out OK and there was even time to visit one of my favourite beaches on xmas day AND climb what is known as “the petrified wave”!

Xmas day 2011, Playa de Monsúl

…and now that the silly season is done and dusted for another year we can all relax and get on with our business.

All that’s left to say now is happy new year, or felíz año nuevo as they say in my town. Don’t forget to visit my website for the latest and greatest photography experiences the world has to offer. Hopefully you are inspired to visit my most beautiful part of the world and let me show you around.

http://martynthompson.net