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Had a misty morning on this day so went out in my local area.
This was almost mono so completed the theme.
Tags: Farm Buildings Misty Morning Mist Monochrome Black and White Hampshire Farm Steads North East Hampshire
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I wasn’t completely sure whether the three young German speaking men to the left of me were discussing the scene in front of us, or the seemingly erratic middle aged photographer that had only moments before been to the left of them. And then to the right of them again, before rapidly returning to their left hand side once more. As the tufts of high cirrus changed from white to gold, and finally to a satisfying pink, perhaps they were wondering why that lone tog appeared to be so confused.
I studied German to A level standard, albeit forty years ago, and only just scraping through. In the intervening four decades, I’ve been able to practice what I learned just twice. Once on a day trip to Vienna from where we were staying on the shores of Lake Balaton in Hungary, and then again during a two hour layover at Dusseldorf airport on the way to Majorca. On the latter occasion the lady who was offering us a free tasting session from the Bailey’s range she was promoting said she'd thought we were just shy before discovering that we weren’t German. Sadly I’d remembered so little that I’d failed to understand a single word she’d said.
But some odd stray remnants of vocab did manage to stay with me – and I knew that the happy trio of German photographers had just declared that something was “unglaublich.” Which means unbelievable if you haven’t got the babel fish implant in your ear. I hoped they were referring to the epic vista in front of us, rather than my very apparent indecision as to which composition I was going with. “Funf minuten” also came across the airwaves during the golden hour. It seemed that one of them was going for a five minute exposure. Either that or he was giving his mates a deadline before setting off for the pub. They reminded me of those halcyon days when Lee, Dave and I would gather together at the exact same patch of ground and more or less take the same image – the days before we began to develop our own styles and stand at least ten yards apart from one another, quite often pointing our cameras in different directions.
Ali and I had spent most of the day gradually making our way south through the mountain roads of Fuerteventura. We’d fueled up on toasted ciabatta sandwiches at the brilliant Alberta’s in Lajares, before taking a wrong turn at Tindaya, and then heading towards the FV30, which took us onto higher ground where we stopped a while to watch the Barbary Squirrels, that have for reasons unknown (to me at least) have made their home on Fuerteventura alone, whilst pointedly ignoring its neighbours. Another brief stop at the old capital of Betancuria, where someone attempted to relieve us of three euros to park, was followed by a longer break at the oasis of Pajara and ice creams from the local Spar.
By now, the afternoon had advanced to a surprisingly late hour, but the timing seemed to have worked out well as I’d wanted to arrive at the observatory of Sicasumbre, a place I was completely unaware of until I’d done some research before our holiday here. The term “observatory” is a bit of a stretch I must confess. More of a patch of high ground with some binoculars mounted on poles for anyone passing by to stop and gaze at the stars. Don’t go expecting a state of the art white dome with sliding doors, a café and restrooms – just saying. But while the use of the word “observatory” required a slight stretch of the imagination, the three hundred and sixty degree views were enough to send me into a spin.
I started by taking a few snaps of compositions on the phone, checking the focal length and making notes for later. Firstly I’d visited a hefty hillock on the opposite side of the road from the more lofty observatory that overlooked a valley of folds and forms towards the west. Then I made my way up to the rocky outcrop, I mean the observatory from where views to the other three compass points opened up. To the south lay the mysterious coastline and mountains of Cofete, a place only accessible by four wheel drive unless you wanted to risk your excess on the hire car and a little bit more. This was the view that enticed yet ultimately frustrated me, the foreground mountain filling too much of the frame and encroaching more closely on the stunning cloud capped hinterland than I’d have liked it to. Heading further to the left found me losing altitude, and ultimately I decided it wasn’t quite going to work. But a couple of draft compositions taken on the phone earlier had looked quite promising, so back across the road I went to the grassless knoll to join those young Germans, who were having an unglaublich time in a heavenly landscape of diagonals and V shapes.
Three compositions caught my eye, and this is what caused my endless shuffling around the contented triumvirate who collectively seemed far more certain of their shots. To the right, a patch of low cloud danced across the mountain crests, while in the middle, a series of interlocking repeating forms lay where the bases of the connecting ranges overlapped one another. And on the left I could see a patchwork of tessellating lines and stunning conical peaks rose and then fell away again. You can’t beat a lot of diagonal lines really.
The light began to fail and the last patches of pink cloud started to turn black. The German party were still having enormous fun. The word “aufwiedersehen” came to me rather more easily, although I had to refrain from adding “pet” in a Geordie accent. What a location. It took us two hours to drive back to our apartment in the darkness, but I was glad we’d made the effort. I’m not sure whether Ali felt the same, but I promised her we’d only come this far south in Fuerteventura on another holiday – one with a four wheel drive included so I can drag her to Cofete at the ends of the earth. Now that’ll be unglaublich for sure.
Tags: Fuerteventura Mountain mountains Sicasumbre Canary Canary Islands canarias islas canarias islas Island Europe Sunset after sunset glow Canon wilderness unglaublich landscape landscape photography Spain Espana España
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