An Englishman Abroad

Well, just had a really nice few days working in Spain. I have a place in a very Spanish town called Cuevas Del Almanzora about 15 minutes from the coast near Mojacar. I have been getting it ready for sale, visiting estate agents, hardware shops (which are far more interesting than it sounds, you can get anything from guns and hunting knifes to kettles and keys). Lots of cafe’s and even had a juice (not a real Jason Vale Juicemaster type juice I am afraid, it does not appear to have reached remote Spain just yet), in the local ice cream parlour. Lots of fresh fruit and salad. Got a few really nice runs in as well. 35deg on a couple of days kept them down to 5 or 6 miles but on thursday it was a little cooler and so ran off into the mountains for an hour and half. Just lovely and wild campo. All in all a very healthy and enjoyable few days. I love Spain a lot, it is such a nice place to be, or at least real Spain is, not the English enclave’s that exist over there.

I am now thinking of going over for a month just before both Cricklade and Swindon half Marathons and just train in the mountains around Cuevas, it should help with the hills around here. Nice.

The only thing that spoilt it was the trip back. The flight from Bristol was three hours late due to a fire/electrical fault at Bristol. Then as the aircraft was approaching Murcia airport it got diverted to Alicante because (Murcia) got closed down to allow a faulty (on fire) military jet to land. They eventually brough the aircraft back from Alicante to Murcia and we left 4 hours late. Got to Bristol ok and got to passport control. Now up till this point I was ok as they were all events that could not have been foreseen, so was still pretty chilled. Untill the girl at passport control told me and a few others to go down a certain que even though we had e-passports. They would then not let us back into the que for e-passport scanning. Well you will just have to go to the back of the que again. Well I decided enough was enough and launched into a tirade of poor customer service lack of concern to the customer etc etc, all the other passengers were cheering, it was great. The Border Control staff were absolutely awful in their attitude to me and a few others and not apologetic at all, I am also talking about the supervisor who I insisted they get out of her office. Of course I got absolutely nowhere so I am going to put in an official complaint. Just a sad end to a nice few days.

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Ladies from Our Lady of Dolores Procession Good Friday Semana Santa Baza Spain

This morning I went to photograph the Good Friday Semana Santa procession through Baza, Granada Province, Andalucia, Spain. It was put on by Our Lady of Dolores Brotherhood and was spectacular. We are not talking about a big city performance as in Malaga or Seville. This is a small town in rural Spain. These people are all volunteers and do it for the love of it, nobody gets paid. What is encouraging is the amount of young people involved. In a country where youth unemployment is more than 50 percent some with a bleak future ahead, they still get out and do something for the community. Many people would think it is purely a religious festival or procession and it mainly is, but the Brotherhood´s are in themselves not religious organisations, thet are more akin to Unions, Buffs or Freemasons.
I took a few hundred images but for this blog post decided to concentrate on the ladies in the procession. Mainly because the procession is Our Lady of Dolores procession and well they were stunning.

Hope you like them as well.

The Passion at Cuevas Del Campo

Late this afternoon I attended the rehearsal of the performance of the Passion Play in a tiny village in rural Spain called Cuevas del Campo. It is where, every year, about 600 of the villagers dress up in authentic costumes and perform the Passion on Good Friday. It is one of those must see activities whilst in Spain at Easter Time. These people are not professional actors, they are the townsfolk of Cuevas del Campo. They re-enact the passion and crucifixtion not for tourists or money or anything like that, but to honour their beliefs and traditions in a spectacular fashion not to be missed.

Any coments are welcome.

Sunday Project – No More

Well no photo of Sunday anymore. Why? I have been carrying out quite a bit of research and despite it being only the 4th Sunday of the year I have decided to bin it because it is not providing any benefit to me or anybody else. Stats are showing very few hits on those posts and to be honest I can understand why. There is no theme and is therefore completely random and unless I am on another assignment then I am just taking an image just for the sake of it with very little thought behind it. With very little information around the photo, why it was taken etc then why would anybody actually be interested in reading it.

What I should be doing more of is explaining things and why I do them, how I do them etc.

So as a start, I did a small photo shoot this morning. It was only mug shots for the person to send off as part of his profile as part of a competition. It was carried out in a gym, (in the squash court to be precise) where lighting is just awful. And short of getting the flash and umbrellas out it was a case of the ISO at 3200 and hope for the best. I just did not feel happy with the results which prob will suffice for what it was for but I just did not feel satisfied. Which at the end of the day is what it is all about for me. I have to feel emotionally involved in what I am doing and I didnt. Is that true of all professional photographers? I dont want to just earn money and not feel as though I have not done a good job.

So this blog is going to go back to the Swindon News/Photojournalism and I am not going to try to combine other things with it.

Likewise I am going to re-design my website to provide a better experience, better show case for my better images from both the UK and Spain and try to make it more interesting.

TotalSwindon Train in Spain Mainly on the Plain

Well, I am back in Swindon now and back to covering Swindon issues but just wanted to put up a post of me on one of my training runs in the hills above the village of Freila in Spain where I have been staying for the last three weeks. I have to say the running around there is absolutely spectacular on some days.
On a few of the days I went out the door in thick mist (Freila is at 800 mts) only to run through the cloud base out into the sunshine and views that I have to say were just stunning, where the hill tops and mountains were poking out above the clouds. Just absolutely stunning.
I will put some photos up in another post of the views, I never carried a camera whilst running but did walk up there and take shots.
Many thanks to my girlfriend Jacquie (who lives in Freila) for taking these shots.

La Calahorra a little bit of Italy in Spain

About a mile into the Sierra Nevada national park there is a gem that should be visited.
La Calahorra Castle or more rightly Palace is a 16th Century building the outside was built by the Spanish in the Spanish style. The interior however is entirely Italian. It was built by craftsmen brought in from Italy with materials shipped in from Italy.
It is one of those places that if you go to the local cafe and talk to the owner he will give the man with the key to the castle a call who will turn up with a massive great key and take you up and give you a guided tour of it.

Well worth the effort.

Project Sunday – 1

Lake Negratin

Lake Negratin

Well, what is this about.
Along with all my other work on this blog I decided to set myself a small project by taking a photo and blogging about it every Sunday of 2013. Sounds easy? well to be honest I dont think it is. Not as difficult as doing it 365 days or one a day but difficult nevertheless. The committment is more than what you think, finding a suitable subject and creating an image of it, no matter what is going on in you life. In fact today has been a tough day for me as I suffer from Pancreatitis and had an attack during the night. It is really painful and I got no sleep at all and was sick for about 8 hours. Nearly ended up in hospital again but as I am here in Spain and despite the fact that I would probably get better service here than in the UK (I have been waiting for an operation at Swindon GWH for 8 months) I just sat it out and eventually it ended. So today was a chilled day but took a drive down to the Lake to take a few shots.

The image is at Lake Negratin which is one of the many lakes in the Granada Province of Andalucia. It is about 4 minutes drive from the house and you can see it from the house, it is lovely. Especially on a day like today which was very warm and sunny but today is Ephiphany (see my last blog post).

Freila Three Kings Procession Andalucia Spain

Late this afternoon all over Spain the Three Kings Procession took place. I had the privilage of taking part in the procession in the tiny rural village of Freila in Andalucia. It has to be pointed out that this procession is not put on for the tourist, it is to mark 12th night and Epiphany tomorrow and in the case of Freila is very authentic. The three Kings travelled around the village on the back of a tractor and distributed sweets and presents to children (and adults) of the village.
Tonight all the children have to clean their shoes and leave them at the door so that the Three Kings can deliver their presents. The children then open them all in the morning, much like Christmas morning.

It was so nice to see that despite the economic problems that Spain is suffering that traditions like this continue and are very well supported.

An Evening of Flamenco in Freila

Many people get the opportunity to watch a ‘flamenco show’ when on holiday in Spain, although some are often ‘produced’ with the tourist in mind and don’t always reflect the true passion of the dance and the music. Freila is a small, rural, Andalucian village, with it’s roots truly embedded in Flamenco. Last night I had the opportunity to join the locals in the village to watch a concert of Flamenco music and dance. The main artist was Elena Romera, a professional Flamenco singer and dancer based in Granada. The difference was that Elena was born, and grew up in Freila, in fact her mother and father still live here and her father (a builder) actually built my girlfriends house. She was delighted to perform in her home village, no more so than the local villagers who welcomed her in true Freilican style. A wonderful evening of song, dance, colour, costumes and real Andalucian Flamenco.