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Journey of Photographic Discovery

Away from the familiar - to an unknown & unfrequented landscape

Michael Cummins

Very keen, amateur landscaper always trying to improve. Holiday website publisher when I can fit that in too. Husband, father, grandad, golfer. Season ticket holder at the Mighty Spireites (Chesterfield FC).

michaelcummins.co.uk



For two years between October 2012 and October 2014 I was out most days taking photographs in the Peak District where we live and work. At the end of that long stint I must admit to having been a little lacking in inspiration after falling into a comfort zone entirely of my own making: repeated and/or similar and familiar viewpoints, f11, tripod, cable release, sunrise, sunset, etc

However, after the depressingly grey, wet, windy and never-ending winter of 2013/14, we had long-since decided to spend the next one in Spain as our main business is, happily, based online. Our choice was a rented house in the mountains of Andalusia, a region known as La Axarquia, affording a wonderful opportunity for me to practise my photography in a landscape far-removed from the generally lowland hills of Derbyshire.

Arriving at our casa later that same month, after the long journey by car and ferry, we were met with temperatures still in the high 20s as well as three orphaned kittens who immediately adopted us, but that’s another story!

As the sun rose behind the mass of La Maroma (2065m/6774ft) I got my first idea of where and what that golden light would strike first and, working quickly, fired off a few shots of a gorgeous mountain ridge side-lit by the first rays of a new day
.The following morning, nevertheless, I was up well before the wonderfully civilised hour of sunrise (08:30) and set off high into the mountains complete with a rucksack full of camera gear. Knowing the Axarquia only vaguely from a previous and ill-advised summer trip, my first morning of photography, even though exciting, would have to be approached instinctively.

Parking in olive groves I clambered up a faint goat track scattered with boulders until I was high enough to peer over the trees and down into the valley and beyond. As the sun rose behind the mass of La Maroma (2065m/6774ft) I got my first idea of where and what that golden light would strike first and, working quickly, fired off a few shots of a gorgeous mountain ridge side-lit by the first rays of a new day.

Pulse quickening as I worked, I began to relish the prospect of the five whole months (150 days!) of discovery that lay ahead for me as I explored and unearthed, for me, the first of the region’s secret places.

Yet little did I know then, that I would not see another photographer in the whole of my time there. Not one. A rather different experience to that of the Peak District I can tell you!

zafarraya blossom 2048

If sunrise in this part of Spain is at a civilised hour then sunset is its equal but for different reasons. The earliest sunset, at any point in winter, is 6pm and by late January you’re looking at almost 7pm and rising. Other than the obvious climatic advantages over the UK, it is for this reason that we’ll be hoping to return again at the back end of 2016. Long days of winter sunshine together with the prospect of two field photo trips daily is a potent combination for any landscaper.

 



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