Guest post: Winter in Andalucia

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I don’t like December in Holland. It’s dark, cold and there are way too many days you have to things I don’t like doing. We decided to escape and headed for southern Spain, where it was a lot less cold. Andalucia is a region that is famous for flamenco, olive oil and sherry, but frankly, I just wanted to walk around and see what was happening there. I grabbed my Billingham Hadley small, fitted my Leica M9 with a 35 and 50 Summicron, a very old Tele-Elmarit 90 and a couple of batteries. That kit is small and light, yet very versatile. One of the most made mistakes is bringing too much on a trip where you’ll be walking around all day. After a while, you’ll start to feel the weight of your bag on you shoulder and from that moment, fun is over. Bring just one camera and one or two lenses.

On these trips I make sure there is no stress at all and if I don’t feel like it, I won’t take a single picture. But if I do feel inspired I can walk around and take as many shots as I like. I love that. I often hear from other pro photographers that they never take any pictures when they’re not working and I think that’s a pity. To me, photography is not just a way to make a living, but it is a passion I like to give in to also when I’m not working. As a pro, I make a living with a couple of Leica bodies and of course, because I own them anyway, I might as well use them for fun trips every now and then. I know that lugging around a heavy DSLR all day is not as fun and that’s why mirrorless cameras are becoming more popular every day.

Light can be harsh in Spain, but in december it is generally very soft and nice. Even better, the ‘golden hour’ is at least three hours long, because the sun stays quite low in winter. A photographers paradise. I like to shoot against the sun, because I just love the way my Leica lenses render when they’re shot in that way. There is flare, but there still is a lot of contrast in the image. I use this technique a lot when I shoot weddings, because it creates a very romantic mood. Another good thing about Spain is the fact that people stay up until late. They usually eat at nine in the evening or even later. After dinner, families take a walk together and buy an ice cream. So, there are always people on the streets. Again, perfect for street photography.

The Alhambra is a place you just need to see. Even if you don’t like highlights – and I’m not talking about a histogram -, this is one you just shouldn’t miss. The perfect symmetry of the beautiful palace is truly amazing. Besides that, it is always crowded with tourists and personally, I like watching all these people rushing through the palace with their big DSLRs and smartphones.

We stayed for a week and flew home again. A few weeks later it was cold enough for ice skating outdoors. We were lucky again…

Enjoy the pictures!

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