Life update and a new forest for my workshops

I’m officially on summer holidays, or as every July of the last six years of my life, out of work. I can’t believe that the moment I’ve been waiting for all this time, has finally come. As you already know, after my year working for the UN in Mexico City, I returned home to a job as an English teacher. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had through that job, but I knew for quite some time that it was time to stop and give photography a chance.

So here I am. This is the beginning of a new career, I’m scared as hell but so ready to go for it. I’m taking this second part of the year as a transition into a new life. I’ve been doing photography for a very long time, but never as my only income, so I know it will be a challenging and a very difficult process.

However, I’m excited for what’s to come and for all the trips I’ve planned for the next few months. Next week I start with a trip to Granada to visit my dear friend Tania Cervián. Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to shoot a few portrait sessions while I’m there, at least, that’s the plan! Then in August, we’re taking the van all the way up to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and driving around the UK for a month. In September, we’re taking a quick road trip to our beloved Switzerland. In October I’m visiting Marrakech and the Sahara with Tania again, and finally, in November, I’m flying to Mexico City. We are talking serious traveling here, and that means lots and lots of opportunities for photos.

Until I post those photos on here though, let me show you a few photos from Tuesday. Let me start by saying that when the alarm went off at 7 am I wasn’t happy. But I immediately looked out of the window and saw the mountains covered in fog, so I knew I had to get out. I got everything ready very quickly and drove for an hour. I have to admit that I had another spot in mind, which is 5 minutes away from this forest, but the road looked so interesting that I thought it was worth exploring a bit further. And yes indeed, it was very worth it! The fog stayed inside the forest for a couple of hours so I had the chance to take it slow and enjoy every moment of it.

I especially liked how the light entered from above and hit the right spots. At this time of the year, everything is lush green, so the trees looked beautiful. I also enjoyed the quietness of the place. All I could hear were my footsteps as well as some birds chirping. It was magic! I’m definitely returning soon to find new spots for my workshops this fall. I bet it looks as wonderful as in summer!

Soft light and portraits with Dámaris by the lake.

On Friday afternoon we had a last minute plan. My friend Ginebra Siddal is in town for the weekend because she is offering a double workshop in Gasteiz. In the meantime, I was talking to Dámaris who was going to be the model for Ginebra’s workshop, about organizing a new shoot in the future because I had some ideas in mind. It was Friday afternoon and I didn’t have any plans for the evening, I was going to teach a class and I was free after five. However, after this quiet non creative rut I thought it was time to change the attitude and try something new. So I decided to ask both Dámaris and Ginebra if they wanted to drive to a beautiful little lake for some photos, and they both agreed immediately. We made it on time before the sunset, and we had the place for ourselves along with all the frogs, fish and mosquitoes in the water. What a show! The light was soft and warm, but the best part as always, was their company and the time spent creating.

All these were shot with the Canon 6D plus the Sigma 35mm and 50mm Art.

Why forest photography?

What kind of photographer are you? Are you concerned about the characteristics of your camera and creating technically perfect photos, or do your images convey a deeper message and you are more interested in how a photo makes the viewer feel?

Qué tipo de fotógrafo eres? Te preocupan las características de tu cámara y el hecho de crear fotografías totalmente perfectas, o prefieres transmitir un mensaje más profundo y te interesa más cómo le hace sentir a vuestro espectador?

It’s true that we all lust for better gear and sometimes feel that a different camera or a new lens will somehow improve our work. I feel that very often, but then I realize that I already have the gear I need in order to create photos that I like (remember to ask me if I believe these words again in a month).

Es verdad que todos queremos tener un equipo mejor, y que a veces una cámara diferente o un nuevo objetivo puede de alguna manera mejorar nuestro trabajo. Yo también siento eso muy a menudo, pero luego me doy cuenta de que ya tengo el equipo necesario para crear las fotos que me gustan (vuelve a preguntarme si sigo creyendo lo mismo el mes que viene).

I’ve never been a technical person, in fact, I don’t care much about having the latest technology and therefore I don’t need an extremely powerful camera either. Most of my work is slow paced, I like to walk around and compose the shots carefully and only then, I shoot in ONE SHOT mode and I focus and recompose all the time. But I must confess that I like having and investing a bit more in a nice lens, often primes.

Nunca he sido una persona que sabe de técnica, de hecho, no me importa mucho tener lo último en tecnología, así que tampoco necesito una cámara potente. La mayor parte de mi trabajo lo hago a un ritmo pausado, me gusta dar vueltas hasta dar con la composición. Utilizo el modo One Shot y siempre utilizo el punto del medio para enfocar y después recomponer. Sin embargo, debo confesar que me gusta tener e invertir un poco más en un buen objetivo, a menudo en focales fijas.

My photos are usually dark and moody, I mostly watch the sunrise from work and I’m usually tired to try to photograph the sunset. Therefore, I can only hope for cloudy days, and even then, I prefer rainy and foggy mornings so that I can I add a bit of atmosphere to my photos. I feel that my photos may not be technically perfect but I really want them to spark a feeling or some kind of emotion in the viewer.

A menudo mis fotos son oscuras, la mayoría de veces veo el amanecer desde el trabajo y normalmente suelo estar muy cansada como para querer fotografiar el atardecer. Por lo tanto, solo me queda esperar a los días nublados, e incluso entonces, prefiero que sean mañanas lluviosas y de niebla para poder añadir un poco de ambiente al trabajo. Creo que mis fotos probablemente no sean técnicamente perfectas, pero lo único que pretendo es que hagan sentir o transmitir alguna emoción al espectador.

When I photograph wide landscapes and I travel to other countries, I want to inspire others to do the same, to get to know the world we live in, to learn about other cultures… But when I photograph forests at home, I think is when I mostly show what’s going on in my mind.

Cuando fotografió grandes paisajes y viajo a otros países, mi intención es la de inspirar a otros que hagan lo mismo, que conozcan el mundo en el que vivimos, que aprendan de otras culturas. Pero cuando fotografío los bosques de casa, creo que es cuando más hablo de mí misma y de lo que hay en mi cabeza.

Why woodland or forest photography? I really don’t know. It’s true that I live surrounded by forests and that’s exactly what the landscape looks like here. Also, due to my work, I spend a lot of time driving from one place to another and I also have a hectic schedule. Though sometimes, in the mornings, I have a few hours when I can head up to the forest and escape a bit from the busy life.

Por qué fotografiar bosques? Realmente no lo sé. En parte es verdad que vivo en una zona con preciosos paisajes y con muchos bosques. También debido a mi trabajo, paso mucho tiempo conduciendo de un lado para otro y también tengo un horario complicado. Aunque a veces en las mañanas, tengo unas horas libres en las que puedo subir a algún bosque y escapar del ruido de alrededor.

I believe that’s how it all started. I use the time I am surrounded by nature to clear my mind and thoughts, and I can’t express how important that is for my (our) mental health. It’s all quiet and paused, the wind moves the leaves and it all feels good. I always bring my camera, because I can barely predict when and where the fog is going to show up. But if it’s a foggy day and it’s not raining heavily, you’ll probably find me wandering around the forest, usually near home.

Así es como creo que empezó todo. Aprovecho el tiempo que estoy rodeada de naturaleza para liberar mi mente y los pensamientos, y no puedo expresar lo importante que es eso para mi (nuestra) salud mental. Todo está tranquilo, el tiempo se para, el viento mueve las hojas y todo hace que me sienta bien. Siempre llevo alguna cámara encima, ya que apenas puedo predecir dónde y cuándo va a aparecer la niebla. Pero si es un día con mucha neblina y no llueve mucho, probablemente me encontrarás dando vueltas por algún bosque cercano a casa.

Composition in the forest is not easy, in fact I feel it’s pretty difficult compared to other areas of photography. Landscape photographs have to portray a sense of depth, usually there are several elements that take the viewer from one point to another in order to help turning a three dimensional scene into two. Therefore you need a strong foreground, usually a single element and often in the center of the image because the eye tends to drawn to it.

La composición en el bosque no es fácil, de hecho creo que es bastante más complicado en comparación a otros tipos de fotografía. Las fotos de paisaje tienen que transmitir una sensación de profundidad, normalmente hay varios elementos que llevan al espectador de un punto a otro con el fin de plasmar una escena tridimensional en dimensional. Así pues, es necesario que haya un primer plano lleno de fuerza, normalmente de un único elemento y a menudo ubicado en el centro de la imagen para hacer que el ojo empiece a rastrear la imagen desde ahí.

A forest is full of busy and messy scenes, so it’s not easy to organize the different elements. As I mentioned before, I always try to find an interesting foreground, something else in the middle and then the background. If you have fog, take advantage of it, since it will help you eliminate distractions and simplify the scene. Another trick when you have too many elements is to use a wide aperture; yes, most of my forest photos are shot at f/2.8 or so. Not only do I blur the stuff in the background that I don’t want to show, but I also get more light in the scene, which often lacks when you are surrounded by big trees and you are deep in the forest.

Un bosque siempre está lleno de escenas con muchos elementos, así que no es fácil organizarlo. Como he dicho anteriormente, siempre intento tener un primer plano interesante, algo que le siga en un segundo plano y finalmente un fondo. Si hay niebla, no dudes en aprovechar para hacer fotos, ya que siempre te ayudará a eliminar distracciones y a simplificar la escena. Otro truco es que cuando tienes muchos elementos, siempre puedes utilizar un diafragma de bajo valor; si, muchas de mis fotos de bosques las disparo a f/2.8. De esta manera ayudo a hacer que aparezca más borroso aquello que no me interesa y además consigo más luz, cosa que siempre falta cuando estas rodeado de árboles altos y te encuentras dentro de un bosque.

Here is a recent example.

Aquí tienes un ejemplo reciente.

Now, I’m sure that many people will think that I’m shooting in the wrong way, or that I shouldn’t photograph landscape photos with such a wide aperture… But, do I care? Not really. Does it help me achieve what I’m looking for? Totally. Does it tell some kind of story? I sure hope so.

Estoy segura de que mucha gente creerá que disparo las fotos de una manera equivocada, o que no debería de hacer fotos de paisaje con un diafragma tan pequeño… Pero, es algo que me importa? Realmente no. Hace que sea posible lograr lo que me interesa? Totalmente. Cuenta algún tipo de historia? Espero que sí.

Most people advise to “get it right in camera”, and I try to do that of course, but taking into account the way I’m going to edit afterwards. If my work is moody, and that morning the light in the forest and the ambiance was dark, I’m not going to take a bright and airy photo. Plus, the camera I usually shoot with has a better recovery for shadows than highlights, so I usually underexpose a stop or two to get the mood in camera.

Mucha gente aconseja que “expongamos bien en cámara”, y obviamente yo también intento hacer eso mismo, pero siempre teniendo en cuenta cómo voy a editar después. Si mi trabajo es un tanto oscuro, y en esa mañana la luz del bosque y el ambiente era tristón, no haré una foto con mucha luz y alegre. Además, la cámara con la que normalmente trabajo, recupera mejor las sombras que las luces altas, por lo tanto yo sub expongo un paso o dos para llevarme un poco de atmósfera en cámara.

Each of us has it’s own tricks and different ways to express ourselves. Are these the rules that you need to follow so as to get photos like mine? I don’t think so. After all, photographing forests is kind of a therapy to me, and probably doesn’t have any meaning to you. I just hope that in doing so, I can instill some kind of feeling in the viewer, because that’s all that matters in photography.

Cada uno de nosotros tiene sus propios trucos y maneras diferentes de expresarse. Son estas las reglas que tienes que seguir para conseguir unas fotos como las mías? No lo creo. Después de todo, fotografiar bosques es un tipo de terapia para mí, y probablemente no tenga ningún significado para ti. Lo único que pretendo es que con un poco de suerte pueda transmitir alguna emoción al espectador, que al final, eso es lo único que importa en la fotografía.

After the storm

It was the end of August and my friend Ianara was about to leave to study in Madrid, so we decided to get together for one last session. We met way before the sunset, and on our way to the beach we had to stop inside a tunnel because it started hailing like crazy. It was one of those summer storms, but this one was pretty intense and even damaged the roof of the car. But we decided to go ahead and shoot photos anyway. The good thing about this kind of weather is that if the sun comes out after a storm, the light will be spectacular. And that’s what we got when we arrived to the coast.

Hope you like this set of photos!

Fujifilm XT2, 23mm f1.4, 16mm f1.4

Portrait session with Maider (Mestizaa)

This is my friend Maider Sierra, the owner of Mestizaa, and this is usually her job. She photographs beautiful dogs with their owners and she is wonderful at it. A couple of months ago, we met at her house for a different shoot. This time I wanted to photograph her while she was going through her daily routine. We had so much fun! I totally recommend you all to check out her work and I really hope you like this session!