In early May of this year, I set off on my first trip to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. I spent five days travelling and hiking through the Park and scouting the various locations that I had researched.
Established in 1986 and with an area of over 2,000 square kilometers (800 square miles), the park, located in the province of Jaén, is the largest protected area in Spain and the second largest in Europe.
As soon as I arrived at the Natural Park I could tell that this area had the "wow" factor. The abundance of Carrasco pine trees providing heavy forest canopies on either side of the mountain roads was in stark contrast to the flat and featureless terrain I had driven through to get to the Park. I wound my way around these roads enjoying extraordinary views of forests and streams but always with this niggling feeling that the weather wasn't going to play ball. Now when I say this, I mean that the weather was going to be sunny, hot with bright blue skies. Great for lounging around on a beach but pretty useless when trying to capture dramatic landscapes. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the case with the exception of a sudden and lovely late afternoon storm on my third day.
For the most part, I found that I could only cover a small area of the park in the time that I had. A couple of hikes were over very difficult terrain and with heavy equipment in tow, progress was at times very slow. I also returned to one of the locations twice as I was unhappy with the lighting conditions on the first attempt. There were always distractions on the way to a particular planned location to which I could not allocate any sufficient time to scout further without jeopardizing that day's itinerary.
The interesting outcome from this slightly extended trip was that, I created far fewer photographs than I thought I would and, unusually, I also photographed more vertical compositions than I would normally. All in all, it felt that I had to work much harder for my photographs, often covering some huge distances between them or waiting in position several hours for the light to improve.
However, on reflection, I think this "feeling" was more due to the fact that my trip to the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Park the previous month yielded a much larger haul of 12 compositions than I would have expected in just 4 days of work (whereas "only" 9 in 5 days work at Cazorla). In reality, I don't even expect an average of 1 composition per day, so essentially, both of these Parks yielded a higher than expected tally of photographs.
On heading home, I felt that, while I had come away with some of my planned photographs, I had also missed a few due to the uncooperative conditions. Nevertheless, I did discover a breathtakingly beautiful and sprawling Natural Park with many potential opportunities for the Autumn and Winter seasons. This Park is simply far too large to cover in a single trip or season and I can see myself returning to the area for many years to come.
Each of the 9 photographs below can also be seen in high resolution within their respective Portfolio Gallery or currently in a slide-show on my New Work page. Some are also available to purchase. For more details and availability, please check out The Print Shop.
Thank you for taking the time to visit,