A week of planning and preparing…..

This has been a week of planning and preparing for our next trip and the camino. Our plan is to start our walk from St. Jean Pied de Port, France on April 22 2016. With that in mind I have been going through some of the photos from our previous camino,  a walk down memory lane. I walked to remind myself of the places we will see, and make sure we had time in certain places to see some of the sites we didn’t have time for last time.

With all the time spent on planning and preparing for the trip I have not picked up the camera more than once or twice this week. The photos on my Instagram stream this week were from our previous camino. These are some of my favourite images that give a sense of the camino, lots of walking, quiet days together on the road, early mornings are the best.

Let me know if you have any questions about the camino. Here is a google map of the route, and a link to the camino forum, full of information.

Hopefully next week I will have some new photos for you.

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Meseta at Dawn; Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela

Meseta at Dawn
Meseta at Dawn

Growing up in the Canadian Breadbasket other wise known as Saskatchewan, miles and miles of farmland is not an unfamiliar scene. Walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela through the meseta was like a trip home.  The fields and  the road went on, seemingly forever. The crops a golden color, the worked ground a beautiful brown, the sky pink as the sun was rising in the east. The scene was as familiar as it was beautiful.

The challenge as a photographer is to see even a seemingly old familiar scene (and to show it to others) in a new way. I saw this scene as blocks of color, and the detail of each cloud, line in the field, the weeds in the ditch and rocks on the road all distracted from the blocks of color I wanted to emphasis. The light was low, so I set the ISO low, the aperture for a high depth of field, and a slow shutter speed, then moved the camera sideways to blur all the detail. The image now emphasises the blocks of color as well as the beautiful pink hue of a new day.

St. Jean Pied de Port, Camino Frances; travel photos

Rue de la Citadelle, St. Jean Pied de Port, France.  Camino Frances
Rue de la Citadelle, St. Jean Pied de Port, France. Camino Frances

St. Jean Pied de Port, France. The beginning of the Camino France for many pilgrims walking to Santiago de Compostella Spain. One of the many images, representing one of the many moments along our journey that is still very important to me. As it is the beginning of the camino for so many pilgrims it is a little town that many remember fondly.

Recently a fellow Calgarian sent an email, interested in learning more about the camino, and our experience, it is wonderful to visit those memories again, and to think that someday Bill and I will go back.

On a complete different note, this is one of the images listed with Alamy, an online stock agency, that has licensed recently.  While I haven’t been notified of the name of the publication, but I have learned from the sales contract that the image will be published as a 2 pages spread, for a travel guide with a print run of up to 100,000.  While this isn’t my first sale through the stock agency, it still feels awesome to have someone buy and use one of my images!

Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrows

Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrow
Old Boots and the Camino Yellow Arrow

The Yellow Arrow is the route maker for the Camino to Santiago de Compostela.  Painted on signs, fences, rocks and buildings at every corner, we would find a yellow arrow to tell us which direction to take. The Pilgrim wearing these boots had over the years already completed 4 camino walks. This year was his 5th, and due to health reason he could only dedicate 2 weeks to his journey. These boots had supported him during all of those miles. I asked about the yellow arrows on his boots and he said “they were a reminder to always move forward”.

We walked together for a short while, talking about his previous journeys but before long we were headed uphill into the Galicia fog, and I was slowing him down, so he wandered off at his own pace.

Walking to Gallicia
Walking to Galicia

While we walking the Camino to Santiago de Compostela in Spain we soon realized that our hiking boot had been one of the most important purchase. Absolutely one of the most valuable piece of equipment to undertake the 820 k walk.  Here in Calgary we went to the Mountain Equipment Co-op to talk to their staff, they were wonderful, informative and patient at getting us the best fit. We seemed to be one of the  pilgrims walking that had very few problems with our feet.  If you are planning on going to a long walk, be it in Spain or in the Rocky Mountains I would suggest paying Mountain Equipment Co-op a visit for some advise on great boots.

Reflections of the Crucifixion of Christ

Reflections of the crucifixion_Santo Domingo de la Calzada

If you have followed the blog for a while you will know that we, Bill and I, walked the Camino to Santiago de Compostela not that long ago.  I am still processing images, and enjoying reliving the days of our walk. During our time  in Santo Domino de la Calzada we had visited the church, and then the museum.  Both were fascinating, are filled with history and artifacts dating back many hundreds of  years.

While museums can be interesting, with lots of things to see and learn about, the stories about the past helping me to imagine what life might have been like during a different times. But visually/photographically they can be a little dull. In some places no photos are allowed, in others lighting is restrictive, and often items are arranged in such a way to make uninteresting photos. With those challenges I often look for reflections to add to the composition. Reflections add a dimension to the image, lifting it from imagination of what photography can be about.

In this image we can see both sides of the Ivory Crucifixion. and because of the light shining on this item it is separated from all the other subject and the room around it, highlighting it in a way that emphasises it’s importance.

Vierge d’Orisson, and a view of the French Pyrenees Mountains

Vierge d’Orisson_French Pyrenees

More photos from the camino, we arrived at the foot of this small statue, the Vierge d’Orrison, shortly after leaving Orisson, as the sun was just starting to lighten the sky.  It was an amazing sight, as the clouds and fog filled the valleys.  I could find very little information on its history, however it is said that the statue was brought from Lourdes and placed on this high rock by the sheep herders, and to this day they pray to be watched over and for good weather.  Today the pilgrims on their camino stop, many take a few moments in silent prayer, many just take a picture and move on. I climbed the high rock to stand by the statue for this image.

The day was off to a beautiful day and we wondered how any other day would be able to compare. But each day we were up early and most days on the road just before sunrise. I have since come to realize that the beginning of each day is a quiet and beautiful time, that it is possible I have been missing the best part of the day, and I need to get out of the house to witness more sunrises!

Prints are available through Society6

Day 38 on our Camino to Santiago

Rock Bridge, Galicia Spain

We left Palas de Rei just after 8 am, it was still dark, but there was enough light to see where we were going. The sky was cloudy, so it stayed darker longer than we anticipated, and there was no beautiful sunrise.  We had a long day planned and wanted to get out the door early

We have see several of these stone bridges, a place for pilgrims to pass when the creeks fills with water, and I am sure it does during the raining season.

We arrived in Melide around noon, this is about ½ way for the day. Bill’s ankle seemed to beholding up quite well. Melide is famous for the pulpa (octopus) dish and one of the pilgrims we know pointed us in the direction of the most famous restaurant so we could give it a try. The restaurant was quiet when we went in, but given it was lunch time it didn’t take long to fill with pilgrims and locals like.  The pulpa was okay, tasty enough, a little chewy, and obviously very popular.

red flower along the camino

Back on the road again, the clouds had cleared and the sun was shining, about 18 C, it was great for walking. The path in residential areas are lined with flowers and in one place a rosemary shrub ran for about 50 feet, about 2 ½ feet high, it was starting to bloom.

One place I noticed an older farming couple unloading the wagon, beside it with huge wheel barrow of Kale.  We have seen it growing very large garden patches, the plants about 6 feet high, with all but the top few leaves picked. I don’t know anyone who would eat that much Kale, so I am wondering what else it is used for…….

farmers with a wheelbarrow of Kale, Galicia Spain

Today we covered about 32 k, 4 big hills to go up and down, all in the last 8 k, so by the time we arrived at the hotel we were exhausted, and after the shower, and daily laundry we had a nap until dinner, which was at 8 pm.

Two more days to reach Santiago, we plan to walk about 36k over the next two days, so we are hopeful that things will be easier, but as I type this it is raining hard, so I am not sure, well at least it isn’t a cold rain! See you tomorrow!

Day 36, Sarria to Portomarin 22.5 k

we have reached the 100 k marker, Camino de Santiago de , Spain

We are back on the road again, Matt has joined us for the final stage, and we passed the marker that told us we have less than 100 kilometres to walk to get to Santiago de Compostela. Breakfast at the hotel was served at 8 am, so we were a little late getting started for the day, Bill’s ankle/shin is a little sore so he is not marching ahead as he might have been, and as you might know I stop for lots of pictures, so we took a long time to get to Portomarin (the spanish spelling for Portomarin is Puertomarin). It was around 4 pm when we arrived.

The morning was misty or more foggy, no rain, so that was a good thing, we didn’t need our ponchos. The mist hung in the air and clung to the plants and spider webs. Days like this I miss my macro lens and my tripod!

wet spider web

Delicate drew drops hanging on the web.

Just outside of Sarria we crossed the Ponte de Aspera, a small “romantic style” bridge built sometime in the 12 century.

A Ponte da Aspera_Sarria Spain

about 1:30 the clouds broke, the fog lifted and we had sunshine to walk into Portomarin.  It was another great day, on the camino, Santiago de Compostela is almost in sight! I have noticed that some of the town names are spelled differently when I go to look up accommodation or weather conditions, Portomarin = Puertomarin is just one example. This can make internet searches very complicated and or interesting! I am slowly getting this worked out, and it is something I am going to keep in mind when travelling in the future.

 

 

Astorga Spain

We arrived in Astorga Spain after a 21k walk, it was a beautiful day, perfect for walking with temperatures between about 10 degrees C and 22 degrees C. sunshine and a slight breeze. At Astorga the camino route we have been travelling meets up with a route from Seville Spain, and the accommodations are getting harder to get.  We have been staying in private albergues or pensions and it looks like we will have to start booking 2 or 3 days in advance to ensure a place to sleep.  

Each day along the walk we have been treated to public art related to the camino, perigrines and the way of St. James, and at Astorga we visited the Cathedral, the Cathedral Museum and the Gaudi’s Palace Gardens.

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