The "beast from the north" had arrived and the weather was turning colder. The high mountains were out, so we headed for the lower Sierra de Contraviesa hills.
We clambered out of our two cars and into the middle of the bustling village of Alcazar. Bustling? Well, if you can call a market stall, a scabby dog and two old women talking "bustling", yes.
We must have appeared to them like creatures from another planet that had arrived in their quiet, traditional Spanish village to transport them back to the Planet Zog for further analysis and experimentation. Our brightly coloured clothing, phones and gadgets clashed with their drab headscarves. They smiled wryly and knowingly, as we headed off up the main street vigorously clicking our watches to record every footfall. Probably wondering where in "dios" name are we going?
The village of Alcazar
Rather ominously, the path we started out on led to the cemetery and almost disappeared. The path that is, not the cemetery. The sun was out and on looking back, the village looked pretty in the sunlight backed by the snow clad mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
A faint track led steeply upwards. And upwards. And upwards. As we entered the tree line the lukewarm winter sun was replaced by a bitter winter's cold. Out came the gloves and down jackets. The track continued upwards. And upwards. And upwards. We burst out onto a sunlit platform. Off came the gloves and down jackets.
To reach a forest trail we had to enter the forest again. Out came the gloves and down jackets. The forest trail led to a dirt road that curved around the mountain side. Great views all around but off came the gloves and down jackets. We arrived at a small pass and a flat grassy plain so, after donning our gloves and down jackets we sat down to eat our sandwiches. The sun came out from behind clouds. Yeh! Warm sun. This meant we had to remove our gloves and down jackets.
As we left our delectable lunch spot the clouds came over and, yes you've guessed it, out came the gloves and down jackets. We started our descent to the valley that would lead to Torvizcon. I have done this descent many times, normally accompanied by bright white and pink almond blossom. Today was different in that it was far too early in winters progression for such beauty. Instead the hillsides were rather drab in comparison.
As we descended the air warmed and we took off our gloves and down jackets, for the last time today, we hoped. It was a long walk out but easy and fast going down the dry "rambla" leading to the town of Torvizcon. Storm clouds started building ahead in the Sierra Nevada as we headed into town to find a lovely open bar.
My mind had been dreaming up images of a nice roaring fire and a warm beer akin to a winter return to the legendary Clachaig Inn in Glencoe. What we got was ice cold beer and a cold, stark Spanish bar.
We reached for our gloves and down jackets!
Was out yesterday with my 50mm prime lens. Sometimes called a "Nifty Fifty", this lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm, so you cannot zoom in nor out. These type of lenses are generally not only cheaper than zoom lenses, they are lighter and of good quality too. I guess due the simpler nature of their construction.
Certainly not as convenient as a zoom lens though, so I found myself having regularly to move around to find a suitable vantage point to frame a shot. To be honest, it was enjoyable and made me think more about the image I was trying to convey, rather than just zoom in/out to frame the shot.
Many "proper" photographers prefer to carry a variety of prime lenses so they can swap around at will. Not me, age is against me and travelling lightweight has become the norm. I think for now I will stick with my "Nifty Fifty" and have some fun.
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