Reportage: Spring photos on La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain

Wednesday April 8th, 2015 11:55 AM

Concha_Beach_San_Sebastian_James_Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Street photography is an important way for me to keep my eye in as we head into the wedding season and San Sebastian is a brilliant place to do it. Thought it wasn’t exactly beach weather, there’re always activities going on at La Concha beach… dog walking, surfing and come intrepid bathing.

Broadly speaking my street photography, like my wedding photography, is divided into three types: Pictures where the people never see me, pictures where I ask permission before taking someone’s photo and those where I don’t ask beforehand. The latter group usually produces my favourite photos; images which are thrilling, candid, natural and spontaneous; images where the viewer really feels he was there.

Like in my wedding photography, the trick is to get among the action without influencing it or bothering anyone. I’m armed with a smile and am prepared to stop if they’s any hint of the person not being comfortable with my presence. For the girls in the photo above I wanted to be close enough to show just how cold the water was through their expressions. I also wanted to shoot wide enough to be able to show part of the old town and the famous Monte Urgull in the background.

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Food photography: Francis Paniego’s latest dishes, El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja

Tuesday March 24th, 2015 11:21 AM

Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

There are 15 new dishes this year at Ezcaray’s two-Michelin star restaurant El Portal del Echaurren, and I’ve had the pleasure to photograph and then sample them! Chef Francis Paniego has continued with his theme of using out-of-fashion animal cuts in surprising and original ways. For example, the “razor clams” are actually pigs’ tendons.

Francis says he has brightened up some of the offal dishes and it’s true that the lamb sweetbreads and the bloody risotto are a visual delight! A recent trip to Mexico made him think about how to incorporate paprika, which is used lots in Riojan cooking, with chocolate and the result brings joy to any photographer’s eyes!

The great thing about photographing at the Portal is that there is abundant natural light so you really see the dishes as they are. This time, apart from our classic shots, we also shot lots of the dishes from above, in part to add variation to the portfolio and also to show them really well on the plate.

Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Food photography in northern Spain: El Portal del Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja | Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Commercial photography: Portraits of interior designer Alvaro Sordo in Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, Spain

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015 07:00 AM

Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country

The photographic brief for this commercial job immediately had me hooked! Alvaro Sordo is a top interior designer based in Galdakao, Bizkaia, Basque Country, just outside Bilbao. However, instead of asking me to produce images of commercial interiors and family homes he’s worked on, he wanted portraits that showed his professional approach with his clients. Portraits that transmit his philosophy of close working relationships, collaboration, communication, his personal integrity and sensitivity. Like me Alvaro knows that an excellent client relationship leads to fantastic results.

So we met up with Alvaro Garrido, the Michelin star chef of Bilbao’s Restaurante Mina and his wife Lara. I wanted an image that was dominated by bonhomie and that showed something of the beautiful interior of the restaurant Alvaro had created. In truth, my job wasn’t that complicated: I set up a remote flash, blended it into the the ambient light and let them get on with it…

Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country Commercial and editorial professional photographer in Restaurante Mina, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Basque Country

Destination wedding: Vero & Carlos, Tondonia Winery, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Thursday January 29th, 2015 11:00 AM

Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Tondonia, in Haro, La Rioja, produces some of Spain’s most special wines. Last year, when Falstaff magazine sent me to photograph Restaurante Can Roca, Tondonia was among the wines they served at lunch afterwards.

Family-run for generations, the beautiful winery breathes history: the century old black and white pictures on the walls; the massive wooden wine vats, the mould growing on the underground tunnels’ walls, the uniquely beautiful glass walled gallery overlooking the courtyard.…

It was Vero’s dream to marry here ever since she visited Haro. When a couple marry a long way from home – they live in Barcelona – it’s really important for the photographer to show the destination. So apart from the obvious shots in front of a big Tondonia sign, I’m always keeping an eye out for details: a barrel in the background or anything else that provides narrative.

This was a small wedding for family and friends with the team from La Vieja Bodega, in nearby Casalarreina, providing an excellent lunch. Simple, informal and happy in a beautiful winery – a fantastic day.

Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org 1Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Destination wedding in Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

 

Commercial photography: A special place to stay, Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain

Wednesday January 14th, 2015 04:48 PM

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The Echaurren gastronomic hotel in Ezcaray, La Rioja, has been in the same family for five generations, gradually building up a reputation as a very special place to eat and stay in northern Spain. But that doesn’t mean it rests on its laurels.

In the four years I’ve been living in Ezcaray, its Portal restaurant has gained first one and then a second Michelin star.

Despite the tricky economic times in Spain, the Echaurren has also been investing in a programme of renovating its bedrooms, and recently joined the Relais & Chateaux association of luxury hotels. Quite simple the family wants their guests to have the time of their lives when they visit.

Ferran Fisas’ photographic brief for the new website was simple: Show the enjoyment and happiness of staying at the hotel; that it’s a special place where people of all ages can relax in style. In essence produce images that show a gastronomic hotel that gets the balance just right between quality, fun, tradition and modernity.

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Echaurren Hotel, La Rioja, Spain. Photo © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org