Castilla y Leon

Portraits: On the Camino de Santiago between Nájera, La Rioja, & Burgos, Castilla y León

Tuesday September 30th, 2014 10:30 AM

Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

You have to admire the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain! By the time they reach Nájera in La Rioja, they’ve already plodded 200km through the heat and are tired and suffering from blisters and still got more than 500km to go. Yet, despite the discomfort they’re an optimistic bunch and not prepared to let a bit of pain stop them.

Perhaps it’s the beauty of the Rioja and Burgos landscape that keeps them going? Around Nájera and Santo Domingo the route passes through vineyards which produce Rioja’s famous wines with the hills of Sierra de la Demanda accompanying the hikers to the south. In Burgos, it’s more a mixture of forests, cereal fields and pretty villages, such as Agés.

If anyone fancies being photographed along the way I’m happy to accompany you for a few hours, recording the blood, sweat and tears. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgCamino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Nájera, Santo Domingo, La Rioja. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Camino de Santiago, Agés, Burgos, Castilla y León. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Portraits: Looney Blues Band, Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y León

Wednesday July 30th, 2014 09:00 AM

Retrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

I pinched the idea for this photo from Fiona Adams who took a distinctive photo of the Beatles jumping from a wall on Euston Road, London, in 1963. I’d been leafing through a book of 1960s pop and rock star portraits in the days leading up to this shoot of the Looney Blues Band in the countryside near Fresneda, Burgos Province, Castilla y León.

A simple technique to make photos more interesting is to shoot from a different angle. The trick is not to make the photo look too contrived and this is where the wall comes in. It acts as a simple and natural prop to elevate the band.

This was a shoot for the band’s new poster campaign so I was looking for simple backgrounds upon which text could be superimposed on top without spoiling the elegance of the image. In the above photo there’s enough sky space for the band to put their name and the details of their next concert. There were many vertical shots in this session for the same reason.

Being the romantic that I am I wanted to have the band playing during the sunset. The only problem was that the sun had already set! So I set up two flashes covered with orange gels and positioned them on stands at about the place the sun had been in the sky. Sometimes you have to be a pragmatic romantic!

1407Retrato_Portrait_Band_Burgos_0009Retrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgRetrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgRetrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgRetrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgRetrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.orgRetrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Retrato / portrait Fresneda, Burgos, Castilla y Leon, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Portraits of Pablo Alvarez, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero

Friday May 11th, 2012 06:28 PM

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

I’m thrilled that a series of my photos are published the May edition of Decanter, one of the best known and respected wine magazines in the world. I’m even more thrilled that I took the photos in Bodegas Vega Sicilia, one of Spain’s best known and respected wineries.

The Vega Sicilia winery, in Valbuena de Duero, oozes character and history – a bit like its highly-valued produce. There’s an old stone convent, a number of more recent, but still fairly old buildings and an ultra modern, recently opened, winery.

My brief was to capture some relatively casual photos of Pablo Álvarez, Vega Sicilia’s managing director – a job that’s made considerably easier when the background setting is so attractive. All I really had to do was ask Pablo if he minded taking off his tie!

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Valbuena de Duero, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wedding photographers descend on Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Tuesday January 17th, 2012 04:02 PM

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

How do you unlock your creative juices and improve your abilities to take emotionally moving and intimate photographs? This was at the heart of a course for wedding photographers that I attended last week in Astorga, Castilla y Leon.

Taller La Mirada was hosted by the Brazilian wedding photographer, Vinícius Matos, whose work has attracted worldwide admiration in recent years. Aside from being an excellent photographer, Vini argues that you improve through an honest self-assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Only by understanding what holds you back can you learn how to move forward, he reckons.

On the first day the 12 photographers were sent out blindfolded – so they’d use their other senses for a change. The next two days were devoted to documenting 12 local people as they went about their daily lives, including a policewoman, politician, artist and elderly lady in a retirement home.

My job, as photographer of the course, was to follow all 12 photographers as they went about their tasks. Apart from the photos here, you can see my three-minute show of the course on You Tube.

The photographers on the course were:

Paolo Bocchese,  Virginia Gimeno,   Rares Pulbere,

Susana Barberá, Sergi Escrivá,  Alfonso Azaustre,

Horacio Arriaza, Santiago Vega,  Albert Pamies,

Daniel Garcia Lopez, Nelson Philipe, Antonio Luna Castaño.

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Taller La Mirada, Astorga, Castilla y Leon

Exploring Oviedo y Burgos

Monday August 16th, 2010 01:37 PM

Oviedo

I’ve been exploring some of northern Spain over the summer – as least as much as one can with two young children in tow – including the majestic cities of Oviedo and Burgos. We skipped the showers in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, and strolled along some of the beautiful streets and past old stone palaces and squares, doing our best to avoid the call of too many sidrerías (cider bars).

In Castilla y León, Burgos’s 13th century cathedral, with its sculpture masterpieces and elaborate retablos is as impressive as any of Europe’s famous cathedrals including St Paul’s in London and St Peter’s in Rome. But unlike the British or Italian capitals, when you leave both Burgos and Oviedo cathedrals you’re greeted by elegant, compact and relaxed cities. It’s a gentle return to the 21st century. Some of the statues still showed traces of Spain’s recent World Cup glory.

Of course the kids were happiest when our adventures ended on one of the magnificent sandy beaches along the Asturian coast – as often as not back-dropped by the peaks of the Cantabrian mountains and Picos de Europa. The sea temperature was perfect for swimming and the waves just right for a spot of body surfing.

All these photos were taken with my newish Canon G11 camera, which is proving to be a small but capable piece of kit to have in the proverbial back pocket.

Oviedo

Niembru de Llanes

Barro de Llanes

Castilla y Leon

Castilla y Leon

Castilla y Leon