Events

Photographing the Wine Battle, Haro, La Rioja, Spain

Monday July 7th, 2014 11:50 AM

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

There’s a phrase in Spanish that I use when describing my style of portrait photography. I say I like photographing people “en su salsa”. It literally means “in their sauce” but figuratively implies that I snap away while they’re doing the things they love, be it cooking, skiing, bike riding or whatever.

The words take on a more literal meaning in these photos of last week’s Wine Battle in Haro, La Rioja, the town’s famous St Peter’s Day festival which is increasingly drawing an international crowd.

Soon after dawn thousands of people hike up Riscos de Bilibio, a hill just outside the northern Spanish town in the heart of the Rioja wine region. The path narrows as you reach the top and is lined by rows of people who throw wine over you. The exact origins of this custom are somewhat fuzzy but it’s nevertheless appropriate that the town that calls itself the Capital of Rioja should have a sensational wine festival.

Professional photographers will often tell you that if you want to feel the image you need to get close to the action and shoot with a wide angle lens. On this occasion that meant getting my oldest camera, wrapping it in plastic bags, crossing my fingers and getting stuck in…

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wine Fight / Batalla del Vino, Haro, La Rioja, Spain. Photo by James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Low light photography in La Rioja

Thursday October 11th, 2012 02:53 PM

Cata en Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

“How are you managing to take photos in this light without flash?” This is a question which, as the days get shorter, I hear more and more often.

Well I’ve got two tactics. The first, which works well with reportage photography, is to spend the first couple of minutes after entering a room looking at the light sources. I normally take a quick snap too as the camera picks up light which I haven’t spotted. Once I know where the light is, it’s a question of waiting for something to happen there. Normally, this means waiting for the subject to move into the light so it falls on his or her face, like in the bottom two pictures. But it could mean shooting into the light, like with the picture above of Angelines Gonzáles Hernández, of Della Serra ice cream parlour.

My second tactic, which works with portrait photography, is to drag the person or people to wherever there’s nice light. That’s what I did with the picture below of Agustín Santolaya, of Bodegas Roda, signing a chair after giving a presentation in Francis Paniego’s Tondeluna restaurant earlier this week. It’s the same idea in the next picture of María José López de Heredia, of Bodegas López de Heredia and friends at a recent wedding in Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja. So long as I’m courteous and not asking them to move a mile, I find people are willing to go along with my rather unorthodox approach.

Agustín Santolaya en Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto© James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda en Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain. Foto © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Ponencia en Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto© James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Cata en Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto© James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Cata en Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto© James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda en Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain. Foto © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda en Hotel Echaurren, Ezcaray, La Rioja, Spain. Foto © James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

The first Somos Capital season of Restaurante Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja.

Friday June 29th, 2012 09:15 AM

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Arzak, Pedro Subijana, Andoni Luís Aduriz, are just three of the dozen or so highly-regarded chefs who’ve given talks in Francis Paniego’s new restaurant, Tondeluna, in Logroño, over the past few months. I’ve been to eight of the talks and have been trying to choose by 10 favourite photos. I’ve got it down to my favourite 16, so far.

By the way, the Somos Capital series of talks continues in September. I understand some world-famous chefs will be among those taking part. Watch this space!

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja, España. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografiía | www.sturcke.org

Portraits: Mugaritz chef Andoni Luis Aduriz at Tondeluna, Logroño, La Rioja

Friday March 23rd, 2012 02:12 PM

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luís Aduriz, widely regarded as among the world’s best chefs, was the latest speaker to take part in the Somos Capital series of talks organised by Francis Paniego & Luisa Barrachina at Tondeluna.

The Mugaritz chef is an inspiring man, not only for his culinary creations – the carpaccio de watermelon was nothing short of sensational – but also his approach to life. Humble, grounded, enjoying life’s simple pleasures and devoted to experimentation. These are the hallmarks of the chef from Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country.

I’ve put some more pictures in the following gallery.

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz y Francis Paniego. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Luisa Barrachina. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

Andoni Luis Aduriz de Mugaritz. Foto: James Sturcke

La Rioja’s chefs at Delicatto restaurant, Logroño, La Rioja

Tuesday March 13th, 2012 11:13 AM

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

There’s a well used and rarely wrong saying in English that too many chefs spoil the cooking. So you might think that getting cooks from eight of La Rioja’s choicest restaurants to work in the same kitchen is a recipe for disaster, even if it is for a charity dinner.

I spent a decent chunk of Friday night in the kitchen of Delicatto Restaurant in Logroño waiting to see if sparks would fly. The chefs, from Chef Nino, La Vieja Bodega, El Rincón del Vino, La Galería, Marisol ArriagaEl Arriero, Café RiojaEl Portalón, prepared a series of tapas and dishes for over 160 diners. There was no shortage of action in the kitchen but, thankfully, all the energy was positive.

The evening, organised by the Riojan restaurant association Ricamesa, raised €6,000 for Caritas, which fights poverty and exclusion. I’ve put a gallery of photos from the evening here.

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Delicatto, Logroño

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja

Restaurante Delicatto, Logroño, La Rioja