País Vasco

Wedding: Raquel & Javier, Marqués de Riscal, Elciego

Thursday June 7th, 2012 03:26 PM

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego, Euskadi, is a lovely place to photograph a wedding, what with the stunning architecture and beautiful location to name but two of its delights. Every time I go, part of the fun is to find new angles and approaches. It’s the sort of place that never ceases to stimulate.

That said, when I looked back over the photos of Raquel & Javier’s wedding, there was one photo that really thrilled me; and it didn’t have any of the Riscal architecture in it. Or even the wedding couple.

It was the one above of a little boy sitting on the carpet playing with his toy (or more likely his father’s or mother’s) while the adults celebrated all around. At any wedding there are multiple stories taking place at any given time and I’m always on the look out for them. This is not the sort of photo that will be at the front of the album but it adds intrigue, detail and depth to my coverage.

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The couple’s feedback:

Hi James,

We’ve received the book of photos and we love it.

Thanks for everything,

Raquel & Javier

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Boda Marques de Riscal, Elciego. Foto: James Sturcke | www.sturcke.org

Wedding: Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Basque Country

Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 05:01 PM

Boda Marques de Riscal

I’m often asked to recommend cameras and whether one model is better than another because it has a bigger zoom lens. And I reply that, generally speaking, the best way to zoom into a scene is by using your legs. It’s also the cheapest option.

Take the image above and first two below at the recent wedding of Hanna and Bosco at Hotel Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Basque Country. They’re all taken with the lens set around 30mm. The first shows the overall setting and the amazing architecture of Frank Gehry’s building. The second is of those present and the third as Bosco comes over to thank his brother after a moving speech.

I could have stayed where I was and used a telephoto lens for the second and third shots but I doubt I’d have obtained an image that conveys the emotion of the moment while keeping the context and even a bit of the dusk sky. And that is so key to my style of photography.

I do carry a telephoto lens with me at weddings which is used mostly for the portraits of the couple. When I get back home, I typically find I’ve taken around 50 images with the telephoto and 950 with the wider angle lens set at 30-50mm. In this gallery of 33 images, only one is taken with the telephoto. Can you see which it is? And why?

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Hanna’s feedback:

Hi James,

The albums are here and they’re great. A thousand thanks for everything; your professionalism and understanding. We’d recommend you to anyone getting married in Alava.

A big hug,

Hanna.

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Boda Marques de Riscal

Wedding: Marqués de Riscal Winery, Elciego, Rioja Alava.

Sunday July 3rd, 2011 04:26 PM

Bodega Marques de Riscal

It was a first twice over. My first wedding of the summer and also my first time shooting a wedding at the incredible setting of Marqués de Riscal Winery in Elciego, Rioja Alava. So it was doubly thrilling and also a bit nervy. Would I still have the knack? And how the hell do you do Frank Gehry’s building – one of the most famous and most photographed in northern Spain – justice?

As for the first question, I knew if I covered the photographic basics well – light, composition and story-telling – I’d be alright. For the second one, I wanted to be really familiar with how the building would look at different times of the day, so I visited it a couple of days beforehand to scout out good positions and then, on the day of the wedding itself, arrived a good few hours beforehand. In the end, it’s a thrilling and inspiring setting so I aimed to be both. And then let the photos do the talking.

My job was greatly helped by two things. First the exceptionally welcoming Lara Gonzalo, the event co-ordinator at Marques de Riscal. And secondly, Ainhoa and Mark, the bride and groom, who both shone with happiness the whole day, as did their family and guests, and gave me free rein to get on with the pictures. Speaking of which, Ainhoa emailed me today saying: “We both think that they are great pictures – we are thrilled.”

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

Bodega Marques de Riscal

La Concha beach, San Sebastián / Donostia, País Vasco

Friday April 1st, 2011 09:01 AM

Foto de Donostia

I was last in San Sebastián seven years ago and, being the height of summer, the beach was choc-a-bloc. Standing room only, almost. I was back again last week putting together a piece and set of photos for Get Lost, an Australian travel magazine.

Despite the temperatures being no higher than mid-teens there was no lack of activity along the city’s famous beach, La Concha. In the port, fishermen fixing their nets and retired fishermen, like Miguel and Inocencio, both in their 80s, who were drawn down to the water’s edge in much the same way as they had been most days over the past seven decades.

Along came Felix, back from a canoe trip. The first thing he did after disembarking was jump in the water. “It’s phenomenal,” he said, “but chilly”. Felix was fully wet-suited up but back on the beach I found Ovidio, marching out of the surf. He was just in his bathers. He told me that he swam every day, despite the sea temperature being around 10C.

I’ve just read the late Roger Deakin’s, Waterlog. It’s a wonderful story of eccentric swimming around Britain’s seas, lakes and bogs. Deakin believed the cold water swimming had both mental and physiological health benefits.

So I thought I’d have a go. Due to the shallow slope of the beach, by the time I was knee deep I’d already lost the feeling in my feet. I dived in and came up arms flailing before settling down in some sort of stroke for 10 minutes. I felt the cramp in my foot just as I was wading back up the beach. But, oh, what a sensory experience. And with the added bonus of there being plenty of space on the sand to recover afterwards.

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Foto de Donostia

Photos of Vitoria, the capital of the Basque Country

Sunday December 19th, 2010 06:24 PM

capital de Euskadi

Just as many assume that New York City is capital of New York State by virtue of its size and fame, so many also think that Bilbao is capital of the Basque Country. Wrong both times. Albany, though tiny next to the city that never sleeps, is the NY state capital and Vitoria holds the same honour in the Basque Country.

While Bilbao draws in visitors by the bucket-load thanks to the success of the Guggenheim museum and the charms of its old quarter, Vitoria features on the itineraries of far fewer people. But, as I found out on a trip to the city last week, it is not short of its own attractions.

It’s old centre, or Casco Viejo, is full of beautiful buildings, many with enclosed balconies common in northern Spanish architecture. There’s no lack of interesting bars and boutique shops as you wander through the old streets on the hill overlooking the more modern neighbourhoods. The renovation of the 13th century cathedral – closed due to structural problems in 1994 – has been opened to the public. Don a hard hat and wander among the archaeologists and stonemasons as they put the place back in shape.

Despite the sub-zero conditions, an admiral number of folk were getting around by bike. It wasn’t, however, the best of days for Venta de Hielo, sales of ice.

capital de Euskadi

capital de Euskadi

capital de Euskadi