Periodismo

Wedding at La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja

Friday April 20th, 2012 03:28 PM

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

I shot my first wedding of the year last weekend when Argiñe and Pedro celebrated their marriage in La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. The photos are a bit different than normal as they were commissioned by the restaurant owner, Ángel, for his new website.

Accordingly I spent more time than normal taking photos of the reception rooms before the couple and guests arrived. I also lingered more than usual in the kitchen which had the unexpected but highly welcome advantage in that they fed me!

My thanks to Argiñe and Pedro for “dancing” with me in the five-minute shoot we had together – you can see from the resulting photos what a relaxed, fun couple they are.

Apart from the photos for the website, I’ll also give Ángel an album and a short video slideshow to show to future wedding clients.

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Boda en La Vieja Bodega, Casalarreina, La Rioja. Foto: James Sturcke Fotografia | www.sturcke.org

Photographing the sport of pelota, Ezcaray, La Rioja

Tuesday March 22nd, 2011 04:23 PM

Pelota Ezcaray La Rioja

For some time now I’ve been meaning to find out about pelota, a sport which essentially combines squash and fives and is to all extent and purposes the national game of La Rioja, Navarra and the Basque Country. Driving round northern Spain I’ve regularly been taken aback by these enormous courts, which dominate small villages and dwarf the local church.

So I was delighted when the Diario La Rioja asked me to photograph an important game in Ezcaray last Friday. The doubles game, a semi-final in the professional league, was noteworthy as three of the four players come from Ezcaray itself.

Due to it being live on TV, it didn’t start until 10.15pm. My deadline for the paper was 11.30pm meaning I had just over an hour to take the photos, sort them, process them and email them in. It was like working the night shift at the Guardian once again where time seems to speed up as deadline approaches. Do the basics well and remember to keep breathing. That was what used to get me through.

So, needless to say, I didn’t have time to savour the game nor even work out the scoring. I had to leave before the end with the tension in the stadium rising and just when I was beginning to get into the groove. But I saw enough to get the bug and I’ll definitely be back.

Pelota Ezcaray La Rioja

Pelota Ezcaray La Rioja

Pelota Ezcaray La Rioja

Pelota Ezcaray La Rioja

The latest wines from family vineyards, Logroño, La Rioja

Saturday March 5th, 2011 06:23 PM

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

Logroño’s meat and veg market, el Mercado de Abastos, was full to the rafters on Thursday night but, generally speaking, it wasn’t the usual fare on people’s shopping list. Though a few customers were doing the daily shop, most had come to sample new wines from last year’s harvest which are just going on sale.

More than 20 family wineries from La Rioja were taking part in the XIV Cata Presentación, organised by Bodegas Familiares de Rioja, on the building’s top floor. Once you’d forgotten the background smell of raw meat, sampling the delights from table to table was a wonderful experience.

I was taken aback by the sheer number of young people there. One did admit that the offer of as much wine as you could drink after paying the €5 entrance fee was a key attraction. Others brought along bread and chorizo in plastic bags and dined out as well.

In a country where wineries are in constant battle with the breweries, some bodegas are targeting younger drinkers as a potential growth area and pushing their younger and less-expensive wines accordingly. They’d have been happy with last night’s crowd.

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

vinos de la rioja logroño spain

Independent shops in Barcelona, Catalonia

Friday January 7th, 2011 10:06 PM

tiendas de barcelona

One of the things that has always fascinated me about Spain in general but Barcelona in particular is the large number of independent shops that seem to thrive despite competition from large chain stores or out-of-town malls.

Barcelona’s Barrio Gótico  – or old centre – is full of such shops which, at the extreme, may specialise in only one product. Arlequí Màscares, in Plaza St Josep Oriol, sells only masques, many made in-house. Not far away, the hat shop Obach, was attracting a constant stream of customers through its doors when I passed by as was Subur, a shoe shop that sells only one style of shoe, albeit in a variety of colours.

In Calle de Pi is Drap, which sells dolls houses and miniature furniture and figures destined to live in them. And if you get peckish after all the walking required between shops, a few doors up is Pineda, a café which specialises cured meats.

All this is not to say that Barcelona is bereft of department stores and high-street names – in fact they were packed with people on the first day of the sales when I took these pictures – but the fact that the city is able to accommodate both is surely one of the factors Barcelona’s continued success.

tiendas de barcelona

tiendas de barcelona

tiendas de barcelona

tiendas de barcelona

tiendas de barcelona

tiendas de barcelona

San Mateo fiestas, Logroño, La Rioja

Friday September 24th, 2010 04:37 PM

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

One of the great attractions of San Mateo – the week-long festival taking place in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, these days – are the weird and wonderful events put on by local clubs.

No one in the tourist information office could tell me what Tirada a la Rana (literally: Throw at the frog) consisted of. It was, it turned out when I found my way to a nearby street, a variation on a well-loved and global fairground activity testing people’s chucking prowess. In this case the local club, Peña La Unión, was challenging people to lob small disks into the mouth of a metal frog. Each competitor had 10 throws. Few managed to score a direct hit.

In Logroño’s old quarter, many stands had a gastronomic delicacy at heart. A club with connections to neighbouring Navarra were offering chistorra (a type of sausage) hot dogs and a glass of wine. Not far away Peña Rondalosa was busy barbecuing hundreds of sardines served on bread with a glass of wine. And beside the cathedral was the Federation of Peñas offering stuffed red peppers… with a small bottle of wine. Notice the trend here?

Aside from these stalls a staple of many La Rioja festivals, giants and “cabezudos” (big heads) were winding and twirling their way through the city’s streets. The giants are big but relatively harmless. The cabezudos, however, have a not entirely agreeable habit of sneeking up on the unsuspecting and giving them a whack with a large club. No one, young or old, appears to be immune from their attentions. In their wake many parents are left comforting petrified small children. But all in the best possible taste, of course.

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España

San Mateo, Logroño, La Rioja, España