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© 2017 John Kiely        john@purlieu.photography             Phone +447736849388


November 18, 2018

Camping Parque Tropical in Estepona was our next stop.  As the name suggested the site was full of unusual plants, which of course were not at their best this time of year.  It is obviously a site that people take pride in.  The surrounding area seemed to have been quite grand at one point, there is a huge rather shabby golfing hotel, but then became run down during the financial crisis.  It appears to be well on the way to recovery with plenty of quite up market building going on.  


 Recent storms have left sugar cane washed up on the shore.  The grey, overcast conditions seem a little at odds with palm trees.  I originally edited this on in black and white, but it lacked life. The lighter greens at ground level work better in this version as they add a touch of depth in an overall quite flat image.


Access to the beach was, should we say interesting?  Because of the heavy rain we advised not to use the tunnel under the road, but to walk around the slip road from the dual carriageway, no footpath of course.  From there access was through the grounds of a rather expensive looking apartment complex.  For the return journey we decided to try the tunnel as the water level had dropped.  It was in fact a storm drain running underneath the road.  It was, however, preferable to the slip road. The beach itself was the typical dark grey grit rather than sand, but a nice beach none the less.  There was very little choice of trees to photograph, just a few palm trees, in the rather grey and cloudy conditions.  The campsite gave a better choice so I tended to concentrate on that.


The gazebo is bright red so in colour totally dominated this image.  I wanted the lighter tree trunk to stand out more so had no option but to work in black and white.  


My friends Kevin and Talia, both photographers, live nearby so both days that we were there they came and collected us.  It was good to catch up as I haven’t seen either of them for a few years.  Kevin showed us there area that they lived in, on the border of Estepona and Marbella.  It is quite remarkable that you can be on an urban motorway, then less than five minutes later be in the hills in a ‘Natural Park’.  It is an area of contrasts and surprises, I can se why Kevin and Talia have always said that I need to visit.  The second evening Kevin took their son to a fun fair while Talia took us to the seafront.  Like most Spanish beaches everything is very well managed and immaculately tidy.  There have been attempts to improve the beach here by importing sand, but because this had been dredged from the sea bed it meant that the eucalyptus trees growing on the beach died.  Several of the remaining tree trunks have been carved into birds and animals, quite surreal, but it looked good.


 Im not sure what these trees are, but the scarring on the trunks looks man made, but is natural.  this image didn't work in colour as the emphasis seemed to move from the almost white trees to the green background, the trees lost any impact.


 New developments dominate the area around the campsite, a sign of financial stability I suppose.  This old gnarly trunk seemed an echo of the past in front of the new building and planned planting.


 Part of the organised planting around the apartments.  I was struck by the break in symmetry caused by the light stand, also the contrast in texture.  Just too much green for colour here.


 A rainy afternoon in a nature park.  The rain flattened grass seems to echo the flowing water while the lighter toned leaves punctuate the scene with their staccato sharpness.



 I can't decide which version of this image I prefer, both have their strengths.  The tones in the black and white fit with the earlier images from the campsite and the image is more neutral.  The colour consists of two elements, the warm tree and the cool green background.  This is a less tranquil image, despite the warm tones.  The tendrils on the tree seem to be emphasised by the mix of earth hues.




 These eucalyptus were killed off by the addition of softer imported sand.  The sand had been dredged from the sea bed and so had a higher salt content that the trees could handle.  Boughs removed, the trunks stand as raging sentinels on the beach, some gracefully raging while others have been carved into animals and birds.  the low early evening light adds a little warmth to the grey towers.



The last of the light at the end of the day.  The blue of the sky was too strong in colour so for the palm trees to dominate this had to be in black and white.

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