Welcome to this weeks blog post lovely people and welcome to all my new subscribers!
Happy Saturday! Hope you're having a great weekend. This week I've been back home in Spain exploring northern Galicia's beautiful beaches and coastlines. This weeks blog post I travel to Playa de As Catedrais (Gallego) Playa de Las Catedrales (Castellano) 'Beach of the Cathedrals'. Although its true name is Holy Waters Beach, Augasantas. Located in the Ribadeo municipality provence of Lugo, Playa de As Catedrais resides on the Cantabric coast about ten kilometres to the west from the town of Ribadeo. Its name is derived from the formations of its cliffs.
I've been living in A Coruña, Northern Spain for just over a year now and I haven't actually explored this beautiful part of Europe that much with my camera as of yet. So this week I headed for a drive about an hour and a half east to what has been named the 15th best beach in the world in last years TripAdvisor's Travellers’s Choice Awards, Playa de As Catedrais. A maximum of 4,812 people a day our allowed to visit the beach over the summer months and to be one those people you have to book your visit online, which you can do here. Also this can be a dangerous beach to visit if you don't check the tide table, the Atlantic sea that hugs northern Spain is very unpredictable and at this location you can't walk the beach at high tide. So to make the most of your visit make sure you go at low tide and you'll get a good two to three hours to explore it's arches and caves before the tide swallows the beach.
Luckily the day I visited the tide was going to be low enough to shoot on the beach just before sunset. There's also a high vantage point above the arches which you can shoot down onto the beach which I knew I wanted to shoot as the sun set, by this time the tide would be coming back in. I had clear sky's to the west and a nice mixture of high and low clouds, so the conditions where looking pretty good to capture a variety of shots.
First shot you can see above is the 'obvious' and most famous composition to shoot at this location. This series of arched rock formations have been formed over thousands and thousands of years. The erosion by wind and the Atlantic sea have sculpted arches over thirty meters high which go from small cracks on the rock to big caves whose roofs collapse. At low tide this spot get VERY busy as you can imagine, but a bit of patience and some polite gestures to others to move once they've got their perfect selfie you'll get your shot.
I arrived with about an hour and a half before sunset and having never been to this location before I started looking for other compositions in a bit of a panic. Very quickly I realised that this beach would probably be best to shoot at sunrise as every composition I liked was shooting into the sun setting in the west. Still I really like how this shot came out. I did have to shoot two exposures and blend them together to get the dynamic range I wanted which I don't like to do if I can help it, but I think I've managed the blend well enough for it not to look like horrible HDR. What do you think? Also about 5 minutes after I took this image I was knee deep in the sea as the tide decided to come in prematurely.
I learnt a little trick from Thomas Heaton's Youtube channel about shooting on sand and this advice saved my ass when shooting this location. ALWAYS bring 3 x CD's with you when shooting at the beach. They're the perfect solution for sinking tripods, just place a CD under each leg and your tripod will stay above the sand, Cheers Tom!
Once the tide started getting a bit too close for comfort I fled the beach and headed for higher ground just in time for the sunset. This location has really good walking paths along the cliffs, so super easy access to the many view points all the way along the beach. I opted to shoot this rock formation I wasn't able to get to on the beach floor you can see below. The weather had shifted a little bit with a bank of low clouds forming along the horizon, but I still got quite a good bit of colour in the sky. It was a shame there wasn't a few more higher clouds to catch the last rays of colour but I couldn't complain, what a view!
I Decided to get out the BIG stopper for a long exposure for this composition. The tide had started to cover the beach eradicating the photographers nightmare of footsteps from the many visitors that day. I focused to infinity for this shot keeping the rocks in the foreground nice and sharp as well as the key feature, the rock formation crispy sharp too. I didn't get long up here before the colour in the sky disappeared but I'm happy with the results of only a few shots.
This place is pretty spectacular as I think you'll agree and definitely will go back very soon for round two. Maybe next time I'll leave a bit more time to recce and shoot as I felt very rushed on my first visit. Maybe camp out over night and try out sun rise too? I think having the light coming from the East would suit this location well.
I'm hoping over the next few months as it's finally my favourite time of the year, Autumn to start getting out more and explore Galicia, so keep your eyes pealed for more posts in the coming weeks!
Well thats your lot for this blog post, hope you enjoyed my visit to Playa de As Catedrais, I'd urge any landscape photographer reading this to plan a visit and I'd be happy to help out too! If you would like to follow my travels please SUBSCRIBE to my blog to receive weekly posts (something to read on the tube) comment and share would also be much appreciated.