Blossom Two


Offered Bouquet. A cluster of pink almond blossoms hangs on the end of a long branch, Torvizcón, Andalucía, Spain.

The third photo day of our Andalucía trip was a repeat of the first day, at least in terms of basic itinerary: morning and afternoon visits to the almond orchards around Torvizcón. On this second attempt, however, the weather was somewhat changeable and overall I would assess the light as better. As to what constitutes “better”, the first day had flat light with a lot of bright overcast skies. Flat light has some advantages if you want to show details without harsh shadows, but it is more difficult to redeem a bright overcast sky unless you want to do the landscape equivalent of a portrait against a white backdrop. Fortunately there was at least some structure in the clouds that day, but even so I worked pretty hard to keep the sky out of my pictures—less than a quarter of my images had an appreciable amount of sky in the frame.

This second day of forays into the almost orchards, however, was blessed with much more variety: blue skies with white clouds, ominous-looking dark clouds, etc. (Being the second day, of course, I was also more experienced with this particular landscape.) For the morning session, we had nice light raking down the hillsides that were lighting up the tree blossoms but not, for the most part, the ground below:

Raking the Blossoms. The low morning winter sun grazes the hillside almond orchards near Torvizcón, Andalucía, Spain.

I am pretty sure we drove past some areas that were better in this regard than where we eventually stopped, but whether to commit to what you see now versus press on in the hopes of something better is always a judgment call—and you can only be in one place at a time.

I had played with the fisheye some on the first day and really liked some of the compositions, but they all had the aforementioned bright overcast sky as the background. Here on day two, I was was able to have blue sky as the background, which worked really well with the bright pink blossoms. The picture at the top of the post is one example, and the fisheye also worked well for the blossom close-up below:

Blossom in the Sun. The bright pink petals of an almond blossom open to the midday sun near Torvizcón, Andalucía, Spain.

After lunch, when we were driving up for the afternoon session, there was an amazing rainbow. It actually persisted for many minutes, but of course we didn’t know in advance that it would, so there was complete photographers’ panic as we frantically tried to bail out of the car, scramble to a favorable location, find a composition, and get set up. This was the best I was able to do before the rainbow started to fade:

Promise of Spring. A rainbow curves above the valley beyond a blossoming almond orchard near Torvizcón, Andalucía, Spain.

A short while later we got rained on pretty good, but the clouds were dramatic and we enjoyed having fairly dynamic weather for the entire afternoon.

Embracing the Storm. Storm clouds roll in above the almond orchards near Torvizcón, Andalucía, Spain.

At the end of this third day of photography, I had still not used either of my tilt-shift lenses, which was a little surprising. (Although since tripods and large backpacks were not allowed in the Alhambra, I didn’t bother trying to bring them, which was a shame.) I think I could have put the 19mm tilt-shift to good use in the almond orchards had I tried it, but regardless, the fisheye was gold.

Technical notes. The photographs in this post were taken with a Nikon Z7. The first and third pictures used an AF-S Fisheye Nikkor 8-15mm f/3.5-4.5E ED and the others used a Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S. All five photographs were processed from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

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