As I find myself on the south-east coast of Spain right now, enjoying a few quiet off days on the beaches of Playa de Oliva, I made use of the time in the evening, grateful for the fact the sun wouldn’t burn as hot as it does during the day, when it literally fries my skin that’s so unused to any sort of prolonged form of these warm rays, given the summer months have been washed away by persistent rain back home in Ireland.
So I took the short hike up to the ruins of Castell de Santa Anna, which is overlooking the small town of Oliva in the Valencian Community and the adjacent Mediterranean Sea.
Rewarded with a 360 degree view from up there, it certainly was well worth the effort; tranquility in its purest form watching on as the horizon changes colours to dark yellows, luminous orange- and red tones – but nobody is here, except myself, of course!
Having been to similar scenic viewing points in other places, like San Francisco or Lisbon that come to mind immediately, this one isn’t less spectacular, yet the area of Oliva, despite posing kilometers of the finest sand beaches isn’t particularly popular with tourists.
How wonderful, I think! There are still a few places not overun with tourists. Granted, I am one as well, of course….
One of the most “Instagrammed” places of recent times; and I have got that bucketlist item ticked off the list as well!
Ever since having seen photos of the Horseshoe Bend for the first time I wanted to experience this unique landscape with my own eyes – and get one of those “unique” panoramic shots.
Interestingly, it’s only a relatively new phenomenon that the Horseshoe Bend is so popular, which has seen annual visitor numbers rising up to 1.3 million! Hordes of people armed with selfie stick and mobile phone is a common sight these days; locals tell the story of a a place kept a hidden treasure for most of its existence.
Just a few miles outside of Page, Arizona, a short trail winds its way up to the spectacular edges of the Canyon walls – it’s easy to see why this has become such a popular attraction. Ultimately, this is the reason why I found my way there too!
Thankfully it’s off-season. Yes, this was certainly the most crowded place I’ve been to during my trip through Arizona. But I expected worse. And experienced much, much worse in other parts of the world.
Despite sunset time, the most popular time of the day for the Horseshoe Bend, there was ample opportunity to wander left or right and leave the crowds behind to find a place for oneself, to take in the breathtaking scenery and enjoy the sun slowly fading away.
Nonetheless, the crowds become an issue. At other times, there’s no serenity here, and in order to accommodate the masses changes are coming to the Horseshoe bend: “proper infrastructure” is currently under construction: meaning a new trail, railings as well as the rumours have it, a $25 entrance fee.
That’ll alter the uniqueness of the experience dramatically, of course. What choice have authorities, though? They’ve got to ensure safety and currently, that has to be said, it’s rather dangerous, given there are no barriers, and beyond the edges it goes 300 metres straight down!
For the photo I had in mind, a straightforward panorama, I brought the Sigma 8-16mm. Finding a place for myself wasn’t an issue…. but one that provided the perspective I had in mind, while having a panoramic images with no people tangling their legs over the edges was the difficulty.
I decided to wander to the left and “hid” behind a tall stone wall, that helped to frame the picture but also hid the people I didn’t want to have in the shot. Eight vertical frames were stitched together in post in Lightroom eventually.
A sunset in the Wicklow Mountains shines the most delightful light on this magnificent landscape. Regardless how often I’ve been here, it never stops to take my breath away. Having this half an hour off my home is a privilege.