Nature beautiful and crewl (warning graphic)

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by tpe, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. tpe

    tpe TPF Noob!

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    Sorry this is a copy and paste from my local minolta forum (plugged at bottom as it is such a nice place), hope it is ok

    This is a little taste of what must be one of the most unspoilt areas in Europe is like. To me it is a new discovery, but to all those who know of it, wow what a great secret. to anone else, dont go there, it is much better it stays the way it is :).


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    sigma 15-30, no filters handheld

    The wild life around here seems exceptionally varied and ever present.


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    One of the locals from portbau having a butchers


    This is the most estern tip of spain, up by the french border, it is part of one of the many national parks, very windy and barron but very beautifull, when you get down inbetween the clifs you can find many undisturbed beaches that are sheltered and perfect for a little swim in calm lagoon type nooks and crannies that can be accessed with care.



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    sigma 15-30, no filters handheld



    And looking the other way that evening.

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    sigma 105 no filters handheld, DRO+ 1+1/3 stop under


    I slept under the stars here, the cliff is probably 200m streight down, the temperature at the top is great, at the bottom it is too hot to sleep and there are too many mosquitoes and horse flys, up top there was noone around except for birds bats and the guy below, but i didnt know about him untill the day after :)


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    sigma 105 no filters handheld f 16 ring flash



    Spanish tarantula
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    sigma 105 no filters handheld f 16 ring flash


    The chance to take this bit of the trip came around because the better half was tied up with friends and other matters in france so i had a week or so on my own and able to take any pictures i wanted.
    With only my camera, a small sleeping bag, some string and some tape, the idea was to sleep under the stars with nothing but my wits in the mountains of the pyrenees. You know do the macho man agains nature bit, like the wild, or bumming it, but not really doing anything dangerous or too much like hard work? It turned out that you really do need a tent or a mosquito net though (in that respect nature wone immediatly). I then took the train to a small border town called Portbau just over the Spanish French border.


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    And after a very short coffee and a couple of croissants what could be better than a quick dip
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    That night i got into the hills, perhaps not quite high enough though and found out that a tent is usefull but some kind of insect net is a must...

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    These guys were sooooo agressive....
    But so was I :) It was after trying to tie the sleeping bag up around my mouth to stop them biting me and still finding that now i was just eating them (smaller ones came out later in the evening but they didnt taste any better) that I had to make an emergancy trip to a camping store for an insect net (nature 1 tim 0).


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    I also found out that even though you might be lying on your back in the middle of nowhere sure that the only company is of the owls and the insects then think again, just when you are nodding off if it is 12pm on the summer solstice then expect fireworks, right there on top of the mountain as close to your ear as makes no difference, as they let off what is their equivilant to the 4th of July, what a shock that was.


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    This place was like a little oasis, full of bird song, if i ever grow up and get a summer house this is where I would want it to be, not a soul spoke english or french. I had the 300/4 with me and as you come in you notice that there are loads of unusual birds so the plan was to sit by the river after breakfast and get some shots. The saussage on toast was great, even if it looked like it had entire organs in cross section throughout and irrispective of whatever animal parts they were derrived from. Alas apparently after breakfast spanish birds take their siesta. Fortunatly on top of the hill where the shot from there were baggs of unusual insects and flowers to choose from.


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    So it was back to the trusty macro lens again :).

    This is a 6 spotted burnet moth that were all over the place

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    They look really like another bug that is more closely related to cicads or spittelbugs, I will try and edit it in when possible.



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    I think this is some kind of caddis fly? Any fly fishers out there that know?
    About 20 km down the hill, at the bottom of the clif in the rhs above there was quite a big river. At one of the turns the cliff had fallen in making a kind of beach that with a bit of a climb it was possible to walk over. There were dragonflies everywhere, and while trying to get a snap there was an odd squeeking noise. Normally if you go to a noise like that it stopps as soon as whatever is producing it notices you coming but this time it didn't. When I was about 3 foot away i could finally see what it was. This for me was a shot of a lifetime. I am not sure i will ever get the chance again. I am afraid it is not the clearest, there was lots of plants and grass in the way, and i was having to be very carefull not to scare the cause of all the noise and its captor away. Normally both parties are very shy and the snake would spit up its food and slither quickly away. I managed to get some of the larger bits of undergrowth out of the way but couldnt get any closer or clear more stuff out of the way without frightening the snake into regurgitating its food, and that would have been a waste of one perfectly good frog, so not worth it just to get a better picture.


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    You can make out the hand of the frog over the snakes neck and the head is cropped out to the bottom right, the poor thing is belly up in the shot. I guess this kind of shot may turn up all the time for dedicated wildlife photographers etc, but i count my self lucky just to see a snake, let alone get this close. It did not have the yellow bands of the british grass snake but it looks like a pretty close relative, probably natrix mura or similar? so probably totally harmless. not that it made the poor things humor any bettter for having been interupted during lunch :).

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    This one last pic is of a Collarado potato beetle, quite a pest.

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    More tomorrow hopefully.

    Thanks for looking

    tim

    Originally posted on http://www.dynaxdigital.com/index.php a sony and minolta user forum
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2008
  2. RandyB

    RandyB TPF Noob!

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    Great phots! Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Antarctican

    Antarctican TPF Noob!

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    Wonderful thread...so many varied images. My faves include the killer sunset pic, the shot of the town from above, the flower, and the potato beetle.

    I look forward to seeing the additional posts you mentioned
     
  4. The Empress

    The Empress TPF Noob!

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    Great shots!! They are all amazing in their own way, and nive variety of shots!! The evening shot is prolly my fave though, but all very beautiful!!!
     
  5. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What an excellent series Tim! It's wonderful to have those ~secret~ places. Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. danir

    danir No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Fantastic series Tim. My favorites include the sunset, the first mosquito, the snake, and the last beatle.

    Dani.
     
  7. mmcduffie1

    mmcduffie1 TPF Noob!

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    Nice shots. Although it seems you need a tan. :D
     
  8. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    2, 4, 9, 12, 13, and 17 are my favorites!!

    #11 has great potential!

    Good work!
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Wonderful photographs in a stunning and beautiful landscape!
    I look forward to seeing more :)
     
  10. tpe

    tpe TPF Noob!

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    Sorry it took so long to get back it has been difficult getting on line whilst travelling etc. These will be the last ones, hope they are ok as I did not save the best to last or anything like that.

    Thanks Randy.

    Thanks Empress, yes mine too, there were lots like that but all a bit similar i am afraid.

    Hey antarctican, it took a while, hope they are not a let down :). It was greatfun taking them

    Haha, fnnily enough i was thinking of you when there because of all your secret placed. I didnt manage to find an eyed lizard to stalk but unfortunatly time was limited and lots of it was taken up trying to find a safeish place to sleep, most of the places wernt accessable by car and you have about a 15km round trip to get back to the car parking place.

    Many thanks Dani, the snake was fantastic for me, even though it wasnt such a photogenic setting it was great to get within 30 odd cm of a snake eating.

    LOL too right there, actually i did get one, between the hair line and the camera strap around the nece ;).

    I really should have numbered them :) 11 is the village right? I really liked the place and thought that the shot there would turn out really well. I am not sure what potential it has, if you have any sugestions doo feel free to let me know as i am not really sure what to do with it. It is cropped a little so there is more and the resolution is pretty high, the only thing is i only have a jpg not a raw so exposure cant be changed much.

    Many thanks Overread, it reminded me of the three peaks somehow, because of the crags. I cant wait to get down there again, After leaving the UK i miss hills so much :).


    The lighting in this place was very difficult to cope with as it was really dark with bright sun comming in in places that blew the whites right of the scale. It did mean that insects were easy to find as they hang around in the sunny spots.
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    The levels of this one have been edited to their limit i think.
    Of course there were the usual subjects that turn up near water.
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    There were plenty of leaches and stuff in this river, but as the water was comming directly of the local mountain it seemed pretty clean, i have not suffered any ill effects from drinking the water or having a shave in it, yet. It was also a perfect place to have a swim as appart from the leaches (that i think are hard to get bitten by) there were no mosquitoes of horse flies here, i am not sure if there were black flies (accross the med they are a vector for river blindness that could make its way further north as things warm up) but nothing took a bite out of me all day long.

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    This is probably a pine bug or a black red leafhopper, but they are very similar. Loking for pictures of them on google there are obviously some that are mis identified, it would be good to find some criteria to determine which is which? From a distance they really look like the bates moth so i was ignoring them for a while untill i got a close look because a spider was waving from the same blade of grass. I know it is a terrible picture but the thing was so funny, it was waving to its prospective mate with an "odd". leg, its third left leg was bigger than the one on the right and a different colour and it was jumping all around the female. Both were being watched by a bigger jumping spider, that i think would have tryed to eat them given the chance. Unfortunatly, trying to get a pic of the bug above, all three spiders and sitting in very bright sun can ruin your concentration and none of the shots worked well.

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    The shade was really well shaded as the cliff was more or less verticle either side of the river, and the sun could not get in at all unless it was directly over head so the dark bits really gave a dark background for macro shots.
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    The available bush tucker was kind of odd but the locals seemed to like it

    The temperature at these hights is perfect, especially as it allows you to sleep well at nights. The area seems to be divided by the cliff that turns up everywehre. From the waterfall it is a couple of hours walk to another part of the cliff. You can get down the cliff and cross the river at the bottom. Then you end up in a kind of lowlands, where there are far more insects and you get bitten all the time. to get down takes about two and a half hours. You have to be a bit of a mountain goat though. You can see the path in the bottom left of this last picture. To drive to the same place takes about 4 hours as there are no direct roads, most of the roads that are there just end and all of them are very twisty so walking is by far the fastest way to get to the "low lands". In one vally, each of which seam to have a different micro environment and ecology it was to stay in one place for more than 10 mins. There were horse flies. They wernt a species i could identify from the net, they were as big as a medium size bumble bee and had huge but beautiful green eyes. Their bite is extreeeeemly painful. It poors with blood afterwards. I managed to kill one, but it didnt look quite so pretty dead, and my focus was off so the picure was off, the bite makes your hands shake.

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    And i guess that is probably enough shots from Spain now. If you are thinking of going there pleas look after it, it is wonderfull, beautifull, cheap at the moment and incredably unspoilt for western europe, lets hope it stays that way.

    Thanks for looking

    tim
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2008

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