Up A Mountain In Spain

On our holiday to Southern Spain this year, we (My wife and I) decided to go on a little day trip to break up relaxing by the pool and eating nice food. A short drive away from where we were staying was a cable cat trip to the top of a mountain where there was a bird of prey centre where they did two ‘shows’ a day.

While we don’t normally go for the normal ‘touristy’ stuff on holiday, we thought this would be good as we both enjoy watching birds of prey in flight and it was a good chance to take some more photos.

Ok, wildlife, birds of prey, action shots… not the type of photography most suited to the Fuji x100s with it’s 35mm (equivalent) fixed lens. But it’s all I had, and the best camera is the one you have with you and all that, so I went with it without any high hopes of getting many ‘keepers’.

So the first part of a trip was a 15 minute cable car ride up the side of the mountain over the town of Benalmádena. It’s a bit of tourist type town with a bit of a run down amusement park and a dolphin centre, again not something we would normally go to. It was a good clear day and the views were great. You could see most of the Costa Del Sol once you got to the top. We had a bit of time to wander around and get to the highest point before the birds of prey took to the stage.

Down the mountain
Down the mountain

The show got underway once the tourists, including us, had got settled. The person taking us through the show fortunately spoke in Spanish and English so we could tell what was going on instead of just nodding and pretending we knew what was being said. I’m still ashamed that I am very bad at learning other languages.

The great thing about being on top of a mountain is that they could let the big soaring birds like the vulture and the golden eagle just fly off for a while to enjoy the thermals before coming back, eventually, to do their bit. So while the vulture was off having fun, a Harris Hawk was brought out to land on people’s heads as a bit of a crowd pleaser. I’ve had the privilege of flying these hawks for a birthday treat and really enjoy watching them fly. Yes, it’s claws were pretty sharp. I wasn’t wearing a hat.

I've got a bird on my head
I’ve got a bird on my head

Then came the vulture, one of my favourite birds of prey and full of character. What are pretty elegant birds in flight are lolloping birds on the ground, but very clever and great looking animals.

The show carried on with several different species including a golden eagle which went off soaring and didn’t really want to come back with all the people there. Great to watch though and it eventually did come back.

So how did the little fuji perform? Well, it’s not a camera for wildlife photographers, that’s for sure, and it’s not designed that way. However, it’s fast focussing and pretty good continuous focus for moving objects meant I got some nice sharp images. Where everything was at fairly close quarters also helped. So a combination of a street photographer’s point of view and some ‘wild’lifey type shots made for a good day out. Well worth the time if you are in the area.

So why did I choose monochrome I hear you ask…. Well, I’ll tell you. There are two reasons, the first is that I just like monochrome. I think it suits my style of photography and I enjoy working with it more. The second reason is that these were all under the midday sun. Harsh and overhead lighting wasn’t the nicest for consistent colour. So I chose to process them in Lightroom CC for monochrome. However, as I took them in raw, I could always go back to them at some stage and try colour if I wanted.

If you are in this area of Spain and want to visit it yourself, the web site is: http://telefericobenalmadena.com/activities/birds-of-prey-exhibition/?lang=en

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