On ‘THE LOOKOUT’

I put off a holiday to Ibiza for many years because – for some strange reason – I associated an old holiday from hell story from a former work colleague and San Antonio with a huge sign in my mind’s eye that stated in bold lettering, KEEP OUT! Lively resorts have never been my scene and, when the island was mentioned as a potential holiday destination I couldn’t help but appear dumbstruck. Surely there are other destinations…

Was it ignorance or my own arrogance that had prevented me from opening myself up to the possibility that I would be pleasantly surprised by casting my own misplaced judgments to one side? Again, I was in that familiar predicament of being on the lookout for something… something more… something else.

Now as I look back through images from a September morning sunrise hike to Torre de ses Portes, after driving along Ses Salines and the saltworks, the image of the watchtower reminds me of the need to be mindful of ‘perspective’. The defense tower – now restored – can be dated to the 16-c and is located on Ibiza’s southernmost tip. It’s quite an isolated location with great views across the water (Es Freus Strait separating Ibiza and Formentera) to Hangman’s Island, where captured pirates were sent to the gallows, and Pig’s Island, where pigs smuggled from Formentera were kept. After careful planning and studying weather and a local map, I decided to head out to find this lonely tower to coincide with the golden light of sunrise.

My timing couldn’t have been better and I was fortunate to have some interesting cloud in a sky that could have been too bland. Armed with a tripod and just a polarizing filter screwed onto the lens, I set to work exploring the subject in the sunlight that would soon lose its magical glow. I had the location to myself and there was a concentrated diligence to ensuring I wouldn’t leave the location until I was satisfied I had explored all angles that were possible with the tools and the time I had.

It is so easy to fall into the trap of seeing an image and thinking that’s it, I need look no further but, I found myself continuing, like an excited and curious child, trying this angle and that and then, only ceasing when the sun had lost that magic light and the heat was beginning to be felt.

As I reflect on that memory of working the subject in relation to the sun and exploring different angles, perspective, my mouth cannot help but curl into a smile as I remember my first reaction at the prospect of choosing Ibiza as a destination. If only I had been willing to adopt a different perspective and not be so judgemental and defensive. The holiday proved to be one of the most enjoyable visits. I managed to observe and capture images that I didn’t think I would get and I had the space to reinforce a valuable lesson – on a personal level as well as a photographic one.

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