Timing is everything and nothing. Studying maps, preparing equipment, scouting… If the weather is on your side, the dream will manifest with nature’s blessing on your side. For that time whilst you are sitting, standing, taking everything in, there is a strong sense of being in the moment and savouring one of life’s simple pleasures…
I have been sky dreaming for as long as I can remember. As a child with summer memories of lying on the grass and imagining characters in passing cloud processions. In the days before I started to enjoy school, I remember sitting at my desk by towering windows, looking up at the big sky with its promise of freedom…
Now I dream of sunrises, sunsets, interesting cloud and record the passing of time.
’Sky Dreaming’ was captured on the island of Ibiza. It is probably one of the most beautiful and photographed locations on the island with the Torre des Savinar (defence tower) as well as the Cova des Mirador and sweeping views directly over the Vedrà and Vedranell, north to the island of Conillera and southeast to Formentera. I had planned for sunset and hoped that there would be some interesting cloud and, as if by magic, my wish was answered. The decision to arrive in plenty of time was a wise one because it wasn’t long before other tourists started to arrive. Some families brought a picnic, one couple hoping for a romantic sunset portrait, posed for a photographer friend. In fact, there was quite a crowd of people to the sides and behind me, and, despite being hemmed in, there was an overwhelming feeling of peace. I remained for some time after the sun had disappeared, watching and recording the changing colours in the sky and to allow the crowds to move off – some to return to the beach below by foot and others, to make their way to the crowded makeshift dust-filled car parking area. It was the only time that there was chaos as people tried to manoeuvre in darkness, out of tight areas where foliage and other cars had made the most of the available space.
The image captured at Ses Salines was not as well prepared as the outlook onto Es Vedrà. It was supposed to have been a scouting mission for a morning shot and the sky didn’t appear very promising for an evening image anyway but, as I was there, I thought to hang around and take a walk along the salt flats with camera and tripod. If the statement about suffering for one’s art is true, I should have got a medal for the meal the mosquitos enjoyed on me that evening. The salt mountain against the greenery of woodland and reflection is great for early morning sunlight and compressed compositions of the flats at sunset make this a great location for landscapes. As a nature reserve, there is plenty of wildlife which makes it a fantastic location for all tastes.
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.
Torre de ses Portes, Ibiza
Torre de ses Portes, Ibiza
Torre de ses Portes, Ibiza
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.