July 15th, 2008. After too many days of festivals the newspaper wants to go back to the usual stuff. Soccer players of the local team are being checked on a private clinic so they need some pics to be made. My 24mm Sigma lens at full aperture (f1,8) does the job: the quality may not be outstanding but it's good enough for the printer needs.
July 15th 2008. What'd we say? Vive la France? Vive le Tour? Long live to Mr. Indurain, five times Tour winner? Or, would we need another local hero to place again any of our towns' names on the international news? Any other reason than terrorists car bombs to be on prime time news?
(Writing this four days after a terrorist extreme nationalism basque car bomb loaded with more than 200 pounds of explosives that went off on University premises)
July 15th. 8:00 AM. Sanfermin festivals are over for good till next summer. Despite this a bunch of drunken revellers would try to go on with the party. That day they show themselves as a group of nostalgic and quite conservative people, as they take as their models not only a mock local saint (Sanfermin The One) but also they take a local cyclist faded hero as their model-to-be. This way, a tired reveller, yellow clad and Pinarello bike mounted, is to be an unlikely bull.
July 14, 2008. At Villar's italian's favorite place, playing with cameras and photograpic composition resources. It was many years ago when we discovered the "hand" as a composition tool on fine pics made by Kouldelka, Salgado, Chamorro and other fashionable photographers. For a while I was, like others, I guess, quite busy using this device: we'd shot as fast as we could just when glancing somebody lifting the arm... Nowadays we take some fun! Thanks, JL.
Recortadores in action. Pamplona's Bull ring, July 13, 2008. The runner or recortador (as I'm unaware of the right translation) relying only on his speed and skill must put a kind of two inches diameter ring on the animal's horn. Winner is the one who gets more scores. A far cry from the bullfight's bloody killing.
July 13, 2008. A wild heifer pursuing a "recortador" jumps into the inner circle of the Bull ring. As always, spectator's / witnesses faces are well worth to peruse at. (Warning: No bull was damaged nor injured during the making of these )pictures.
Pamplona, July 13, 2008. This picture is not good and it has to be said beforehand. No newspaper or picture agency would run it but, but I don't care very much about the artistic values of bull photography. On this rainy evening, the matador Joselillo tried to kill the animal, without success. After many blows with the sword he was ordered to stop the slaughter and let the bull go away. It happens on very few occasions, but don't be wrong about the bull's fate, 'cause its life won't be spared at all. He would be shot by any police officer inside the bull's yard, hidden from the public's eye. A bloody mess, for sure.
Sanfermin 2008. July 10. Waiting for some concert to begin I was lured by a golden glow and a crowd watching a couple of girls -speaking in German or Duch- playing with torches. Not having many time to do the pictures, I was pleased with the result, although, as always, I intented to produce an spectacular image.
Sanfermin 2008. July 13. Plaza del Castillo, the singer Pastora performs in front of a delighted and cheering audience. Altough, as first sight, she looks like quite different as the "glamourised" singer artist, I'd say she had "something" different. On a sense, she looks like the nice "neighbor girl" the one you would come across on the lift any day. Here, she was mimicking the act of driving, without the mike so, after some thinking, I decided to make this combo picture.
Sanfermin 2008. Pamplona's bullring. A heavy rain's been drenching the place for several hours when the bullfight, scheduled at 6:30, should begin. Bullfighters (toreros) gather on the narrow corridor heading to the ring to decide whether perform or not. Despite the dark gray overcast sky, the light on this place is quite intense and yellowish hued: television crews have installed tunsgten lights fitted with warm filters. This is entertainment. The show must go on.
Sanfermin 2008. The Running of the Bulls. Estafeta St. A young woman waits to run the bulls. I guessed that for both of us time was running a very different pace. One would wait forever watching her eyes. A momentary lapse of beauty.
Sanfermin 2008. Restaurant "La Mafia", Pamplona. A meal with the most important people on my life. Focusing on them, here and there, close enough in order not to lose any detail. Or, so it seems. (For Juliana, of course!)
I've always disliked Running of the Bulls pictures taken from above, but the balcony on the second floor, overlooking Council Sq. was my designated spot for July the 10th. It's quite a forgettable image but, providing I have any better from that morning, I've made my mind into posting it here.
Another view from & to the top
There're some things a photographer cannot / might not avoid during our beloved festivals. Maybe it's wrong maybe it's not, but this single picture was very much praised by several journalists. Forget here any discussion on composition, color, lens used or Canon / Nikon dilemma. Photography basics.
Sanfermin 2008 (and 2007) Both pictures were made almost same place (Council Sq.), same time (7:00 a.m) same musicians (La Pamplonesa Music Band) and same mood among the revellers... But pic at left was made one year ago and pic at right this one. For several reasons I do think last year's is much better. So, as every photographer should know there's no better time to take a good picture than today, right now. Never assume you'll have another chance. Cameras and lenses: Canon 20D and 16-35mm, left; and Canon 40D and 24-70mm, right)
Sanfermin 2008. Shareholders' of the paper I'm working for would be happy to see all the hapiness it's bringing to revellers. Canon lens 80-200: I'm not quite happy to shoot from so far, 'cause I learnt photography from close distance masters, like Koldo Chamorro and Alfonso de Castro. Shame on me!
Sanfermin 2008. Before the running of the bulls, everybody tries to reach to a vantage point just to glimpse the bulls. It's worth the effort, it seems. The Canon 70-200 f 2.8 IS: a superb lens, for sure.
Sanfermin 2008. The first running of the bulls. Writing this, many days after Sanfermin festivals are over there's only one sure thing: my pictures on this subject, on the whole, have been a big fiasco. I'll manage, however, o post some of them, but this year's been very disapointing. After more than 20 years making pictures of the running, I cannot recall pics so dull and uninteresting. Very few of them were printed on the newspaper. It's sheer luck, they say. Maybe is, maybe not.
Sanfermin 2008 The night of the 6th I should kill some time between concerts. Moving from one place to another I found people dancing on the streets, so I resort to my favourite technique: slow flash. No every people like the "mood" got with the flash: they'd say pictures are blurred and confused. I like them, though. They weren't printed.
Pamplona, Sanfermin 2008. Navarreria Square. Aussies & Kiwis on their favourite sport: fountain jumping. I try several photographic approaches on this subject in order to get a good picture. Any of them were printed on the newspaper I'm working for: there were tens of good pictures on that day. Paper's scarce and expensive but digital files are plentiful. Any aussie out there? Some feedback?
Once upon a time it was a photographer from whom I learnt a great deal about pics. Koldo Chamorro, a Spanish photographer, was a master (he still is) on the use of light and shapes. For many years I tried to follow his footsteps, but somewhere I gave up I tried to develop my own style. However, here's a homage to his work.
Bull Ring, Pamplona. "Novilleros" or junior bullfighters. Before the bullfight (aka: killing) there're some pics of them that should be made so I chose to use some flash light to add to ambient light. I'm grateful to Alfonso de Castro for his invaluable advice on using flash, back on the times of black & white negatives, when pictures were made relying only on light readings and flash number guide. Thanks, maestro!
Pamplona, Sto Domingo St. Workmen walling with wooden panels the windows of official building to avoid people climbing up there during the Sanfermin festivals. This narrow street will be in three days time the scenario of the running of the bulls. However, as I was downloading this picture I notice it's slightly out of sharpness. The Canon zoom 16-35 is, probably, misaligned, so I should avoid using it until it could be sent to be fixed. It's quite frustating, but the pic wouldn't be winner on any photo contest. It's just another piece of forgettable news.
Afterwards we went for a drink to a local bar. It's a dark place and there, I choose to take several pictures using flash and ambient light. Both techniques have their own appeal, but flash light it's not always welcome. We'd say it's Bresson approach (never flash) vs W.E. Smith one (if needed). I'd like to master both of them, but my pics are a far cry from theirs.
Pamplona, Sanfermin 2008 Neither bulls nor public. Very often, pictures not related with the subject you're sent for are better, or just you're on the mood of convincing yourself on that. Here, the portholes to watcht the bulls are missing so this picture's worthless for the newspaper.
Sanfermin festivals are on the air, already. Bulls are here. They're bound to die whithin few days, in terrible pain, soaked in blood. They'll be watched by thousands on the bull's ring and millions on TV (Cuatro Network).
Today, public are allowed to see the animals as they rest after a stressful trip so parents are bringing their offprings. This mother lifts her ponytailed daugther while her other one waits, uneasy. Hello, we're both here.
Assignment for "Diario de Navarra". This picture's been printed on today's paper (July the 3rd)
Subject: "Sales". Constraints: Not allowed to make pictures inside the shops. Solution: Working on the street. Visual items: People (AMAP: As Many As Possible); Bags; Sales signs.
Working as a press photographer for a medium size newspaper like Diario de Navarra there're certain news that should be covered on a regular basis. One of them are the opening of the summer sales the first of july. The final selection of the pictures intented for the print (the physical paper) is not done by the photographer himself but is a task put on other's hands. On this particular paper, not having a picture editor, the quite important thing of editing (here: choosing the right picture) it's been put among the journalists who're writing the pieces of news. This way, some unexpected things happen. This picture was not chosen on the final edition.
Trabajando para un periódico regional (Diario de Navarra) como fotógrafo hay una serie de temas recurrentes; el primero de julio, la apertura oficial de la rebajas. La selección final de las fotografías, las que van a ir a edición impresa, no la realiza el propio autor sino que es un trabajo puesto en manos de los periodistas que escriben las noticias.