Picos da Europa expedition 2015: day 1

This post is part of a series that briefly describe an inspiring expedition to Picos da Europa, Spain, during the Spring of 2015. The complete series follows:

As I start writing this new set of posts, less than 24 hours have gone by since arriving from the expedition. I am being completely honest with you when I say that I still miss the words for accurately describing the sensations I came across during these last 5 days. I guess somethings are really to be felt and not put in words. Very few have the ability to transpose this and I’m certainly not one of them. Please bear that in mind while reading the remaining posts of this series.

First of all:

  • Thank you to my lovely wife and kids for putting up with my absence!
  • Thank you Luis Afonso and Fotonature for an impeccable organization
  • Nanã Sousa Dias and João Jarego: Thank you for your committed comments that opened my eyes on the analogic topic. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I would be kicking myself forever if I got there without the Mamiya
  • I will thank my masseuse after getting my back in order from carrying all the weight with my old and tired backpack


Some numbers:

  • Number of days: 5
  • Number of participants: 16
  • Cars: 5
  • Total km by car: 2353
  • Total km by foot: who cares!!!???
  • Number of digital shots: 2166 (shame on me!!!) including bracketed shots (3x, 5x and some 7x 1 stop apart)
  • Number of digital shots after cleaning up the garbage (great idea shooting with bracketing all the time… NOT!): 1260
  • Number of 120 films: 10 (in 6×7 and 6×4.5 formats)
  • Most used lens: 16~35 f4 in 35mm and 45mm in medium format
  • Most used filters: ND 0.9 Soft, circular polarizer, big stopper


Day #1 – The starting trip


As with any “going” trip, excitement and the quest for the adventure fuel the emotions and make you jump ahead. The day started early at about 5:00 GMT (time zone is important as it will change during the day). Waking up, warm shower to become fully awake from a short night of sleep. It is inevitable: whenever a big event is coming I can’t help having an agitated night and going to bet later than I should. Yet alone with this kind of event.


Breakfast, a thermal bottle filled with expressos and off I go pack up the car. Early morning kiss to the till sleeping family while I go out the door. PM joined me at the scheduled hour starting the pickup round of the 2 other car companions BM and LL. At 7:50 GMT we arrived at the gathering point from where we left in the 2 car caravan targeting Leiria, where we would join the 3rd car. The schedule was strict and fluent, allowing us to reach Chaves our final pickup point at lunch hour. And what a lunch! We feasted like kings with a magnificent barbecue provided by LA and his fantastic family. All packed (trunks and stomachs) it was time for the last leg of the journey.


On the road to Gijon, we passed magnificent water areas, with a marvelous sunshine and a cloudy sky to die for. After getting through the tunnels into the north side of the mountains… we found but rain and fog all the way to Cangas de Oniz. It’s the harsh reality of the mountains, but actually it works quite well for landscape photography. 4 hours of good road and we were parked outside of the cozy little hotel where we would stay for the next 3 nights. We took few minutes to check-in, dump the non-photographic stuff into the rooms and rushed out for a sunless sunset.


Where we hoped there was a flaming Naranjo de Bulnes with sunset colors, there were clouds and not the most interesting ones. A couple of shots, some short distance scouting following the running water nearby and… off we go into the river side, trying to acquire a couple of the possible shots. The fresh and lively


Casaño river.


Casaño river.

Adventure points at this location: nettles, big and strong enough to hurt my legs through the trousers! Oh well, that framing was just asking for it… I couldn’t resist… and neither could my legs.



Fields facing El Naranjo. Today it was shy and hidden.

Dinner with tapas, sidra and beer recovered our spirit followed by a short night of sleep which rested our bodies. The sleeping part was limited to about 5 hours at most.


Next: first sun rise.


This post is part of a series that briefly describe an inspiring expedition to Picos da Europa, Spain, during the Spring of 2015. The complete series follows:


The night was calm and re-energizing. The hotel uses a generator for electricity that is shut down at mid-night. After
After an easy day with a wake up scheduled for 8:00, today was our last chance to make the sunrise
Day 2 was a long, exhausting day and as a group we decided to sleep a bit more this morning.
The morning started early: after 3 hours of deep and fast sleep, the alarm clock went of at 5:00. And
Getting soooo close I can almost smell it 🙂 (as in the cold air in the high mountains) with hours
A post that considers bot the T-4 and T-3 days. Yesterday, a day mostly dedicated to the family, with a
No news 🙂 Full days with a lot going on not just around the trip.
Packing: DONE! this is a late entry in the post series as I was working on the packing till late
Still decisions, Thanks to fabulous contributions and messages in my facebook page, the topic around what equipment to take is
The screening process of what to take, at least for me is a hard one. I don't want to take

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