Sunrise from El Rocío, Doñana:

Rocío-3 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 75 mm. f.25, 6 secs.)

It is 05:15 a.m. and the alarm is ringing. I haven’t got enough sleep and I get up fast and anxious as it´s my first sunrise shooting. It is said that sunrises are more difficult than sunsets, not only because of the duration but, in my opinion, because of the crack of dawn, but that’s just my point of view. I can´t take a shower as my brother´s girlfriend Mar is sleeping in my bedroom in the bed next to me (my mother is very conservative, and around 7 years is no time enough to stay in the same room), so I take my clothes and I get dressed in the restroom.

Before I leave, I enjoy a coffee with my dad and head right to the car, as we were late picking up my father´s friend Luis and his girlfriend Pilar at the hotel where they were lodged for the weekend.

So once we get all together, we start our way to El Rocío, Almonte.

We picked El Rocío as our location for it´s beautiful marshland, stablished as a natural reserve with a biodiversity that is unique in Europe, so when the sun rises, it reflects on the water, drawing beautiful colors. To be honest, this year the marshland is not as full as usual, and that`s such a shame. Anyways, the light is beautiful and the atmosphere is magical with the dew formed over the vegetation.

doñana-9 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 200 mm. f.4´5, 1/400 secs.)

This is the perfect day for me to learn, as Luis is a really good photographer, who has been three times in India, once in Vietnam, China and many other places around the world looking for amazing photos (follow him on flickr as Luis Estrada. In my opinion, portraits are his strong points). Also, I am sharing this moment with my father, Agustín Vidal – Aragón (also on flickr), who has already worked with different filters and, to me, he is my favorite photographer ever (I wish he give me a new full frame camera for Christmas –I am considering a Nikon D800, opinions are requested– and I have to suck up him). Jokes apart, they both are quite generous, and have no objection in teaching me all the time.

It is 6:30 a.m. now and we arrived to El Rocío as planned. There’s a unique bar open, the one that is on the hamlet entrance. Time for a good spanish breakfast: toast with olive oil, ham and tomate, also a black coffee. After such a good breakfast, we go to the place we have selected.

On this occasion I have decided to pick my Nikon D300s with the Nikkor 17 – 200 mm. lens, as this lens is really versatile and allows to photograph both a landscape (17 mm. perfect) and the marshland details, with the 200 mm. Of course, the tripod was indispensable before 8:30 a.m. so as it was the timer (Dear Jesus child, I have been an amazingly good girl, so for this year, I want a shutter release. OMG I think I’m asking for too many things…).

Rocío-2 (Nikon D300s, ISO 1250, 38 mm. f.4´2, 1/25 sec. For these picture, as there was´t enough light and I wanted to show you the horse, I had to put up the ISO)

For these captures, I choose the manual mode, selecting the shortest diaphragm aperture (f.25 with this lens) and around 30 seconds of shutter speed, although having in mind the exposure – meter at the time the sun is getting high. Find the capture details below each picture.

Rocío-4 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 80 mm. f.25, 6 secs.)

doñana-1 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 28 mm. f.25, 30´0 secs.)

As you can see in this photo, the hamlet lights are already on. We didn’t know exactly where the sun was going to appear in spite we have seen lot of pictures to inspire us.

This saturday morning I was crazy about the extreme thirds (David Mejías, my super patient photography teacher, director of the academy at Fotografiarte is guilty).

Here you can see one of the hermitage:

Rocío-6 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 95 mm. f.25, 0´5 sec.)

And finally, the sun started to rise. This is the rising sequence:
Rocío-7(Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 150 mm. f.25 1/25 sec.)

Rocío-9 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 200 mm. f.25, 1/30 sec.)

Rocío-10(Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 40 mm. f.25 1/100 sec.)

Later, we head to the hamlet to see the marshland´s biodiversity, as there is a great observatory where you can learn all about the fauna living there. Nowadays backlighting photography is on trend. As you can see in this portrait of Pilar, the sun is in front of the camera, and not behind me.

Rocío-11 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 70 mm. f.4´5, 1/800 secs).

To close this beautiful morning we have decided to visit Matalascañas, which used to have one of the most beautiful beaches of Andalusian coast. Unfortunately, nowadays this beach is very crowded in summer, though still keeps its charm in winter. Since there is no people, winter is the right time to enjoy the boundless sand seashores.

We chose a ten minute descent to the beach, and here you can see another third extreme:
Rocío-12 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 38 mm. f.9, 1/320 secs).

doñana-11 (Nikon D300s, ISO 200, 112 mm. f.9, 1/320 secs. Another third extreme)

Some hippies chill out with their dogs, most happiest beings in the world. I should have brough my Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Thorcuato, with me.