Crossing the Pyrenees: 1000 miles from Mediterranean sea to Atlantic ocean

...Looking back last two years, my life really has been about sharpening skills. My travel, outdoor, photography and storytelling skills. Working on relationship with my amazing girl. Doing the work. Building foundations for good career (hopefully) to come one day

Walking those 1700 kilometres (1000 miles) across spain’s pyrenees mountain range from mediterranean sea to atlantic ocean is not (in my eyes) some say..grand adventure. It’s not climbing Meru. It’s not crossing north pole- It doesn’t sound that impressive I don’t think anyone would sponsor such trip. But.. it’s something. Something totally adequate to the level of where we are as a couple of (as we call ourselves sometimes) "adventure artists”. That being said:

I shot a lot of photos during this trip. everything with my trusty Fuji X100T camera which is still going strong (except for some viewfinder problems) considering the fact that this camera is dangling on my side everyday, rain or shine for months (I would say I’m a power user)- this camera is a champ and it’s a beast. Here’s how it look like on the end

More and more I’m finding myself wishing to have a little longer reach, maybe some nice zoom and nicer video - I’ll probably try my luck and shoot an email to people at fujifilm- maybe they’ll be up for some deal, we’ll see. (edit: yeah, nah, they weren't) I edited all images on the go on my iPhone and the whole trip we we’re powered by solar panels which is something that I’m really excited about as the solar energy is just a truly fascinating technology.

As far as my approach to photography: I enjoy the luxury (or need) of constant evolution- right now I would say I’m still trying to juggle how pretty the images are and how really real they are (feel). My struggle with most outdoor adventure images I see (especially on instagram) is that they simply doesn’t feel real enough to me. They are pretty, sure, but I don’t know- my life isn’t as pretty and I don’t really believe anyone else’s is. I obviously want them nice enough so you would at least look at them /someone would pay money for them but I want them little dirty. I want them to smell a little bit, reflect my life, you know? Because, let’s be honest: I shoot them for me. I want to one day go back to them a think “hey that was fun/sucked/what a life that was”. But I’m still learning it, after six years, still learning how to put multiple layers to an image (visually and story-wise) and still trying to find out if those pictures can make me rich. They can. Not financially as it seems so far.

Anyways, I think I’ll let photos do the talking for now. I was pretty much struggling with how to do the edit and then I choose to tell this in somehow chronological order so you get a better idea of the scale of such thing: from sea where we started with our friends (and some of my favourite peoples on the planet) Miguel&Anna all the way to atlantic where we finished alone just with Carol. We pretty much followed the idea of GR11/HRP path, but we did a plenty of tweaks to do it “more remote” as GR11 is designed to basically be 45 day hikes between huts&refuges, we did it more like 6-12 days stretches between resupplies. And the whole think took as four months. Looking back, they are probably more sensible way how to spend four months than walking everyday. But damn, do I love it more than anything else. Just roam the planet and create stuff along the way. Finding my place and purpose here.

Ok, now please enjoy the journey I tried to re-created with these photos. Enjoy the freedom, determination and love for this beautiful planet that I try to put into them.

Yeah, so that’s about it. 4 months later. I Hope you got the idea about  the whole experience.

When I was planning for this, I was looking around the web and found plenty of practical information a post much more detailed and better written than this one, still: if you have any question about this whole thing- ask in comments/shoots me an email & I’ll do my best to help but honestly, I suck when it comes to planning: I thought it will be around 800kilometers and take us two months. It was twice that. So..you know what? Maybe go somewhere else for practical informations :)

Ok, I think that's all for now, I better go. Maybe cross some other mountain range.

Take care

Paul

PS: you can follow me on instagram to get more up-to-date rants and stories a and photos, my instagram account is little less crappy that my blog.
And if you want to license any of these photos for your project/whatever- they are on my stocksy portfolio (you can use code PAUL_S20 to get some discount or whatever) 

Blast from the past: My lighting diagrams

I pretty much spent first four years of my photographic life studying light, playing with it and trying to master different aspects of it’s creations- windows, strobes, speed lights, led panels and such. all done the most cheapo way in belief that this will help me to create a decent career in photography.

In 2014 I created these diagrams for some educating purposes and later publish them via server inmybag.net where they won my first prize in some contest (it was a sony RX100M3 which I immediately turned into some sweet $).

Couple days ago I got asked question about some of my lighting on twitter (blast from a past! I haven’t talked about light for years at this point) and noticed that inmybag.net server is down so I decided to take my diagrams from drawer and re-publish here on my blog, in (yet another) try to make it little less dead&crappy.

They go from simple reflector to multiple gelled strobes. Some personal some commercial stuff. Some Canon some Fuji. I’m not currently using artificial light in my photography (I mean, I haven’t modified any speedlite in quite a while, I’m of course still heavily in love with light itself) but I hope they still be useful for someone out there on the wide world of internet! Damn, seeing those photos brings back some memories to me. Hell, maybe I should've spent more time playing outside than sitting in books and studying light .

Take care all you strobists out there!

Paul

Mount Teide

Mt. Teide on Tenerife is with it’s 3718 meters above the sea levelthe overall highest mountain of spain. And damn beautiful as well:  prominent volcano that you can see basically from any point on the island. In my head I see it sort of as a poor man’s Killimajaro.

I think it’s a bummer that it’s ruined by that cable car that goes almost to the top.

Look,maybe this will sound little cunty, but I’ll risk it: I think a cable car going to a top of the mountain is bullshit. In my head, getting to the top should not be that easy: you can get a lot from those peaks, but you have to give something back, smaller or bigger amount of effort. that’s the way I see it. I saw it with my own eyes: the sea of fat, flip-flop wearing morons getting off the cable car at 3500 meters. Probably woke up at the sea level couple hours earlier. Goodluck with the headache from elevation gain. And to balance the amount of bullshit, authorities decided that to get to the actual top of the mountain you need a permit, which they issues around 100 per day. Oh boy. But damn, the mountain was so appealing to me that I knew there must be a way how to summit it right. With dignity, or whatever.

If you’re tiny bit like me, and you like to do things differently than all the other people, just know that there’s a way how to do a great multi-day trek to the summit and the ascent can be a really powerful experience.

If you’re reading this, I’ll assume that you’re not interested to get step-by-step thing by some random moron on the internet, so just a few practical hints that I tried and wished to find on the web, but couldn’t


1 The lack of random water found by wandering around is generally a problem on both gran canaria and tenerife but hiking from La Orotava there’s some water to be found, then there’s water around 2000 at El Portillo restaurant and finally, on the bathrooms in the cable car station (well, it’s good for something after all)
2 you need the permit during the day, but the guards are leaving the station with the last car down so then you can summit as you wish and enjoy the peace. (and those awesome volcanic sulphur farts) 
3 if you don’t want to sleep at refugio, there are couple of places to pitch a tent around 3500meters, I haven’t got a particularly great night sleep there (it was my first experience with sleeping in altitude) but they are there. It’s prohibited of course, so you don’t have it from me, okay?

4 we did it as a 6 day trek between resupplies at La Orotava and Vilaflor, but we are slow travellers

Ok, That’s all I can think of right now. Hope this helps to give both you and Teide the ascent that it really deserves. Shadow of the pyramid is worth it. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Good luck.


P

PS: If you like any of those photos, they are for licensing at Stocksy (I think you can use code PAULS20 and get yourself some sweet discount) . Also, If you want to follow me on instagram, that would be pretty cool.

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