Black and White Landscapes – Plains of Camdeboo and Valley of Desolation

Set against the vast and empty Plains of Camdeboo, abutted by the Valley of Desolation and surrounding mountains, the small Karoo town of Graaff-Reinet seems dwarfed, vulnerable, a fragile human outpost, more so when storm clouds gather.

Yet there is a beauty in the landscape, something stark and wonderful.

Storm Clouds over Graaff-Reinet

Valley of Desolation

End of the Road, Paternoster

To wrap up the series on Paternoster, here is the first photograph I took, around 5.30 that morning, on my way to the beach: a row of cottages at the end of the road, the rain still glistening on the tarmac, a silver sliver of moon showing between the hurrying clouds.

The Moorish Keep, Olvera

The Moorish Keep in Olvera, Andalucia stands on a high promontory across the way from the Iglesia de la Encarnacion. I like the black-and-white images, but the image in colour works best in colour. I hope you enjoy!

Olvera, Spain – the Iglesia de la Encarnation

Olvera, one of the ‘white towns‘ or pueblos blancos of Andalucia, is dominated, as you will have seen in my earlier post, by a massive church-on-a-hill, the Iglesia de la Encarnacion

The building itself is in need of some maintenance, but its setting is magnificent, and its brooding presence over the white town below it speaks volumes.

Here are three images, in black-and-white.

Men of Olvera

We drove up the steep hill into Olvera, one of the ‘white towns‘ or pueblos blancos of Andalucia; parked, climbed higher, to the monumental bulk of the Iglesia de la Encarnacion from where we could look across to the Moorish Keep on a rocky outcrop opposite; looked out over the roofs into the streets below and the olive-clad hills in the distance, and then descended once more into the town, where we came across this group of men, retired one guessed, gossiping in the shade.

The Cathedral and the Keep tomorrow or Sunday; but here is my tableaux of old men, today.

A group of men, Olvera

Ronda – Scenes in Black & White

As with the other pueblos blancos we visited, Ronda, with its cobbled narrow streets, its whitewashed walls, its tiled roofs, its plazas and churches, its sun-soaked vistas, lends itself both to colour photography and to black and white.

Partly it’s a matter of taste and preference; more importantly, it’s a choice of expression. These images, for instance, worked just fine in colour, but in black and white have something quite different to say to us – or to me, at least.

Plaza de Toros, Ronda (compare and contrast)

I wrote in an earlier post that the decision to present an image in colour or in black-and-white was partly, perhaps, a matter of taste and preference, but more profoundly, a question of interpretation.

Here are two otherwise identical images of the Plaza de Toros – the bull-ring – in Ronda, which illustrate the point. Which do you prefer – and more importantly, why?