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In last week’s blog I spoke about how I was using this holiday to take time out from my photography to recharge my creative batteries, if you haven’t yet seen that blog you can find it here:  In that blog I spoke about how I had planned to pick up my camera again when I was going out on to the Maspalomas Dunes and when visiting a local wildlife park.  Well despite trying twice to get to the wildlife park, we never managed it.  The trip on to the dunes did happen and I want to share my images and thoughts from that shoot with you.

My reason for going onto the dunes was two fold.  As mentioned I wanted to create some images of them, but I was also geocaching.  Geocaching is a global treasure hunt – you can find out more about it here: I was partially successful with the caching, finding one out of two of the caches I was searching for.  However I was much more successful with my photography.

Planning with an open mind

When I go out to shoot, I like to prepare myself beforehand.  I have some ideas as to what I am going to shoot.  This doesn’t mean having a full shot list or any list for that matter.  What it does mean is that I thought through what I wanted to achieve.  I knew that the light on the dunes would be golden, I also knew that there would be a lot of people there, so I wanted to create images that showed both aspects.  I also knew that the sand dunes would give me ample opportunity to create images that would be simple abstracts.  That was as far as the planning went.

The very act of thinking that through beforehand, conditions the mind to be receptive to seeing those types of images.  The images would be there irrespective of going through that planning. But thinking it through means you are more likely to see them.  It is like when you buy a new car, all of a sudden you start to see other cars of that make on the road.  Nothing has changed but you are now much more conditioned to see them.  It is the same with thinking through the types of images you want to create.

Having said all that about thinking through the images, it is important to keep an open mind so that you are receptive to opportunities for shots as you look around.

Dune Walkers

Fairly early on I spotted a two me walking along the ridge of a sand dune and I managed to create this image of them.  I decided to make this very much a minimalist image with a lot of negative space.  I’ve placed the two walkers a third of the way from the right edge of the frame and only had a hint of the dunes at the bottom of the image, thus creating a lot of negative space with the sky.

The Dunes and Beni

Next, I found a ridge of one of the dunes where it was possible to look along it and see the shapes of the rolling dunes in the background.  This gave me an image which showed the vastness of the dunes.

It was here that I spotted a set of animal tracks in the sand, I don’t know what creature made them but it gave me an idea.  I many of you will know I have a teddy bear, called Beni, who travels with me and gets photographed in different parts of the world.  I realised that the prints were the right size and scale to be his prints.  So placing him at one end of the prints I created this image of him on the dunes with what appear to be his tracks leading up to the top.  It’s just a bit of fun.


As I was heading back after finding my last geocache, I spotted an undisturbed dune with no footprints and just a stick… well sticking out of it.  This was exactly what I need to create my minimalist images.  I tried a number of different compositions with, vertically, horizontally, but my favourite is this one with a strong diagonal.  This was created by tilting the camera so that the ridge of the dune is along the diagonal.  Because there are no obvious points of reference the image doesn’t look tilted, it looks as though the dune really was at 45 degrees.

Palms and people

My final two images that I wanted to share go back to what I said earlier about planning and having an open mind. I still hadn’t got anything that showed the numbers of people on the dunes.  So as I passed the viewing point I thought I would try to create an image showing some of the people going onto the sands.  I wouldn’t say it is one of my best images but it is a memory shot for me.

Then as I was almost back at my hotel I spotted the setting sun casting shadows of palm trees on to the sands.  A chance to experiment and see what I can create, again it’s an ok shot that will be a good memory for me, but I am the first to say it is not an outstanding shot.

Thanks for taking the time to read this newsletter/blog, I hope that sharing some of the thinking behind my images has proved useful and helpful to you.

Until next time, keep making great images,