The philosophy of David González and Juan Antonio Leza is to make wines with personality which express their origin, or “terroir”. For example, Pancrudo is made with the garnacha grape variety which grows 650 metres above sea level near Badarán, in the foothills of the Sierra de la Demanda mountains. In fact Pancrudo is named after one of the peaks.Read More
The other day I was listening to an archive interview with the renowned American photographer Eve Arnold (1912-2012). She was talking about how the photographer tries to express his or her point of view and give meaning to what he or she sees.
“It is about focussing in closely on something that appeals or repels you. It is like saying ‘Stop! Look at this. This is the way I see it.’”Read More
With its unique architecture and stunning setting Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Elciego (Alava) is a fabulous place both to get married and to photograph a wedding. I’ve shot weddings there on many occasions and it’s always a place I look forward to returning to. Laura and Aitor’s wedding was particularly exciting because it coincided with an eclipse of the moon! Proof, perhaps, that a god does exist!!Read More
A few years ago Chefe Paniego, the sommelier at Restaurante El Portal de Echaurren, invited me to try a wine he was particularly enjoying at the time: a Gómez Cruzado crianza. It was full of depth and roundness despite being the most humble of the wines in the winery’s range. Since then, I’ve tried out other Gómez Cruzado wines and always been struck by their fantastic interpretation of the Rioja vineyards.
So it was particularly exciting when the winery got in touch with an idea of a project to photograph a year in the life of Gómez Cruzado…Read More
Last night I was watching an interview with the great American photographer Annie Leibovitz in which she says she’s scared of sunny days!
“It’s sort of a joke, you know?” she said. “You get there and whoever you’re with says: ‘Aren’t you glad I brought the good weather?’ And it’s like for me, and the kind of work I do, I pray for overcast days.”
Me too! But when shooting Spanish weddings in summer at noon, I my prayers aren’t answered that often.Read More
It was a beautiful, cloudless morning and hard to believe the forecast for rain. I was hot in the car on the way to the bride’s house in Logroño. I was hot in the car on the way from the bride’s house to La Vieja Bodega Restaurant in Casalarreina. And I was hot as I walked around the restaurant’s beautiful garden scouting for shot locations.Read More
Curtis Stone is an Australian chef who made good in the US, first with a regular spot on a national tv network, then on Celebrity Apprentice. He went on to open two restaurants Maude and Gwen (named after his grandmothers) in Los Angeles, his adopted home.
Curtis and Maude executive chef, Justin Hilbert visited La Rioja and the Basque Country at the end of last year searching for inspiration for new dishes to add to Maude’s menu.Read More
Over more years than I care to remember I’ve skied in the Alps, Pyrenees, Canada and USA but it’s these past few years that I’m enjoying the most. Since taking up telemark skiing four years ago a whole new world of backcountry adventure has opened up.
La Rioja’s Valdezcaray ski resort may be titchy by world standards but when the snow and the weather is good and you’re able to leave the crowds and disappear to the other side of the mountain, there’s little to compare it with.Read More
Human vision is very selective. We see what we want to see and block out the rest. Carried along by the emotion of a wedding our eyes focus on the laughter, tears of happiness, the gorgeous flowers, the beautiful clothes etc. They skim over ugly stuff like street signs, power cables, waste bins and so on.
The camera, however, doesn’t. It records everything in front of it. A large chunk of my concentration is taken up eliminating the crud as I work out the composition.Read More
Wedding plans change. It’s a fact of life. I first spoke with Marlit and Iñaki about their civil wedding plans and reception at Palacio Azcárate in Ezcaray (La Rioja) around 10 months before their marriage. By the time we actually met up a few months later Marlit had a big announcement: she was due to give birth about six weeks before the wedding. And so everything now had to be tailored to accommodate young Leander!Read More
Passion, care, experience, knowledge, enjoyment, trust… these are all key concepts I’m trying to portray in my corporate photography. I want to show the pride and commitment people put into their work. And I want to show them in a natural, relaxed way that puts a human face on, in this case, a bottle of wine.
This all sounds very well on paper but when you’re in a field at 6.30am with the sun rising, the magical light fading and two winemakers from Bodegas Montecillo who aren’t professional models well, put it this way, the adrenaline is buzzing.Read More
Among the most eagerly anticipated restaurant openings this year in Spain has been the Echaurren’s Arboleda del Sur in Ezcaray. Hotel Echaurren has La Rioja's only two-star Michelin restaurant and has long been a favourite wedding venue both locally and further afield.
However, space was limited… until now! The Arboleda is purpose-built for events of more than 50 people with adaptable spaces depending on the size of the party.Read More
I love being close to the action; it's where you feel the emotion that is so much part of my wedding photography. However, sometimes it’s important to take a step back to get the bigger picture. Diana & Juan’s wedding in Briones in northern Spain’s La Rioja is a good example.
The ceremony was in the family garden high above the river Ebro with sensational views overlooking Rioja’s vineyards. The only problem was that there was a three metre high wall around the garden blocking the view. So I had to get high, very high.Read More
Mantas Ezcaray, a family blanket & scarf manufacturer, sells its gorgeous products all over the world. The firm has garnered international success due to the quality and the largely hand-made nature of its products.
For this year’s catalogue, it wanted to incorporate the beautiful local surroundings. This made lots of sense, since the mountains near Ezcaray lend themselves to promoting a wool product.Read More
My oldest son Nicky has become an enthusiastic member of Ezcaray’s basketball club. A few months ago someone at the club had the idea to create a book of stickers of all the players - young and not so young. Swapping football players stickers is something I remember doing in the school playground when I was young. Selling packs of stickers seemed an inspired way of raising money for the club. And of course they asked me to make the photos. “A 100 portraits, in two hours?” - I thought to myself - “Of course! Group photos too? Bring them on!”Read More
Bodegas Montecillo, in Navarrete (La Rioja), wine is a household brand widely sold across Spain. It’s part of the Osborne group who’s marketing is probably best associated with the giant bull silhouette statues you see near main roads as you travel around the country.
To differentiate Montecillo from other household wines widely sold across Spain, the photographic brief was to produce elegant images which showed the professionalism and personality of winemaker Merche García and her creations.Read More
Some have amazing architecture, others a stunning setting. It’s hardly surprising that getting married in one of Rioja’s beautiful wineries has become a popular option for many couples. Wineries can not only offer a fresh, modern and relaxed setting for a celebration but also a link to a traditional industry. The fact that industry happens to be wine is, I guess, a bonus for many couples!Read More