The above photo was taken from the top of Gran Canaria's highest mountain, Pico de las Nieves (peak of snows) at an altitude of 1,949 metres. For those not familiar with this location, in the foreground is Roque Nublo and in the background is Mount Teide which is Spain's highest peak, is the 3rd highest volcano in the world and located on the island of Tenerife.
I set out in my hire car from Puerto Rico at 16:15, sunset was at 18:30. The first part of the drive is straight forward enough down the main dual carriageway, the GC1. From there it is up into the mountains along small two way roads.
I got lost for five minutes in the last reasonably sized town, Ingenio; I stopped and got directions from a taxi driver. After this the road becomes extremely twisty and steep, multiple switchbacks in both directions with steep drop offs to the side. The car was in 2nd gear for most of this section. The island at low altitudes is barren, once height is acquired there is plenty growing including flowering almond trees grown by the local farmers. At the highest altitudes grows the Canarian Pine introduced to Gran Canaria in the 1950's.
Upon reaching the top I immediately put on a hat, gloves and fleece jacket; it was blowing a gale and very cold. The views were spectacular and I immediately set to work setting up my tripod and camera. I used two lenses, a wide angle lens, Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4 G ED VR and my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR.
The above shot was taken with the 70-200 which proved difficult as I don't have the collar mount for my tripod for this lens. It took a couple of efforts before I had an image that was sharp throughout (and this was while using a tripod, mirror lock up and remote release! That's how strong the wind was). I used bracketing to ensure the greatest capture of dynamic range, the above image is a composite of two images, I have yet to blend the three images for the above.
I finished photographing at 19:30 and was back in Puerto Rico at 21:00.
This is my second trip to this location, the first time was at dawn in 2011. On that occasion Roque Nublo was obscured by cloud and so it was not a very successful trip. I had intended making another dawn trip this time around but it is a 100 mile journey back and forth and time with the family is precious. I will be back here again hopefully in 2013; I intend running the Gran Canaria marathon which is held in January each year.
Landscape and travel
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