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Penitence Light



A group of 'Penitents' in an Easter procession in Cartagena, Spain, hiding their identities with the ancient 'Capirotes', the conic hats. In...
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A group of 'Penitents' in an Easter procession in Cartagena, Spain, hiding their identities with the ancient 'Capirotes', the conic hats. In the very old times, in several countries of Europe this cone was a sign of public humiliation imposed by the Authorities to the delinquents and sinners, who were obliged to walk through the streets with a simple cone in their heads in order to be recognised while everybody insulted them and threw them old food, potatoes, tomatoes or just excrements and even stones. Originally the cones did not cover the faces. Centuries later, these 'Capirotes' were addopted by the self-imposed catholic and christian Penitents in the Easter processions as a sign of humility, but with cones that covered their faces for discretion purposes (in order not to show-off their self-imposed penances, which could be very strong). This was how the 'Capirotes' took a self-humiliation and religious meaning throughout Europe. However, at certain point in history, some fundamentalist 'christian' groups started to use them as a coward identity covers for committing racists crimes, like the persecution of Jews in some countries of Europe or the KKK in Unites States, pretending that these supremacist crimes were 'justified' based on 'religious' reasons. Thus the conic ‘hats’ used nowadays in the Spanish Eastern processions have the same ancient origin than the infamous KKK coward identity covers, but have literarily an opposite meaning: humility and penitence vs. arrogance and sin. —Human being is the only animal with symbolic thinking, with the ability to give meaning to the symbols. Specifically, man is the only animal that can give to the same sign a different or even opposite meaning.
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Semana Santa, or Holy Week (the week preceding Easter Sunday or Pascua), is elaborately celebrated every year in Spain. During the week, each afternoon heavy 17th century floats bearing 'imagenes' of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary emerge from the old churches and process through the streets for hours. The ‘Costaleros’ bear the weight of these enormous floats, while ‘Penitents’ lead and follow the floats wearing the traditional ‘Capirotes’ and candles. The cries of the ‘Pregoneros’ bring the story of Jesus's crucifixion and are heard in the main streets. Sharing in the deeply rooted Christian traditions on this very special week in any important city of Spain is definitely worth while, especially in certain cities, like Seville or Cartagena.
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Photo taken at night, with a 70-300 L IS Canon zoom, at 300f, without flash and hand held. No photoshopped at all. Raw image is practically the same than this one.
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(File#: 2014-04-18 22.24.32_2_DxO-2)
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53 Comments | Report
Nikonover
 
Nikonover January 02, 2015
Great shot,love the composition and the lighting is super,
martinditchman
 
martinditchman January 02, 2015
Good work mat it is a good low light photo
Laurie_Madsen
 
Laurie_Madsen January 02, 2015
Love the lighting.
Gaydee
 
Gaydee January 03, 2015
Great shot...very intimidating ! :)
Barbpsp4
 
Barbpsp4 January 03, 2015
Just perfect!
kaimdilekeno PRO+
 
kaimdilekeno January 03, 2015
It reminds me "eyes wide shut" and the badly renown kkk but from the beauty of their outfit we can discard the second group obviously...
UnkleFrank PRO+
 
UnkleFrank January 03, 2015
Nice clear shot for a 1600 ISO, hand held. Well done.
tjambga
 
tjambga January 04, 2015
Thank you so much for sharing not only the beautiful capture but the story that went with it. I learned something new today. Very lovely.
ricej2 PRO+
ricej2 May 31, 2015
Took all the same words right out of my mouth! Fantastic shot!
susanneradke
 
susanneradke January 04, 2015
Truely amazing - congratulationes!
aguilou4 PRO
 
aguilou4 January 04, 2015
I learned something new today. When I first saw it conjured up another thought. Thank you for sharing.
Stravinsky
 
Stravinsky January 10, 2015
We lived in Spain for some years and I cant tell you how wierd it was when I first saw this procession in our town.
wiesiah
 
wiesiah January 10, 2015
Superb capture!
bigjohn
 
bigjohn January 16, 2015
it is a brilliant shot, colours are perfect, well done
BlackPinePhotography
 
BlackPinePhotography January 17, 2015
Beautiful shot!
Jettinabout
 
Jettinabout January 21, 2015
Just a beautiful " raw" capture, and thank you for sharing the history..
frozenmomentz
 
frozenmomentz January 22, 2015
Thanks fot the enlightenent
pamelisa
 
pamelisa January 24, 2015
This shot is intimidatingly great! And thank you so much for taking the time to provide detailed explanations; love your work.
Billyboy Premium
 
Billyboy January 29, 2015
Thought it was klansmen at first…
Fabulous low light shot !!
nikond200
 
nikond200 January 30, 2015
excellent well taken and exposed photograph .my eyes are drawn to the light but still looking to were to focus most upon the most yet I do love the pic.
pondhopper007 PRO
 
pondhopper007 February 09, 2015
I absolutly love this... Excellent composition, the Lighting tells its own story... Awesome Job
Momo1369
 
Momo1369 February 14, 2015
Thank you for the description. Certainly not what I thought it was. It is a beautiful photo indeed.
Rolenz Premium
 
Rolenz February 18, 2015
Eyes drawn to the 'dress style', then to the crowd. Easily spotting the religious intent. An outstounding display of quality photography. Thank you for the image also the information which completes the scene.
Tiekie
 
Tiekie March 27, 2015
Excellent shot with the lighting just perfect. Thank you for the description of the purpose and ritual. I also learned something new today.
tonybunting
 
tonybunting April 02, 2015
What a awesome image! Thanks for background information.
LookSee
 
LookSee April 06, 2015
An excellent photo... hehe, I have to admit it put me so much in mind of kkk that I was ready to report it and demand its removal! Your description was a relief... :)))
GEFAELL
GEFAELL April 06, 2015
Thank you! What a relief as well that you took the time to read the explanation!
tonybruguiere Premium
 
tonybruguiere April 08, 2015
Very nice image. Thank you for the Details info throughout your portfolio!
jonesaiko
 
jonesaiko April 20, 2015
thanks for the information, i always wandered to know abt this, thanks alot
JMCC PRO+
 
JMCC April 20, 2015
Wonderful shot!!!!!!!!
cterry9 PRO+
 
cterry9 May 18, 2015
So interesting! Thank you for sharing!
THOMMAS
 
THOMMAS May 26, 2015
WOW,GREAT WORK,LIGHTING,DETAIL,COLORS ALL IN LINE,THATS ONE FOR THE WALL,NICE PHOTO,KOOL
kiwidragonfly PRO
 
kiwidragonfly July 31, 2015
Beautiful tones and a very eye catching image.
TammyBouchard
 
TammyBouchard August 26, 2015
This is what I love about art. It can make you feel so many different emotions. Looking at this, I'm creeped out, scared, intimidated even. Reading the background, then I feel a sense of humility. A+
Motherofdeez
 
Motherofdeez October 26, 2015
Wow what an awesome photo with an even more Awesome History. I like what you wrote with what we as humans can turn something positive to a negative as the symbol Hitler used.
gonzalo_gutierrez
 
gonzalo_gutierrez October 29, 2015
Indeed, such a great pictura and illuminating narrative. Thank you!
swtassuger1
 
swtassuger1 December 24, 2015
Thank you...I've learned something new today
christiankolle
 
christiankolle January 18, 2016
Thank you for the thoroughly descriptive writing attached.
lseven
 
lseven January 28, 2016
I appreciate the artistry and difficulty in capturing this low light image. However I have a hard time shaking the likeness to the US Ku Klux Klan. It means something else right off to others.
BenHalen PRO
 
BenHalen February 01, 2016
Outstanding work, love it!
KelleyB PRO
 
KelleyB February 03, 2016
just wow!
scruffyherbert PRO+
 
scruffyherbert February 29, 2016
Certainly a shot that makes you take a double look.......more than once. Terrific photo and they have to be some of the best notes I've seen on VB, very informative.
sarahallegra PRO+
 
sarahallegra May 10, 2016
Wonderful capture! I also enjoyed the history lesson that came with the beautiful image! Wonderful capture, especially handheld and at such low light levels!
Richard4473
 
Richard4473 June 03, 2016
Great low light work you are very talented and creative keep up the great work
Cruiser48 Premium
 
Cruiser48 June 21, 2016
Wow!! Like most of you, Oh My Goodness thanks for the explanation... I too learned something today!
onyanita PRO+
 
onyanita June 22, 2016
excellent capture...congrats on your Contest Finalist Award
DShewmaker
 
DShewmaker July 02, 2016
Very dramatic and shooting in the dark only heightens the drama. Fantastic image
Witmar
 
Witmar August 08, 2016
fantasic shot
brandonbowman
 
brandonbowman August 08, 2016
Thank you for sharing - I had no idea about Capirotes - I'm glad to learn something new!
lucstockx
 
lucstockx August 09, 2016
Love the composition. Great shot!
jenniferlambertnash
 
jenniferlambertnash August 10, 2016
This is an amazing photo; one of the best low light photos I have seen. I had just read about the Penitence, but had never seen an actual photo. Well done!
BeCraven
 
BeCraven February 23, 2017
Outstanding! I had no idea of the background and this photo made me want to find out what it was about.
Chaztastic1
 
Chaztastic1 April 15, 2017
Thank you for the insightful TRUE meaning that many racist cowards use here in the United States! From first sight, I couldn't believe the "why" behind this beautiful image, but now I do thanks to you! ????????
Laureli PRO+
 
Laureli June 14, 2017
"A picture is worth 1000 words" . . . . this one is worth by far more than that. The story it tells is amazing and, like many others, I'm quite humbled by your artistry. Thank you for sharing it!!
ablackwell PRO
 
ablackwell Mar 18
Man, I am grateful you explained ... because I was about to report this one. Just goes to show don't always give into FEAR (false evidence appearing real) on first glance without looking deeper.

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo is a group of 'Penitents' in an Easter procession in Cartagena, Spain. Semana Santa or Holy Week —the week preceding Easter Sunday or Pascua— is elaborately celebrated every year in Spain. During the week, each afternoon heavy 17th century floats bearing 'imagenes' of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary emerge from the old churches and process through the streets for hours. The ‘Costaleros’ bear the weight of these enormous floats, while ‘Penitents’ lead and follow the floats wearing the traditional ‘Capirotes’ and candles. The cries of the ‘Pregoneros’ bring the story of Jesus's crucifixion and are heard in the main streets. Sharing in the deeply rooted Christian traditions on this very special week in any important city of Spain is definitely worth while, especially in certain cities, like Seville or Cartagena.
Time
It was late at night.
Lighting
The only lighting was the one of the candles brought by the 'Penitents'. No flash or other source of light were used.
Equipment
The camera was a Canon EOS 70D and the lens a 70-300 L IS Canon zoom lens, at 300f, hand held.
Inspiration
The 'Penitents' in the Easter processions in Spain hide their identities with these ancient conic hats called 'Capirotes'. In the very old times, in several countries of Europe this cone was a sign of public humiliation imposed by the Authorities to the delinquents and sinners, who were obliged to walk through the streets with a simple cone in their heads in order to be recognised while everybody insulted them and threw them old food, potatoes, tomatoes or just excrements and even stones. Originally the cones did not cover the faces. Centuries later, these 'Capirotes' were addopted by the self-imposed catholic and christian Penitents in the Easter processions as a sign of humility, but with cones that covered their faces for discretion purposes (in order not to show-off their self-imposed penances, which could be very strong). This was how the 'Capirotes' took a self-humiliation and religious meaning throughout Europe. However, at certain point in history, some fundamentalist 'christian' groups started to use them as a coward identity covers for committing racists crimes, like the persecution of Jews in some countries of Europe or the KKK in Unites States, pretending that these supremacist crimes were 'justified' based on 'religious' reasons. Thus the conic ‘hats’ used nowadays in the Spanish Eastern processions have the same ancient origin than the infamous KKK coward identity covers, but have literarily an opposite meaning: humility and penitence vs. arrogance and sin. —Human being is the only animal with symbolic thinking, with the ability to give meaning to the symbols. Specifically, man is the only animal that can give to the same sign a different or even opposite meaning.
Editing
No photoshopped at all. Raw image is practically the same than this one. The Raw processor was DXO Optics Pro.
In my camera bag
My Canon EOS 70D, a 70-300 L IS Canon lens, plus a Sigma Art 18-35f and Sigma Art 50f lenses.
Feedback
When capturing a dramatic night scene like this, focus in capturing the best frame possible from a good point of view and avoid artificial lighting or any post-processing illumination.

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