FSR1972
FSR1972

Spanish eyes



Close up of a Spanish woman wearing the traditional "mantilla" (here in its mourning version) during a Good Friday procession in Cadiz, Spain...
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Close up of a Spanish woman wearing the traditional "mantilla" (here in its mourning version) during a Good Friday procession in Cadiz, Spain
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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo in my hometown of Cadiz, Spain, during the Holy Week celebrations. In the South of Spain it is traditional to "celebrate" the Passion and Death of Jesus with processions in which statues of Him and Mary are paraded throughout the towns. You don;t have to be religious to enjoy this Festival though. It's more a cultural thing. Many locals accompany these processions wearing traditional costumes like the one on the photo, which is called "Mantilla" and it's basically a very formal mourning dress. It has a religious origin but to me it's a very very sexy garment.
Time
I can't remember the exact time. About 9 PM probably , which means that it was probably night time already. Holy Week processions are normally in April and by 9 PM the sun in the south of Spain has just set .
Lighting
This photo was taken without a flash, just using the light coming from the floodlights that the town council installs around the streets where the processions are passing. You can notice that, as a result of that, the photo has some "noise" and part of her veil is blurred, but I think it adds drama to her face and the way she is looking into the distance.
Equipment
I used my Nikon D40 which I bought second-hand on ebay a few years ago and I am very fond of it and a Nikon DX 55-200 mm lens. Nothing else. No tripod, no flash. Just a very steady hand.
Inspiration
It's difficult to explain because, for the foreign eye, Holy Week might appear as a very old fashioned, almost medieval tradition with a strong religious component that might put some people off. However, thousands of Spaniards like me have grown up loving this festival and I try to capture with my camera what this festival means to me.I love it and I am not a particularly religious person. It's a combination of faith, folklore, color, music and passion which in my opinion summarizes the Andalusian spirit very well. The face of that beautiful lady, dressed in mourning, with an almost regal expression in her face and the candles on the floats in front of her reflecting on her eyes is what Spain means to me. A Spain which is almost gone for ever, by the way.
Editing
Only a bit of Picasa to turn the photo into black and white and add a bit of contrast and sharpness here and there. Other than that, it's quite an honest, humble .jpg photo.
In my camera bag
My Nikon D40 which, like I said, I bought second-hand on ebay 5 or 6 years ago and I love to bits. Also my Nikon DX 55-200mm lense and my Nikon DX 18-200 mm one. What I most like to photograph when I am out and about is people and those lenses give me what I need. Oh, yes.... I nearly forgot...I also take spare batteries and spare SD memory cards. I will never forget the first time I visited Liverpool, a few years ago- I got there, and as I was getting ready to take my first shot of a Beatles landmark...bang! "memory card full" and immediately after that, battery ran out. And I didn't have any spares! That will never happen to me again!
Feedback
Holy Week in Spain is a festival for the senses regardless of your religious views, and there are literally hundreds of photographers who take to the streets during the Holy Week celebrations competing to get the best shot. The opportunities to capture something unique that you are unlikely to find anywhere else in the world are endless. For example, nowadays you only see Spanish women wearing a dress like the one in my photo during Holy Week. It is indeed an unique festival. Just google "Semana Santa" and you will see what I mean. It's a completely cultural experience for the non-initiated but you need to study it a bit before hand to be able to understand it and appreciate it. Otherwise you might find yourself standing in the middle of a crowd not knowing what to photograph or simply thinking "what on earth is going on here?"

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