The Segovia day was the sweetest shooting screw-up of my photography career. I was in Spain for a few days late in 2009, and had it totally clear in my mind that I was returning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. No doubt about it. But Tuesday morning, I got a call from the guy from whom I was renting the little apartment asking me what time I would be leaving. Panic ensued as I checked and found that I was actually ticketed for Tuesday. I frantically threw all my stuff in the gear bag and suitcase and drove like a maniac for the airport. I ended up missing the flight, and paying way too much to get re-booked for the next day. My original plan was to spend that Tuesday in Madrid, but since I was already so far out of town and had no place to stay in Madrid that night, why not look for a little town in which to shoot instead? I already had several days of shooting in Madrid, after all.
I did some quick web searching while I still had airport wifi and settled on Segovia. By the time I got to town, rented a room for the night, and stashed my stuff, the afternoon sun was already making a quick descent in the Western sky. I made my way back from the Plaza Mayor to the town’s entrance under the fabulous aqueduct, the best I’ve ever seen. And so began an afternoon and evening of shooting that probably produced more 5-star shots than any other day of my life until now. As a matter of fact, the 5-stars almost outnumbered the 3-stars.
It wasn’t me, of course… the light was perfect. And Segovia is filled with iconic scene after iconic scene, beginning with the one above, which I now use as the Original Green title image. I normally walk everywhere, but I had driven to the town gate both to save time and also because I was certain there would be some great shots of the castle from the valley below. The castle didn’t disappoint. It’s not Cinderella’s castle… it’s a little smaller, but probably more iconic because it encapsulates so much “castle-ness” into a smaller body. And the way it’s perched on the rock outcropping is totally classic.
When the valley shoot was done, I drove quickly back to my hotel and stashed the car, finally on foot for the first time. The Plaza Mayor was excellent, with late afternoon sun streaming all across. I walked first back toward the town gate, where I got some even better aqueduct shots than earlier, and from highter ground. I then began a trek back to the castle, hoping they might let me in. There’s an excellent shopping street that runs the ridge of the hilltop town, with great little storefronts along the way.
I made it to the castle just as the sun was setting, and… well, just check out the images yourself. Maybe I’m just too much in love with them because of my memories of the amazingly perfect afternoon. But the shots around the castle, and then within and on the rooftop (yes, they let me in) were just stunning. Whenever you have a chance to get shots from high ground or from a tower, do it… it’s a vantage point you don’t often experience.
As sunset faded to nightfall, I finally made my way back out, then along the main street back to the Plaza Mayor, getting about three dozen excellent night shots with the fading light of day stretching in a perfect gradient from the horizon up to the black of the night sky. And yes, the next morning, I actually made it to the airport on time and made it home for Thanksgiving.