Trip from the south coast
I take a deep breath of the salty air. The wind has picked up. The waves are crashing against the beach. I open my eyes and look at the clouds that lie above the horizon and stand out sharply against the sky. They distribute the light of the evening sun and illuminate the entire beach in a unique orange glow. Despite the fresh breeze, I am not cold. The last rays of the day warm me. The day before, I started in a small town on the south coast of Spain. I grabbed my camera, sat down in the Taycan, and chose a destination that promises worthwhile photos, even in bad weather. My next stop is Malaga – not too far away and perfectly located for enjoying a nice stretch of road along the Mediterranean coast on the way there.
It’s the spontaneity that I love about photography. Of course – photography is my profession, but what I take away from such a road trip means more to me than images. The encounters with people in cities, in the countryside, on the markets inspires me and therefore enriches my life. My camera sharpens my senses and acts as a guide.
It leads me to the market in Malaga, the Mercado Central de Atarazanas. Stepping through the entrance with its gigantic glass window, which depicts various monuments of Malaga, you’re immediately immersed in the hustle and bustle. Between all the stalls and booths with fruits, fish, meat, coffee, cheese, vegetables and spices, the atmosphere is reminiscent of the Arab markets on the other side of the Mediterranean.
After a while, I head off. I want to arrive in Ronda today.
A destination on my bucket list
When travelling, I love the rough, the uncomfortable, leaving my comfort zone. Since my childhood vacations which I spent with my parents in a car and in huts in Scandinavia, I have been attracted more to the north than to the south. A night in a simple hut without power and flowing water in the snowy mountains of Norway means more to me than the comfort of a hotel. In this moment, anything but luxurious, it is often this simplicity that makes the journey so attractive. To have left the comfort zone for a good shot.
But it's not that my need for simplicity dictates my destinations; no, the aim of my trips is to catch moments that can only be captured by my head and not my camera.
Ronda has been on my bucket list for a long time: I’m fascinated by the images of the city, the southern tip of which is cut off from the rest of the city by a gigantic gorge – and is connected only by two historic bridges.
So today is the day.
But from Malaga, where I have just left the market hall, I first have to venture through thick fog and up the serpentines to Torcal. I stop off a while: the dramatic karst landscape provides an exciting environment for photos. It was created by so-called relief inversion: what today rises as rugged cliffs was still the seabed about seven million years ago, and so the rock formations are full of fossilised shells.
Continuing on to Ronda, I pass El Burgo where the weather improves and I am treated to a glorious sunset. I arrive in Ronda at night and spend a while strolling through the winding, narrow alleys of the old town bathed in the orange light of the streetlamps.
To Zahara de la Sierra
The night was starry and so it is anything but warm. But if you want to photograph with a special lighting mood, you have to live with the consequences. Okay, I’d be happy to. So I stand punctually at the blue hour at the famous bridge in Ronda and await the sunrise. Through the gorge, which cuts through the terrain like a jagged crack and separates the old from the new town, you get the feeling of being in civilisation and the wilderness at the same time. You might think you are at the Grand Canyon – but only a few hundred metres further on, the cafés are already pulsing with life. After a while, I retire to one of the cafés to warm up with a breakfast. My next destination is the Castillo de Zahara de la Sierra: the hilltop castle with its panoramic view over a lake promises beautiful photos in today's clear air.
In the course of the morning I have left Ronda behind me, and soon I’m on narrow and particularly steep roads up to the viewing platform high above the lake. The Taycan proves once more that it is the perfect traveling companion. The powerful white cumulus clouds, swollen like cauliflower over the mountains, cast their shadows down below on the turquoise waters of the valley. I get out of the Taycan and take in the stunning view.
Through the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema, I head on towards the Atlantic coast. The Taycan always attracts attention during the trip: two coachmen almost hit the edge when driving round a two-lane traffic circle. It’s a good thing they’re literally getting on the straight and narrow.
On the Atlantic
The beach, which had just been immersed in this unique orange, now shimmers in deep purple, a good hour’s drive north of Gibraltar. The sun has almost set, and the beach, the whole scenery, is drowning in a surreal light. Once again I take a deep breath of the salty air and inevitably have to think of the past, of Cuxhaven in northern Germany, where I grew up. I often spent evenings with my friends at the beach where we would watch the sun setting. We listened to the waves at high tide and the crackling in the mudflats at low tide. And I only went home long after the sun had disappeared behind the horizon; the dull noise of the waves behind our backs.
It is probably this self-determination that I feel again right now, right here, that makes the moment so precious.
The aim of my trips is to catch moments that can only be captured by my head and not my camera
The second day of my road trip is coming to an end; the door of the Taycan closes.
In the capital of Andalusia
It’s still cool outside. I take my breakfast outside on the hotel terrace. The sun rose a few minutes ago, its rays warm me.
A moment like yesterday’s on the beach will stay with me for a long time.
Rationally speaking, photons hit the chip of my camera through the lens and the chip records what I saw in such a moment: purple light, clouds over waves, a beach. In the best case, I will get a good photo for my Instagram account, which I can share with people. But how the photons burn such a moment into my head, over years, over decades sometimes, perhaps over my whole life – no camera can capture that.
To round off my road trip, I want to go to Sevilla today. Sea, mountains, forests, barrenness, playful little places like Ronda and the capital of Andalusia – my three days in southern Spain could hardly have been more varied. I have discovered dozens of new perspectives for myself, for others, and captured photons in pictures. But what I take with me from such a road trip means so much more to me than the pictures.