Hollowed between Tramuntana Mountains and Mediterranean Sea, hides the picturesque village of Deià, waiting for a first landscape shot with the great cannon lens 24-105 100 ISO closed aperture f22 for a long depth of field, or a wide lens 10-25 mm. enough f.11 or f.16 aperture for a sensitive depth of field. Olive tree terraces banks on the slopes, centenary oaks, lemon trees, palms and cypresses these last two always together … as any self-respecting house ought to plant a palm representing woman love, and a cypress as a guarantee of masculine fidelity. Nice photo will make the olive tree banks, focusing the first files, -wide angle 10-25 mm. lens- an aperture of f.8 and a fast shutter speed at 400 ISO to freeze the first olive tree banks, distorting purposely the last olive tree ones. The perfume of jasmine and the lit colours of hibiscus and bougainvillea fill the air and the windows of the charming Deià. Focus in one petal and use a macro lens aperture f/2.8 helped with a tripod and even a coloured card for an instant studio background to catch the bright fuchsia of the bougainvillea and the soft white of the little jasmine petals. At any corner you will be surprised by the view of a Mediterranean pine tree forest sloping down to the sea, mandatory photo 24-105 cannon lens, to trap the bluest water appearing among the branches.
The English poet and novelist Robert Graves, accompanied by Laura Riding settled in Deià in 1929 on the advice of Gertrud Stein, where they built their life and their home Ca n´Alluny, today a museum and the headquarters of Robert Graves Foundation, ideal place to know better the author of I Claudius, Goodbye to All of That, Wife to Mr. Wilton, and the town where he chose to create and to live until his death 1985. Due to the mild climate? Due to the gorgeous scenery? Or perhaps, following his own words because In this country everybody has the manner of a gentleman. During Spanish War Graves had to leave Mallorca, where he returned forever, after the European war was over, this time together with his new wife Beryl Pritchard. The villagers adapted to them and them to the villagers, creating a motley symbiosis where artistic creation nourishes of the colours, flavours and fragrances of nature. Take some good pictures of Ca n´Alluny for a testimony of Graves’s daily life. After shooting the stony house fenced in flowers, palms and lemon trees, go inside, set the tripod and choose a good angle, avoiding the front light of windows, align the lens perfectly with any of the four walls, for a good framing, and take a photo of the desk were the writer sat for hours. Use a low ISO to avoid noise and a high aperture for a sharp picture that will include the glasses, the pen, the paper and even the coffee cup, looking like the writer is about to sit in his place like he used to do everyday. The rustic kitchen is cozy but quite dark, for that, play with white balance towards fluorescent to suit the dominant light source, and then experiment with high aperture focusing the fake fruits, garlic, olive oil or vegetables over the table, replica of the usual Graves family food, or low aperture for a blurred background and a sharp main desired object. Sunset in Deià covers the yellow stony houses of a pink mantle, nicely seen from the small cemetery up hill. Arrive there climbing the Carrer es Puig, passing ceramic Stations of the Cross, to reach the Parish Church and the tomb of Robert Graves, simple handwriting with concrete dates – Robert Graves, Poeta, 1895-1985 worth a photo before shooting a wide angle panoramic of the stunning view from Deià old cemetery.
The right place to comprehend de sensuality and essence of Deià will be Belmond La Residencia. Built over the XVI and XVII century’s manor houses and olive oil mills of Son Moragues and Son Canals La Residencia has the privilege to enjoy an important art collection hanging over the walls of its rooms, corridors, dining room… original works for more than eighty artists living or working in Deià or in the north part of Mallorca during the last decades; a bewitched touch that distinguish a master piece form just an ornamental motif and shows La Residencia as different hotel. The contrast between the sturdy walls of the noble houses, decorated with island antiques, softened by Mediterranean plants, seasoned by a contemporary painting mixture of styles, has been achieved harmoniously. Holding the tripod in your hand, set in 50 mm. objective a blue filter for adjusting the interiors photo colour balance, and go wandering through La Residencia photo hunting this corner where the vase of flowers and Arturo Rhodes painting are lit by a light ray flowing through the window or that other were the bright fuchsia bougainvillea aims to enter in the living room brightened by a pink evening glare, looking almost unreal until you trap it in your camera. Go on and take a picture of a different version of Las Meninas by George Sheridan, responsible together with his wife Cecile, of the tastefully and artistic decoration of La Residencia and of many exhibitions hold in Sa Tafona, the gallery of La Residencia, tradition continued after his death by the artist widow Cecile Sheridan, who also deals with the weekly walk and talk tour whereby guests visit local artist and their studios. During the artistic tour you can meet the painter and musician David Templeton author of the portrait of Robert Graves hanging in the hotel restaurant El Olivo, worth picture shooting-tripod, blue filter, 100 ISO shutter speed below 30, and an aperture f.8 – enough to get a photo a little bit blurred in accordance to the provocatively powerful soul of Graves by Templeton. Going out from the interior of El Olivo the terrace of the restaurant illuminated by candles, offers and impressive view of the sleeping village under the moon ideal to set the tripod and a timer control, for example cannon TC-80 N3 capable of doing several exposures in sequence, 1.600 ISO as the night is quite dark, an at f 1.4 make a 10 seconds length shot.
Bells ring early morning calling for the first mass, echoed by the mountains. It’s time to wake up, prepare the photographical equipment and go to take portraits along with the interview of some of the most renowned artists of Deia. Frances Baxter, daughter in law of Robert Graves looks like a cheerful and clever woman that knows every path, every plant everybody in Deia. She can tell when Tramuntana is going to blow and distinguish all the possible tints in the Mediterranean scenery, an expert like she is, in colour palette, this painter, author of the wonderful improvisation of Women of Algiers by Delacroix, hanging in La Residencia. She smiles to the camera, give a quick touch to her hat, posing like she is used to do it, and the photo 50mm lens, 100 ISO, wide lens aperture f.1.8 for a blurred background, comes alive and sharp.
Next stop, just side by La Residencia, will be the stony house of David Templeton, born in Nottinghamshire, England, resident of Deià since 1978 where he went to live, paint and sing with the Pa Am Oli Band along with Juan and Tomás Graves, the sons of the famous writer.
The house-study of David Templeton is filled with energy and dynamics, like him. His blue eye makes a nice contrast with his tanned face, and look around with a mixture of irony and curiosity of things. Paintbrushes, books and various ink drawings about Robert Graves, limned in the writer’s house during 81-85 years, decorate Templeton’s home. David Templeton looks like a brave man, written in his eyes and in his work, who desires to transcend borders, research about all the possible ways of life and creation. Collectors or his art are Pierce Brosnan, The Corrs, Andrew-Lloyd Webber, etc. Great photo of him will be posing near by one of his collages where he combines figurative imagery with seemingly abstract/collage elements…
One last visit before running to the beach could be the surrealist painter Arturo Rhodes, settled in Deià since 1980, working on collections of mystical enquires connected to symbolism and the art of the past. Examples could be Pearl with Girl Earring or Girl with Snorkel, emulating both of them a different girl from the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer.
Arturo is a very gentle and extravagant person who lives and paints on his way, and who received visitors wearing very special peinetas of fishes, violins, crowns or whatever hi is painting in that concrete moment. He will delight the photographer posing, changing one peineta after another whilst he talks with wisdom and humour about life and art. The photographer will have time enough during the interview and the switching of peinetas of Arturo, to change 50 mm. for a fine portrait, tripod 100 ISO, to a 70-200 teleobjective to trap Arturo’s peineta from far, with or without Arturo’s face in it.
After levelling out among olive terraces with the briefest glimpse to Cala de Deià, situated at 10 Kms. of Soller, between Punta de Son Beltran and sa Pedrissa, start photo hunting shots of he beautiful sea inlet, surrounded by cliffs and pine forest with 24-105 cannon lens, no tripod needed at 200 ISO appropriated for evening glare, and fast shutter speed.
- Estimated time required for this trip: proxy. 3 days.
- Traveller profile: Amateur. ( What´s this? )
- Itinerary difficulty: Quite easy.
- Adventure level: Low.
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- Macro lens.
- 10-25-mm. wide-angle lens.
- 24-105 cannon lens.
- 70-200-teleobjective lens.
- Timer control, cannon TC-80 N.
- Blue filter.
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- Tramuntana mountain range.
- Mediterranean Flora.
- Ca n n´Alluny. Robert Graves house and museum.
- Belmond La Residencia.
- Art collection in La Residencia.
- Deià Beach.
- Portraits of Frances Baxter, David Templeton and Arturo Rhodes.
- Old Deià Cemetery.
Pay a visit to Valldemossa, nearby Deià, the beautiful village where Frederic Chopin spent a winter accompanied by the poet and novelist George Sand. Hiking from Deià to Soller you will have the chance to enjoy wonderful sea views, old manor houses and the various Mediterranean flora.