Last March my friend Matt Payne won an honorable mention in the “mountain” category of the Memorial Maria Luisa photography competition, the 33rd year of this International competition celebrated in Oviedo Spain. I was highly honored when Matt invited me to join him for a 10 day visit to the Asturias region of Spain to celebrate his contest success. The event was held over the initial weekend but we couldn’t just fly to Spain and fly back, we had to get some photography in, so we stayed an additional 7 days.
The Contest event was incredible, to say the least. Spain really knows how to make the winners feel special. Day one all the winners met in the tiny town of Infiesto, about an half hr from Oviedo. That evening about 500 contest winners and local residents walked the streets of Infiesto and viewed all the winners art work stationed throughout town on beautiful acrylic and back lit prints mounted huge on metal stands. I cant imagine what each one of these presentations costs. Each winner described the story behind their capture to the crowd. Day two was the Awards ceremony and Gala dinner in downtown Oviedo. It took place at their historic Philharmonic Theater. Arriving we were celebrated by hundreds of photography fans, bagpipes and the local media taking photographs of the contest winners. The winners presentation was two hours of beautifully well thought out music, and video presentations of all the contest winners work. My severe lack of Spanish vocabulary didn't interfere with what I was admiring about this presentation.
Afterwards, all of us walked to the historic Reconquista Hotel for the Gala dinner that started at 11:00 PM. All the English speaking winners got a nice surprise when we found ourselves sitting at the table with the Hosts of the earlier event....the two Oviedo public speakers that represent they're town for all of their big events. They spoke english and we had many fascinating, worldly conversations. They were incredibly gracious people and I cannot thank them more for being so accommodating to all of us.
From the beautiful city of Oviedo, Matt and I would head to the northern coast areas of Asturias and spend three days in the idyllic, seaside village of Cudillero, two days at Ribadesella, and our last day at Cadaveu. Cudillero specifically, is considered the gem Fishermans village of all of Asturias. With its amphitheater of Crayola colored cliff-top houses, steep streets and terracotta rooftops, Cudillero could get by on its postcard-worthy looks alone, but its local charm and hospitality that sets it apart as Matt and my favorite stay while in Spain.
Research showed the Asturias coastal areas to be mountainous with steep cliffs leading to azure warm ocean waters, lush with vegetation, a mild climate and potential for a lot of precipitation. This sounded perfect for colorful, unique landscapes to photograph. Our research proved invaluable, allowing us nonstop stunning seascape scenes to photograph.
Ultimately we tried our best to capture the spirit of the Asturias region with lots of interesting ground photography and aerial work as well. I hope you enjoy a brief gallery of images from Asturias Spain.