Astrophotography in Tenerife – Coming Home
Having just returned from a super enjoyable week in Tenerife, I’m reflecting back on some of the photos that returned with me.
For the last 6 months, I haven’t opened a camera shutter at all. After a trip to Scotland, I needed to take a step back from the camera. By nature, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and this started to creep into my photography in a negative sense. I began to put a lot of pressure and expectation on myself, and this started to limit the two most important things for me – creativity and enjoyment.
Ironically, my Scotland trip brought me back with some of the best photos I’ve taken so far and ones that I’m really happy with, but it was also a challenging experience for a number of reasons. I struggled through the start of 2018 for a number of reasons, primarily personal ones which numbed the passion I normally have for going out and taking photos.
My Tenerife trip came on to the cards almost by accident. I was due to go away with friends on the island for a week, so decided to try and go out early and squeeze a few days in with the camera. I’d always wanted to photograph the Tenerife night sky from my roots in Astronomy, and it’s world famous for it.
Coincidentally, a good Instagram friend (and I guess real life friend now) Nick Buer was heading out there too, and he kindly let me spend the week with him so we could do some shooting together.
After a year of not shooting any night photography, I began the week shaking some cobwebs. I soon found my roots though and spent a lot of time up in Teide National Park exploring the amazing landscape on offer. Unlike me, I hadn’t done any planning or research into what I wanted to shoo. I only arrived with a couple of compositions in mind; so I narrowed down some areas I wanted to get to know.
Minas de San Jose
One of the locations I spent a lot of time in an area called Minas de San Jose. This area features small seas of gravel with huge lava rocks bursting out – there are hundreds of compositions here, some which work well for the time of year I was there, and some not so much. I spent a while searching for interesting shapes in the foreground and rocks which pierce into the sky above.
You can’t really shoot the night sky in Tenerife without at least visiting the observatory here. It has huge significance in science here on planet Earth, and as a lover of all things space and astronomy, I really wanted to shoot the telescopes. The composition’s pretty unoriginal, if you want to shoot all of the telescopes with the Milky Way behind them, there’s not many alternatives on offer.
All around Teide, but mainly on the Northside, there’s a huge opportunity to witness amazing collisions of cloud along the face of Teide. I spent every sunset up in the park capturing some of these scenes. The light and shapes along the treelines were beautiful to watch unfold.
For the final weekend, I spent a couple of days in the North of the Island. This is a really awesome place and I wish I had a week there to photograph the area properly. With the trade winds bringing clouds to this edge of Tenerife, a lot of the area is shrouded in clouds; leaving deposits of moisture resulting in much more flora and vegetation than the rest of the island. Driving through the windy rounds, it felt a lot like a set from Jurassic Park and reminded me of visiting places like Puerto Rico as a child.
I spent a few hours in the Anaga forest, which is a stunning place; I quickly realised this was a location that needed at least a week or two to photograph properly. Instead, I ventured north to the Benijo coastline – perhaps one of the most famous and well-known areas for landscape photography in Tenerife. The black sand beaches and protruding volcanic rocks raising from the sea offered really interesting subjects, and I grabbed a couple of shots I’m happy with along the beach at sunset.