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Posts tagged ‘Sunset’

Ode to a Tuscan Sunset

We’ve left Verona now, more’s the pity, and in my mind the single antidote is to dip into Italy once more. In London, sips of creamy limoncello and a bottle or two of Valpolicella Ripasso is partial recompense for our melancholy departure from Italian shores. Another is to look back upon photos and remember breathing deep of that ever-enchanting peninsula.

In so doing, I’ve rewound a few months, to Easter 2018 in fact, when the trees were yet to burst forth on trees ravaged by the cold “beast from the East”, and we took a trip to Tuscany. As is ever the case with a first travel in Spring, the fresh air hit us like a flurry of fresh water in an arid desert. To strip off winter layers and drink in the steady warmth of the Tuscan Spring was a encounter which was all the sweeter for its first annual embrace.

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As well as the air, what struck me was the light. It had none of the harshness of the cold winter back at home. Softness pervaded the landscape, especially as the sun descended towards the end of its shorter day, and around 6pm it sunk beyond the sea line leaving the sky surrounding it to blush in rosy admiration.

The photos on this post are dedicated to that time, when rolling fields layered with olive groves and vines bathed in the first warmth of a new Spring, and exuded the golden optimism of a new season waking up to Summer.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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The Colours of Marrakech, Part 6: Sunset Fuchsia

Marrakech is a city so abundant in its palette of colour that I have been able to successfully craft my tale of our trip there by reference to its vastly diverse tonality. Starting with the rose colour which characterises the city walls and the majority of its ancient buildings, and exploring the golden ochre of its crumbling palaces and the stunning blue of the Marjorelle Gardens, my colour-focused posts reached a peak when they entered the multi-coloured world of the Souks which beat at the heart of Marrakech’s ancient medina. But to end the set, it felt appropriate to go back to the pink hues which started it all, not least because this specific shade of pink was cast at the end of the day, when the sun cast a glorious new hue over the city.

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While the city is most definitely pink, it was enchanting to watch how that pink developed and transformed as the various stages of the day unfurled. In the morning the pink was dusky and pale as it warmed up gradually with the rising of the sun. At midday the baking sun made the pink luminescent, fiery and peach like. And when the odd cloud came over, the pink was more mauve and moody. But only once did we see the greatest transformation of all. It was after a huge storm ended the day, refreshing us all, but casting a fierce spectacle of rain and lightening across the city. Just as it was nearing its end, the sun plummeted to a level beneath the clouds and as it did so, its refracted light reflected off the clouds and back down onto the city to create a vivid kind of fuchsia pink lighting which literally filled the city. The result was almost eery, as spaces such as our Riad, which were decorated by a very pure white marble, were immersed in a beautiful shade of cherry-blossom. It was almost as though the clouds had rained rosé wine, and we were all swimming in their fruity waters.

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The drama and the beauty of the moment was one I will long remember, and is a fitting tribute to this incredible trip, a journey which tantalised each of my senses to a degree never experienced before.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

Marrakech Moments: Tea at the Café de France

Every city has an iconic café. It’s not always the fanciest, or the most expensive or the most beautiful, but it will be the place with history, with a notorious clientele, and a spot beloved by locals and tourists alike. In Marrakech, that place is the Café de France. Located at the bustling heart of the Jemaa El Fna, the iconic market square at the centre of Marrakech, it is simply the perfect ambience to take a Moroccan mint tea and watch the world go by.

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But as with all such iconic places – we’re talking the level of Florian’s in the Piazza San Marco in Venice, Caffé Greco in Rome – the best tables are hard to get. When we arrived in Marrakech, a very friendly steward in our Riad told us that the most sought after table was the one up on the first floor terrace of the Café in the most south western corner, with a perfect view of the Koutoubia Mosque at sunset. When we arrived at the Café de France, it was so crowded that we would have been lucky to get a table at all, let alone get the table most coveted of all. But suddenly, as if by magic, and at the precise moment when the lingering clouds of the afternoon cleared and sun rays flooded the terrace of the café, the very same corner table became free and we swiftly occupied it, and soaked in its very enticing view.

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The recommendation was correct. It really was the best table. From there we could enjoy the sunset, the Koutoubia tower, and the bustling Jemaa El Fna square at this time when it transformed from day time market place to a huge open air eatery and evening performance venue. There is where the stories of ancient sand dunes and shifting deserts are told, where serpents uncoil out of baskets and monkeys are trained to dance. This exotic space is the centre of the city for a reason, and we had the very best view of it, from above.  Determined to enjoy the table, we took endless photos, reflected upon the ever changing view, sat back, read, and enjoyed a perfectly fresh mint tea. An iconic moment fit only for the café of all Marrakech cafés.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Tuscan Towns #2 – Bolgheri

Bolgheri is a tiny town, more of a hamlet really, based as it is along one main street which latterly converges into two, a sunny square and a row of delightful little houses and restaurants precipitating the divide. For the majority, the closest they will come to knowing Bolgheri will be to read its name upon one of the plethora of nectarean bottles of wine produced by the region every year. Yet for the lucky few, who are led, magnetised, down the perfectly straight cypress-lined Roman road to the tiny little village, finding Bolgheri will feel like stumbling upon a hidden jewel.

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While Bolgheri has a castle, it is as proportionately small as the village. It is not a place for museums, nor a city for those wishing to stroll endlessly from one new corner to another. No, the real attraction of Bolgheri is its atmosphere. It is enchanting. While a visit at any time of the day will be enthralling enough, there is a poetic grace about Bolgheri in the late afternoon, as the sun starts to set over the vineyards and rolling hills to the West, and every cafe and shop and house seems to fling open its shutters greedily urging the peach coloured light to spill into its small little terracotta buildings.

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Bolgheri in the afternoon is a place in which to sit and close your eyes, feeling the sunlight spill across your face. It is a village where sipping upon an aperol spritz takes on new majesty, and where an ice cream glimmers with a precious golden aura. It is a time which is all about relaxing, chatting, strolling, thinking, and if I wanted to do anything when I set out to take these photos, it was to capture this time of utopia. So apologies in advance to the fellow visitors who ended up in the photos on this post, but without the look of sheer pleasure and relaxation written all over their faces, I don’t think I could ever have properly expressed the blissful experience of an afternoon in Bolgheri.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

Mallorca My highlights – Part One: The First Year

A big move is in progress. The Daily Norm has one gelatinous leg in its new London home, and the other floating somewhere in transit as we await the delivery of all the possessions – and post importantly the computer – which makes writing of The Daily Norm a regular possibility. So excuses are sought from all readers for the temporary scarcity of posts. But at the same time, as any self respected blogger, I don’t want to lose this moment to reflect upon the magnitude of this change, nor to miss the opportunity to look back on my time in Mallorca. For two short years it may only have been, but those 27ish months provided a lifetime of unforgettable experiences for which I am so grateful.

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So in the next two posts, I plan to reflect back upon those two years, doing so by way of the medium of my photos which is surely the best way of reliving the memories. For the mere process of selecting these photos for part one of these posts – the first year of my Mallorca experience – demonstrated with such potency what an incredible time we had. The colours alone speak of a thousand moments, of all those sunsets and sunny days and spring flowers and autumn leaves. The incredible mountains and the craggy coast, the windmills and the sheep and the little shops of Palma’s Casco Antiguo. All goes in the mix as I reflect on my first of two years in Mallorca – two years which can be very easily labelled the best in my life. So far.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Sunset over my time in Mallorca

The sun has set, enriching the sky with its fiery strata, emboldening the clouds with shades of purple and gold like the toga of an enthroned Roman emperor. These photos, taken from the roof of my current building in the centre of Palma de Mallorca, capture one of the stunning sunsets which so often characterise the winter skies over this blissful Mediterranean island, and were taken in this, my last week in Mallorca. For after two and a quarter incredible years living on what can only be described as a paradise land, it is time to follow the path of the sun, as the light sets over my time in Mallorca.

Our decision to leave has been hard indeed, but conflicting priorities often make difficult decisions a necessity. We return now to the splendour of London, although when I consider that city, constantly regenerating, continuously improving, it feels like more of a new adventure than a “return” to a past left behind. Nothing now can take away from me the wealth of memories which have enriched our time on Mallorca, and island which has done more, visually, to inspire me than any other place in the world.

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So although this will be my last post written from this island (at least in my current period of residency!), further reflection upon Mallorca is inevitable and will cover the posts of this blog for weeks to come, I am sure. But in the meantime, I leave Mallorca with these very appropriate photos, which, like the island, demonstrate the incredible colours and wonderful, fleeting transience of Nature at its best.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

 

Mallorca Moments: Autumn Skies

There are many who bemoan the onset of autumn, especially those who miss the balmy long light days of summer. But while the summer may provide days of endless sunshine, in the Mediterranean, their clear blue skies are repetitive, no matter how beautiful. Come autumn however, and within the array of the season is a blockbuster of show-stopping sky spectacles. Whether it be by sunrise or sunset, the interplay between cloud and sunlight makes for the most incredible harmonious duet, casting the skies with a panoply of vividly rich colours, from primrose yellow through to a deep blood-rose red.

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The photos on today’s Daily Norm post are just a few of those I have snapped when I have been lucky enough to capture the light of the sun here in Palma, both at the beginning and at the end of the day. For as any photographer will know, these light effects are brief and ephemeral… and more often than not, I have a camera nowhere near me when the very best skies are on show. And how I kick myself at that moment. But with this set, I have at least captured some of the rich tones of the Autumn skies. And as the season has only really just begun, I cannot wait to see more.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at http://www.delacybrown.com

September Sunset over the roofs of Palma

They say that the beauty of Mallorca has something new to offer, whatever the time of day, and whatever the season. And even though, as the summer turns to autumn, a decisive air of melancholy fills the air, the beauty of an island in flux is everywhere to be seen. This is no more evident than in the skies of an evening, when the sun descends to leave behind a trail of such magnificent sunsets that the eyes can barely comprehend the beauty before them.

On so many occasions in the last few weeks, I have witnessed such a sunset in a fleeting moment, with only an iphone camera to capture it. However last night, I was lucky enough to catch this incredible show just as I popped up to the rarely used communal terrace on top of my old town apartment block. With its unique vantage point over the old rambling rooftops, a startling silhouette of Santa Eulalia church and the cathedral beyond, and the peaks of the Tamuntana mountains in the distance, this terrace-top view is beautiful at the best of times. But last night, as the sun sank and left a trail of firey pinks and flaming yellows amidst puffy wisps of wafer thin clouds, it was truly a sight to behold. And I am so thrilled to have had my proper camera with me, so that I could share it with you.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Mallorca Moments: Cala Deia as the sun descended

A certain mystery filled the air as we sat amongst the rocks besides the lapping Mediterranean sea in the Cala Deia the other night. As the sun descended, and the sky turned from yellow to pink to purple to cobalt blue, the shapes of this stunning rocky Mallorca cove seemed to take on a life of their own, as the rocks in silhouette were anthropomorphised into a gruesome masquerade. And as we walked on amongst the rocks, avoiding where we could little landslides caused by mountain sheep bravely traversing the cliff face in search of food, we stumbled upon even more mysterious forms – groups of small towers built from stones, as though some other visitor to the beach had marked out their destiny in an incantation made from rock.

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Such was the atmosphere as we returned to this glorious little cove, just a few kilometres down a winding road from our favourite village of Deia. It was an evening which commenced as the sun began its descent, and grilled squid was thoroughly enjoyed with a glass of wine, and ended as the sky’s luminescence was slowly drained and replaced by a soft blanket of dark blue velvet. The strangely formed stones, the silently lapping shore, and even a seagull waiting atop an island rock modelling perfectly as though in premonitory anticipation of some significant occurrence, all coincided to create an evening characterised by the kind of magic which is unique to the Tramuntana mountains, and to the incredible little rocky coves they envelop in their craggy folds as they plummet dramatically down to the sea.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Mallorca Moments: Post-work beaching

Life is deeply enriched by the smaller moments, the spontaneous unplanned hours of wonderment which make a day unexpectedly special and are subsequently recalled with as much fondness as the very best of meticulously planned holidays. Such moments can happen anywhere, from finding a cosy new candlelit cafe with a single empty table waiting as relief from a wintery rainstorm, to the sudden impulse to take a walk which leads to the discovery of a hitherto undiscovered magical corner.

Last night, I enjoyed with my partner one such unplanned magical moment. We had a choice between going to the gym or going for a walk. The weather had been good as ever, as a fiery orange sun had been burning high in the Mallorca sky all day and was only now cooling. So a walk it was, and in a moment’s inspiration we decided to head to the beach, to paddle and admire the water’s sparkling majesty.

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But once down at the water’s edge, we found the May waters to be so seductively warm that we dived right in. And there was the magical moment. Wading out to see with a silhouette of Palma’s stunning cathedral on one side, and a magnificent liner cruising into the Port of Palma on the other. Meanwhile, as the sun began to sink, the waters were infused with a golden light, like swimming in a melting pot of precious metals.

We emerged from the sea enlivened by our seaside dip and excited by a further treat which lay in wake…a frozen yoghurt layered with fresh fruit and laced with sticky white chocolate and apple syrups. The cherry atop a large serving of the good life.

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All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.