Absolute winner – MEDCLICPHOTO

Looking at home

Little more than a year ago we decided to introduce ourselves to start looking acknowledgment to our work at contests. During this time period we achieved many finalists, honorable mentions and some other second place.

But in the end it had to come. We have finally achieved an absolute winner, in this case the MEDCLIC Oceans Photo Contest whose main theme is the sea. In this theme we have much to say living within walking distance of Costa da Morte and A Costa Ártabra. This photo (Looking at Home) was not designed specifically for this competition, although is true that it seems to fit perfectly with the message and intent of it.

We are many things to say about this work, the award, the process we have followed (or suffered) to get it happen.

Cabo Vilán

We feel a great satisfaction at the recognition of our work and, of course, a great happiness for funding.

But above all a huge pride that the photo be of characteristic place, beautiful and full of history of our land as Cape Vilan. A Costa da Morte defines the coastline of this land, and Cape Vilan is pure Costa da Morte. Its lighthouse, his light is seen at  50km even though to be first Spain electric light, points one of the most dangerous points of this coast.

Some think his name (Villain in english) comes from the black legend that tells the locals lit bonfires on the shore, or put lanterns to the horns of cows, to confuse and wrecking ships and keep its load. But actually it comes from the kite, a bird that once flew over this place very often.

About this black legend there aren´t  historical record. If there is about aid that provided the habitants of the area in shipwrecks, but later ransacked the remains enveloped in maritime law.

The process behind photography

Behind this picture there is also a long history.

This is a joint work of Daniel Lois and Daniel Llamas; in which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to discern who has the merit of what. The idea was germinating slowly in our heads, and evolve over time.

A complex work to carry out, for countless reasons: The powerful flashlight of lighthouse at the height of the camera, the limitation of the composition to be only one place to do the photo (cramped and at edge of a cliff), strong wind and unstable weather in the area, frequent nocturnal visits (with flashlight of course), the powerful lights of the house, cars and motorhomes, …

Therefore we had to approach 4 times to Cape Vilan to do it. More than 800 km and 13 hours in the car. More than 16 hours in the field and many other processing.

The first two visits were conducted in 2015. In the first contact there were clouds, but we learned a lot about the possible composition and the range of dates on which make picture to have the Milky Way where we wanted. In the second lighting bulbs home, motorhomes and unexpected visits prevented us from doing a great job, but we discovered that we had to repeat black card we do at flashlight lighthouse on all shots, or there would be much difference of exposure; we cover the lens for nearly half the exposure time (reason why the Milky Way gets less presence).

Then we had to wait until 2016, since Milky was setting soon. We wait anxiously and even obsession. Wishing that no one else discovered possibility of a similar photo and he “steal” us part of the leadership of this work. Meanwhile we took the opportunity to ask Puerto de A Coruña that turn off  ambient light, and they put us in touch with Cristina; the lighthouse keeper of A Costa da Morte.

On the third visit we get a more than reasonable nightly result, even despite the strong wind and unexpected visits (and lanterns). I would still say that the blocked we make about lighthouse light was better than the final photograph. But after meeting Cristina, their history, their concerns … we seemed that something was missing at photo, lacked strength, lacked message. So we went back for the fourth (but certainly not the last time) and ask Cristina who had the patience to pose for us.

Surely an unforgettable night !.

Lighthouse keeper of  A Costa da Morte

As you have observed, unlike most of our panoramics, the Milky Way is not the protagonist; neither is the lighthouse, even despite its imposing presence.

The real star is at the center: Cristina Fernández, the lighthouse keeper of A Costa da Morte, looking proudly home.

A lifetime in Cape Vilan. He lived in the lighthouse when her husband was responsible for it, at his death she took care of this arduous task. Currently it has responsibility for the operation of all headlights from Laxe to Fisterra.

At first you culd think that Cristina is a living reflex of coast that helps to protect: Hard and strong. As not to be to fulfill its mission and living where he lives, far from civilization.

However, if you give a small chance to meet, in just a few minutes, you will find a kind, honest, hospitable person. He never has not for an answer and help you in everything you can, even without knowing.

But what really surprises in Cristina is her vitality and philosophy. Their efforts are directed towards protecting the heritage and identity of our land, starting with their lighthouses. We have no doubt that she will get everything she wants. As she tells to her sons: “We must strive to fulfill our dreams, and remember that anything is possible.”

A philosophy we always shared, and which reflects this work. It was almost impossible to make photo; but it was only a matter of trying again.

About Cristina we could talk at length, and still not be more than a poor portrait how the person is. She’s the message of this photo: His spirit, that her home represent, …


Of course we can not finish an entry like this without thanking many people.

First to Cristina for your patience and cooperation.

To Puerto de A Coruña to contact her.

To our loved ones, that do without us for hours without putting a bad face.

To MEDCLIC , ICTS SOCIB and Obra Social La Caixa for choosing our work among many other high quality works.

And to you. You are one of the reasons why we continue, and will continue, striving to show you high quality works that are representative of our sky and our land.

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