First Autumn Photographic Retreat in Borau , Pyrenees

Last weekend, October 24 and 25, the Borau Valley celebrated the First Autumn Photographic Retreat; an activity organized by the Cacaleyo Association together with the Environmental Tourism company Ojos Pirenaicos and the Aragonese photographer Esther Naval.

This first educational and artistic event around photography has been carried out with the participation of 12 students from different parts of our geography, since given the current circumstances regarding sanitary restrictions it has not been possible to do it with 30 people for whom the event was designed, but with very positive feelings for the work and development of this event that we hope can be repeated year after year.

Due to these last minute measures, all the activities and workshops carried out have been carried out in the open air, in groups of 6 people and in compliance with all security measures. The Cacaleyo Association, made up of different inhabitants of the town of Borau, has developed this novel initiative supported by the coordination of the Active Tourism company Ojos Pirenaicos and the Mirador del Pirineo, which has been in charge of making all the trips to the most emblematic corners of the valley . In addition, the professional photographer Esther Naval, based in Graus, has developed all the technical part of this event financed by the DGA.

It should be noted that this activity has been possible thanks to the DGA, which in the ORDER VMV / 504/2020, of June 19, calling for this year 2020, aid to families and non-profit organizations for the performance of actions related to the development of the Special Directive on Demographic Policy and Against Depopulation within the framework of the Aragonese Strategy for Social and Economic Recovery to combat the effects of the social and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and charged to the Fund for Territorial cohesion. An event that has been possible thanks to these subsidies, thus also fulfilling one of the main objectives of the same: to de-seasonalize tourism in the town and to bet on a different event that attracts both the people of the territory and people from other places generating a lively and different weekend.

Workshops and activities around heritage and photography

One of the main objectives of this I Borau Valley Photography Retreat has been to use photography as a method of expression, learn the basic concepts of image and light and use the natural and cultural heritage of this Alto Aragonese valley to develop all a theoretical part that we carry out in a very personalized way in two small groups of people, always outdoors.

On Saturday morning the event began by knowing the corners of the spectacular and well-cared town of Borau. Its cobbled streets, its flagstone roofs and its impressive cone-shaped chimneys were the best decorations to start the initiation workshops to photography and to the basic handling of light and cameras for each participant. The rest of the morning we move to the Troncito route, one of the most familiar trails in the town and one of the seven marked trails that exist in the Borau City Hall network of trails. The colors and natural heritage of this agro-pastoral environment served as a perfect and colorful landscape to handle the light and begin to express ourselves freely in this world so exciting as image and photography.

Introduction to photography with a tripod

After enjoying a home-cooked meal at the Lubierre Bar Restaurant in the same town, the group traveled to the Mirador del Pirineo, at more than 2,000 meters above sea level, to carry out a photography workshop with a tripod and thus delve a little deeper into driving. of the photo camera. The local company Ojos Pirenaicos has a forest license that allows the transfer of groups to this livestock environment in 4×4 to carry out ecotourism activities, observation and of course photographic training, being this the best “shuttle” to develop this workshop that speaks for itself alone. Sunset at more than 2000 meters, wildlife photography and tripod handling to continue with the different explanations and advice that the photographer Esther Naval together with the Nature guide David Ruiz de Gopegui offered about life in these high mountain environments.

At night and once the basic techniques and handling of the camera had been learned in its manual mode, the different participants in the workshop put into practice all the contents learned in the Plaza de la Villa de Borau, playing painting with light in different situations of luminosity that in a natural way the public lighting gave us.

San Adrián de Sasabe, a Romanesque treasure in the Borau Valley

For the day on Sunday the chosen setting was the head of the Borau Valley where the Romanesque hermitage of San Adrián de Sasabe; of Visigothic origin and declared a National Monument since 1965, it is one of the most important historical and patrimonial claims of the Jacetania Region. Pilar Gracia is a historian and inhabitant of Borau, in charge of showing us in great detail all the secrets of this enigmatic place, of relating the Jaqués and Lombard Romanesque art and even of telling us about the enigmatic legends that relate this corner to the forces telluric.

The games of light of the autumn day, and the free practice of what was learned during the day on Saturday allowed each one to flow with total freedom on an individual level in a workshop focused on removing all that is behind the photographer’s gaze. Different perspectives and frames that served to photograph the hermitage and its surroundings from another point of view, and which will soon be visible on the Ojos Pirenaicos website.

After the workshop, we evaluated the experience in a group and individual way together with all the participants, guides and trainers.

With very positive feelings we ended this I Photographic Retreat of Valle de Borau, which we hope to continue doing year after year thanks to this opportunity that the aid of the Territorial Cohesion Fund of the Government of Aragon has given us as an Association.

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