La Palma, and the canaries in general, offer some of the best locations to do astronomical observations or to have a look at the gorgeous night sky. So when you’re on the island and you’re into taking pictures, there’s nothing more logical than to try and capture the amazing night sky available to you.
This is a small selection of images I’ve taken over the last visit. They’re a work in progress, as I’m learning how to better handle my camera and what equipment to use. I had the (mis)fortune of running into a thunderstorm while I was up in the mountains. Obviously it gave way to some quite awesome pictures, on the other hand it also caused the clouds that hid the stars from us. The green line visible in one of the pictures is a laser beacon used by one of the telescopes (The William Herschel telescope).
La Palma offers plenty of activities, but the one it is most famous for is probably hiking. Therefore when I was visiting this time, I made sure to devote a few days to hiking and I was amply rewarded. The first hike I did was a hike through the Caldera, the cauldron. It is a narrow, and almost round, valley wedged in between three old volcanoes. I decided to take the “easy way” and have myself dropped off at the upper end of the valley and follow the (then empty) river bed down and back to civilization. It was a clear and sunny day, and the views were truly stunning. Luscious forests in front of steep cliffs with occasional views of the ocean in the distance and the exuberant vegetation in all shades of green around us. For almost 5 hours we walked through forests and valleys and the occasional clearings and enjoyed it tremendously. Luckily for us, it was a very cold day. The caldera, otherwise known as a giant melting pot did not really heat up and the temperatures did not exceed 30 degrees. In summer, when the sun is strong, temperatures in the caldera can easily exceed 40 degrees making any kind of physical effort a veritably pain to deal with. This wasn’t the first time I had attempted to do the hike in the caldera, the last time I had been on La Palma, I had already wanted to do the hike, but the weather had been too bed.. Given that you walk inside the empty river bed for quite a part of the way, any time that there have been strong rainfalls it is absolutely impossible to do the hike. Knowing this, I consider myself quite lucky to have been able to make the hike on the second attempt.
The other hike I did was the path from the Pico de la nieve up to the Roque de los muchachos. Completely different from the Caldera, but at least as awesome! The Pico de la nieve and the Roque de los muchachos both lie on the ridge enclosing the Caldera and walking from on to the other offers magnificent views inside the Caldera as well as down onto the ocean in the opposite direction. Again we had awesome weather and we had picked a great time of the year too. Early June/End of may everything in La Palma seems to be blossoming, there is a myriad of different colors covering every possible spot on the ground until you reach the top. Then suddenly the countryside is absolutely barren. But not without charm. At the Pico de la nieve an old friend was waiting for me. The raven seem to be sitting there, just waiting to freak a random hiker out by closing in on him while intently staring at you. Probably in the hope of either eating your food or you.. It’s not entirely clear.
The hike is about 5-6h ours long and this time we picked the “hard way”… Afterwards we asked us why.. surely the views would’ve been equally stunning if we had walked from the Roque de los Muchachos down to the Pico de la nieve. Either way though, we enjoyed ourselves, only the complete lack of shade had us worried after a while. But we made it back without being completely baked, just a little charred.