February 2010, Paris, France
A publisher of text books for French students learning Spanish contacted Michelle to run a feature on internationally-renowned Spanish guitarist Daniel Casares. Michelle shot Daniel on location in his home town of Estepona. The brief was to portray his passion for his guitar.
February 2010, Tablas de Daimiel, La Mancha, Spain
This is the smallest of 14 National Parks in Spain and is a very important bird habitat. This year has been for rainfall so far, which has helped this marshland on the plains of La Mancha in the province of Cuidad Real. The winter trees and reflections of clouds within the marshes caught Michelle’s eye and were captured on camera.
February 2010, Chinchón, Madrid, Spain
Michelle stayed at the Parador in Chinchón and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to spend time just outside the capital. It has less than 40 rooms and offers a superb location literally on the doorstep of Plaza Mayor. Chichón is a medieval town, home to one of the most architecturally interesting plazas in the whole of Spain, with its wooden balconies and delightful restaurants, a must for any traveller. Time has stood still in Chinchón and, like any photographer or conservationist, Michelle hopes it will remain that way.
February 2010, Madrid, Spain
The Spanish capital is always a joy to photograph for Michelle. On this trip Michelle caught up with the Art Director of Conde Nast Traveller, the head of EFE Reportajes and British journalist Annie Bennett, who specialises in features on Spain. Madrid provided Michelle with crisp, bright blue `Velaquez skies’, enabling her to capture stock photography in and around the Plaza de Oriente and the iconic Plaza de España.
February 2010, Mercado de San Miguel & Taberneros restaurant, Madrid, Spain
In true journalistic style, Annie Bennett introduced Michelle to two great venues.
First was the newly-renovated Mercado de San Miguel. This beautifully constructed wrought-iron market was designed and built in 1911 and has recently become one of the most fashionable venues in the capital. It´s a gastronomic delight, with everything from bags of Spanish oranges to Spanish organic caviar direct from Rio Fro in Granada. The traditional concept of a market remains too – you can buy fresh fish, fruit and veg, flowers etc. However co-habiting with the traditional stands are new cutting-edge caviar suppliers, vibrant barrels of sherries and vermouth from Jerez, fresh oysters from Northern Spain, a constant stream of innovative tapas and, to top it all, patisseries such as the Horno la Santiago’s delicious home-made cakes.
Open from 10am to 10pm daily, and till 2am at the weekend, this is an excellent location for photography, especially around the outer perimeter, where natural light floods in through the glass walls. The central area, with little or no natural light, was certainly a photographic challenge.
Taberneros is situated in old Madrid, in the Madrid de las Austrias barrio, on calle Santiago 9. This is a restaurant with a difference – you can´t book, there are only about 12 tables, and they cite names of three sommeliers on the menu and boast an excellent bodega. Here the staff climb the stairs of the glass-fronted bodega and select the wine instinctively, knowing precisely where each bottle and vintage resides. The cuisine is creative Spanish with a touch of European and Asian flair. Established in 1897, its starters include Samson de verduras and tzatziki, traditional Salmorejo cordobés; main courses, Ojos de dragón, with decorative slices of onions representing the dragon´s eyes, and Boquerones Bilbaiana con caponatta Siciliana; and desserts include the home-made ‘según Albert’, which is whatever chef Alberto conjures up that night, and piñones de Santa Fe. Definitely worth a visit.
February 2010, Hotel projects in Europe and Asia
At the moment Michelle is preparing possible projects in Singapore, Greece and the Ukraine.
February 2010, Teaching photography in Andalucia, Spain
Michelle has been asked to host a photographic workshop in September 2010, for a group of Australian photographers. The venue will be the Costa de la Luz, the Coast of Light – what better location could a photographer have? September in Andalucia is renowned for clear days and superb light.