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Pentax 645z or Fuji GFX 50s

SeanNeedham

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I am thinking of all honesty relocating over there - I love the scenery and the weather would work for me nicely.
The weather is usually the deal breaker for most folk; I've met people who've jacked up and gone home after a year as they have it in their head that because it's Spain it's going to be warm and sunny all year and the first dose of minus double figures or the bus service cancelled because the bus is buried under a drift then they are off.

The roads are in very many ways similar to rural scotland, only better surfaced - but yeah it takes time to get places and big cities like Zaragoza, Barcelona, Madrid, Toulouse, Bordeaux are not that near but I can count on my hand the times I've been into Glasgow this last year and that's not because of lock down ;)
I know what you're saying there! If I'm in Barcelona more than twice in a year now-a-days then something is amiss (this year, it's been two or three times a month); there's no reason really to go unless it's for things the county general aren't equipped for or what I'd call perspective day (spend a day in the smog, having a mooch round the tourist traps and just watching how miserable everyone looks).

As for the roads, some maybe are better but depending on where you pick to live you could find that as soon as there's a hint of good weather or snow, there's city like traffic jams in the most obscure of places as the people run off to escape the urban. A couple of years back, a pal of mine who is a traffic cop was up on the tops and between him and a colleague they handed out ~250 fixed penalty notices in the space of an hour and a half on 6km of road for illegal parked vehicles where folk had just driven up from the city and parked their cars to go look at the snow.

I could see myself living quietly in a place like Fanlo, Bielsa, Escalona, etc maybe even L'Ainsa. I don't quite know where you are though but if you lived in this area all your grocery needs could be done without too much car time (30 mins each way max).
Bit further east than where you're thinking of, I'm about half way between Barcelona and Andorra; as for shopping and that, it's only oddball stuff that's not really available within that 30 minutes, but on the other side there's a lot more things available that are produced within the same radius which is probably not available anywhere else. In all, that area where you're looking is similarly connected to Huesca and Lleida as with me to Barcelona; probably to either about an hour and a half with a clear road.
 

SFTphotography

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The weather is usually the deal breaker for most folk; I've met people who've jacked up and gone home after a year as they have it in their head that because it's Spain it's going to be warm and sunny all year and the first dose of minus double figures or the bus service cancelled because the bus is buried under a drift then they are off.



I know what you're saying there! If I'm in Barcelona more than twice in a year now-a-days then something is amiss (this year, it's been two or three times a month); there's no reason really to go unless it's for things the county general aren't equipped for or what I'd call perspective day (spend a day in the smog, having a mooch round the tourist traps and just watching how miserable everyone looks).

As for the roads, some maybe are better but depending on where you pick to live you could find that as soon as there's a hint of good weather or snow, there's city like traffic jams in the most obscure of places as the people run off to escape the urban. A couple of years back, a pal of mine who is a traffic cop was up on the tops and between him and a colleague they handed out ~250 fixed penalty notices in the space of an hour and a half on 6km of road for illegal parked vehicles where folk had just driven up from the city and parked their cars to go look at the snow.



Bit further east than where you're thinking of, I'm about half way between Barcelona and Andorra; as for shopping and that, it's only oddball stuff that's not really available within that 30 minutes, but on the other side there's a lot more things available that are produced within the same radius which is probably not available anywhere else. In all, that area where you're looking is similarly connected to Huesca and Lleida as with me to Barcelona; probably to either about an hour and a half with a clear road.
I follow a few folk from there on social media - the snow sure is thick. I got a dose of it in early May - I thought I'd drive up to Lac D'Oredon (French side of the Bielsa tunnel) and do a morning shoot. Well...I got half way up and the road was closed. Man I've never seen snow like it - they'd ploughed the road but it was too icy to drive on so I walked the remaining distance to the Lake and the snow parting was nearly as tall as me. That's what 10k feet mountains bring - you don't get that type of snow here. I did figure it has to be like that when they sell snow chains in the petrol stations. The walk was worth it though :)

_DSC2478 by Stephen Taylor, on Flickr

I spend a month over there in September and October - never saw it too busy but that is off peak. I think the July/August times must be a lot busier as you can see there is a lot of tourist infrastructure there - however is it any worse than the Lake District, Skye, Glencoe all of which are our beauty spots here in Blighted.

The one time I found it was crazy busy was the last weekend of October - it became some Campervan hell with the main car park at Pradera de Ordesa full over the weekend. You can walk from Torla but that adds two hours, to maybe another 3-4 hours worth of walking so I went back to Anisclo which was a lot quieter.

Further west at Salent de Gallego, Formigal there is a massive, massive ski area - about a miles worth of parking for skiing. I cannot ski - never took to it but all signs it has to be a serious winter. TBH I prefer summer and autumn...but an Alpine style dry, cold winter appeals a lot.

I imagine you prepare well...you keep a lot of supplies in the house for when the roads become impassible, maybe a diesel generator to make electricity. What really appeals to me is the scenery - I cannot get the place out my mind. It's the rocks, how they layer and fold.

Oh and the house prices ;) that helps
 

SeanNeedham

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It's rare that we get absolutely bogged in for more than a couple of days; I think I've only seen that once in nigh on 15 years, but one thing that is very engrained in folk is the concept of a "traster", basically it's a room in the house or in the basement which is half junk store and half long term food store. We don't keep a generator, though as whilst we get occasional power cuts, we don't get super-massive ones like I remember from being young back in the hills in Derbyshire; just got an AC inverter and can run that from the garage off the car if need be and can rattle a stove together in a couple of minutes. Only pain in the backside, but it's the same all year round is that any serious episode of weather can knock telecoms services out sharpish, and with the lower levels of population it's not really considered urgent to re-instate compared to the cities.

I think the campervan thing would have been about what in the UK would be celebrated as Halloween, as the 1st of November is a day off and depending on how that falls relative to the weekend people will generally have a day or two off between the Sunday and the 1st, and a lot of folk do seem to bug out for that one as the weather isn't too bad usually and it being wild mushroom season.

The ski runs surprise people, as a lot of folk I know from back home don't really put Spain in the same thought process as ski-ing, but an hour from where I live there are more different ski stations than in the whole of the UK; and that's without the idea of re-opening one that was mismanaged and then closed about 25 years back. I've never taken to it myself, either, probably would have a go at cross-country or with snow rackets as that's a means of transportation, but hurtling down the side of a hill on two planks of wood and hoping not to kiss a pine tree, nah... I'll leave that one to the masochists.

As for the weather, again, with photography there's all sorts above and beyond just the landscape; being out in the mountains brings the summer storms, which I can spend all day on a rock somewhere just watching them roll about, and then being out in fairly un-polluted skies as well is very tempting (and I'm falling down this hole) for doing astro stuff as more often than not the weather forecast stays clear.

As for the house prices, I can't really comment on that as rather sadly we bought the place at the height of the property boom and now it's a bit disheartening to see that it's possible to buy places round here for less than the price of a mid-high end German car.
 

SFTphotography

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As for the house prices, I can't really comment on that as rather sadly we bought the place at the height of the property boom and now it's a bit disheartening to see that it's possible to buy places round here for less than the price of a mid-high end German car.
That's a big part of the appeal for a new buyer to the area though - I took a new job when my business was about to go belly up - and that job is done totally remotely. I could move there and buy without the need for a mortgage. I am waiting on work saying yay or nay to it in princple - as part of their hiring criteria was UK residency - which if I moved would no longer apply...otherwise I'll do that classic Brit cliche and retire over.

UK is naff for skiing - its too coastal, the mountains are too small (they might be quite pretty but they're at most 1/3rd of the height of the spanish/french ones) and we do not get a reliable snowfall like our continental cousins. What the Spanish have achieved though, unlike the Swiss is they've not wrecked their scenery with hotels, and ski infrascture. It's still natural feeling. That's a huge draw.

I found the October weather very clement, yes it snowed on the hills but it was amazing hiking weather, sunny, warm but fresh at the same time.
 

SeanNeedham

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Fingers crossed for you with the work situation, with what this flippin' virus has taught a lot of folk is that working from a remote location definitely is feasible it may be a bit of a silver lined cloud for you!

What the Spanish have achieved though, unlike the Swiss is they've not wrecked their scenery with hotels, and ski infrascture.
Some places, yes, but places like La Molina (just outside of Puigcerdà) and Baquiera are a bit production line ski-resorts; the former also has illuminated slopes so some nights looking from here it looks like zodiacal light glow over the horizon. Other places, though like Vall d'Nuria hasn't been ravaged like that, but those that have (and this is the chicken/egg conundrum to which came first) are the ones that are popular with the moneyed residents of Barcelona.
 

645z-Dallin

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Wow.... You got some awesome pics. We have a river in our town, but due do the climate here there rarely any water in it. We did get a bit of rain around Christmas so I got a pic of the normally dry Todd River in Alice Springs
 

SFTphotography

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Wow.... You got some awesome pics. We have a river in our town, but due do the climate here there rarely any water in it. We did get a bit of rain around Christmas so I got a pic of the normally dry Todd River in Alice Springs
Let's see yours from where you are. I imagine you can take a relatively short and inexpensive flight to Tasmania and NZ where the landscape are amazing.
 

SFTphotography

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I keep getting failed upload message. Fighters crossed this one works.
Love those green colours. I forget it is high summer down in the southern hemisphere.
 

645z-Dallin

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Lol....I live in the desert.... It's summer 10 months of the year here.
I'm driving down to Ayers Rock On the weekend. I'll take some snaps while I'm there.
I took the 35mm out for a test drive the other night. I'm so used to focusing my Ultra wide by turning all the way to infinity and then backing off a little. But, this Pentax 35mm I just turn it all the way to infinity, I thought it was interesting. Do they tune all their lenses like this?
 

SFTphotography

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Lol....I live in the desert.... It's summer 10 months of the year here.
I'm driving down to Ayers Rock On the weekend. I'll take some snaps while I'm there.
I took the 35mm out for a test drive the other night. I'm so used to focusing my Ultra wide by turning all the way to infinity and then backing off a little. But, this Pentax 35mm I just turn it all the way to infinity, I thought it was interesting. Do they tune all their lenses like this?
I noticed that on my 45-85 than infinity is infinity and it doesn't extend beyond that. I've not checked my 28-45.

eBay is the way to go for glass for this system, got a mint 80-160 and 200 F4 coming from Japan - combined bill c. £400. The camera itself was expensive, but the glass has been a lot cheaper than my old 35mm system - and seems very high quality. Even if I had wanted the Fuji system - there's no way I could have put together an MF system for the cost of this Pentax.

Truth be told - I just use the AF. Although the points are very much all in the middle, I find the compose, focus, recompose using the centre point fine. I can always check on live view. I don't even mind the more old fashioned push/pull for engaging, disengaging AF.
 
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