The approach


A thunderstorm is nearing in Extremadura, Spain. A few minutes later, the white “finca” (a large ranch) is barely visible anymore.

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Pentax K5, Pentax DA 4/16-45mm @45mm, 1/200s, f/10, ISO200.

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Han, this captures the drama of a thunderstorm getting close very well, with the brighter green grass and trees in the foreground and the heavy dark land and sky in the distance. I’m finding the mix of trees and grass in the foreground very intriguing.

Mark, the mix of trees and grass is typical for the region. The original dense forest (mainly holm oaks) has been thinned out in the past, usually centuries ago, and the remaining is locally called a “dehesa”. Cattle and or sheep, sometimes pigs, are kept here in low density. The region is a paradise for bird lovers. One of the few examples where man and agriculture go together without disastrous effects. Thanks to the low intensity agriculture.
Maintaining this landscape is difficult, because young trees need to be protected several years (without grazing animals), so the land cannot be used during a longer period. As far as I know, ranchers are compensated for the loss of income.