Gonzalo Diez follows the tradition of those photographers who come from outside the pueblo and have given us some wonderful portraits of Lagartera. He has taken a lot of fine photos of the celebration of Corpus Christi and the traditional Lagarteran costume, but as those topics have been extensively covered elsewhere, the focus here is on his landscapes and wildlife photos.
The first photo shows Lagartera reflected in a golden light as the sun sets, with dark clouds behind the pueblo. It is wonderfully atmospheric because of the way he has captured the light.
The second photo shows the Hermitage of the Martyrs, again with a dramatic sky.
Gonzalo Diez has also explored the high ground to the south of Lagartera, which gives views of both the Sierra de Gredos and the Mountains of Toledo, and which is often best suited to sheep, because the rocks and boulders make ploughing difficult.
Rabbits are plentiful there. We all feel differently about rabbits, according to whether we protect our vegetables from them, or hunt and eat them. And we can feel tenderness for them in their wild state, so long as they are not eating our veggies!
Another tender portrait of mother and offspring, a calf having breakfast in the Dehesón del Encinar, Holm oak pasture. Lagartera is in the Campana de Oropesa, a region in the west of the province of Toledo bordering Cáceres, Extremadura, to the west, and Ávila, Castilla y León, to the north. El Dehesón del Encinar is in the municipality of Oropesa, in the north of the lowland plain between the pueblo of Lagartera and the mountains.
A Dehesa is a system of land use from western Spain. It is pasture land with trees, especially Holm oaks and cork oaks, which is too marginal for arable farming. This is a magnificent cork oak. The sky is spectacular in this photo. Gonzalo Diez has also taken some very atmospheric photos of misty days, such as this one of sheep in the mist near the pueblo,
and this one of cranes in a dehesa, called ‘Grullas in the Mist’, a Spanglish pun!
Pigs used to be taken to graze beneath Holm oaks, eating the acorns in autumn. Today, most pigs are intensively farmed, but there are still some from the traditional Iberian pig breed which graze on the lowland dehesas.
The municipality of Lagartera stretches from near the River Tagus in the south, to the River Tietar and the Rosarito reservoir in the north, with most of the territory lying to the north of the pueblo. The pueblo itself is on a hill. The lowlands stretching to the Tiétar are ideal for cyclists to explore. This view of the Sierra de Gredos shows Almanzor peak, the highest point in the Spain’s central mountain system, and was taken from the Rosarito reservoir. The old sofa depicted in the foreground is a gentle reminder that humans do not always value the resources around us as much as we should.
In some ways, Gonzalo Diez’s photos resemble paintings, with his attention to colour, composition, and use of light. Here, the Sierra de Gredos forms an impressive backdrop to the dehesa. It could be translated into a perfect landscape painting, and makes you want to explore what we have so close to hand.