‘The Calms’: when the wind dies down and Lanzarote is at its most photogenic
Neither Spark AR Studio, nor the best director of photography on the planet can replicate it. Clean blue skies. Sunsets from another galaxy. Hazy breezes. Let’s call it the ‘Lanzarote filter’.
Sometimes it happens exactly on September 1st, with the precision of a Swiss clock. Sometimes the moment is delayed. In autumn, invariably, a sort of magic layer envelops Lanzarote. We call this period ‘The Calms’ and it is no more than the happy result of the weakening of the trade winds and a change in the inclination of the Earth’s axis with respect to the Sun.
The cool, damp winds blowing in from the north and north-east calm down. Why? Because of the proximity of the Azores anticyclone, which is responsible for the trade winds blowing more or less strongly.
We won’t dwell on the meteorological details, but you will be pleased to know that during your visit to Lanzarote you will find the sea temperature at its warmest in the whole year.
The impossible colour palette
The particles of light that impact on our retina have NO colour. “What we see is not what it is, but what our brain tells us it is”, says British journalist and science writer Bill Bryson.
Well, whether it’s the wavelength emitted by the volcanic colours or the millions of cells in our eyes, the fact is that September in Lanzarote means so much more than just going back to school or starting work again. Lanzaroteans often call the ninth month of the year “the summer of the locals” because only the inhabitants (or frequent travellers) know that the famous calms of Lanzarote are the starting point of two particularly extraordinary months for:
Outdoor photo sessions
Dinners on the terraces
Swimming at any time of the day
Reading on the beach
Live, open-air shows
“Live in a dream”
¿Who knows what painting Joaquín Sorolla or John Turner might have produced if they had strolled through La Geria during an autumn sunset? Perhaps today they would be on the walls of the Museo de Bellas Artes in Valencia or the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Those landscape artists never saw Montaña Colorada, burn, nor did they see the hollows and vines light up in amber. But César Manrique, capturing the colours, textures and volcanic soil in his paintings. He himself carried a contagious luminosity that the writer Juan Cruz defined so well: “César was like a light switch, he made you live in a dream“.
Something similar, certainly dreamlike, occurs when we walk, cycle or look out of the car window at sunset, in Lanzarote’s autumn. Sometimes, before The Calms arrive, the smooth and undulating mountains of the island are capped by a beret. These are clouds formed by the humidity of the trade winds, ready and willing to leave us.
Once the fair weather arrives, the sea of Lanzarote becomes a platter, free of its usual crests and hollows. The wind turns into a light breeze that plays with the hair and the leaves of the palm trees without ruffling them. Time seems to stand still. Who pressed the ‘pause’ button?
The #Lanzarote spell
The #Lanzarote thashtag has over 64 million views on Tik Tok and brings together almost 3 million publications on Instagram. The island is one of the backdrops that most engages the users of these two social networks, where you will find choreographies in the sea, cloud time lapse sequences, natural pools viewed by drones, photos in the middle of a lonely road flanked by lava, selfies in the Charco de San Ginés, underwater shots and spectacular ranges of reds in the ash seas of Timanfaya.
“That such imaginations can be born in the simple mountains of Lanzarote makes me think of the ghosts that undoubtedly enchant the minds of serious mountaineers when they approach the border between the world of earth and the world of air.“These are the words of José Saramago in “Cuadernos de Lanzarote”. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature made the island his home from 1990.
Singular, Martian, disturbing, inspiring… One has to dig into one’s memory to find new adjectives to convey the enchantment of the landscape of Lanzarote, which becomes almost overwhelmingly emphasised by autumn.
The autumn sun softens, the sea warms and calms, the wind decides to stop shouting. Everything conspires to make the song of the Eurasian whimbrel, more audible. This local curlew usually makes its presence felt in delicate flights over the rock pools that the tide leaves behind when it goes down.
Notebook and pen? State-of-the-art photographic equipment? Watercolours? Absolutely nothing? Choose the tools you want, but come and experience autumn on Lanzarote.
It’s a unique opportunity for finding your own light. 🙂