Taking the Wrong Path

In the journey of life, taking the wrong path can be less than ideal. However, taking the wrong path while out hill-walking, if you don’t just simply lose your way, can also bring unexpected joy and rewards

I love travelling to photograph the world. It is not only part of my job, but also one of the greatest pleasures in my life, after my family. Photography defines me, it makes me happy, it represents how I see the world.

One of my most-recent travelling destinations was Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. Although renowned as a famous destination for tourists seeking a bit of sea, sun and relaxation, I doubt many of us have yet discovered that it has so much more to offer; the main attraction being the volcanic mountain, Teide, and many smaller volcanos surrounding it. With endless paths to explore, it is also an ideal place for ramblers.

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I had originally planned to stay on the northern edge of the island, to photograph the rugged seascapes with the glorious stacks but, just before I booked the week-long trip, I changed my mind, deciding instead to photograph the barren landscape around the mountain volcano, Teide. Judging by the images I came back with; it was a good decision. If, like me, you enjoy the untamed side of our planet, then you will certainly find this landscape awe-inspiring and full of endless potential.

Modern technology
During one of my walks I decided to take a specific path I had seen on Google Maps. Parking at the designated area, I started walking up the main path which, some distance further along, split in two. Although I recalled seeing the split, I hadn't memorised which direction I should take. Taking out my phone to check the map, I found out that there was no signal – and the map of the island I had downloaded for offline use, somehow did not work. While I am sure it would be fine for someone more tech savvy than me, I knew I was in trouble.

The right path?
I decided that all roads lead to somewhere, so picked one of the paths and started the walk to the location. Twenty minutes later I had a feeling that I had taken the wrong path.

I had originally anticipated walking for an hour, which would allow me time to take some pictures, spend another hour walking back to the car and then head off to my sunset destination. So, I carried on walking on the wrong path.

At some point, as I had navigated my way over some rough terrain of lava rocks, I noticed a fairly steep hill covered with sandy ash. Me being me, my curiosity was piqued, and I knew I had to go up that hill and see what the view looked like from the top. When I eventually made it up I was not disappointed. I found myself completely alone with my camera, on this high viewpoint that offered the most breathtaking views and raw beauty, laid out before me in all its glory.

Aware I didn’t want to be late for my sunset shoot, and with a long walk back ahead of me, I was starting my descent when a mist suddenly rolled in up the mountains, transforming the landscape and offering yet more opportunities that demanded to be captured. Needless to say, the return hike was significantly delayed, and it was dark when I finally got back to the car. My original plans for the day were in tatters, but yet they were replaced by the most unexpected and remarkable gift that I could not have anticipated.

So, the next time you are out walking and you take the wrong path, treat it as an opportunity. After all, you never know what could be around the corner.

Going back
During my time on Tenerife I visited many locations, walked many paths and, just as many times, sat down to catch my breath and simply absorb the breathtaking views.

The landscape is extraordinary and yet, despite my best planning, I still underestimated that an island such as Tenerife would have so much to offer the landscape photographer. I know I have barely touched the surface of this remarkable island, despite the itinerary I carefully planned and despite using my time wisely, heading out every day to shoot under the idyllic morning and evening light.

There is so much more to discover, and I am already planning my next visit, both to capture some of what I know I missed, and to discover even more inspiration in the many locations where I haven’t yet looked.

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