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  • Writer's pictureFotomondeo

Story of an image - Number 7

We all edit and process images to an extent. I am not a photoshop expert and I don't tend to do a lot of editing before I am happy with the final image. The image is an exception though and it evolved quite a lot before it changed into what you see above.

To start with, what are we looking at? That is a photo of a Toro de Osborne, or Osborne Bull. It's a 14-metre (46 ft) high black silhouette of a fighting bull. The Osborne sherry company (founded by Thomas Osborne Mann in 1772) erected large images of bulls starting in 1956 to advertise their Brandy de Jerez. In 1994 the EU passed a law that prohibited all roadside advertising of alcoholic beverages, and the bulls were therefore to be removed.

By this time the signs were nationally renowned, so although some campaigners wished them completely removed to fully comply with the intent of the law, public response resulted in the signs being retained, but completely blacked out to remove all reference to the original advertisers. The Court eventually allowed these signs to remain on the grounds that they have become a part of the landscape and have "aesthetic or cultural significance", thus turning the bulls into public domain images.

Today there are about 90 of these impressive roadside monuments still in existence over all of mainland Spain, with the exception of Cataluña.

I was lucky enough to live within a half hour drive of two of them. The one above is situated on the N332 road between Alicante and Benidorm, by Venta Lanuza.

The shot was taken during a drive home one day when I saw the bull looking magnificent against a spectacular sky. I just had to stop and take some photos.

It was once I got home that the work started. Behind the bull are power-lines. They had to be removed. The colours and contrast were tweaked to add a little drama. Then the biggest change; There is no reflecting water there. I confess, the reflection is a totally false addition created in Photoshop. Adds something to the photo though doesn't it!

Now you know the story of Osborne Bulls, and how I captured the one above.

If you are interested in the settings, it was 1/250th of a second at ISO200 with aperture at f10.

Thank you for reading.

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