How to achieve great photos only with your phone when you travel to Gran Canaria

July 16, 2021

Do you want to know how to compose your pictures and make them stand out? You are about to find out.

In this post I will reveal one of the most fascinating places in Gran Canaria and how to take stunning pictures. I will also tell you how to get there and I will disclose a secret access point with free parking where there are always available spots.

You probably saw all these beautiful pictures from travel destinations and you were wondering how do they do it. And when you try to take them yourself, they just don 't look so good. The reason why is because we, photographers, use some secret formulas. Well, not exactly secret.

First things first. The place I will talk about in this post in called Puerto de Las Nieves, to be more exact about the Natural Pools of Agaete or Las Salinas.

Natural pools of Agaete
The Golden Spiral grid
Natural Pools of Agaete
Las Salinas Natural Pools in Agaete with Tamadaba mountain in the background

How to get to Puerto de Las Nieves?

Most people refer to the place as Agaete. The truth is a little more complex than that. Agaete is a village right at the beginning of the Valley of Agaete and it is located a bit further from the sea side where the Natural Pools of Agaete are located. We will talk about Agaete in a future post.

You can get to Puerto de Las Nieves by car or by bus. If you take the bus from Las Palmas you must go to San Telmo bus station (Global blue bus) and take bus number 103 to Puerto de Las Nieves (see the timetable bellow). Once you arrive head towards the promenade by the ocean and follow it to the end. That´s where you will find the Natural Swimming pools.

Global bus timetable
Guaguas Global Timetable

If you go by car, once the motorway ends, in the second roundabout towards Puerto de Las Nieves, take the first exit. It is a dirt road but in good conditions. This is a shortcut to the pools and also tax free parking where you can always find a spot to park. Use these coordinates as your destination point: 28°06'21.2"N 15°42'37.4"W.

From where you park, walk towards the ocean and turn right when you reach the walking path and you will already see the pools.

What to take pictures of?

Anything and everything right? With digital photography nowadays you can definitely do that without cost. But let´s be patient.

First have a look around and search for the best angles. You can take photos of the pools from many different angles but to get started let me give you some tips:

  • To find different and interesting angles turn around and analyze your possible shot towards all directions. Do this from a few different spots.

  • Identify your subject. Think what is it that you like so much about that scene. When you have the answer you will have your subject.

  • Now that you have your subject let´s use some composition guidelines: rule of thirds, leading lines, repetition, negative space, diagonals, the golden triangles, dynamic symmetry… .

OK, I know, that´s a lot to be thinking of. If you´re new to photography using just the rule of thirds will suffice.

What is the rule of thirds?

The rule of thirds is very simple. You divide the frame into 9 equal rectangles, 3 across and 3 down as shown below. Many camera manufacturers and most smartphones have actually included the capability to display this grid. Check your camera’s manual to see how to turn on this feature. For mobile phones go to camera settings and turn on the ¨GRID¨.

The idea is to place the important element(s) of the scene along one or more of the lines or where the lines intersect. We have a natural tendency to want to place the main subject in the middle. Placing it off centre using the rule of thirds will more often than not lead to a more attractive composition.

Puerto de Las Nieves
Puerto de Las Nieves
Natural Pools of Agaete

As you can see in the examples above, my main subjects are always placed in one of the intersection points which makes the picture more appealing.

There are other composition guidelines you should consider along with the rule of thirds:

  • Use leading lines. Leading lines help lead the viewer through the image and focus attention on important elements. Anything from paths, walls or patterns can be used as leading lines. Take a look at the example below.
  • Place the horizon on the top third or bottom third (avoid placing the horizon in the middle). In the examples above I chose to place the horizon on the top third because there is more information on the ground than on the sky.
  • Use diagonals and triangles. It is often said that triangles and diagonals add ‘dynamic tension’ to a photo. Incorporating triangles into a scene is a particularly good effective way of introducing dynamic tension. Triangles can be actual triangle-shaped objects or implied triangles (see the example bellow).

Natural Pools of Agaete
Leading lines drawing attention to important elements of the picture
Natural Pools of Agaete
Implied triangle aligned with the sinister diagonal

Conclusion

As you can see, it is possible to take great pictures with just your phone if you use the composition guidelines described in this post. Start by using the rule of thirds and your photos will look a whole lot better. You will see the difference right from the start.

There are many other amazing places to discover in Gran Canaria. In our private photography excursions you will discover so many hidden gems such as deep ravines, high cliffs above the ocean, pine and tropical forests, majestic canyons and beautiful villages. I will teach you a lot more about how to use your camera or your phone to take stunning pictures. You will learn and practice more composition techniques and you will have me as your private photographer for the whole day. But beware: this can be highly addictive and overwhelming.

Here are some of the places we can explore together:

Mirador del Balcón
Los Azulejos Rainbow Rocks
Puerto de Mogán
Pinos de Gáldar
Dunas de Maspalomas
La Garita Telde

Vega de Acusa Gran Canaria
Los Berrazales Gran Canaria
Los Berrazales Gran Canaria
Let's begin