Last Wednesday: Back in Spain.

We set off from Porto in the morning. After 30 minutes we hopped over the border with Spain and soon arrived at Baiona. Baiona is a small port and at summer a busy tourist destination.



The beach and the port of Baiona is quite famous. On March 1st, 1493 a caravel La Pinta, one of Columbus ships coming back from the first trip to America, arrives to the port of Baiona. Baiona was the first port in Renaissance Europe to know about the discovery of America.



At Baiona we met our friends and had a lovely time and wonderful lunch at the Eliado restaurant located just in front of the Playa de América.







Eladio restaurant. From the left top: children at the table, grilled octopus, restaurant´s speciality: melon sorbet with a touch of Spanish jamon, rice with lobster, excellent Albarino slightly sparkling wine.



Maciek.
29.04.2009

Sunset over Afurada fishing port.

It only takes me 10 minutes to cross the Douro river and arrive at not-so-much busy port of Afurada ( google map: São Pedro da Afurada ). At night there is a little movement here. Only few fishing boats are coming back home. With EU fishing quota restrictions imposed over Portugal, there are every time less and less bussines here and more and more unemployed. And to make matters worse, EU admits fishing quotas have failed to protect fish stocks.



The sunset over the small port of Afurada, Portugal.


Photo:
Date/time: 2008-10-03 18:30:15
Shutter speed: 0,5 ; 1; 3,6 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
F-stop: f/20
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 12 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Exp -0.6 Remote control. Tripod.

Post processing:
HDR rendering with Allign Images.





Maciek.

Rhubarb session


Green Rhubarb stalks in our kitchen.




There are many different species of Rhubarb. Most of them were brought to Europe and the Americas from Asia. The one on the picture above with thick clustered green roots belongs to Rheum Rhabarbarum type.


Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-04-15 15:05:00
F:3,2
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 60 mm
Lens: AS-F Nikkor 50 mm
Tripod



Maciek.



Our garden colours in middle April





From the top left:

fast growing and just beginning to flower - blue Passion Flower ( Passiflora Caerulea),
our 10 meters high red flowering Bougainvillea,
Tulbaghia Violacea - called a "wild garlic",
red Azalea in flowers,
Fragaria Vesca or simply a strawberry,
yellow roses just beginning to flower,
had a nice cup of coffee in the garden and
little yellowish flowers of papirus ( Cyperus Papirus ).




All pictures taken on the same day, April 23th, 2009.





Maciek



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I stepped into mud.

What kind of sacrifice can a photographer take in pursuit of the best angle and the most favorable light? I stepped yesterday into the mud and my feet weren´t too happy about it. But the photo I have taken was definitely worth it.



April 2009. Low tide. The sea mud and traditional fishermen´s boats close to Murtosa village, Portugal.



Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-04-19 19:55:10
Shutter speed: 3,6 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ND G 0.4, 0.6
F-stop: f/20

ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 12 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Exp -0.3
Remote control.
Tripod
.



Maciek.


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Dom Luis I bridge, Porto, Portugal.



One of the main tourist attractions of city of Porto, Portugal. Iron bridge built between 1881 and 1885 spans the Douro river in a single arch of almost 180m wide. There are two roads: lower, where the cars can pass, and the upper one, located 70m above the river, only for pedestrian and the electric trams.

This photo, taken from the upper level, was one of my first panorama making experiments.



Model: NIKON D80

Date/time: 2008
Panorama of 8.





Maciek.

Champions League: Manchester United - FC Porto


Welcome to FC Porto stadium called "Dragão" ( which means "a dragon" in Portuguese ) for the last Wednesday´s Champions League quarterfinal clash between Porto and Manchester United.








The overall score stand at 3-2 and Manchester United team has won.








The "Dragon" stadium in Porto and "The Dragon" - the symbol of F.C. Porto team.


Bad weather in Portugal. Winter strikes back ?

For the last two weeks continental Portugal has been continually hit by cold weather fronts coming from the northern Atlantic.
Far from normal spring weather conditions, it has been very rainy and cold ( with temperatures around 14 C ) with winds over 60 km/h. As the cold weather fronts sweep toward inland Portugal and Spain they produce more rain and snow in the mountains.


"One of the more counter-intuitive things for a photographer to do is leave their warm home in pursuit of a dramatic scene with bad weather".
Bad weather but still good conditions for photographers. Late afternoon, a rocky cost near Vila Nova Gaia, Portugal.


The low temperatures are going to stick around for some days ahead, accompanied by occasional flurries and cold winds.

It seems like continental Portugal is in for another taste of winter before the weather warms up for good.

Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-04-16 16:40:15
Shutter speed: 1 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ND G 0.4, 0.6
F-stop: f/22

ISO: 200
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 12 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Tripod
.


Maciek.

Petrochemical refinery photographed at high tide.

Sunset over oil refinery of Leça da Palmeira, near Porto in Portugal.




High tide on the western coast of Portugal occurs every 12 hours. It happens because of the moon's gravitational force that pulls on water in the oceans.
The difference in sea levels can reach almost 6 meters.




Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-14 18:36:00
F:13
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 100 mm
Lens: AS-F Nikkor 70.0-300 mm VR
ND 0,4
Tripoid


April 2009.

Maciek.

Memories from Morges, Switzerland.

Lake Geneva vineyards panorama as seen from Chexbres. ( click to enlarge ).




I´m an early birdy so woke up at 5 a.m. and took that photo from the window of the hotel Mont-Blanc au Lac in Morges, Switzerland.





Inspired by the pictures I spotted at Bea´s blog, I looked back at some of our old photos of the northern coast of Lake Geneva ( French: Lac Léman ).
Morges is quite a nice small town, with lakeside boat area and nice views of the French alps on a clear day.

We spend there some unforgettable days in August 2008.


Photo 1:
Date/time: 2008-08-01 T 19:59:11
Panorama of 3.

Photo 2:
Date/time: 2008-08-01 T 05:25:50
Shutter speed: 3 sec
Exposure Program: Shutter priority
F-stop: f/22
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length:12 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm



Maciek.

Our garden colours in early April





From the upper left:
French Lavender, Bougainvillea, fresh leaves of our Laurel tree, colorful wild Daisies, red Azalea, Spike Lavender, red wild Disphyma Crassifolium ( Rounded
Noon-Flower ), blue flowering Ceanothus and my beautiful wife, Agnieszka :)


All pictures taken on the same day, April 9th, 2009.


Maciek

New pier in my town

A view from the new pier. Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

Where Douro river meets the Atlantic Ocean a new concrete pier was recently built. It was meant to prevent frequent floods.
The worst happened on Christmas 1909. After days of heavy rain, the river went up 11 meters, flooding and destroying many houses and shops in Porto and Gaia cities.


A new pier. Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.


On a new pier beware of wind, waves ( can reach 10 meters ) and splash. Never enter during the storm weather.



Model: NIKON D80

Photo 1:
Date/time: 2009-04-07 T 20:14:50

Shutter speed: 5 sec
Exposure Program: Shutter priority
F-stop: f/22
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length:15 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
7100 K.

Photo 2:
Date/time: 2009-04-07 T 19:59:11

Shutter speed: 0.5 sec
Exposure Program: Shutter priority
F-stop: f/6.3
ISO: 250
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 20 mm
Lens: 18.0-70.0 mm
6900 K.

Photo 3:
Nokia N81



Maciek.

The only tea plantations in Europe

This is the only place in Europe where tea can be grown. The Azores Islands. Middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The only tea factory and tea plantations in Europe.



Picking of tea leaves starts between April and September. Next there is a wilting - one hour-long rolling process that crushes the tea leafs, followed by fermentation, drying and packing.



Porto Formoso tea factory. Pekoe tea. Tea plantations.





The two existing factories: Gorreana and Porto Formoso produce three different types of black tea. Tea varieties are determined according to where on the bush the leaves are picked from: first there is a orange pekoe, the most flavored one, that comes from the bud and from the first and the youngest leaves. Then there is a pekoe, a less-flavored variety, derived from the second leaf and finally we have a Broken Leaf, the least aromatic of the three with less tannins, that is made from fragments of the remaining leaves.




At the end of the tour one can enjoy a cup of tea in a specially prepared tea-room.
So sit comfortably, grab your cap of tea and enjoy. Certainly you won't find a fresher tea anywhere else in Europe.





We visited the two tea factories during our second visit to São Miguel island. March 2009.






Maciek.



Sameiro Sanctuary

Tuesday April 07th, 2009. So finally we are in for a Easter Holly Week.
Today in the morning we headed 40 kms north of Porto to a small village of Samerio.
The Sameiro Sanctuary is located at the top of the hill overlooking city of Braga.

Late 19-th century church in neoclassical style was the place where on May
15th, 1992 Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mess to over 100.000 pilgrims during his Apostolic Voyage to Portugal.

Our Lady of Sameiro.

Pope John Paul II has always been a great champion of catholic family life.
In Sameiro he addressed issues directly connected with family: the importance of interpersonal love, responsibility and dignity.
Marriage is a fully an interpersonal relationship. Pope underscores the importance of mutual love between the spouses. This is a main building block for the future of any society and country.

Pope´s words spoken in Pomeiro in 1992 seem to be very up to date in our
laicized and socialism-orientated societies.



Model: NIKON D80

Date/time: 2009-04-07 12:42
Shutter speed: 1/50
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
F-stop: f/8
ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 20 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm





Maciek.

Azores Islands - Continued

It is thought that the name of archipelago Azores is derived from the bird named Goshawk ( "Açor" in Portuguese ), which was common on the islands at the time of discoveries. Other think that the name came from Portuguese word "azures" which means "blue".

Mosteiros is a name of the small village located in the western part of the island. There are some small islets close to the shore. The word Mosteiros in Portuguese means "monastery" since some islets resemble churches.



This photo was taken at the sunset at the Mosteiros voulcanic black sand beach. Tripod. Remote control.



Model: NIKON D80

Date/time: 2009-03-27 20:13:12
Shutter speed: 3 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
F-stop: f/4
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 10 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm



Date: 27 of March 2009 during our second short visit to Azores Islands.

Maciek.

Islands of Azores - remnants of Atlantis


In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is a small group of nine of volcanic islands known as Azores.
These islands are probably the surviving remnants of mysterious Atlantis continent.


São Miguel is the biggest ( 65 kms long ) and most populated ( 130.000 inhabitants ) island.

One of the main tourist attractions of the island is its natural beauty. Lagoa das Furnas ( below ) is one of 3 biggest lakes located in the half-active volcanic crater. The last eruption happened in 1630 and caused 200 deaths.








Model: NIKON D80
Date/time: 2009-03-29 20:13:12
Shutter speed: 1 sec
Exposure Program: Aperture priority
F-stop: f/25
ISO: 100
Metering Mode: Pattern
Flash: Did not fire
Focal length: 11,5 mm
Lens: 10.0-20.0 mm
Tripod.


Date: 29 of March 2009 during our second short visit to Azores Islands.
Maciek.