A postcard from São Miguel

Rays of morning light filter through the clouds above the Lake of Fire, São Miguel, Portugal.




A story behind: It took me 20 minutes to get from the hotel to the viewing point pictured above. I got up early, climbed the mountain to see the sun being born over the mountain ridge and waited for the right moment. I managed to take a few snaps and be back to the hotel for the breakfast. ´Not a bad beginning of the day´, I thought.

Photographing rays of sun can be tricky. If you do not get aperture and shutter speed under control, images tend to have high contrast, blown out highlights, lens flare and colours that might even look overly saturated. So pick a mid-tone area to meter off if you want everything to be exposed relatively well. Check your histogram and - if necessary - take multiple shots metering off different parts of the scene so that you can choose the best one later.




Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm.



Aperture:
f/14




Shutter speed:
1/250 sec



Exposure bias: 0 EV



Focal Length: 19 mm



ISO: 200



Date Taken: August, 2011, 07: 40



Maciek.





Sunrise over the Tejo river.





A story behind: Three different things went wrong yesterday morning. First the sky: no clouds nor river fog and consequently no natural light filtering, just hard and unpleasant feeling. Second the temperature: we are still in the middle of the summer so 20º C at 6.30 in the morning may be normal for this time of the year but it is a "killing machine" for photography. And finally the low tide that I have encountered that morning deteriorated the reflection of the bridges in the water.



In such difficult conditions it is important to remember to be very precise with the initial color settings during exposure and the shutter speed to balance the unwanted light and weather conditions.




Location: Lisbon, Portugal.



Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm.



Aperture:
f/14




Shutter speed:
3 sec



Exposure bias: -0,9 EV



Focal Length: 19 mm



ISO: 500



Date Taken: August 24th, 2011, 06: 32



Maciek.

A view from Quiraing.



A story behind: We were climbing the Trotternish ridge for over an hour. Every moment the views were more and more amazing. But when we got close to the top and the plateau of the Quiraing the breathtaking 360º panoramic views have opened.

To the west we could see the Outer Hebrides islands, to the east the Scottish mainland and down there were some small lakes and a pyramidal rocky peak ( the Prison ).


The full frame camera is ideal to capture vast and spacious landscapes. Minimal adjustments were made to this image using Photoshop. It’s as straight out of the camera as possible.



Location: Quiraing, Scotland.



Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm.



Aperture:
f/14




Shutter speed:
1/250 sec



Exposure bias: -0,3 EV



Focal Length: 16 mm



ISO: 200



Date Taken: July 08th, 2011, 12: 52



Maciek.

Cuellar Castle and a man with a dog



A story behind: It was Sunday, rather early morning, the 7th of August. It is rare to see the main square in front of the famous Santiago Cathedral empty. Usually the square and church are packed with tourists and pilgrims from around the world.
So that morning I savoured this unique moment of solitude and beauty of the place.

Later I took some photos and spent a couple of minutes talking to a pilgrim who walked here from France. Bon voyage home my friend !

Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm.

Aperture:
f/4


Shutter speed:
1/60 sec

Exposure bias: 0 EV

Focal Length: 18 mm

ISO: 640

Date Taken: August 07th, 2011, 06: 38


Maciek.

A perfect day in Porto

Porto is the second biggest city in Portugal. Located on the Atlantic coast and on the banks of the Douro river the city has more than 1 million friendly inhabitants.



SEE:





In the morning put your comfy shoes because Porto is an excellent city to explore on foot. Start with the oldest part: the Ribeira. You can´t miss the red roofed old houses squeezed on the rocky slope of the Douro river. This is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ribeira district. Walk the narrow streets and later go to the other side of the river by crossing the iron Ponte de Dom Luís I bridge.



Dont´t forget to enter the Lello bookstore. Opened in 1906, Lello is one of the most beautiful places to read in Porto and around the world. In 2007 Lello was selected by the British journal "The Guardian" the third most beautiful bookstore in the world.



In the late afternoon take an old tram line from the Ribeira to the ocean front. Sit comfortably on one of many beach cafés decks and enjoy the sunset.

PLAY:

For some free Portuguese red or white wine tasting go to ViniPortugal ( http://www.viniportugal.pt/ ) in the heart of the old Ribeira district.



You can also have fun and learn about a production of the world-famous sweet Port wine at the wine caves located in the old warehouses. ( http://www.cavesvinhodoporto.com/ ).



On the 24th of June ( St John´s day ) there is a famous Regatta of Rabelo boats on the Douro river. In the old days the boats used to transport barrels of Port wine from the upper Douro to the caves located in Porto. Today hundreds of people gather along the banks of the river to watch the spectacle.



SHOP:







For shopping go to Santa Catarina street not far from the old town. This mostly-pedestrianized street is a magnet for both locals and tourists. If you are tired just sit in one of the many cafés and watch the life of this always busy street.

An old pastry shop close to the Santa Catarina shopping district in the old town.







On the same Santa Catarina street seek for the Capela das Almas or a Chapel of the Souls with its gorgeous tiles that cover its exterior walls with the scenes from the lives of Saint Francisco de Assis and Saint Catarina.





STAY:





Hotel HF Tuela just in the town center and close to Bom Sucesso Shopping Center offers good accommodation with reasonable prices of 38 Euro per room.





EAT:



If you want to eat the best fish and sea food in town head for Matosinhos, a large by-the-ocean community 2 kilometres from Porto. Just in front of the ocean you will find a lot of small family-run and inexpensive restaurants with unquestionably the freshest gilled fish in Northern Portugal.

Maciek.





PS. This is a part of my mini-guide of Porto published elsewhere.

Enjoy.