The cloud and me


Selfportrait on the rocky beach of Granja, south of Porto, Portugal.

A story behind:  It was almost the sunset. I set a 30 seconds dalay and the camera shot a series of photos  with a one to three-seconds exposure.
Lack of polarizer didn´t allow me to remove the glare from the rocks while creating this dreamy long exposure photograph.


There was a thunderstorm on the horizon and the cloud went interestingly iluminated by the dying sun.


Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Tripod.

Aperture:
f/18

Shutter speed:
3 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Granja, Portugal.
 
Date taken: Tuesday, December 25th 2012, 17:06

Maciek.

Rise like a morning sun



Selfportrait on the rocky beach of Povoaçao, Portugal.

A story behind:  It is always dificult to get up early in the morning. Sometimes you get a nice photo but most frequently you don´t. But the real reward is the unique oportunity to observe the nature with such a tranquility that no other part of the day can deliver. Researchers from the University of Bradford using funcional MRI recently discovered that people who experience tranquility have much greater effective brain connectivity.

That Thursday morning cold clouds were illuminated by the rising pink sun over the beach of Povoaçao - southern coast if the São Miguel island. Agua Retorta high cliffs can be seen on the left.


Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Tripod.

Aperture:
f/9

Shutter speed:
1 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Povoação, Portugal.
 
Date taken: Thursday, December 6th 2012, 08:02

Maciek.

Monday in the Bussaco palace



The Bussaco palace columnade in Manueline style.


A story behind: The Palace of Busaco was a haunting palace for the kings of Portugal. Now it is a luxury hotel located in the mountain range of Serra do Busaco, in the municipality of Mealhada, in central Portugal.
The area around the Palace was ones a part of a Carmelite convent established in 1628. The monks not only built a convent but also created a luxurious garden with many species of trees from all over the world.


Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 70-300 mm.

Aperture: f/8

Shutter speed:
1/100 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 140 mm

ISO: 640



Place taken: Busaco, Portugal.

Date taken: Monday, Dezember 3rd, 2012. 12:07




 Maciek.

Early morning on the Eiffel bridge



The  Dom Luis bridge erected in 1886. The architect was Teóphile Seyrig under the supervion of  Gustaf Eiffel.

A story behind:  Since cold air is denser than the warm air, it sinks to the lowest point of the ground which is usually the valley of the river. There is a sufficient moisture in the air from the water ( the water temperature is always higher than the air ) and the fog begins to form in layers as the air temperature approaches the dew point. The fog develops over night and it usually persists until sun rises. 

Early cold morning on the Dom Luis bridge.

Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Handheld.

Aperture:
f/10

Shutter speed:
1/30 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 35 mm

ISO: 400



Place taken: Porto, Portugal.
 
Date taken: Thursday, November 27th 2012, 08:34

Maciek.

Mosteiros Beach

Sunset on the Mosteiros beach, Portugal.


A story behind:  Some people say that all over the world there is 90% of average landscape ( uninteresting to the human eye ) and there is as little as 10% of miracles. I strongly disagree. Take this Mosteiro beach. When arriving most people see only unpleasant wind and dark sky. But the truth is that even this kind of landscape shines here and there and the experienced eye is being seduced all the time. Eyes stop and wide open and the admiring requires much more that the optical system. Many times you need to train your eyes to see

The name Mosteiros beach comes from the old legend. Back in XVth century when the first European explorers spotted this strange rock formations they thought this was a monastery ( port: Mosteiro ) building. 



Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. ND reverse 3 stop. Tripod. Rubber boots. Bashed by heavy, November waves.

Aperture:
f/18

Shutter speed:
1,6 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Mosteiros beach, Portugal.
 
Date taken: Thursday, November 21th, 2012. 18:36.

Maciek.

Cuenca, Spain.

The old catherdal of Cuenca, a few minutes after the sunset, Castilla - La Mancha, Spain.


A story behind: We spent 2 fantastic days traveling across the Castilla La Mancha region in Spain. The weather, lodging and food were great. 

Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Handheld.

Aperture:
f/5

Shutter speed:
1/30 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 3000



Place taken: Cuenca, Spain.
 
Date taken: Sunday, November 18th 2012, 17:00

Maciek.

A view from my window

Arrabida bridge, although built in 1963, continues to be a splendid example of the modern architecture.


A story behind: November is the best month to take sunset photos from my window. The soft light travels  along the river  and deep into the city. Slow shutter speed added extra linear movement of the water in the river. Unfortunately it was moments before the night bridge illumination was turned on. 


Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. 

Aperture:
f/16

Shutter speed:
21 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 400



Place taken: Porto, Portugal.
 
Date taken: November 14th 2012, 17:24

Maciek.

12:25 from Regua to Porto

A mirror reflection of the train and the autumn vines growing on the steep  hills.


A story behind:  This was a perfect Monday morning as we traveled along the banks of the Douro river. I stopped the car and managed to take a photo of the passing 12:25 regional train from the town of Regua to Porto.  
The train ride is one of the highlights to any tourist trip to the UNESCO protected Douro region. The railway line runs alongside the river

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 70-300 mm.

Aperture: f/10

Shutter speed:
1/1000 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 120 mm

ISO: 400



Place taken: near Picinho, Portugal.

Date taken: Monday, November 12th, 2012, 12:25




 Maciek.

At the Titanic prow

A stone pier at the Foz beach, Porto, Portugal.


A story behind:  Shooting long exposures with a human model can create many challenges. First you should convince a man or a woman to allow you to make a photo (unless it is a self-portrait).
Second the sudden and unexpected movements of the model may also ruin your photo. 

This is the end of the stone pier at the beach of Porto, Portugal. Picture taken on Thursday morning just before the rain has come. I used shutter speed of 1 second to maintain the mood of the moment and lyrical look with a smooth sea and little cloud movement.


Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. ND reverse 3 stop. Tripod.

Aperture:
f/11

Shutter speed:
1 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 50



Place taken: Foz, Porto, Portugal.
 
Date taken: Thursday, November 8th, 2012.

Maciek.

Last Monday in the Lousa Mountains

Castelo de Arouce built in year 1080, early morning, Lousa mountains, Portugal.





A story behind:  Autumn in the Lousa mountains came rather early this year. The leaves turned colourful. The air was crisp and cool.  Soon by last days of November these trees will become bare with the first near zero temperatures in the mountains.

This Monday we had a beautiful ride around the peaks of the Lousa Mountains visiting partially abandoned famous
schist villages.
All around it has been quiet and serene - wonderful time to explore.


 Gear: Nikon D80. Tamron AF 28-75 mm.

Aperture:
f/3,2

Shutter speed:
1/60 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV


Focal Length: 62 mm

ISO: 125



Place taken: Lousa, Portugal.

Date taken: Monday, November the 5th, 2012, 9.57 a.m.


Senhora de Piedade chapel, Lousa, Portugal.

Maciek.

Just after sunset

The Arrábida bridge, Porto, Portugal, built in 1963, is a splendid example of the modern architecture.


A story behind: This picture was taken just a couple of minutes after the sunset and shortly after the night illumination was on. 
The fast moving clouds on the slow shutter speed of 48 seconds make an image more dynamic.


Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Polarizer. 10 ND-Stop.

Aperture:
f/11

Shutter speed:
219 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 50


Place taken: Porto, Portugal.
 

Maciek.

A pink sunrise over the little port of Ponta de Arnel

The first light over the little fisherman´s port of Ponta de Arnel, São Miguel island.

A story behind:  I revisit this place almost every time I stay on São Miguel island, and many times I feel I can pull out an image that is different from what I already have. Ponta de Arnel is always a beautiful spot.
"Bad" weather is often very good for photographing. In fact I love “bad” weather. When clouds form and rain, these are the times when truly unique images are made. It takes a lot of time and patience, but in between storms there is often a clearing that will offer some truly magical cloud/light patterns.

Gear: Nikon D700. Polarizer, Tripod.

Aperture: f/5,6

Shutter speed:
1/10 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Easternmost point of the Sao Moguel island, Portugal.

Date taken: Thursday, October, 25th, 2012, 06:49

Maciek.

Monochromatography: see the world in the shades of cold steel colour


A steel-blue monochromatic image. Island of Madeira, Portugal. 

A story behind: The image whose range of color consists of shades of a single color or hue can be called monochromatic.

With a B&W image we pay more attention to shapes, textures and patterns—features that are often enhanced by monotones and hidden in coluor image. We must be more aware of the lighting, composition and how the colors will convert to gray scale. Monochromatic also often means more artistic. This type of pictures tend to instantly catch the attention of every viewer.

A wide dynamic range of gray scale from rich blacks to glowing whites makes any time of day the perfect time to shoot. 

Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/20

Shutter speed:
5 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,7 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 50



Place taken: Santa Cruz, island of Madeira, Portugal.

Date taken: Sunday, October 14th, 2012, 18:36




 Maciek.

"Fajã" - an almost 90º angle shot from above




An almost areal view on the Achada faja, island of Madeira, Portugal. 

A story behind:  This is an almost perfect areal shot of Fajã Achadas de Cruz from the high cliff above. A word "Fajã’ in Portuguese stands for a landfall at the base of a high cliff forming a beach-like landing
There are a lot of "Fajãs" on the Azores archipelago and some on the Madeira island.
The cable car is the only mean of communication between the landing, the beach and the rest of the island.  While traveling in a cable car don't be surprised if you see farmers coming up with their crops. Many locals have their lands down there.
Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/10

Shutter speed:
1/500 sec

Exposure bias:
0 EV

Focal Length: 70 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Achadas de Cruz, island of Madeira, Portugal.

Date taken: Monday, October 15th, 2012, 12:55




 Maciek.

Long journey dreams


An old pier on the beach of  a small village of Santa Cruz, island of madeira, Portugal. Deserted islands on the horizon.

A story behind:  This was a first night of our second trip to the Madeira Island. Santa Cruz is a charming little town on the eastern coast of the Madeira Island.
From our home town of Porto it takes only 90 minutes by plane to get there.
Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/20

Shutter speed:
5 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,7 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 50



Place taken: Santa Cruz, island of Madeira, Portugal.

Date taken: Sunday, October 14th, 2012, 18:36




 Maciek.

Ysios again.

The main entrance to the Ysios winery.


Maciek.

The Rioja wine region


Contemplating the Rioja vineyards while sipping wine at the Ysios, Spain.

A story behind:  The Calatrava-designed Ysios winery certainly imposes on the local landscape of the Rioja region. I can say I was as enamored with the modern building of the winery as I was with many small medival villages of Rioja and Laguardia.

We were tasted wine and stayed a little bit on the upper deck of the winery. Modern architecture of the Ysios from the inside resembled a cathedral of sorts. From the outside it brings to mind a ship surrounded by the wavy sea.

Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/200 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 600



Place taken: not far from Biasteri, Spain.

Date taken: Monday, September 8th, 2012, 11:41




 Maciek.

 The wine cellars of the Ysios winery, Spain.

Sunrise over the Nervion river, Asturias, Spain.


The mirror reflection of the Guggenheim Art Museum in the still waters of the Nervion river, city of Bilbao, Spain.

A story behind:  We love Basque province of Asturias. It is much less crowded in comparison with other Spanish provinces. And above all the region is blessed with much better photographic conditions.

This photo was taken on the 9th of September at 5.51 in the morning. First rays of sun were hitting the roofs of the museum. Some parts of the roof were still in shadow. I used the polarizing filter.
One might not think that filters are important during the "golden time" of the soft light at the early morning, but I have found them sometimes to be essential to record the deep color saturation of the  walls. The polarizer removes bluish reflections off the non-vertical surfaces. Second, it eliminates the stray light scatter off the texture of the angled parts of the roof, thereby allowing the camera to capture much more texture detail. Third it removes some moisture forming over the river.
One must not forget that the moments of "no wind over the river" will last long. In my experience there are up 5 minutes of pause when the night sea breeze transforms naturally into day land breeze. So one must rush things up and take the picture in the right moment. 
Gear: Nikon D700. ND 0,3 soft, Polarizer, ND 0,6 hard. Tripod. .

Aperture: f/18

Shutter speed:
1/200 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Bilbao, Spain.

Date taken: Saturday, September 7th, 2012, 05:51

Maciek.

The light is everything


Village of Capelas, Northern coast of  São Miguel island.


A story behind:  Tropical Storm Nadine spun around near the Caribbean and US East Coast 4 weeks ago, though the storm ended up circling back east toward the Azores Islands. Last Thursday it hit the archipelago bringing some rain, high winds, quite high temperatures and an amazing 99% of humidity in the air. 
Three factors influence how natural light renders a subject: time of day, camera direction and weather condition. 
That night a combination of high air temperature and moisture, acting like a massive filter,  ended up in wonderfully soft and multicolored lighting that gives a calm, peaceful mood to all subjects. This kind of light I have seen twice in my life ( first time was shortly before the tropical  storm in Key West, Florida: link ).
Moisture is a natural soft box: it scatters light sources so that their light originates from a much broader area. Humid air is also much more reflective to light, which often tricks your camera´s light meter into thinking that it needs to decrease the exposure. 

Gear: Nikon D700. ND 0,3 soft, ND 0,6 hard. Tripod. Rubber boots. Umbrella.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/30 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 100



Place taken: Capelas, Portugal.

Date taken: Thursday, September 20th, 2012, 19:25

Maciek.



The proper scale

The concrete-made staircase at the tower of the Niemeyer Center of Art, Avilez, Spain.


A story behind:  Sunday morning at the Niemeyer Center of Modern Art, Avilez, Asturias, Northern Spain.


A photo creation:  High contrast, bright light. In-camera shadow lightening did a great job.
A small human silhouette and huge stairs - another person lost in a concrete world.

Gear: Nikon D700. 

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/250 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Avilez, Spain.

Date taken: Saturday, September 8th, 2012, 10:25

Maciek.

The six giants and the princess

Eastern facade of the Museum of the Modern Art, Bilbao, Spain.

A story behind:  This was our second visit to the Spanish city of Bilbao and its monumental Guggenheim Museum of the Contemporary Art.   


A photo creation: I approached the museum skyline sunrise (above) feeling the impulse to eliminate the clutter and find the patterns and shapes that would add clarity. The idea was to place the window in the center of the image and make it look small and half-hidden. The surrounding six giant metal structures overwhelm and almost squish the window. Properly exposing the photo was another was another challenge. Every-second rising sun was changing the illumination of the building. The light was very different from my last visit to Bilbao ( on the 1st of January 2011 ).

The mystery of creating a three-dimensional image lies in playing with all the light-and-shadows. I choose f/11 as an aperture small enough to assure good overall depth of field and to maximize the sharpness. To achieve the right combination of 1/100 at f/11, I grudgingly selected an ISO setting of 700.  I was standing on the suspension bridge close to the eastern facade of the Museum. Although the traffic at the early Sunday hours was low, the bridge was oscillating, so I high ISO allowed to achieve the right shutter speed and eliminate the camera trembling.
Next was the selection of the polarizer filter to both increase little the color saturation and, more importantly, cut the glare.

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 70-300 mm. Tripod. Polarizer.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/100 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 70 mm

ISO: 700



Place taken: Bilbao, Spain.

Date taken: Sunday, September 9th, 2012, 07:25

Maciek.

Converging lines. Foz de Coa museum.

The museum of the prehistoric rock art at Foz de Côa, Portugal beaten by the mid-day sun and heat.

A story behind:  Museum Foz de Coa is located in Portuguese region of Alto Douro, deep into the interior of the Iberian peninsula, and only 20 kilometers from the Spanish border. It hosts the prehistoric rock drawings dated 20-30 000 years BC. 

A photo creation:  My idea was to draw the almost-vanishing and converging lines from all corners of the image to get the perspective stronger. I loved the way all of the lines merge in the center of the image.
The contrast of multiple black and white surfaces ( with all the gray shades in between ) and the geometrical patterns of the walls provided an interesting  counterpoint to the linear perspective. But, what I found the most interesting was that the shapes, which are all triangles or rectangles, were not repeating themselves. The non-repeating, but still maintaining some kind of geometrical symmetry structures, made this perspective so appealing.  This kind of "asymmetry in symmetry" disrupts the monotony of the converging lines activating the observes´s mind to solve this geometrical jigsaw.

The walls of the museum are made of concrete and by the definition are solid, stone-like and unmovable. But with all the lines of shadows changing every-second the scene I photographed is almost unrepeatable and unique.
The human silhouette is located exactly where the all the lines meet. It is like a cake with a cherry on top. 

Now also at 1x.com. Link.

Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Handheld. Polarizer.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/500 sec

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 250



Place taken: Foz de Coa, Portugal.

Date taken: Sunday, July 1st, 2012, 13:35

Maciek.

Old city of Porto first light

 A view on the old part of Porto over the Douro river sunbathed in the first rays of the early morning sun.

A story behind:  From June to September Portugal is constantly flooded with hard, unfriendly to any photographer, light. The days are long, the temperatures high and hardly there are some clouds in the sky. 
That early morning I was photographing with Sebastian and we got some luck. A very thin layer of alto-stratus clouds with an altitude of over 6000 meters were seen ( that quickly disappeared an hour later ). The hot wind was blowing from Spain westwards.


Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Hard 0,3, soft 0,6 Filters. Tripod.

Aperture: f/11

Shutter speed:
1/2 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 250



Place taken: Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Date taken: Saturday August 31st, 2012, 07:05

Maciek.

The railway bridge with a painted sky

 St.John Railway bridge under the amazing, late afternoon sky.

A story behind:  Another pic of the concrete railway bridge connecting two high cliffs of the Douro river.  
I based a composition of this photo on the rule: disappearing Lines into Corners to make the image stronger.


Gear: Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. Polarizer. Handheld.

Aperture:
f/7.1

Shutter speed:
1/250 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 17 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Date taken: Sunday August 12th, 2012, 19:14

Maciek.

A trip to Spanish Galicia


An amazing view over the bay of  Lanzada with a small chapel. Spain.

 A story behind:  Galicia is a region located in the extreme Northwest of Spain and is known for its fish and seafood, and rias or  wild stretch of coast, with sweeping windswept and narrow bays coming deeply into the mainland, hidden coves and a spectacular, jagged shoreline whose granite cliffs are lashed by the Atlantic winds and waves.
There are many beautiful spot in Galicia, but one we love most is located in a small village of Landaza, close to Sanxenxo resort.



Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 70-300 mm. 

Aperture:
f/11

Shutter speed:
1/250 sec.

Exposure bias:
-0,3 EV

Focal Length: 70 mm

ISO: 250



Place taken: Lanzada, Spain.
 
Date Taken: Sunday, August 5th, 2012, 14: 14

Maciek.

The Furnas Crater Lake


Shortly after the sunrise. A small boat at the Furnas Crater Lake, Furnas, Portugal.


A story behind: I got up quite early. The sunrise was at 6.58 a.m. Took me almost half an hour to walk to that spot, put up my gear and start shooting. The rain was mild.
Furnas Lake link.



Gear:
Nikon D700. Nikkor 16-35 mm. 

Aperture:
f/16

Shutter speed:
264 sec

Exposure bias:
+0,3 EV

Focal Length: 16 mm

ISO: 200



Place taken: Furnas, Portugal.
 
Date Taken: Friday, August 16th, 2012, 08: 32

Maciek.