Along the coast

The coastline between Almograve and Vila Nova de Milfontes is characterized by sand dunes, rocky cliffs, and small secluded beaches. It is a beautiful area, which can be walked easily along one of the sections of the Vicentina Trail. Even though it is a place I have visited and photographed many times before, I never tire of going back. This time around I planned to visit during low tide at sunset, to be able to access some locations where the wonderful geology exposed along the cliff faces can be seen.

After parking the car in Almograve beach, the trail follows the coast to the North. There are many interesting subjects to photograph, be it the vistas over the successive beaches, or the small flower clusters that populate the dunes.

Dune flower.
Field of rocks.
Coastal beauty.
Low tide at sunset.
Rocks and more rocks.

At this late evening hour, there was no one else along the trail, and the sense of tranquility was pervasive. However, with the approaching sunset, I made my way back to photograph the rock outcrops in Foz beach, close to Almograve.

Foz beach overlook. The cliff face in the distance has some wonderful examples of geological folding and other phenomena.

Thanks to the low tide, I was able to reach some locations from which the views towards the rock outcrops are really nice. I am a geologist, so being able to combine my professional interest with my favourite hobby is an added bonus. There are many folds of various types, plus several exposures of fractured rocks, all bearing witness to the tremendous tectonic forces that have shaped the area.

Folds and more folds.
A close up of some folded rocks.
Last light on fractured rock.
Quartz veins filling the fractures.

The low tide also exposed the algae covered rocks, and I took the opportunity to photograph some of them. They were a most vivid green colour.

Folded layers and green algal mats.
Tidal pools.

I stayed in the beach until it was dark, simply enjoying the experience of being there. Most of the photos were taken with the Fujifilm X-E4 camera and Fujinon 14mm f/1.4 lens; the wide angle lens is quite appropriate to the near – far compositions that I like to photograph.

Final light.

Down by the river

As I wrote in my previous post, in early June I have spent a few vacation days in my house in southwest Alentejo coastal region. I took the opportunity to visit several places and make dedicated photo sessions. This essay is about a pre-dawn visit to Vila Nova de Milfontes, where I wanted to photograph along the river Mira southern bank during the low tide.

After arriving, as I started walking along the beach, I noticed that the Moon was providing some light on the still dark landscape. I set up my tripod and started making some photos towards the East, where the pre-dawn light was slowly increasing. Because of the low tide, the wet sand was exposed, showing the small water rivulets and textures. I have also tried some longer exposures using a neutral density filter.

Pre – dawn tranquility.
Almost rising.
The tide.
River bank.

Looking West, towards the sea, there were also interesting subjects, such as the patterns in the sand and the boat pier. The sand was very wet and soft, so I had to push the tripod legs into it, and wait a little bit for the tripod to become stable before shooting.

Crossing point.
Low tide.
First light.

As the sun was cresting the hills in the East, I wanted to photograph the Furnas beach, so I walked briskly to reach the sea. The tidal small sand dunes were exposed and illuminated by the first rays of sunshine, providing an interesting foreground.

Furnas beach.
Sand waves.
On the beach.

After the full sunrise, the light became less interesting, but a light haze covered the river. As I walked back to the car park, I made a few photos of this hazy atmosphere. It was quite nice to visit the river, enjoying its peacefulness. As for photo gear, most of the photos were made with the Fujifilm X-E4 camera and Fujinon 14mm f/1.4 lens.

Night sky near Sabóia, Odemira

This is a small essay about a recent photo session I have carried out to photograph some star trails and the Milky Way near Sabóia, in the municipality of Odemira. I had recently visited this same location, taking some photos of the countryside and the hay bales along the fields. I wrote about it here:

During this previous visit, I thought the place had potential for some night sky photography; being far away from any important village, it would probably be very dark during a new Moon period. I have thus made plans to go back, which I did a few days ago. I arrived well after dark, and set up my tripod and camera in order to frame some of the interesting foreground, including some hay bales and machinery.

Technically, I have used my wide angle lens (Fujinon 14mm f/2.8) wide open, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds, at ISO 1600. Using manual focus, I carefully focused on a bright star. I have also shot in Raw format, setting the intervalometer of the camera to 80 photos. This would result in a total of 40 minutes total exposure time. Later on, I have used the Sequator software to stack the resulting images into a star trail.

Resulting star trail.
Example of a single photo used in the final stack.

After finishing the series for trail stacking, I made a couple more series of shots, this time of the Milky Way. The first series was made with the wide angle lens, and consisted of 20 photos. These were later stacked also in Sequator.

Milky Way – wide angle lens.

The second series was made with a different lens, the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4, set at f/2 aperture. For this series, I made 10 photos, and also used Sequator for stacking.

Milky Way – standard lens.

In terms of image processing, I have followed the general guidelines as outlined by Roger Clark in his website:

Being out in this isolated place, admiring the immense field of stars that surrounds us was a very nice experience. Now that the summer is approaching, I will repeat these sessions whenever possible.