Afternoon at the beach

This week Portugal is going through record high temperatures, with many regions enduring values well above 40 degrees. The preamble to this period started last week, when I happened to be in the Alentejo coast, in the southwest part of the country. I had some free time in one afternoon, so I decided to visit one of my favourite beaches, Brejo Largo, a few km north of Almograve. I packed some food and water, grabbed my tripod, camera, and lens, and took off. The sky was clear and there was a light warm breeze.

After a 45 minute walk, I arrived at the beach. There were only a few other people, as it is July. Come August, the place will be a bit more crowded, but still fine. You can only reach this beach on foot, or driving through a rough track, which explains its relative isolation. I wanted to make some photos at sunset, so while waiting I simply rested on the sand and went for frequent swims. It is wonderful to combine beach and photography in the summer.

My first photos were of a cliff section that displays strong yellow, orange, and red rusty colours. These are the result of the iron rich water percolating through the rocks, in places where it infiltrates the surface. In places where there is some water trickling down the cliff, it is possible to find some plant life. For these photos I used a polarizing filter to cut down the reflection from the wet rock surfaces.

A trickle of water.
Colours and textures.

During the next hour or so I made some photos of the deserted beach at low tide. The sense of isolation was complete, with the peacefulness of the place emanating from the quiet waves that covered the sand.

Soft water.

As the sun was setting, I made my way to the top of the cliff. There I noticed a large amount of white flowers in bloom, which was a surprise. When I had arrived a few hours earlier, they were not blooming; given that rain has been scarce for months, they must survive merely on the humidity that occurs during evenings and nights. Before arriving at home in Longueira, I made a final image of the village at dusk.

Dune flowers.
Back in Longueira by dusk.

Two different mornings

Last week I spent a few days in the small village of Longueira, in the Alentejo coast of southwest Portugal. In the summer, the occurrence of fog during the morning is common, and it makes for some interesting photo opportunities. Such is he case of this abandoned rural house, that is in ruins. After returning from an early morning run, I grabbed my tripod, camera and lens, and went out to make some photos. The house lies in the middle of a hay field, and in clear days it is possible to see the ocean a few km away. The fog imparts a different feel to the landscape.

Old house in fog.
Low visibility.
Field in fog.

The following morning the sky was clear, and I went back to this location to make a few more photos. It is interesting to notice how a change in the weather can transform a scene.

Old house and clear sky.

A bit further along the road, there is a lone pine tree that has been standing in the field for a long time. Walking around the subject to photograph it from different view points can be a nice experiment; in this case, photographing the tree from the side shows how the salty wind has prevented the tree from developing a full canopy. A good metaphor on why it is important to analyze a subject from all angles, otherwise you may not see the entire picture.

Tree photographed from the front.
Tree photographed from the side.

Some of the nearby fields have been planted with sweet potatoes, which will be harvested in October. Other parts of the fields are showing the stalks which have remained after the hay has been cut, to be stored in the typical bales.

Sunny sunrise over planted field.
Golden fields.