Rising Moon at Cabo Sardão, SW Alentejo Coast, Portugal

I like to photograph the Moon one day before it is full, because it rises a few minutes before sunset. During that small amount of time, there is still some natural daylight that permits to photograph the Moon in a nice way. After the sun sets, and with the increasing darkness, it is more difficult to photograph the Moon over the landscape and avoid it becoming overexposed.

One location where I sometimes go to take such photos is Cabo Sardão, in the Alentejo coast. As the Moon rises in the sky, it crosses behind the lighthouse, making for interesting compositions. I arrived about 1 hour before sunset, and took a few photos of the area. I had only brought my telephoto lens, a Fujinon 70-300mm, plus a tripod. The warm light was basking the cliff rocks in great golden tones.

Golden rocks.
Earth’s history.

This coastal area is well known for the white storks, that come here to nest. At the end of July, they have gone away, leaving the nests empty. I found one nest where a lonely feather had remained; others are now occupied by seagulls.

Opportunistic seagulls.

Soon the Moon appeared above the horizon, and I took some initial photos. A few moments later, the lighthouse keeper turned on the light, and I shot a series of frames for later assembly into a panorama.

Rising Moon.
Panorama of 6 vertical frames.

I continued to shoot, changing my position frequently, so I could frame the Moon behind the building. I wanted to play with the concept of having both lights in the same picture.

Two lights.

I also wanted a photo where the beam of the lighthouse would be (apparently) hitting the Moon. This was more challenging, and required a precise timing, as the light would be spinning around. After a few tries, I got the image I wanted.

Batman signal?

I made a few more shots and then called it a day, or rather, called it a night? It was another enjoyable photo session, in this beautiful region.

Published by


I was born in Lisbon in 1966, and I am a geologist. My main interests as a photographer are Landscapes, Travel, and People. I have been fortunate enough to work in different places and contacted diverse cultures. I am also fortunate to live in a small, but beautiful country, Portugal.