Atlantic Realm

Atlantic Realm coastal area, Sintra, Portugal

Atlantic Realm coastal area, Sintra, Portugal
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Behind The Lens

The Atlantic Coast in Portugal, close to the most western point in continental Europe. This is the night view from Magoito looking South to Cabo da Roca's lighthouse.
8.46 PM, thanks to EXIF. 24th August 2012
The light on the stretch of coast I call the Atlantic Realm - and where I center my activity in terms of photo tours - can be tricky some days, with mists that cover most of the cliffs and, although interesting, do not show a vast area of the coastal area. This is a waiting game and also a bit of luck. You can go there multiple times and not get the right conditions, also because it can change drastically, some days. I guess I was lucky to get everything in place, even some night walkers on the beach (or fishermen) that created some interesting light and volume on the rocks. I opted to create the stars on the lights because I felt it would give a unique look to the road over the cliff that leads in the distance, and clearly mark the differences between the areas with light and shadow.
Canon EOS-1D X, tripod, my trusty 100-400mm at 220mm, 100 ISO, an exposure of 30 seconds at f/10.
I know this area well and know this is a good spot to take a picture. Many people do it, but they go for the colourful late afternoon lights - these cliffs get multiple shades of orange due to the colour of some areas of the coast, while others go for long exposures at night. I wanted a soft end of day lighting, which I feel works well. I've done similar images here since film days (with transparency, and it was harder then, I reckon as I could not see results immediately) and I like to work within the 30 second limit of my cameras, when possible, so this worked fine
Post-processing is normal darkroom stuff in the digital world. Much of what you see here is in camera. I did not have to open up or close areas, that's the good thing of working at a moment of the day when contrasts are not strong. It is a small window of opportunity but the results can be amazing.
In my camera bag
Canon, Canon, Canon. I still have some older Nikon, Olympus, Fuji, Minolta, but I've invested in Canon and I am happy with it. I usually carry one or two bodies - mostly one - and three lenses: 17-40, 60 or 100mm macro and my trusty 100-400, which I use for everything from flowers to birds, planes... and landscape.
Stick with me. I ran photo tours in this area. If you go on your own, do think about safety first and photography second. This coast can be dangerous if you're not careful.

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