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One of my favorite landscape subjects are the hay bales that one can find in many rural fields in the summertime. This photo was made near the village of Vila Nova de Milfontes, in the southwest coast of Portugal. This region has a singular characteristic, because there is a rapid transition between the littoral and rural geographies. Thus, from the same location, it is possible to look at the ocean and at the nearby countryside. I knew from previous visits that these fields normally have the typical bales in the summer, so I planned for a pre-sunrise photo session.
The river Mira flows nearby, and during the early morning time, often there are fogs and mists. I was hoping that would be case, because mist and fog act as a natural diffuser for the warm sunrise light. I was lucky this morning, as such was the case. After parling my car, I walked a few hundred meters into the field, and started to scout for interesting compositions. One of the many possibilities was the use a wide-angle lens and frame a close-up of one bale, with the rest of the landscape as a background.
I normally make a few of such photos. However, as the sun crested the hills in the east, the entire landscape was bathed in a sort of yellow glow, so I wanted to concentrate on the light. To achieve that, I switched to a telephoto lens, and isolated 4 bales against the distant hills and fog. The resulting photo shows 4 layers from bottom to top, each one with a different tone of yellow or orange.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor