At the end of February 2019, just a few days before COVID-19 became a global concern, I did a family trip in the north of Portugal, in the Douro River region. After visiting several interesting areas in this beautiful region, we stopped for the night in Congida, a fluvial beach near the village of Freixo-de-Espada-à-Cinta.
Because it was wintertime, the place was the epitome of tranquillity, with nobody else around. We arrived a bit late, so I only had time for a quick reconnaissance of the area; the river flows between the hills, which are part of the Douro Landscape World Heritage list.
The following day, I woke up before sunrise and headed for one of the locations I had checked the previous day; there is a small ladder or pier by the river, which people use to board the boats or simply to enter the water for a swim. I mounted a wide-angle lens on the camera and attached it to my tripod. The skies were overcast, with fast-moving clouds, so I opted for a long exposure, using a 10-stop neutral density filter. I wanted to enhance the contrast between the movement in the clouds and the resulting quietness of the water.
I always try to include geometrical shapes in my photos, so in this case, the triangular shape of the ladder is mimicked by the similar shapes in the foreground mountains. After processing the Raw file, I converted it to black and white, as I think it improves the textures.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor