Fogo Lake, Azores, Portugal by Paulo Bizarro

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Picture Story

This photo was made during a trip to the island of Sao Miguel, the largest of the Azores archipelago. This island is well known for its several volcanic lakes, and Fogo is one of the most picturesque. While visiting the island, I went to Fogo several times, since it is very popular, and there are a few trails that afford excellent views of the lake. However, it can be quite crowded during the daytime, which is not very good for the type of photography that I enjoy.

Thus, I decided to go back before sunrise, and see what type of photographic opportunities I might find. In the Azores, it is often said that one can have the four seasons in one day, and this is true. So, the uncertainty about the weather conditions was high when I left the hotel in Ponta Delgada and drove the odd 30km or so to the top of the caldera. Even though it was August, the weather was cold going up the mountain, which rises about 800m above sea level. The pre-dawn winds were also strong, adding to the chill factor.

When I arrived at the parking lot, around 6am, the place was deserted. This was excellent, I had the place to myself. I picked up my backpack and tripod and headed off to a spot I had investigated in previous visits. I had a fantastic view of the lake and surrounding hills, with lush vegetation and some flowers in the foreground. Beyond the lake, the clouds were being driven by the wind, with the occasional break to allow the early morning light to shine in the water of the lake.

I made a few tests with the exposure time, and settled on 30 seconds, as that was enough to smooth the moving clouds and the surface of the lake, thus contributing to the eerie feel that emanated from the place. The pre-dawn blue tones were perfect to convey the cold feeling of the early hours and the dawn of another day over this magic location.

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