This photo was made about half an hour before sunrise and looking into the volcanic crater of Lagoa do Fogo (Fire Lake), in the largest island of the Azores archipelago, São Miguel. In the last couple of years, I visited this island twice, took many photos, but no other photo speaks to me more about the essence of the island than this one. As such, it encapsulates several elements in one image: the under explored and still pristine Nature of the region; its wild beauty; the contrast between the violent forces that have created the islands and the peacefulness of the landscape.
From my previous visit, I knew I had to get back and spend some more time dedicated to photography. São Miguel has numerous awe - inspiring locations, but Lagoa do Fogo is indeed special. On my last day of this trip, I made plans to carry out an early shooting session in Lagoa do Fogo; this involved waking up very early (this visit was during August), and driving about 20 minutes from Ponta Delgada to Fogo. Upon arrival, I was the only one there – perfect. The tourist crowds would be arriving late.
At this time of the day, even during the summer, it can be chilly, given the altitude of the place (525 metres). A strong breeze contributed to me having to put on a fleece after a few minutes outside. I already knew where to set up my tripod, from previous visits, so I worked quickly in the dark, with the help of a small head lamp. A wide-angle lens is mandatory to “see” the whole lake and surrounding vertical cliffs, so I mounted my 20mm lens on the camera. Looking East, I noticed the first purple hues of the morning light starting to appear. After a few test shots, I estimated that an exposure of around 10 minutes would be adequate.
I also knew that the likelihood of a cloud cover would be high (after all, this is the Azores), so there was a risk of not seeing anything. Fortunately, there were some clouds, but of the appropriate kind: enough to provide interest in the sky and illuminate the lake’s waters in purple. Some red flowers flowing in the breeze provided some interest for the foreground. I can say that this was one of the finest sunrises I have witnessed, in a privileged island in the middle of the Atlantic.