Cabo Sardao, Portugal by Paulo Bizarro

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This photo was taken in April 2019 in the southwest coast of Alentejo province, in Portugal. The lighthouse is the one located in Cabo Sardao, a couple of kilometres away from the small village of Cavaleiro. This area is part of the Natural Park of Southwest Alentejo and Vicentina Coast, that basically encompasses the entire coastline between Sines in the North and Sagres in the South.

This lighthouse is 17m high and was inaugurated in 1915, so it is more than 100 years old. It sits above a rocky promontory and affords a very nice view over the Atlantic Ocean and the precipitous cliffs. It is an area I know very well, and I often photograph here. There are several spots that offer a good view of the building, the cliffs, and the ocean. I had planned to take this shot before sunrise, while the lights on the house were still on. I had checked the weather forecast the previous night, and some clouds were expected.

One of the risks of shooting in this area is the unpredictable weather; despite forecasts, the Atlantic can surprise us with clear skies, rain, or fog. Thus, I was quite happy to arrive at the site and seeing a few clouds, enough to provide some added interest to my composition, but not enough to block the sunlight entirely. The major challenge during this shot was protecting the lens and camera from the sea spray that was being carried by the wind from down below in the surf. I had to work quickly setting up the tripod, camera, wide angle lens, and a Lee Big Stopper ND filter for a long exposure of a few seconds.

I was quite happy with the result, I think it conveys the nature of the place, this combination of powerful nature and the protecting presence of the lighthouse, warning the passing ships about the dangers of this rugged and wild coastline.


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