Congida Fluvial, Portugal by Paulo Bizarro

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Picture Story

Earlier this year, in February, I took a few days off with my family, to visit some areas in the Northeast of Portugal. This is a mountainous region near the border with Spain. During the trip, we stayed one night in the Congida fluvial beach, by the Douro river. For several kilometers, the river is the border line, and the water glides along leisurely between the high mountains, where the terrain is cultivated with olive and fruit groves. Plus, the famous Douro valley vineyards.

At this time of the year, of course the beach is deserted; there is a local accommodation for tourists that are fine for spending the night. We arrived before sunset, and after settling in and managing some local supplies for dinner, I went out to scout the vicinity for possible photo opportunities. This region is part of the International Douro Natural Park, which is managed between Portugal and Spain. After walking around near the river, I planned for a night session photographing the night sky, and for a dawn session.

The following morning, I woke up before sunrise, walked down to the riverbank, set up my tripod, and started shooting. I already had some ideas about composition from my previous scouting of the area. I set up my tripod and made some photos. I wanted to capture the peacefulness and the eeriness of the place, and to enhance that I ended up using my 10 stop neutral density filter; this allowed me to make this 60 second exposure, where the metal ladder enters the river. The floating boat in the water, plus the quietness of the morning echoing in the mountains, completes the picture. I converted the photo to black and white for added drama.

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