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I was leisurely driving back to Lisbon in early May, along one of the many roads that cross these rural fields between the villages of Porto Covo and Sines, near the southwest coast of Portugal. The sun had just crested the hills to the east, after another heavy rain shower; the landscape looked and smelled fresh, with the green wheat fields blowing in the wind and the dark brooding clouds clearing the sky overhead. I noticed this lonely cork oak tree in the distance, and thought it would make an interesting subject, framed against the remaining landscape.
I parked the car on the shoulder, and walked a little bit around, trying to find a good vantage point from which to frame the scene. I chose to compose according to the so-called rule of thirds, as it seemed appropriate. Thus, I placed the tree in the bottom left third, with the sky occupying about two thirds of the frame. Also, the distant line of electric poles leads the viewer from left to right, towards the darkest part of the clouds.
I made the photo with my 16mm lens, choosing a stopped down aperture to ensure good depth of field, from foreground to background. I had to work quickly, as the light was changing by the minute, with clouds obstructing the sun light now and then. So, I waited until the sun shone momentarily over the landscape, breaking through the cloud cover, and made a few frames. I always shoot using Raw format, to ensure maximum data recording and processing flexibility. For this particular case, processing involved simple adjustments in contrast and white balance, so the image faithfully reproduced the scene I remembered in my mind.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor