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This photo was taken on a favorite location of mine in the southwest Alentejo coast of Portugal. Near the small village of Cavaleiro, there is the Cabo Sardão lighthouse, which for more than 100 years has watched over the rocky coast like a sentinel. I probably visit this place once a month, because it is wonderful area for walking, photographing, and bird watching. Throughout the year, the different seasons impart a different character to this coastal region. On this occasion, in May 2021, I decided to make an early morning visit, just before sunrise.
After parking the car nearby, there are a few paths that lead to several well marked viewpoints. I chose to walk towards the edge of the cliffs, to take advantage of the view from the sea towards the land, which features the tall cliffs that are constantly pounded by the ocean. When the tide is low, several caves are visible on the bottom of the scarp. The best time to photograph is either before sunrise, or after sunset, when the lighthouse is working, and there is still some natural light in the sky. When approaching the edge of the cliff, just be careful when the wind is too strong, not to be surprised by gusts. Otherwise, it I quite safe to explore the several viewpoints along the coast.
For this photo, I set up my camera and wide-angle lens on the tripod, using the stratigraphic layers as leading lines into the lighthouse in the background. I selected a long exposure to smooth the water and enhance the role of the rocky elements in the composition. The sky and the clouds were starting to be lit by the soft pre-dawn light, which was nice.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor