The Iniciatic Well, Quinta da Regaleira, Sintra, Portugal - The 90 foot deep well resembles an inverted tower. It is divided into nine platforms, which are said to be reminiscent of the Divine Comedy by Dante and the nine circles of Hell, the nine sections of Purgatory and the nine skies which constitute Paradise. The well was used for secretive initiation rites, not for water collection. I photographed this hand-held, leaning over as far as I could at 16mm. I shot a bracketed set of 3 images to create enough dynamic range to see the floor below.
I was really pleased with how this picture turned out. I don't do many silhouette shots, but this location was made for it! Cabo da Roca near Sintra in Portugal is the furthest westerly point of mainland Europe. As the sun was dropping I could see at least 200 people lined up watching, they all clapped when it set. I loved how in this picture I was able to capture the guy stretching and the girl with her hair blowing in the wind. I shot this like I would any HDR shot, then used the darker exposure for the silhouette.
Dirt Path, Alentejo, Portugal - These are cork oak trees (Quercus suber), you can see how they've taken off the bark halfway down the tree. They make wonderful things with the cork in Portugal, such as bags, shoes, purses, necklaces etc, not just for wine bottle stoppers! Over time the cork layer of bark develops thickness and can be harvested every seven to ten years. Only the bark is collected, and a new layer regrows, the harvesting of cork does not harm the tree at all. Portugal accounts for around 50% of the world cork harvest.
Sunset, Azenhas do Mar, Sintra, Portugal - Azenhas do Mar is a tiny coastal town near Sintra, north of Praia da Adraga, Ursa Beach and the most westerly point of mainland Europe, Cabo da Roca. It looks similar in many ways to the Italian coastal villages such as Manarola or Positano. Certainly worth a drive out if you're staying near Sintra. The main attractions of Sintra are the vividly colourful Pena Palace, Quinta da Regaleira with its famous well, Castle of the Moors, Palace of Queluz and further north the spectacular Palace of Mafra with its incredible pink marble basilica.
Stormy Praia da Adraga, Sintra, Lisboa, Portugal - Praia de Adraga (11 miles north of Cascais and 8 miles west from Sintra) is regarded as one of the best beaches in Portugal. Not far from here is Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point of mainland Europe. The sunset completely failed this night so I focused on getting a nice long exposure as the waters receded. I used the lack of light and a higher f-stop to create a longer exposure, I don't use graduated glass filters, as I don't do seascapes very often.
Full Moon at Padrão dos Descobrimentos, Monument to the Discoveries, Belem, Lisbon, Portugal - This monument, Inaugurated in 1960, was one of many projects throughout Portugal to mark the anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator (Henrique o Navegador). Henry the Navigator was born in Porto, Portugal, in 1394. He was not himself a navigator or sailor but sponsored many sea voyage explorations along the west coast of Africa. In 1418, the ships came upon the Madeira Islands and established a Portuguese colony at Porto Santo. The monument is located on the northern bank of the Tagus River, not far from the iconic castle, Torre Belem. Behind the monument, you can see the Ponte Abril 25, Lisbon's equivalent of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Sunset Looking back at Monsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal - - taken from the east-side of the town near the ruins of Capela de São Bento ou Ermida de São Bento church. I loved this place, only a short distance away is the Megalithic Monuments of Herdade de Xerez, also the cute white fountain of the Telheiro. Monsaraz has been under Roman occupation, and later successively occupied by the Visigoths, Arabs, Mozarabs, Jews, and Christians.
Blue Hour, Monsaraz, municipality of the Reguengos de Monsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal - I took this photo from the east-side of the town near the ruins of Capela de São Bento ou Ermida de São Bento church. I loved this place, only a short distance away is the Megalithic Monuments of Herdade de Xerez, also the cute white fountain of the Telheiro. Monsaraz has been under Roman occupation, and later successively occupied by the Visigoths, Arabs, Mozarabs, Jews, and Christians.
Side Entrance to Monsaraz, Alentejo, Portugal - Funny story for this shot, I tried it the night before, set my tripod up, composed the scene, and just a second before I clicked, the lamp went off! :D! This walled castle town sits atop a hill near the border of Spain. It is one of the oldest Portuguese settlements in southern Portugal. The area includes hundreds of megalithic monuments, including the Neolithic remains of Herdade de Xerez. Monsaraz has been under Roman occupation and later occupied by the Visigoths, Arabs, Mozarabs, Jews, and Christians loyal to Afonso Henriques.
Praia da Ursa Beach (Bear Beach), Sintra, Lisbon, Portugal - This beautiful beach is near the westernmost point in Europe at Cabo da Roca. It's a long and quite difficult walk down to the beach, taking roughly an hour. The beach gets its name from the Rocha da Ursa (Bear Rock), a massive rock formation which, when seen from the north, looks like a bear with a cub on its lap