The southern coast of Portugals Algarve is incredibly touristed
.there are some great beaches there, but most of them are surrounded by ugly hotels and marinas, the kind of thing we call development
Fortunately, the west coast of Algarve is much wilder and unspoilt
.not so developed.
The Atlantic ocean is really rough there, and it gets incredibly windy making it relatively unattractive for mass tourism. The government has declared it a National Park as well, which limits the amount of development in the area.
Its really beautiful coastline, rugged, windswept and sometimes the landscape is almost lunar-like. While its only 30km away from the over-built centers of Lagos and Portimao, its a million miles away in how it feels.
My wife and I are moving to the area in a couple of years, and the 50 or so kilometers of coastline here is somewhere Im really looking forward to spending my time photographing.
Every time we go to Algarve, we head out to the west coast to explore the coast there, and in October for the first time there was some cloud and drama in the sky.
On this particular day, the tide was incredibly low, and the rocks you see here are very rarely exposed (I was there again last weekend, and the tide was 100m further up the beach, completely covering these rocks, even though the tide was nowhere near its highest).
Consequently, the rocks are covered in barnacles and all kinds of growth so that its almost impossible to see the rock itself beneath the life that clings to it.
Walking out to this location was a pretty crunchy experience, but I couldnt resist shooting the rocks like this
I wonder how long it will be till the ocean reveals them to me again.
If anyones interested, this was taken on the same day and same location that I took this [link]Technique
I did a number of compositions, but I particularly wanted to build one around a stream of water flowing beneath the camera. I spread the legs of the tripod as wide as they would go so they could span the gap that the waves were washing up between the rocks. This way, there was less chance of the water causing the tripod to move.
I measured the exposure from the rocks using the spot meter, and then reduced the exposure by half a stop. I then measured the brightness of the sky, and put a 3 stop hard grad neutral density in place to bring the sky into the exposure latitude of the camera. Because the sun was mostly obscured by clouds, I could shoot straight into it even while it was relatively high in the sky without worrying about flare or the sky being too bright.
However, I wasnt satisfied with the results as the waters movement didnt fit with how I wanted the scene to look. I added a 9 stop ND filter to allow me to use longer exposures, and then added the 9 stops to the exposure settings of the camera to give me the same level of exposure, just with a much longer shutter time.
The ND filter allowed me to get a 30 second exposure at f8.
I then just waited for a wave to crash into the rock flow up the gap towards me before opening the shutter with a cable release.
For more information on using filter for long exposure, have a look at this article here [link] Post Processing
Very little was done to the image in post processing. Firstly I changed the colour temperature to around 5800k. Id shot at 6700k, which was a little too warm, and the shot felt a little yellow.
I pulled the highlights in (where the sun was reflecting on the water) and then opened the shot in Photoshop.
Here I just gave a boost to the mid-tone contrast using Unsharp Mask, before resizing and sharpening for the web.
Please note, the rocks were covered in tiny white pebbles which may appear as halos from over sharpening in the final shot. Theyre not halos and are present in the orginal insharpened RAW file.Metadata
Taken on Praia do Monte Clerigo, Costa Vicentina, near Aljezur, Algarve, Portugal
Nikon D80 | Sigma 10-20mm | Nikon Cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Lee 0.9 (3 stop) hard GND | Hoya ND400
30 seconds | f8 | 10mm
Workflow in Apple Aperture and PS