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Submitted on
October 6, 2008
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Messejana by AndyMumford Messejana by AndyMumford
The Photo

This shot was taken in early spring this year near the village of Messejana in Alentejo, Southern Portugal. It’s kind of number 2 in a loose series of panoramic landscape shots, the first being [link]
I don’t expect this to be popular here, but it’s an image I personally like a lot, and it breaks up the waterscapes in my DA gallery.

I often travel through the countryside on my way to Algarve in the south of Portugal, and I’m usually on the lookout for good locations for photography. Early this year, we were taking the smallest roads we could find on our journey south, when we entered this beautiful valley of rolling hills. Usually, places like this in Portugal are ruined by power lines or telephone poles, but this valley is pretty much perfect…the problem being that we were passing through in the middle of the day when the light was really poor.

In early Spring, as we were returning from the south, we took the chance to return to the valley late in the afternoon when the light was nice, but unfortunately the skies were completely clear, which isn’t ideal for landscape photography.
So most of the shots I composed were looking down into fields from the hilltop, cutting out the sky.

I hope to return here next spring to shoot at sunset and sunrise, it’s a location with a lot of possibilities.


There’s not a lot to say about the technique here.
I basically stood on the hill top looking for compositions where the light would emphasise the rolling hills and bring out texture in the grass. The tree provided the point of interest.
The aim with composition was to use the shadows caused by the hills above and below the tree to frame the image and emphasise the strip of green…I’m not sure why, but with shots like this I tend to think of “letterbox” panoramic composition first.
I had to zoom out to 200mm to get this close, and even then I’ve cropped quite heavily into the picture…I really need to get a 400mm lens for shots like this.
It was also pretty windy and even with a tripod I was worried about camera shake, so I selected a wide aperture (there’s no significant depth of field in this shot) to give me a fast shutter time.
Other than that, I just took a matrix meter reading of the whole scene (no significant range of contrast here), and underexposed by half a stop to darken the shadows at the top and botom of the picture.
I also used a polarizer to saturate the grass

Post Processing

First of all I cropped the image down to the letterbox format that I love so much for landscapes.
Then it was just a case of tweaking contrast to push the green out against the shadows, and then vibrancy tweak for the mid-tones in the tree.

Finally the image was resized for the web, and then sharpened.


Taken near Messejana, Alentejo, Portugal
Nikon D80 | Nikkor 18-200VR | Nikon cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Hoya Pro 1 Polarizer
1/125 | f6.7 | 200mm

Workflow in Apple Aperture. Title in PS CS
Add a Comment:
ZlobaNajvacsia Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013
wow, very nice
csaby1 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
in the news! =D

...walk the line... pathways

Hope you like it. :XD:
dancingelf Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2009  Professional Photographer
Great panorama! I must admit I prefer landscapes over seascapes! :blush:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2009
Thanks Ioanna. To be honest I haven't really been shooting seascapes this year....lots more landscapes because I enjoy them more
dancingelf Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2009  Professional Photographer
Oh. I'm so behind on my inbox!! :lol: Ooops!!
dansch Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
you're featured link
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
dansch Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
welcome :)
simon0108 Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Simple & beautiful :)
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
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