Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Palafitico by AndyMumford Palafitico by AndyMumford
My Instagram


This is a part of northern Alentejo I always feel I've had a special relationship with. Some of the very first waterscapes I ever took and the first I submitted to this site were taken in a village called Comporta, and one of my most popular shots on DA was taken here around 6 months ago…

I'd heard about this place called Carrasqueira nearby, heard that it had an amazing labyrinth of old wooden piers called Cais Palafitico where fishermen from the estuary worked from.
I'd never managed to see it though, but this weekend we had some incredibly beautiful technicolour skies around sunset, so I decided to take the chance and do the 120km drive there on Monday evening.

It was throwing it down with rain when I arrived, and continued to do so for around 45 minutes. I could see this fascinating confusion of piers, many collapsed, and there was high tide so I'd be able to photograph water, rather than the mud-flats they stand on at low tide.
A small gap opened up in the clouds around 15 minutes before sunset, so I set off with my camera onto the piers.

In a place like this with so much photographic potential, I have a tendency to want to shoot everything and end up missing the best part when the light is at it's most beautiful.
I decided to head out to the end of the piers where I'd have a view with less visual confusion and just focus on composing some shots there.

It's an amazing place, and one I'm sure I'll be going back to. I was incredibly lucky with the tide, as well as the light and the sky, which was truly breath-taking.
The downside though is that the place is full of tiny mosquitos. I got eaten alive, but at the time didn't really notice it as I was so involved with what I was doing. My hands are covered in about 20 small bites though, so next time I'll take repellent.

It's important to note that I haven't done anything to this shot other than sharpening and putting the title and frame. I didn't touch curves, contrast, levels or saturation. I used no coloured filters, these are the colours that I saw with my eyes that night and the image that came straight out of the camera.


There's something really evocative about piers, they seem to work so well photographically. I was looking for one without a boat, as I wanted a cleaner image with fewer elements, but I couldn't find one, and moreover, couldn't resist this secondary pier that had collapsed into the water.

When it comes to composition, in a place like this there are limits as you can't move to the side, only decide how high to have the camera and how far along the pier you're going to walk.
In a shot like this I'd normally try to keep the end of the pier below the level of the horizon, but here that just wasn't possible, and besides, I like lower compostions as it makes the texture in the foreground clearer as well as keeping the tripod more steady. There was no wind, but every move I made rocked the pier, so I chose a lower composition.

I checked the edges to make sure there was nothing touching the edge of the frame and composed for the sky. I wanted the clouds to be prominant, but also plenty of water and pier, so I put the horizon across the middle (I know you shouldn't, but I really couldn't care less).

In a shot of a pier I think long exposures work as they smooth out the water, elimiting the visual noise of ripples and allowing the textures of the wood to become more apparent.
The sun hadn't quite set (there was some smoke from the farmers burning fields on the horizon, which has distorted the sun a little) so I used a very dark neutral density filter (a Hoya ND400) which closes out around 9 stops of light. Before putting this on though, I checked composition and lined up the 2 neutral density filters I was putting across the sky to balance it with the exposure I needed for the foreground and the water.
It's important that the graduation lines of the ND grad filter are lined up along the horizon, and when the ND400 is on, you can't see anything through the viewfinder.
I placed the grads first, then removed the entire grad filter holder with the grads in it, screwed in the ND400, then put the grads back in place.

I'd measured the exposure from the foreground earlier, so I just added 9 stops of exposure to the settings the meter had read. The ND400 almost always underexposes, so I added another 30 seconds on just to make sure, giving me an exposure time of 90 seconds at f8 (the aperture setting which gives my lens the sharpest results).

I sat down behind the tripod and opened the shutter with the cable release. I couldn't move at all as any shift of weight would have moved the tripod and the image would have been unsharp.

I was also unsure how the movement of the boat would look on the finished image, but in the end I was quite happy with it.

Post Processing

I shot the image RAW and the only thing I've done to the image is crop a little off the edges where part of the filter holder was visible. Other than that, I added the title and frame in PS, re-sized it, gave it some very subtle sharpening and that's it. As I said, there has been no adjustment to colour, contrast or saturation.


Taken at Carrasqueira, Alentejo, Portugal
Nikon D80 | Sigma 10-20mm | Nikon Cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Hoya ND400 (9 stop) | Lee 0.9 (3 stop) hard GND | Cokin ND8 (3 stop) soft GND
95 seconds | f8 | 10mm

Workflow in Apple Aperture. Frame and title in PS
Add a Comment:
randompugdog Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2016  New Deviant Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful! :D
alithking Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2016
Impressive, nice work.
shekho72 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
zhaliyembh85 Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014
Subhanallah ^_^
JulienKraakman Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi Andy,

Just a question since I've been looking to buy the Sigma 10-20mm as I'm starting to photograph more and more landscapes.

Really doubting if the price is worth the 3.5. If I see your pictures and if those are made with the 4.0, I'm trusting this to be good enough for me as a starter as well.

Genoula Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Amazing work!!!
kumArts Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
wow...stunning . nice work!!
deer-o Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Student Photographer
it's more than perfect...
WangJundu Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Love from Beijing, :kiss: Amazing work!
Csipesz Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Excellent shot!
Tysik Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012
Breathtaking beauty
AlekimOneira Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2012
Amazing colours! :love:
Alan-H-Bruce Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
smashing image...! thanks for taking the time to describe the technique, much appreciated...!
Douce-Amertume Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012
Superb work! :) :clap:
RAIS1 Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
JoergJohannMueller Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
tiffanylayne Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The first time I saw this pic, I wondered where it was from, the opened it up and was so pleased to read all about it! :)
Ryuu-Izou Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Bravo! Bravissimo! And I absolutly adore the fact that you added a review of the location, tec, prosess and even the metadata. A sharing artist is a true artist! :D

Once again, BRAVO! :heart:
BodomBastard93 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:wow: nice shot....the colors are amazing :D
Franwing Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2012  Student General Artist
very very very very very... etc good!
paaniprezes Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Very good job.
avemelidergi Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012
we like your photo very much. If you allow us to use this one or some of your photos for our every month published e-magazine we would be very happy. Of course we will put your name under it.

thank you in advance

AndyMumford Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2012
I'm sorry, but I'd prefer if you didn't use my work for your e-magazine. I hope you understand
barkajol Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2011
Val-Faustino Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
Awesome shot :clap:
LunaFeles Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011   Photographer
Featured your photo here: [link]
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
Thanks so much
Ania-scarred Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2011
amazing, i wish i was there with a bible.
intheo2 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011
benas1971 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011
very good shot
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2011
Ana--Thema Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
AdamSherratt Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
no words.....
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Thanks so much
LittleMissMischief Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
You have been featured here [link] :D
GraphiteColours Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi! You've been featured here: [link]
yiria Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
As always a very stunning and masteful image, very well done! :clap:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Aguswu Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Thanks so much :-)
cjheery Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow. This is incredible. And thank you so much for the detailed information - especially on technique. It really helps beginners like me.
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Glad you like it, thanks
vivekrevi Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
superb one .. loved it .. :)
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
crh Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
a real treat! a great shot, wonderful place and you captured the atmosphere excellently. congratulations. it's very inspiring.
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Thanks so much
SonjaPhotography Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2011  Professional Photographer
Not only is this an excellent image, but you took the time to share your technique. Thank you for that and congratulations on a beautiful shot!
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
Thanks a lot
DaniBabitz Featured By Owner May 5, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
beautiful !
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
October 17, 2007
Image Size
168 KB


53,469 (3 today)
3,496 (who?)