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Submitted on
May 20, 2008
Image Size
221 KB


456 (who?)
Serra by AndyMumford Serra by AndyMumford
The photo

I’m not sure about submitting this image, but I wanted to submit something that wasn’t a waterscape. Most of what I’ve been shooting recently has been out on the coast, but I have done a couple of landscapes, and I thought it would be nice to put something in my gallery to break up the waterscapes.

This photo was taken back in early February when I was staying in the countryside of Alentejo in southern Portugal.
We were staying in a farmhouse in a place called Serra do Cercal, and as the sun set I could see it was going to be beautiful, so I just walked out of the room a couple of meters into the field and started shooting….
…I wish it could always be this convenient.

The shiny thing on the front of the tree trunk is actually a number "3" painted on the bark. They do it to trees all over this area...not sure why.


For this shot I wanted to keep the compositions as clean and simple as possible.
I was also conscious of composing for shadows. Because of the bright sky and the filters I would need for it, the tree was going to become a silhouette. This doesn’t really matter as it emphasizes the shape, but what’s important is that it doesn’t merge with any shadows behind it and become lost.
For this reason I had to shoot in this direction as just to the right there was a forest, which would have “swallowed” up the tree in shadow, and besides, I wanted to get as much sky in the shot as possible.
Also I wanted to make sure that none of the tree’s branches were lost in the shadow of the trees at the bottom of the hill. So I composed from this direction, and got low to ensure that the main trunk of the tree passed through the horizon and the far shadows.

For exposure I wanted to make sure that the green and texture of the grass was visible so I took a base reading from the grass first (I just pointed the camera down and filled the viewfinder with the foreground).
This gave me my base exposure, which I set the camera to, and then I pointed the camera at the sky to see how many stops brighter it was. The meter indicated it was 5 stops brighter, so a 3 stop ND grad filter across the sky would bring the sky to within 2 stops of my base exposure…which is enough.

I used a cable release to ensure the camera remained still on the tripod while I tripped the exposure.


The image was shot RAW and imported into Aperture. I tweaked the contrast and vibrancy sliders, before moving it into PS. In PS I tweaked the mid-tone contrast using Unsharp mask (Threshold 0, Amount 20%, Pixels 60 – Thanks Juha [link]), and then resized the image using Bicupic smoother. Final sharpening was added, as well as a frame and title.


Taken in Serra do Cercal, Alentejo, Portugal
Nikon D80 | Sigma 10-20 | Nikon cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Lee 0.9 (3 stop) hard neutral density filter
1/2sec | f8 | 10mm
Add a Comment:
Genoula Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013
Great work!!
conelyn Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011
great work! :)
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
Thanks so much
NaturalCauses Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2010
very very very nice.
Rescuegrl Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2010
May i use this pic for a photo manip? I will credit accordingly =)

AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010
No problem
WraxAon Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010
Like how it spotlights the tree in the beautiful surroundings
mermaidluver155 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
Sango4Miroku Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009
So COOL! and brilliantly taken!!!!!!
Hollowinme Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2009
lindissimas cores! espero um dia ser capaz de conseguir tao belo trabalho! parabens!
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