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Submitted on
December 14, 2008
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285 (who?)
Winter's Water Colours by AndyMumford Winter's Water Colours by AndyMumford
The Photo

Something a little different.

This shot was taken in a really heavy rainstorm. I was taking shelter and having lunch, but could see the rain and the water in the air creating a separation between the different hills in the serra.
This scene was a long way away, and only a tiny portion of the landscape that I could see infront of me. The telephoto lens has compressed the hills to such an extent that the foreground trees are perhaps 3 km away from me, whilst the tress in the mid-ground are around 7 km away
I don't expect this to get much attention here on DA, it's just not that kind of shot, but I'm happy with it. I really enjoy shooting more "intimate" landscapes with a telephoto lens and the possibilties for composition that come with this kind of focal length. In this case, I wanted to create a shot that really felt like a water colour painting, and captured the slightly colourless feel of the landscape in a rainstorm.


Conditions were changing so fast, and it was raining so hard that I didn't have time for the tripod.
I used the lens hood to keep water off the front element, and handheld the camera. I opened up the aperture to keep the shutter time down, and turned on the VR to help keep the shot steady and sharp.
With the zoom fully extended I looked around the landscape, looking for arrangements that would give me as many receding layers as possible, and also hopefully have some sort of focal point to anchor the shot (in this case the two lone trees on the hillside).

Location [link]

Post Processing

Shot in RAW, I just cropped a little off the bottom to make the trees there less of a solid block, and to try to balance them with the others hills in the distance.
Resized and sharpened for the web.


Taken near Casais, Serra do Monchique Algarve, Portugal
Nikon D3 | Nikkor 80-400 VR ED
1/125 second | f5.6 | 400mm

Workflow in Apple Aperture and Photoshop CS3
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Skycode Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009
Featured here :iconteamoplz:
grevys Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2009
this one slipped by me ... fabulous layers.
sleurope Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2009
well done. =)
DrewHopper Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2009  Professional Photographer
You've nailed this one man, looks fab :)
JulienKraakman Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow, im really thinking of going to Portugal to do some photographing there and practice my skills. It seems that there are a lot of nice places there when it comes to waterscapes and landscapes. And it's pretty close for me figuring i live in the Netherlands. Algarve is on my list now, is that a good place to start? :)
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009
If you're coming to Portugal, I would really recommend looking at places on the west coast, not the south. The southern coast of Algarve, which is where most of the tourists go, is over-developed and ugly. There are nice beaches there, but for the most part they are surrounded by concrete hotels and all the mess of mass tourism.
The west coast of Algarve, and Alentejo, above the Algarve, is protected and much more wild. There are no big concrete hotels, but there are camp sites and smaller rural hotels. The coastline is very windy and wild, so it's not great for swimming, but it's MUCH quieter and 100 times more beautiful. It's also better for shooting at the end of the day as the sun sets almost directly west of Portugal, above the sea of the west coast, making it possible to shoot up or down the coast, or straight out to sea into the sun.

This photo is taken in the hills between Algarve and Alentejo, about 40km away from both south and west coast. It's a beautiful area, and there are some fantastic walking and cylcling trails here.
JulienKraakman Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks for that information, i kinda thought about the sun setting in the west yeah, problem i do have is my girlfriend wanting to swim in the ocean really bad :P. Is it a long drive from the south-west to the "western nice area's"? Portugal is about 2 times bigger then my country and well, i can drive thru my country in about 4 hours or so. But that's a pretty long drive actually if you are on a vacation where you have to stick to one place for sleeping. Guess i'll have to go without her then =P.

This year it'll be Turkey anyway, i've seen some great spots for shooting near Antalya, ever been there or looked it up?
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2009
I'd recommend heading to the more westerly part of the Southern coast then. Lagos is where I often stay (my wife's family has an apartment there) and it has great south facing beaches, and some nice bays. I've shot quite a few sunrise shots from there as some of the bays face east.
From here, it takes about an hour by car to get to the west coast, and your within easy reach of places like Sagres (the most south westerly point of Europe), and the coast around the headland to the north is really great. Infact, there are some wonderful places to stay in Sagres itself, and the beach there is good and protected from the wind and waves as well....and from there it's very easy to get to the west coast as you're staying near the headland. [link]
The best strip of coast is between Carrapateira and Pedra da Mina [link]

Turkey isn't a part of Europe I know at all...sorry.
JulienKraakman Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah, that sounds very good. I can really use that info and i think i might just do that (stay at Lagos). But Turkey has really been set for this year, and i might go on a special photography trip to Portugal with someone else in stead, later this year or next year.

Is there a special time of the year which is the best for shooting or is it just the summer? And how do you normally get to that coast? I see it's totally deserted at most spots, do you just park your car at the nearest parking place and walk/climb down to the beach?
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2009
To be honest, summer is the absolute worst time for photography in Portugal. The earth is really dry and brown from the summer heat, and for the most part there are never clouds in the the sunsets are disappointing.
I'd recommend easter time, if you can come at that time. Everywhere isn't quite so busy, the prices are a little cheaper, and you'll get better skies.

As for getting to the beaches, the access can be difficult, but there are road which go down to many of them, with small carparks and small restaurants. If you look at the area in GoogleMaps, you'll be able to see the roads. I particularly recommend Praia da Amoeira, Praia Monte Clerigo, Praia Bordeira, and Praia Amado. These are all pretty easy to get to and clearly signposted from the main road which runs from Vila do Bispo to Aljezur.
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