OMG! Guys!! I am in Portugal. It was a mid summer suggestion from friends of mine to join them in their rental in Lisbon and now here I am! And all I can say is WOW. First its damn hot and second I AM IN LOVE. It’s so beautiful here and I’ve only explored a small section of the city.
Vine Wall In Alfama
During my first afternoon I wandered over to Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood. This section of Lisbon that was first settled by Romans and flourished under Moorish times. The narrow streets take you back through time as you walk along its meandering path. Here you will also find Castello de Såo Jorge sitting on the crown of the hill. I didn’t explore this today but I will definitely be paying a visit soon.
Old European cities are my favourite places to wander. There are so many things to photograph and Number 32 is a great example of the kinds of things I love to photograph. The old ornate wooden doors with their paint peeling tell a story of better days.
Wandering back into the bustle of the neighbourhood of Baixa and Avenida I started noticing these yellow trams. Tram number 28 is the traditional way to see Lisbon’s sights. The tram winds its way around the city, up its steep hills and through the narrow streets to give tourists an easy way to see the sights without all the leg work. On hot days like today I think I would rather walk the streets than be huddled together in this small tram.
Another journey in experimenting with astrophotography takes my friend Nigel and me through Grey county up to the shores of Georgian Bay.
Of course, we can’t ignore the goodies we find along the way. Like this abandoned home crushed by a neighbouring tree with a beautiful sunset behind it. What more could a girl ask for?
Well, stars for one. The jewels of the sky. That’s what I’m looking for tonight.
Jewels in the Sky
We planted ourselves on shores Georgian Bay inside Craigleith Provincial Park in hopes of finding some great shots of the Milky Way. Alas, the clouds rolled in early and although they cleared a little we knew it wasn’t going to be a good night for practicing our astrophotography.
As we drove home we kept our eyes peeled for any inspiration before we got back to the lights of big city. We were very lucky to spot this barn.
Barn and Milky Way
Although we still had to deal with the clouds I did come away with this photo that I like quite a bit. And now, we have a spot to come back to on another, preferably cloudless, night.
I was sitting out on the patio this evening with my camera in hopes of catching something interesting.
I got lucky when a robin decided to visit. She look a little rough land in this photo seem to be a one-legged robin. Okay, she wasn’t really one-legged but she kept sitting there staring at me with her foot up. It looked so odd. Eventually she had enough and flew away. After her brief visit I decided to explore the garden and work on some close-up photography.
This closeup is of a cherry tree that is over 40 years old and unfortunately will not be around much longer. The trunk has been split open for years and the main branches have broken in the past due to the weight of the cherries. Nowadays there are very little cherries to eat in the hot summer sun so its time for this tree to go and a new one to take its place.
One of the things about astrophotography is that it is weather dependant. You need clear skies and you definitely need to be away from all the light pollution in the city. Luckily last night was the perfect night to get out to shoot some photos of the Milky Way. But where to go? Well, not too far away is a dark sky preserve called Torrance Barrens. It is one of the closer spots to the city for some really dark skies. My friend Nigel came along with me and after arriving we scouted out a few locations. Once we selected our preferred spot we set up our gear and waited for night to fall.
At one point I decided to take multiple shots of the Milky Way to create the panoramic image above. It ended up being 32 photos that had to be stitched together and straightened out. Whew!
Before packing up and heading home we decided to have a little fun and add ourselves to the photos with our headlamps. We found it a little difficult to stay as still as possible but for our first attempt we did pretty good.
On our last full day at the park we decided to get out in the kayaks and paddle over to Mazinaw Rock. Last year I brought my GoPro with me but this year I decided to bring along my Nikon D800 with me. I just prayed I wouldn’t tip the kayak over and lose the camera. (Spoiler: I didn’t flip. Whew!)
Paddling out the rock its hard not to feel small as Mazinaw towers over you. One of these days I”m going take the ferry over and hike the top of the rock.
It’s an unforgettable experience to be out in the water and up close and personal with Mazinaw.
Sneaking away for a quick sunset shoot, I hiked over to a secluded beach with a direct view of Mazinaw Rock. Someone had left their red canoe on the beach which just screamed for me to take its photo, so I positioned the canoe to point towards the sunset as the sun lit up the clouds.
There were some other canoes left on the beach which also became my props for the photo below.
I decided to try using my ND filter (see more on ND filters here) to make a long exposure as the light began to fade into the blue hour. It smoothed out the surface of the lake and streaked the clouds in the sky for a painterly effect to the photo.
It was worth sneaking away to get these shots. I may have to print a couple out and see how they look on my walls.