A short train ride away from Lisbon is the city of Sintra. Located on the west side of Portugal, Sintra was once a summer retreat for the kings of Portugal. There is a lot to see and do here and certainly not enough time in the day to do them all. I limited myself to three locations hoping I could tackle them all in the time I had.
When the train pulled into the station I wandered out into the streets to find the local bus that would take me up the hill to Pena Palace. By starting at the top I could walk down to the Moorish castle and then into the heart of Sintra to Quinta da Regaliera. It was best not to look out the windows as these experienced drivers whipped up the hill along narrow, twisty streets.
National Palace of Pena
Arriving safely (thank goodness) at Pena the photos I had seen did not do it justice. The unique architecture and colours of Pena Palace and Park are an example of Portuguese Romanitcism. Built in the 19th century it is one of the more popular spots here in Sintra and one can see why. Reds, yellow and blues merge together to create a one-of -a-kind castle. And, of course, the views from this far up ain’t too shabby either.
Looking out over Pena
The crowds here were crazy but with a little patience I was able to get a few shots during some of the lulls. From the castle I walked down into the palace grounds. Pena Park, as its known, is very large and unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore much, but I did get some time to see a small portion of it.
Fountain of the Small Birds
This moorish building is called the Fountain of the Small Birds. Inside its structure is just that, a fountain. As for the small birds I did not see any but I”m sure they visit here during the quiet times. Heading out of the grounds I walked downhill to the Morrish castle. From its walls one can see Pena Palace in the distance. And it is quite a sight.
Pena Palace From the Morrish Castle
In my next post I’ll take you through my walk at the Morrish castle.
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.
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.
It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve gone out to photograph and today with the sky overcast I thought it would be a good time to head back to 50 Point Pier for some moody photos. I brought along my 10x ND filter to get my experiment on.
ND or neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your camera. The filter can be either screwed on to the front of your lens or it can slide in front of your lens with the help of a filter holder (sold separate from the filter, lens or camera). When placed on the lens it reduces the amount of light getting in to your camera’s sensor.
Pier without the ND filter. Shutter speed 1/6th of a second
There are different densities of filters. Some are only slightly tinted while others are more tinted. The different levels of tints allow you to shoot slower shutter speeds or open your aperture depending on what you are looking to accomplish with your photos.
Why would you want a longer shutter speed? When allowing your shutter to be open longer anything moving in your scene will essentially smooth out as shown in the photograph below.
50 point pier with 10x ND Filter. Shutter speed 87 seconds
You’ll notice in the photo above that the colours are very different from the photo at the very beginning of this post. ND filters are supposed to be a neutral grey colour, however, they usually tend to have a little colour in them. This colour becomes more prominent when shooting a long exposure. You will notice the one I use shifts the colour toward a more purple shade. This is because there is a little purple in the grey tone of my filter.
One way to get rid of this colour shift is to create beautiful black and white images. Of course, if you are shooting in RAW you will be able to adjust the colour in your post processing to create the look you want.
Photography is all about experimenting and having a little fun. Most people don’t usually have a 10x ND filter but have one of the more common ones like a 3x or 6x. You are the artist so you decide which one works best for you.
It’s June again. “So, what’s so special about June?” you ask. Well…the orchids are back! Every year I make the trek to Tobermory, Ontario to take photographs of a few types of orchids that are usually out in droves. This year with high water levels we were not sure what to expect.
My friend Nigel has joined me for the journey and as always we decided to take the “long” way. This usually means finding new places to drive through on our way up and not necessarily places that are on the way.
Our first stop is the Traverston Mill, located west of Markdale in the small town of Traverston. The mill was built in 1870 and operated as a gristmill till 1955, it is currently a private residence.
After messing around with some infrared photos of the mill we headed north west to the town of Southampton to photograph the Chantry Island Lighthouse. There was a haziness in the air so we didn’t stay long here. When processing the photo I went with a more vintage look to give it a little more character.
Going off the beaten track we found some little goodies to photograph by the side of the road. One of them was this picturesque scene of a river. I can’t remember where the heck this is but that’s the fun in exploring side roads.
Since doing some work on the islands over the winter I realized how beautiful the islands and the city are at this time of year. So my friend Nigel and I decided to take a trip to the Toronto Islands to explore and photograph the area.
The Toronto ice breaker ferry only travels to Ward’s Island, which is located on the eastern point of the islands. From here you can walk along the boardwalk on the south shore or the main road down the middle of the islands. We decided to walk the boardwalk to Centre Island and then take the main road back to catch the ferry.
Instead of heading directly to the boardwalk we explored some of the homes and parks on Ward’s Island first. Near a beach we found this path surrounded by birches. I played around with a fog filter to get the effect you see in the photos.
I can’t decide if I like colour version or the black and white version. Which do you prefer?
Heading back toward the ferry on the main road we came upon some ice skaters enjoying the sunny winter day. The inner harbours around the island are shallow and freeze quickly and they also make a nice ice rink with a spectacular view.