One more night contemplating the sea from the cliffs of Algarve, with an unique view of a nocturnal sky that fills the soul. It is New Moon night during May of 2020, and conditions are perfect to do a long harvest of photons inside the camera, and thus reveal part of the hidden galaxy above.
Places look impressively different during the night, and this place is no exception. In darkness every precipice becomes more intense, and the dark loud sea down there increases the sensation of abyss right at our feet. Every step needs to be properly measures, not because of an imminent danger, but due to the inner intese feeling of smallness and reverence.
I love “silence” in my landscapes, a “silence” which I like to see extended to the act of capture itself. Whenever I go out to shoot, I try to look for places with no people, so that I can forget the world “out there” and focus on that world right in front of my eyes, more real, more “present”. When I arrived to Albandeira I had the usual hope that no one would be there shooting, but that was not the case. I had planned to once again use a lantern and light paint the dark rock, but this plan could be compromised, as there was already another photographer there, sitting on a portable chair, tripod setup, camera shooting.
Those who are not photographers are not aware of this, but when facing such situation we have two options: put our images above everything else, do our thing and ruin the work of others, or assume the simple fact that photographing Nature should always be made with the conscience of global respect and interconnection, which brings moral responsibilities towards everything that surrounds us.
As you might guess, it is much more frequent to find photographers who choose the first option, as we live in the era of “getting the image at all costs”. As the same time, the opportunities to make the image that I had visualized only happen a few times per year, as they need the perfect synch of clean night sky, New Moon (or at least low luminosity moon phase) and a good Milky Way positioning. Despite this, since there was already someone shooting the spot, I asked my special diplomat Adriana and her lovely smile to ask the photographer if we could do some exposures using light painting. He politely replied, filled with reason, that he was doing a long time-lapse, seizing the rare opportunity that the place had its lowest level of light pollution ever, as the nearby hotel was closed due to the pandemic.
Considering his explanation, there was nothing to argue about, and so I accepted the fact that the images I envisioned would not happen, as I would never disturb the dedicated craft of someone else capturing such a precious phenomena. Still, I decided to stay for a while on the spot and try some long exposures, expecting to get just a bunch of unusable dark rocks. Fortunately I was in for a big surprise, because there was actually still a good amount of subtle and indirect light bathing the rocks (as well as the usual excessive light on top of the arch, coming from a distant lamp post), which allowed me to get suprisingly good exposures, probably much better than if I had used a lantern like I had planned! If it weren’t for the presence of the other photographer, and if it weren’t for choosing to respect his work, I would have probably made technically poorer images, creating patches of irregular light all over the rocks, and this image would not have been possible.
When we dance under the stars, we act as one, and grow as one.
Technical data: Sony a7R + Laowa 15mm f2.0 | Abperture: f2.0 | Shutter speed: 30 segundos | ISO: 1600 | Manual Focus | FLM tripod | Two consecutive exposure blend to get both the foreground and sky in focus.