Category Archives: Portugal

Finding Peace In The Jerónimos Monastery

Cloister, Jeronimos Monastery

Just as impressive as the adjoining Church of Santa Maria, the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon was a sight to behold. With fantastic photo opportunities in every direction, the distinctive gothic style was as awe-inspiring as I had ever seen.

I felt a great sense of peace exploring the monastery. But looking back through my photos, the juxtaposition between its intimidating architectural style and the peaceful setting inspired by its environment is intriguing.

This shot was taken in the cloister, a beautiful courtyard surrounded by an ornate two-storey gallery. There were many great angles looking through the decorative arches towards the bell tower. This was the best I could find after walking around both floors of the gallery.


Open Doors Of Lisbon Cathedral

Open Doors, Lisbon Cathedral

Something about these doors of Lisbon Cathedral really grabbed my attention. The whole scene was rather ominous even in the bright light of day. I’ve visited many cathedrals throughout Europe but I’ve never seen an entrance quite like this one.

I had to wait a while to get this shot free of other tourists, but standing in the beautiful Lisbon weather was such a pleasure I didn’t mind at all. In May it offered the perfect combination of heat with a nice breeze, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return again at that time of year.

This shot has been sitting in my “To Publish” queue for a while so it’s processed exclusively in Lightroom. Having just started looking at Photomatix I might try and give it the HDR treatment too. I always think that effect works quite nicely with architecture shots!

Am I Being Watched?

Bairro Alto, Lisbon

While wandering around the Bairro Alto district of Lisbon I suddenly had this feeling I was being watched. Out of the corner of my eye I could see these little animals peering at me through a window. At first it was a bit creepy!

But as I got closer I could see they were just inanimate objects, and that this might also make a great photo. There were lots of things I loved about Lisbon, and many of them can be seen in this shot.

The beautiful bright blue tiles that are a symbol of the city, the mild state of disrepair present in the wall and window frame, and the quirky nature of these small dogs watching from the window all combined to form a simple snapshot of the city in a single frame.

Vanishing Points And The Golden Ratio

Vanishing Point, Lisbon Metro

Lines leading to a vanishing point always seem to make for great composition. This shot was taken on the Lisbon Metro, but I guess it could be any underground train network in the world. The frequency of trains left a lot to be desired, but at least it gave me time to take this shot!

When composing images like this I always try to put the vanishing point on one of the phi points of the golden ratio. I know a lot of people swear by the rule of thirds, but at least 50% of the time I prefer this crop instead.

If you’d like to experiment in Lightroom, go to the Tools menu and select Crop Guide Overlay. Then you can have your pick of different grids to guide your composition. I’m sure that on at least one occasion the golden ratio will be just perfect!

With Gothic Style

Church of Santa Maria, Lisbon

Probably the most memorable tourist attraction we visited in Lisbon, this shot was taken in the Church of Santa Maria which adjoins the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos). I really loved the ceiling in this place! I just couldn’t stop looking up, and had quite a sore neck by the time we left.

Since I didn’t have a tripod on this trip there was some substantial noise in the image. I tried to get rid of it as best I could using a combination of Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise. Actually I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let me in with a tripod anyway, as seems to be the case with just about every church I’ve ever visited!

Carry Me Up The Hill

Elevador da Glória, Lisbon

I’ve just returned home from a fantastic weekend in Lisbon, my first time in the capital of Portugal. Dotted around the city are a few of these old funiculars that carry people up and down its steep hills. Although it’s a great place to explore on foot, sometimes you need a little light relief from the constant up and down of the place!

I came across this scene on our way back from dinner in the Bairro Alto district. I didn’t have a tripod with me on this trip, so it was taken handheld as I steadied myself crouching on the hill. Alongside the similarly styled trams that ferry tourists around the streets, these funiculars help to maintain an old world charm that’s difficult to resist.