Surf Monument, Nazaré, Portugal

There are statues and monuments all over Portugal.  Most of them memorialize people and events from Portugal’s history.  The statue in Nazaré, on the road to the Fortaleza, is probably one of the strangest monuments in Portugal.

The statue, named Veado and created by Portuguese sculptor Adália Alberto, was placed in 2016 and honors the legend of Nazaré as well as the town’s legendary status as the home to some of the best surfing and biggest waves in the world.

Veado

First, the legend.  In the fifth century, a monk named Ciriaco returned from Nazareth to the monastery of Cauliniana with a small wooden statue of Mary with the Infant Jesus which, by oral tradition, is said to have been carved by Mary’s husband, Joseph, the carpenter.  The icon remained at the monastery until 711, when invading Moorish armies defeated Christian forces.

Roderic, the defeated king, fled to the coast, accompanied by a monk, Romano, who carried the icon with him when the men fled.  When the two men reached the Atlantic, they separated, with Frei Romano living out his days, still in possession of the statue,  in a cliff-side cave overlooking what is now Nazaré.

Fast forward a few hundred years, to an early morning when a knight, Dom Fuas Roupinho, was hunting on the cliff overlooking the ocean.  The knight was in pursuit of a deer when a heavy fog suddenly descended.  The deer, blinded by the fog, ran over the edge of the cliff.  Dom Roupinho, realizing that he was very close to the grotto where the icon still remained, prayed to Our Lady to save him from certain death.  His horse, though blinded by the fog, miraculously stopped at the edge of the cliff, saving the knight from death.

So that’s the legend of Nazaré, and where the deer head comes from.  Now for the surfing.  Nazaré’s North Beach is legendary for the giant waves that come out of the Atlantic and provide some of the best big wave surfiing in the world.  In 2011, American Garrett McNamara set the world record by surfing a 78-foot wave at North Beach.  Two years later he shattered his own record by surfing a giant 100-foot wave at the same beach.

So now you know the two legends that inspired Veado, the statue overlooking Praia do Norte, in Nazaré.

Infrared Photography

Infrared film photography was labor intensive.  You had to work in complete darkness to avoid spoiling the film, so I had to use a film changing bag in a closet with no lights to load the film.  Then, to be safe, I had to seal the edges of the camera’s film compartment with electricians tape to avoid any light leakage.  That was just to load the film.  The process had to be reversed to unload it.  And then there was the development…

Some digital cameras make digital photography much easier.  With my Kodak P-850, all I needed was an infrared filter, such as the Wratten 87A filter.  The filter is a very dark filter that blocks virtually all light-waves except the infrared waves.  There are a couple difficulties to using one of these filters.  First, you can’t see through the filter, so you’ll need to compose your photo first, then place the filter on your camera after you’ve set up your photograph.  Second, the exposure time is very long, so you’ll need to use a tripod to avoid camera shake.  You’ll also probably have to take several different exposures to find the right settings.

Once you’ve taken the photo, it looks like this:

The pink tint is because the filter isn’t black as it appears to be, it’s actually a very dark red.  Because the pink tint is a little weird, I use Paint Shop Pro to create a black and white version:

Home Infrared

Infrared light is reflected differently than normal light.  The trees and grass appear nearly white and the sky is very dark.  I like the way you get a different perspective of things through infrared photography.

By the way, there are a lot of online tutorials for infrared photography.  You can also create faux-infrared photographs using photo editing software.  Here’s a faux-infrared photo of the Crooked River Lighthouse:

Crooked River Lighthouse

I didn’t use an infrared filter here; it’s all done through manipulation using Paint Shop Pro.

Melting Ice, Yukon Territory, 2016

I admit it.  I had preconceived ideas about what the Yukon Territory would look like.  For years, I had read books where tough men in heavy parkas and mukluks fought their way through snowstorms and across glaciers in search of gold.  Luckily for us, our visit to the Yukon was much less work.

I was blown away by the beauty of the place.  I expected wilderness, which was everywhere, but not the fantastic colors- the greens of the shrubs and grasses growing around the rocks, the wildflowers in bloom and that wonderful deep blue sky.   It was late Spring so there was still plenty of snow and ice, but the plant life was taking advantage of the warmer temperatures and longer days.

With this particular photo, I love the way the melting ice reflects the sky.  I also like the way the stream leads you to the mountains where it finds its beginnings.  The Yukon was a fascinating place and provided a great opportunity to photograph some amazing landscapes.

YT Melting Ice

Ice

Sometimes you can find opportunities in small places; in this case it was a bucket.  We get some hard freezes in North Carolina.  A few years ago we had several days of extreme cold and the water buckets in the dogs’ kennels froze.  I tipped the buckets over to let the sun warm them enough that the ice would separate from the bucket, and when I picked the buckets up there were bucket-shaped pieces of ice.  The exterior of this particular piece had ridges and trails where air had slowly made its way through the thawing ice, leaving a very abstract pattern that’s vaguely reminiscent of an aerial landscape photograph.

New Ice

Dog Cemetery, Chinqua Penn Plantation

Chinqua Penn was a beautiful old English manor near Reidsville, North Carolina.  Originally built by Jeff and Betty Penn.  The name Chinqua Penn comes from the name of a species of American Chestnut, the chinquapin and, of course, the family’s name.

Mr. and Mrs. Penn were philanthropists who traveled the world and furnished their house with the treasures they acquired on their journeys.  There’s even a full scale Chinese pagoda on the property.  The property was given into trusteeship by the University of North Carolina.  In 2006 the property was sold to Calvin Phelps, the founder of Renegade Tobacco Company, and was closed, with all the beautiful belongings sold at auction during bankruptcy proceedings.

We were fortunate to be able to tour the property and house before the closure.  One point of interest for us was the dog cemetery.  The Penns were dog lovers and raised Cocker Spaniels and English Setters.  The Penns buried their beloved companions in this cemetery, with Mr. Penn delivering the eulogy.  It was a nice way to memorialize the animals they loved.

Dog Cemetery

Monarch Butterfly

Sometimes you don’t have to go far to experience beauty.  One summer our butterfly bush was covered with Monarchs.  They’re constantly moving from one flower to another, but I managed to catch this beauty as it settled down for a few seconds to feed.  I really like the way the colors of the butterfly and the flower pop against the washed-out sky.

100_1471

Wildlife Museum, Caribou Crossing, Yukon

I’m not a big fan of taxidermy.  There’s a lot more bad examples than good when it comes to stuffed animals.  I was really surprised, though, by the Wildlife Museum at Caribou Crossing.  We visited the museum as part of a cruise ship excursion in May 2016.  The museum was quite interesting and the taxidermy was some of the best I’ve seen.

From the famous polar and brown bears to the lesser known wood bison and saigo antelope as well as the now extinct woolly mammoth.  The displays are at times beautiful and at other times violent, but always interesting and educational.

 

Old Cathedral of Coimbra

The Romanesque Sé Velha de Coimbra is almost as old as Portugal itself.  The construction of the cathedral was ordered and financed by Dom Afonso Henrique, the first king of Portugal.  Construction took many years, but the construction was advanced enough by 1185 that the coronation of Dom Sancho I, the second king of Portugal, took place in the cathedral. 

The cathedral’s construction was finished early in the 13th century, with the construction of the cloisters begun around the same time.  While there have been several additions to the cathedral, it is the only Romanesque cathedrals in Portugal to survive relatively intact over the centuries.

It’s a beautiful structure, strong like a fortress.  This photo is of the eastern  façade, with the semicircular apse.  I love the way the wispy cirrus clouds contrast with the angles and edges of the stones.

Old Cathedral

Fado de Coimbra

Fado is the national music of Portugal.  There are two distinct styles of Fado.  Lisbon Fado tends to be a little more upbeat and can be sung by both men and women.  The songs can be about a variety of subjects and can be accompanied by instruments other than the traditional Portuguese guitar and classical guitar.

Coimbra fado is a different style from the Lisbon version.  Coimbra Fado came about when the male students of the university would stand below a girl’s window and sing love songs to woo a young lady.  Because of this local tradition, Coimbra Fado is much more restricted.  Only male students or former students of Coimbra University, can perform Fado and the singers are only accompanied by the Portuguese guitar and classical guitar.  The songs are mostly love songs, but occasionally protest songs are sung.

This beautiful sculpture, titled Fado de Coimbra, celebrates the city’s version of the national music.   The Portuguese guitar has morphed into the form of a beautiful young woman, who is both the inspiration and the recipient of the song.  It’s a beautiful way to honor the city’s version of this wonderful music.

Fado de Coimbra

Fishing Boat, Nazaré, Portugal

Nazaré, a small beach town in Portugal, was once known as a fishing village.  These days it’s known more for its beaches and its big wave surfing.  There are still signs of the old fishing village, but these days they’re mostly for the tourists.

There are several old fishing boats on the praia, or beach.  They’re quite colorful; each boat has a different color and size.  I took several photos of the boats but I like this one best because the cliff-side fortaleza can be seen under the boat’s paddle.

Red Boat