Ponta de São Lourenço – Madeira

Ponta de São Lourenço – Madeira

Here we start with our mini photographic guide to Madeira.

Ponta de São Lourenço is one of the most photographed seascape of this fantastic Island. It is the most eastern part of Madeira and juts out into the Atlantic ocean with its volcanic rock formations offering an amazing opportunity for a hike or for a photo session. I thought it would have been great at sunrise, so I set my alarm very early in the morning and drove the 40 minutes to the car park. Unfortunately, the sun never really broke through the clouds, but the experience was absolutely worth the early wake up!

A short trip to Madeira

Funchal – Madeira

Just Landed in Madeira! After a few hours I’m already in love with this beautiful island. Really looking forward to exploring it during next week, finding as many photographic spots as possible and sharing them with. If you fellow photographers have any suggestions they are more than welcome!

Dun Briste – Downpatrick Head

Dun Briste Sea Stack

This impressive sea stack really looks as a sort of rocky platform rising from the ocean. All those clearly distinct layers of rock and its sharp edges gives it a robotic touch that makes it even more fascinating. I tried a long exposure to make the rock stand out more from the ocean, so to add a tad of surrealism to the scene. Then I played a bit in lightroom with vibrance and saturation slids to soften the colours, living just a touch of green on the top of the stack, so to increase the contrast between its rocky pillar and the grassy surface.

But there are thousands of different ways to photograph this amazing part of the Irish cost. Definitely worth a visit if you are travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way in County Mayo!

How to get there: Just 5 km Nord from the village of Ballycastle, you’ll find an headland called Downpatrick Head, in front of which stands 45 meters high rock: Dun Briste.

It’s a easy 5-10 minute walk from the car park, but the soil can be wet and muddy, therefore sturdy shoes are recommended as well as warm clothes, since it tends to be windy.

GPS: 54.322814, -9.345866

The Custom House – Dublin

The Custom House- Dublin

Since I moved to Ireland landscape photography has taken more and more space into my routine, and I love being there in the outdoors with my gear, walking or hiking while looking for some new natural spot. Still, cityscape keeps always a place into my photographic heart! And this year the Custom House in Dublin, finally free from scaffolding ruining its beauty, is just too good an opportunity to let it pass.

Fanad head

What a start today! Not exactly the smoothest possible.. I woke up at 5 am to try and catch the sunrise at Shrove beach, but the door of my hotel was locked and nobody was around to open it. I went back to my room, got out from the window (thank to my girlfriend who helped handling me all my gear!) and jumped a fence to get to the car. Opted to go to the closer Fanad Head. Typical ideal conditions.. splashy waves, wind and rain. I fought the elements for half an hour trying to protect my gear as much as I could, when finally it all started to turn for the better and gorgeous light conditions showed up. Right then my battery ran out of juice! I always have a spare one.. but today (left behind me during the “break out” from the hotel). This is one of the last shot I could get.

Poulnabrone Dolmen – Ireland


Poulnabrone Dolmen

Hi fellow photographers!

It has been difficult to find the time to write any posts in the past month; I have preferred to spend most of the spare time doing what I like most, which is travelling all around Ireland, exploring its hidden gems, doing a lot of spot scouting, combining photography with hiking and exploration in general. Yes, because photography can be quite addictive, and curiosity is a powerful driving force to keep us always on the move!

Last week my curiosity brought me to this amazing megalithic monument in the West of Ireland, called Poulnabrone Dolmen, and to move my first steps into the amazing world of night photography. It’s completely new to me but I’m already liking every bit of it!

Location: Poulnabrone Dolmen, County Clare, Ireland.



The Golden Hour in Photography – The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant's Causeway
The Giant’s Causeway

I still find it simply amazing to think that every day we have two magic moments. I’m talking about the two magic hours which take place daily, around sunrise and sunset.

What gives that magical feel is actually the light. And not only it’s possible to enjoy that magic atmosphere in real life, it’s also possible to capture it with our photography!

But first of all, let’s try to get an idea of what the golden hour is. The golden hour is a short period of time just after sunrise or just before sunset, and it owns its name to the typical golden light which characterizes it. But why is its light so different? Which characteristics have this peculiar light? And when can we see it?

Light is the key element in photography, and our most important natural source of light is the Sun. To allow us see things its light has to travel from the Sun itself to the Earth, passing through the terrestrial atmosphere. And here it is where the magic begins! Just after sunrise and just before sunset the Sun is levelled at the horizon, so that its light has to travel through a much thicker layer of atmosphere compared to what it does in broad daytime. In doing so the light is scattered into the atmosphere, but this affects mainly its blue component, while the yellow, orange and red ones travel more easily. The result is that beautiful golden light all outdoor photographers always look for.

Now that we know why we get this particular light, let’s see which characteristics it has. Golden light is:

Soft (or diffuse). Travelling through a thick layer of atmosphere, which acts as a giant diffuser, the intensity of sunlight is reduced. The result is a softer, diffuse light, which produces a more evenly exposed photo, expanding naturally its dynamic range, reducing overly exposed bright areas and harsh shadows.

Warm. Scattering (blocking) mainly the blue component, the resulting light is warmer, throwing a golden glow on what it illuminates.

Directional. When the sun is low on the horizon, shadows become not only softer but also longer, adding to the sense of depth of the image, and highlighting textures.

You see? Plenty of reasons for waking up early in the morning or hanging out until sunset with your camera. Don’t forget your tripod, though. Being the light much less intense than in full daylight means that your shutter speed is going to be longer, and a solid support is necessary to avoid blurred images.

Next time we will talk about the other “half” of the magic hour: the blue hour!




The Giant’s Causeway – Plan for It!

The Giant's Causeway - How to Plan for It!
The Giant’s Causeway – Plan for It!

No matter if you are a travel photographer or an enthusiast tourist, nobody is happy to go back home with just a bunch of dull pictures. It’s quite frustrating to look at those images and realise they don’t reflect the emotion and the atmosphere you experienced in that particular moment. Still, this is a very common circumstance.

To avoid this frustration and get the best out of your travel experiences the most important tip probably is: plan it!

Plan it in advance as much as possible. Gather the information about what you are going to visit, check the opening hours, how to get there, what’s in the surrounding, read other people reviews check the forecast, sunrise and sunset times, look at other photographers’ pictures and don’t forget to take advantage of services like Google maps and street view.

Well, if you’ve done all of that, your chances to be satisfied with your pictures, and overall experience, are starting to increase. Which is great!

A bit of experience, good technical skills, and a trained “photographic eye” will do the rest of the trick. Don’t be scared, it’s way easier than what it seems. The most important thing to do is to start off on the right foot: Plan it!

And if you don’t know from where to start with your plan, there are plenty of valuable resources around the web. One among all: Jimmy McIntyre. He is a terrific travel photographer, a brilliant communicator, and is blog is a precious source of inspiration for any photo enthusiast on this planet. Here you can find 32 of his tips on how to plan for landscape photography.

Many of them have been an essential part of my workflow for long, like the ones I considered while planning for this shot, which I am going to share.


  1. Plan for it.

I use an app called the photographer ephemeris, a map-centric sun and moon calculator. Thanks to it I knew that in summertime the sun sets just in front of the Giant’s Causeway, so I planned my trip here accordingly. This also leads us to our the next tip:


  1. Include a strong light source.

A strong light source can add depth and contrast to the scene, attract the eye of the observer, highlight the texture of other elements present in our image while “bathing” them with light beams. Overall, it enhances the mood of our photograph. A sun setting or rising, or the bright sky just after a sunset, or before sunrise, are some invaluable natural sources of strong light which can really make your photographs “pop”.


  1. Don’t forget the Foreground.

A mistake I’ve made many times. Being so captured by a gorgeous background, maybe a sunset, and take a pictures of it, forgetting the foreground. The result is usually an image which lacks of depth, and lose much of its impact. Add strength to your images including an interesting foreground. In this case it was utterly important, since the peculiar hexagonal pattern of the basalt columns is what makes this place unique, and you definitely want to highlight it in your picture.


  1. Capture water movement.

In the same way as light, water can strongly influence the mood of your image. Capture a choppy, rough sea with a short exposure time if you want to show the power of this element, or play with a longer exposure to “flatten” the sea’s surface, as I did here to let the rocks and the “pipe organ-like” structure of the causeway stand out more.


  1. Don’t forget the Blue hour.

The golden hour may be that “perfect” moment of the day for a photographer, whit is gorgeous and warm light. But don’t underestimate what the blue hour can look like. It often carries some magical atmosphere to the scene, and can give a dramatic mood to your images even after a dull sunset. Besides, you’ll be probably one of the few photographers around by that time (if not the only one), which is gorgeous if you want to capture the wilderness and loneliness of some landscape or seascape. That’s what I’ve done here; there were dozens of people walking on these basalt columns just before sunset. Not even an hour later I was left alone, and the majesty of the scenery seemed to be magnified in its wilderness.


  1. Look at the histogram.

The histogram shows the amount of pixels of particular brightness in your photograph, ranging from black (0% brightness) to white (100% brightness). Looking at it you may have a precise idea of “what’s going on” in your picture regarding the exposure. If your histogram is “touching” the left edge, you are probably clipping the highlight (losing details in the most bright areas of your image). If it is “touching” the right edge, you’re clipping the shadows. Either case can be usually fixed adjusting the exposure settings. In my case, the histogram showed that I was clipping the highlights. Underexposing a bit I got back all the details in the sky.


  1. Shoot with post-processing in mind.

Very rarely I’m satisfied with my pictures as they come out of my camera. Most of the time there is some fine-tuning to do and some details to correct in “post-production”. Personally, I think that editing an image is as much important as actually taking it and, with some practice, can also be good fun! Therefore, when I shoot, I do it thinking how I will then edit the image. In this case I had to underexpose it deliberately to get as many details in the sky as possible. The foreground would have been too dark then, but I knew Lightroom has a very powerful tool to bring out the details and fine tune the exposure selectively in the shadows, so I could take my shot, confident it would have looked as I wanted after some basic editing.


Do you have any other tips you follow when you plan for your photography? Please share it here in a comment!

Location: Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland – UK.

Coordinates: 55°14′27″N 6°30′42″W

The Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

The Giant's Causeway

Hello fellow photographers!

Let’s start the year with one of the most iconic place in Ireland: the Giant’s Causeway, rightfully considered one of the greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom, and a world heritage site by UNESCO, located on the north coast of Northern Ireland.

This incredibly peculiar natural structure owns its origin to the intense volcanic activity which took place in Antrim around 50 to 60 million years ago, when fluid molten basalt formed an extensive lava plateau. As the lava cooled, an horizontal contraction occurred, originating the fractures still visible nowadays, which shaped the hexagonal pillar-like structures, making this site almost unique in the world.

Being one of the greatest natural wonder in Ireland, it is also one of the most visited tourist attractions of the country. Therefore, if you want to get some good pictures of this gorgeous place, avoiding the hundreds of people which daily crowd it, you’d better plan your visit accordingly (don’t despair, with a few tips it is absolutely possible).

See you next week, with another picture from the Giant’s Causeway, and more tips about getting the most out of your visit.

Location: Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland – UK.

What to shoot: The peculiar natural structure is undoubtedly the primadonna of this seascape and will have a prominent role in your shots. You will either focus on the hexagonal pattern of the basalt columns, or on the “pipe organ-like” shape of the coast. Of course other more common natural elements come in handy to boost your composition.

In particular water can help changing the mood of your picture. Try to catch the movement of a choppy sea, or use a calm, flat water surface to get the most beautiful colours out of its reflection.

And don’t forget the “ever changing” light of an Irish sky. Again, the movement of the clouds can be highlighted with a long exposure, or you can just wait for the right beam of light entering your composition.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise and sunset. I know it doesn’t come as a surprise, but these are really the ideal times to get both the most beautiful light and the less people around. Try to get there before sunrise, or to stay after sunset. The blue hour can add some extra drama to the place, and you’ll be probably the only one there.

There is an extra advantage to go there out of the operating hours of the visitor centre. Access to the Giant’s Causeway is currently free, but during the opening hours of the visitor centre you’ll be asked to pay a fee in order to park your car (and it’s quite difficult to leave your car elsewhere). But out of the opening hours you can actually park for free.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: By car: The Giants Causeway is on the B147 Causeway road. It is 2 miles from Bushmills village, and 13 miles from Ballycastle. Onsite parking is reserved for visitors admitted through the Visitor Centre.

There are Buses and a Park and Ride Service available. For more information click here.

Coordinates: 55°14′27″N 6°30′42″W



Hello 2017!

My "Best Of" Ireland 2016 - Black and White
My “Best Of” Ireland 2016 – Black and White

Hello 2017!

And welcome to all of you, fellow photographers, into this new year. I hope you had a fantastic winter break! I also hope you are now ready to take your camera out again and follow me into the great journey of exploring the world around us, looking for the most breathtaking views, the cutest glimpses of our cities, the liveliest moment of our neighbourhoods, and get the most fabulous pictures out of them. Along with all the fun that photography brings, of course!

This year I’ll be focusing on Ireland, scouting both its most iconic places and its many hidden gems. The goal is to visit Irish most beautiful photographic spots and collect them all here, in a sort of simple, unpretentious guide to Ireland for photographers and photography lovers. A “drop-in” to Venice is also on the agenda. So, if you are looking for hints and tips about what to photograph in these locations stay tuned.

See you next week with our first photographic spot of the year, the Giant’s Causeway, in Northern Ireland.



Good Bye 2016!

My Best Ireland - 2016
My Best of Ireland – 2016

Good bye 2016, it has been fun meeting you and discovering many new places!

Now it’s time to move on. Wish you all a happy new year, full of your best images and inspiration.




Lough Gill – Sligo

Lough Gill - Sligo
Lough Gill – Sligo

I have been offered the opportunity to test a landscape preset editing package, created and commercialized by “Sleeklens“, a Danish growing company specialized in products for Lightroom and Photoshop, such as presets and brushes. In particular I tried the Through The Woods bundle, designed especially for landscape photography.

I have to say that I wasn’t familiar with the use of preset bundles, and that I generally love editing my pictures myself as much as taking them, and the idea of a tool doing it all for me wasn’t so appealing. I was therefore sceptical when I approached this bundle, but I had to admit to myself that I had not posted any new picture in a while, due to lack of time. The little time I could find, I preferred to dedicate it to spot scouting and shooting, rather than to staying at home and editing.

As this was the case, my hope was to find a tool that could speed up the editing process, leaving me at the same time “in charge” of it. And I have not been disappointed.

After the initial download, thanks to clear and simple video-tutorials, in a few minutes I was ready to go. Around 50 presets were added to the presets list in the develop window and 30 new brushes were available with just one click.

My first impression has been in line with my most positive expectations, and even better.

Some of the presets are “all-in-one”, which means that applying them you’ll be able to give your picture that particular look or mood for which they have been designed. Since I like to take my pictures at dawn or sunset, I’ve particularly loved those presets dedicated to bringing out their warm colours, together with that golden glow typical of these moments of the day.

The great thing is that once you’ve applied the preset that works better for your image, you are free to “fine tune” it, operating on the single sliders, as you would have done normally. In this way you can benefit from the immediacy of the presets, without renouncing to give your images that personal touch you like.

An additional characteristic I have appreciated is the fact that you can also use “stackable” presets instead of the “all-in-one”. In this way you can apply presets that modifies just a few sliders each, and stack them one on top of the other. The result is that you operate more selectively on definite aspects such as exposure, colour, tint and vignette, mixing them as you prefer and being more in charge of the whole process.

To conclude, it has been good fun to start playing with Sleeklens bundle, trying different presets gave me some idea about how to edit an otherwise much duller image and in a few minutes I was able to finish off the process getting a new picture ready to go.

Location: Lough Gill, County Sligo, Ireland.

What to shoot: You can play with natural elements as you like. What I have done here is looking for a simple, minimalistic composition, as suggested by the stillness of the lake. Autumn leaves in the foreground, two symmetrical rows of trees in the background, and a few surfacing rocks in the middle.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise is my favourite. The stillness of Lough Gill at this time is something worth getting up early in the morning.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From Sligo Take the N16 signposted Enniskillen, at the traffic lights adjacent to Sligo Institute of Technology take the R286 to Dromahair. Follow the road for approximately 3km and then turn right at the crossroads signposted Hazelwood. After about 1km turn left into the wood and continue until the road ends in a car park, where walking trails start.

Coordinates: 54°15′29″N 8°25′35″W


Athlone Bridge

Athlone Bridge
Athlone Bridge


Straight to the heart of Ireland. This week our photographic spot hunting leads us to the picturesque and historic town of Athlone, near the geographical centre of Ireland, known as the “gateway to the West”. The Shannon river splits this enchanting city in two, with most services and businesses on its eastern bank, while under the shadow of the medieval Castle, the western bank is rich of colourful houses, winding streets, antique shops, historic pubs and much more.

Location: Athlone, County Westmeath, Ireland.

What to shoot: During my quick visit to this medieval town I found two mainly photographic subject: Athlone Castle and the view of Ss. Peter and Paul church across River Shannon.

Ideal time to shoot: At sunrise and sunset you will get the most out of this beautiful cityscape in terms of colours and details. The “blue hour” may add that special touch with city lights starting to beam.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: Athlone lies on the way that connect Dublin to Galway. It is possible to reach Athlone by car, train or bus in around 1 hour from Galway, or 1 hour and a half from Dublin.

Coordinates: 53°25′25″N 7°56′30″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge

Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge
Night Lights over Samuel Beckett Bridge

After a long winter hibernation it’s time to get the gear out and start photographing (and sharing) again! The goal is to do as much spot hunting as possible, take some good pictures, and share the best hints and suggestions about photographic opportunities across Ireland. Be it street life, landscape or seascape photography, the “Emerald Isle” has it all. Stay tuned not to lose next photo hints.

Location: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: Samuel Beckett Bridge is undoubtedly an architectural masterpiece, well worth a picture itself; but playing with the lights of the passing cars and buildings in the background at night-time makes the whole shooting experience a real pleasure.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long. Blue sky with scattered clouds is perfect for contrasted black and white pictures, while night is ideal for long exposure, capturing traffic light trails. My favourite time, though, is the “blue hour”, when city lights start to shine and the sky has still some contrast. You’ll need both your tripod and a ND filter to lengthen your exposure enough to catch some good traffic light trails.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From City Quay or North Wall Quay, served by public transport (15A, 15B, 500, 501, 747).

Coordinates: 53°20′49″N 6°14′29″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Grand Canal Dock – Dublin

The Marker Hotel - Dublin
The Marker Hotel – Dublin

Time to continue our photographic tour of Irish beauty in black and white. I was saying how modernity and ancient inheritance coexist around Ireland’s capital, Dublin, and if you fancy some architecture photography, or even some abstract photography, you are not going to be disappointed if you take a tour through Dublin’s most modern neighbourhood.

LocationGrand Canal Dock, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: This modern and popular district hosts some of the most recent and bold buildings of Ireland. It is particularly busy during week days when the employees of high-tech multinationals such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Airbnb crowd its streets. Indeed this area has been rightfully dubbed “Silicon Docks”, a reference to the most famous Silicon Valley. By contrast it could appear even desolated on a Sunday morning, my favourite time to take pictures of its most daring buildings, as the characteristic Marker Hotel (in the picture), the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (the largest theatre in Ireland) or the Alto Vetro apartment building (awarded the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland’s Silver Medal for Housing).

Ideal time to shoot: All day long, but I prefer the quiet of Sunday mornings.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: The Grand Canal Dock is served by the 15a, 15b, 120, 84N, 702 and other bus services.

Coordinates: 53°20′40″N 6°14′22″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Samuel Beckett Bridge – Dublin

Samuel Beckett Bridge and River Liffey
Samuel Beckett Bridge and River Liffey

Let’s start a new short series of black and white pictures of the capital of Ireland. Founded as a Viking settlement, Dublin (that in Old Irish means dark pool) has grown to the rank of one of the top thirty global cities in the world, due to its importance as a centre for education, the arts, economy and industry. Modernity and ancient inheritance coexist beautifully along its streets and riverfronts, offering amazing photographic occasions to all architecture and cityscape lovers. And here we start, with a classic view of Samuel Beckett Bridge over river Liffey.

Location: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland.

What to shoot: This contemporary bridge crossing river Liffey is itself a sum of tradition and innovation. Dedicated to the Irish avant-garde novelist Samuel Beckett and designed by the creative architect Santiago Calatrava, it is a moving bridge, constituted by a main span and 31 cables, that clearly evoke the image of a harp, the national symbol for Ireland.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long. A blue sky with white scattered clouds could offer a beautiful contrast for a black and white capture.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: From City Quay or North Wall Quay, served by public transport (15A, 15B, 500, 501, 747).

Coordinates: 53°20′49″N 6°14′29″W

Weekly Photo Challenge

Lake Glendalough – Ireland in B&W

Glendalough Lake
Lake Glendalough

Happy 2016! What better way to start a new year than taking some time for yourself and do what you like the most? So here I am, with another picture from my last trip to Glendalough and the valley of the two lakes, one of my favourite photographic spot in Ireland. As you can see it is “black and white” this time. It won’t be a farewell to colours, but my New Year’s resolution is to try and produce a short B&W series; the subject: Irish Landscape and Architecture.

Location: Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland.

What to shoot: Glendalough is a remarkable spot, both for the evocative architecture of its ancient monastic site, and the spectacular scenery made up by the two lakes and surrounding mountains.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long but I still prefer sunset. Autumn gives you the chance to get the best colours.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: By car. It is a 1 hour trip south from Dublin. Reach Glendalough from the R756, then go ahead on the R757 till the upper lake car park (in this case, prepare coins for the car park). You will be at only 5 minutes by foot to this enchanted spot.

Coordinates: 53°00′24″N 6°20′48″W


Hook Lighthouse

ireland hook lighthouse
Hook Lighthouse

This week photographic hint bring us to the southern coast of Ireland, where one of the oldest lighthouses is still operational, marking the dangerous coastline of Hook peninsula.

Location: Hook Head, County Wexford, Ireland.

What to shootHook Lighthouse claims to be the oldest intact operational Lighthouse in the world. Its tower is about 800 years old and has a magic and mysticism of its own. The rocky coastline around is the perfect frame for this characteristic bulky building. Walking a few hundreds meters East along the cost from the lighthouse, there will be plenty of choice for where to place your tripod, so it will not be difficult to extend your exposure time and add that smooth, silky effect to the water. Mind the waves, and when you’ll be cold enough after hours of shooting, take a guided tour of the lighthouse tower and enjoy a hot tea in the bar.

Ideal time to shoot: Sunrise, sunset, as well as every “dramatic” weather condition.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: By car, ten minutes south-east of the near town of Waterford, on the R733 and then the L4045.

Coordinates: 52°07′22″N 6°55′35″W


The Wreck

Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow Mountains National Park

From the serenity of the peaceful lake of Glendalough, to the inquietude of this picture I took a couple of weeks ago, during one of my scouting for new photographic spots in Ireland, when I bumped into this wreck sinisterly abandoned on the roadside.

Location: Wicklow Mountains National Park, County Wicklow, Ireland.

What to shoot: Two routes cross this beautifully spectral national park. You will be surrounded by an amazingly barren nature, small streams, solitary trees, but also a few spectacular lakes.

Ideal time to shoot: All day long.

Gear: Wide angle lenses to standard zooms.

How to get there: By car. Half an hour south from Dublin on the R115 and R759.

Coordinates: 53°09′15″N 6°20′32″W


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