Portuguese lakes at sunrise

I am now long overdue a film developing session followed by some printing. And I cannot wait. Apart from images taken at the papal visit and the surrounding protests I have some new landscapes I am extremely hopeful about.

Last week I was in the Algarve (Vilamoura) working for CTV filming the golf. On the Saturday we didn’t have to be on site until midday so I took the opportunity to get up at 5am and drive for over an hour into the hills above Lagos to the Barragem da Bravura (Bravura Lake) to take some photographs.

Barragem da Bravura in Portugal, by Toby Deveson. August 1992. Part of the West of the Sun series of LandscapesI did not go specifically for sunrise because they do not tend to work in black and white, but just being there at that time of day made getting up so early worthwhile. It was a beautiful location, which I found by studying a map the night before. Only having about five hours to get there and back, it seemed the perfect place to go. Having said that I really began to doubt my usually reliable instincts about locations on the journey there – it was incredibly built up and even when I was only a couple of miles from the lake, the landscape was not exactly very photogenic.

It took me a while to find a way down to the lake and I had to cross a damn and walk past several fishermen who gave me suspicious looks. But then it all came together and the strong, nagging feeling I had had in my guts for days, driving me to make the trip, proved to be right.

The water was still and peaceful, reflecting everything perfectly. The light was perfect and the tonal range of the red earth with the morning shadows stretching over it was simply stunning. But not only was there this inherent beauty for me to photograph, there was enough space and flexibility within the character of the location to allow me the freedom to play with compositions and add, I hope, a personal touch.

I truly believe that I have, sitting in my darkroom, some of my best landscapes waiting to be developed. The anticipation is wonderful (one of my favorite aspects of shooting on film). Only time will tell.

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