Lisbon and the Algarve with the Fuji X100

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Cruise liner sails up the Rio Tejo (River Targus), as the sun rises upon Lisbon

Back in September of 2012 I flew from the UK to Portugal. The reason for the trip was to spend time with my parents and celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. 50 years is a long time, so I can only admire how they’ve always been there for each other, and their children too. Thank you! πŸ™‚

The trip consisted of 5 days in Lisbon, followed by a further 7 in Albufeira in the south coast region of Portugal known as the Algarve.

500 years ago, geographically situated on the far south west point of Europe by the Atlantic ocean, the Portuguese were in a prime position to take European know-how and discover other parts of the world by boat. Through the 15th century they were the first known Europeans to circumnavigate the Southern tip of Africa, leaving the Atlantic behind and travelling on through the Indian Ocean to India itself. Not long after, the Portuguese would travel on all the way to the far east including China, Japan and the Philippines. Their world wide ocean travel was unmatched in Europe, and backed up with dedicated schools offering skills training in every aspect of navigation, ship building, logistics and more.

Early explorations

Early Portuguese explorations (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Why do I write the above you may ask? Well, Lisbon the capital of Portugal is a beautiful city steeped in history. A place that many years later still displays some of the grandeur and confidence associated with being what might have called the most important city in Europe during it’s peak. Lisbon may have lost a lot of it’s influence compared to it’s wealthy hey days but this enhances it’s charm, making Lisbon relatively cheap to visit, and leaving a large part of it’s architecture close to it’s original design (not replaced by ugly modern buildings). With lots to explore, cultural diversity, great food, warm weather, and very friendly people, yes, I recommend you give it a try.

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The view West from our Lisbon apartment balcony (Rua De Sao Nicolau)

After the short flight from London to Lisbon, we took a cab to our rented apartment, ideally situated just off of “Rua Da Prata” and “Rua De Sao Nicolau” in the downtown hub of the city. Lisbon has streets in a partial grid system making it fairly easy to navigate by foot, or take advantage of the many street cars that cross the city.

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Tram and Taxi. View East from or apartment (Rua Da Prata)

Now those that know some of my photography habits know I like shooting trams and street cars… In Lisbon I was spoiled.

The famous #28 tram takes a route that has to be experienced due to the narrow picturesque streets it meanders through.

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#28 Tram climbs Rua Das Escolas Gerais, Lisbon.Β  Love those Fuji colours!

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Equipment:

On this trip I decided to go minimal regarding photographic gear. All I took with me was the following :

Fuji X100 fixed lens compact camera. My X100 review is here

WCL-X100 Wide angle converter for above (changes focal length from 35mm – to 28mm equivalency at the same aperture)

Extra batteries and memory cards

GitzoTraveler” carbon fibre tripod

This setup was so light, one could carry the camera permanently attached to the tripod all day without arm ache. Add to this the excellent results in edge to edge sharpness I was getting from the 28mm equiv wide angle converter, I can’t say I missed having any other form of camera with me…

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Lisbon

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Lisbon

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Lisbon, Lisboa twilight

Lisbon, Lisboa twilight

The one major excursion we made from Lisbon was to beautiful Sintra, with it’s Palacio Da Pena :

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Palacio Da Pena

I won’t begin to explain this place beyond saying it’s pretty amazing, and crazy at the same time. Well worth the train excursion from Lisbon.

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Palacio Da Pena

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Ornate tiles. Palacio Da Pena

Lower down the hill in Sintra itself and the surrounding area there are many more places to explore…

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Washing day. Sintra

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Back streets of Sintra

Stage two of the trip…

From Lisbon we rented a car and drove 300km south down the A2 highway to the AlgarveΒ region, famous for it’s warm weather, and dramatic beaches…

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Lagos beach, Algarve

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Hanging Chouriço sausage. Querenca, Algarve

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Brother, Father, Mother, and myself. Querenca, Algarve

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Querenca, Algarve

In the Algarve life moves a bit slower than in Lisbon but traditional beauty still shines.

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Loule, Algarve

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Confusion in the tourist ranks :-).Β  Lagos, Algarve.

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Loule, Algarve

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Lagos, Algarve

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Loule, Algarve

All in all the trip to Portugal was a great success. We had great weather the whole time, lot’s of tasty fish to eat, and found our hosts all over the country to be warm and friendly. Oh, and I’m quite happy with how the pictures came out too. One last thanks to my family for their patience as I continuously held up their site seeing to grab “just one more shot”.

Regarding the Fuji X100 camera, I have to say I love to use it, and the results speak for themselves. It’s combination of size, weight, silent operation (leaf shutter), and output is hard to match. I decided at the start of the trip that for once I would shoot just .jpg files rather than “raw” format as I find it impossible to match in post processing (Adobe Lightroom), the beauty that comes natively from the camera in jpeg mode as a finished file. It simply produces colours more appealing than any camera, if not then as good as, any camera I’ve ever owned.

That’s mostly all I have to write for now, but just let me thank you for taking the time to view my images and read my words.

I don’t post as often as I’d like on here, but I hope to pull you back with another article soon πŸ˜‰

Please feel free to add any comments about this article in the space provided at the bottom of the page, I’d love to hear from you…

  1. Eddy WaddelEddy Waddel02-01-2013

    Really nice pics.. enjoyed them very much..

  2. imranimran02-04-2013

    superb detail and colour; I’m waiting for 100S and image quality and feel you get from your pictures has convinced me not to be indecisive and just get the fuji.

  3. KevinKevin02-05-2013

    Hey Eddy and Imran, thanks for checking out my blog and posting comments!
    I’m glad you liked what you saw.
    The X100s should be quite nice, but the X100 can still carry it’s own weight.

  4. MaxMax03-01-2013

    Great pics! Summer can surely not come fast enough.

    I really like the way the colours turned out! Just out of curiosity: what film simulation did you use? Astia, Provia, Velvia?
    I would love to be able to get that kind of look…

  5. KevinKevin03-02-2013

    Hi Max,
    Thanks for checking out my article πŸ™‚
    I probably used the “Astia” simulation, but am not 100% on that. I do know I didn’t use “Velvia” as I find too heavy handed.
    Having good warm light helps a lot too πŸ˜‰

  6. keith markeykeith markey03-08-2013

    Good pics m8 looks lovely there good to see u all chillin , liked your bit of history nice touch m8

  7. jkbjkb08-01-2013

    Hello

    Congrats to this wonderful blogpost! I really enjoyed reading your story of this trip and looking at these amazing pictures!!!

    Im an x100 photogr myself and Im wondering how you get this brilliant colors? Do you shoot in Provia, all JPG? I wish you would share some insights in your camerasettings or postprocessing. Love that Style! I think you do amazing and sure will check this site more often!

    Once again, thanks for sharing!

    Greetings from switzerland,
    j akob

    • KevinKevin08-01-2013

      Hi Jakob,
      how’s the weather in Switzerland? enjoying a mini heat wave?
      Yes, I shot these pics in jpg primarily as I feel Lightroom’s raw conversion couldn’t match the colour “brilliance” otherwise. I forget if it was Astia or Provia, but very rarely was it Velvia which punished the blacks too much for me.
      Other than this, good light, careful post work, and a decent monitor are all keys to success.

      Thanks for visiting and your comments πŸ™‚

  8. jkbjkb08-02-2013

    It’s great actually! We have some really nice weather these days πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your tips and insights! Must say I like the Astia better for sunny daylight shots now. I’ll use Provia for the more lowlight and nightshots since its easier to edit, fix colors and handle noise. Its always good to have more than just one option. Velvia looks even to me a tad “fat”.

    Cheers from berne

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