Porto, Portugal – Pestana Porto Hotel (HDR)

Pestana Hotel Porto Portugal
Porto, Portugal is a stunning old city. I am lucky enough to visit every couple years. My favorite hotel to stay at is the Pestana Porto Hotel. Some info from their website: Pestana Porto is one of the best hotels in Oporto, located in Praça da Ribeira in the heart of the historic core of Oporto, and standing on the city’s medieval walls, with a magnificent view of the river Douro.

This hotel in Oporto occupies part of a block of 16th, 17th and 18th century building, and has been classified World Heritage by Unesco. Its privileged location makes it possible to cruise down the river Douro, departing from the bank right in front of the hotel, and to take the historic tram to Foz do Douro or visit one of the Port wine cellars.

The shot above has a bit of a grunge look…I use onOne Software Photo Tools 2.6 to get this effect. My favorite setting is “Brian’s TKO”. Click and you get an instant grunge shot!

onOne recently released Perfect Photo Suite 7!!! I have been playing around with it and love it! I will write a review soon!! Get your copy today!!!

Perfect Photo Suite 7

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Porto, Portugal – Santa Clara Church (HDR)


From the lovely old city of Porto, Portugal…one of the coolest small churches I have ever seen. The ornate wood carved interior painted with a gold color. It looks stunning in HDR! The church is off the beaten path and tough to find. Its very small and it takes a bit of work to get inside. If you are ever in Porto…it is well worth the visit. Can you imagine carving all those details? Unreal!!

Talke Photography Settings:

Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
Setting: Aperture Mode
Focal Length: 12.0 mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: HDR 5 Exposures (+2 to -2)
Aperture: f/4
Gear: Tripod
Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, OnOne Software Photo Tools 2.6

Porto, Portugal – Luis Bridge

Porto at nite is stunning.  One of the better views of the city can be from the Luis Bridge.  In the middle of  the bridge railway cars travel in each direction.  Walking paths are on either side.   This shot above is from walking across at nite and enjoying the view ahead.

Info from the web: The Luís  Bridge (Ponte Luís I) is a metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River between the cities of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia in Portugal. At the time of construction its span of 172 m was the longest of its type in the world. The Government held a competition for the construction of a metallic bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge and would replace it. Téophile Seyrig had already engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, whilst working as a partner of Eiffel. He now took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís 1st Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881 and the bridge opened on 31 October 1886.

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 50.0mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Exposure:  1/8 second
  • Aperture:  f/4
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4
  • Porto, Portugal – Night in Porto

    Porto at night is beautiful!!  I love this little old city.  This day I walked around for hours taking HDR’s and as the darkness arrived, I wanted to take a standard night shot from the mountain side.   The D300 can take decent night shots…but I wish I had a D3 or better for low light situations…ah to dream one day!    As the sun was setting I was walking up these roads towards to the top of the hill. Row houses everywhere.  Luckily there was a small walkway near the edge to catch a river/city view.  From the walkway you can take steps lower each level to more houses.  So I know I was not in great safe territory.   A dude with a camera bag and tripod in the dark with some odd people walking around…any photographer has been there.  So you have to stand confidently and prepare to use your tripod as a weapon if necessary!   I snapped away while keeping my third eye on my surroundings.  I grabbed my shots and made it out safely and called it a day!    The shot was worth the worries!  I look forward to heading back to Porto again this year…this time it will just be shots of wineries!!  Much safer!!

    Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 18-200 f/3.5-5.6
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 56.0mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Exposure:  1 second
  • Aperture:  f/4.8
  • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4
  • Porto, Portugal (HDR)

    When I visited Porto a few months back…I stayed in Porto at a hotel called Pestana Porto.  Cute and small…with wonderful views of the city and a perfect location.  I had an early AM to go out and shoot and before I returned to catch my flight.  Right outside the front of the hotel was this courtyard…it had this odd cube fountain.  It was built in the 70’s and called “O Cubo”.   A decorative and funky piece!   A great subject for HDR.  I really like Porto…wish I enjoyed wine…it would make visit very drinkable!  LOL

    Here is some info from the web:  The Pestana Porto is one of the most charming hotel in Oporto, located in the Praça da Ribeira, heart of the historic city centre. This Oporto boutique hotel offers an explendid view of Douro river. It is part of a group of buildings dated from XVI, XVII, XVIII centuries, and it is classified by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage site.  Located at the historical site of Porto, the Pestana Porto is 20 minutes from Sá Carneiro International Airport and 5 minutes from the train and metropolitan station of S.Bento.  The hotel enhances all the charming atmosphere of Ribeira, in a pitoresque group of buildings with original trace over the Douro River.

    Talke Photography Settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 13.0mm
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
    • Aperture:  f/22.0
    • Gear:  Tripod, Cable Release
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza

    Porto, Portugal – HDR

    While in Porto a few months back…I had a few hours to walk the city.  As I was walking across the San Luis Bridge, you can look down and see the homes of the local people.   I assume these are semi-poor people…but hey the one dude has a satellite dish!!   What up DirecTV!!!   Many of the homes on the river/hillside are dilapidated and need some serious repair.   The one good thing is that it gives you a look into the past.  It probably has not changed much in many years.   The textures, colors and style are beautiful to me…I dont mind the aged look as well!.  Wine is better with age, why not aged homes in the city of Port wine?    I loved Porto and all of its history!  I wish I had more time to spend here and all throughout Portugal!   A beautiful country!

    Talke Photography Settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 18-200 VR F/3.5-5.6
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 32.0mm
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
    • Aperture:  f/4.2
    • Gear:  Tripod, Cable release
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Color Efex Pro, Viveza

    Porto, Portugal – Igreja de Santa Clara

    Igreja de Santa Clara in Portugese is the Church of Santa Clara.   This has got to be one of the most amazing small churches I have ever seen.  I arrived into Porto earlier in the AM and had a meeting with my customer.  Near the end of the meeting I tell them I have some time to see the sights in Porto and will plan to take some pictures.  I reel off a few of the spots I want to see and one was the Church of Santa Clara.  Amazingly he tells me he as married there many years ago!   He tells me how to get there as it is off the beaten path.

    I walk up the the church and from the outside is looks like a building and not a church.  The doorway is locked and I am bummed.  But never give up!  I walk around the back and see a few people walking around a small home-like courtyard (I assume they live there and work at the church).  I ask them if I can go inside and take photos.  Now one speaks English.  They were so nice, they kept trying to find a person that could speak English for me.  So finally an older woman comes up to me…about 80+ years old.  She can speak a bit of English.  She lets me in the church and before she tells me that I cannot use any flash for my photos.  I agree and I took pics for about 40 minutes of this truly stunning and beautiful church!!     It looks like pure gold.  I shot only in HDR as then I would no need any flash.  Another couple came into the church while I was shooting…I assume wedding plans?

    So here is a prime example of using HDR.  This church was very dark inside.  It only had one spotlight (you can see above).  The walls looked brown in low light.  The HDR brings out the dynamic range…and here you get to see the true spectacular golden view!!

    I enjoy visiting places that after you leave…you say to yourself…wow, just unreal!!!  I could  not wait to process these photos!!   I continued on my journey and enjoyed Porto very much!  There are tons of great churches that I have yet to explore!   My next visit will include more!

    The Chruch of Santa Clara is not made of gold…it is woodwork.  A style called the Baroque.  Curious about it…I looked it up on the web…  With the end of 60 years of forced Iberian unification, under the government of the Spanish kings Felipe II, III and IV, the restoration of the independence in 1640, and subsequent war, woodcarving inPortugal is forced to detach itself from the Spanish baroque models. At difficult economic times, woodcarving gains in meaning, as sculpture and painting are drastically reduced in the altarpieces, leaving behind the classical inspiration models, taken from the international books arriving to the country through Spain (consequently Spanish), and trying to develop a national approach. It turns to Portuguese art and produces the “national style”. The inspiration is clearly taken from Romanesque and Manueline portals. The set of archivolts reminds you of the first while the decoration has much in common with the naturalistic Manueline style. The altarpiece is like a powerful machine, built with concentric archivolts, classical spiral columns (pseudo salomonic), platforms and throne. The decoration is very naturalistic, based mainly on leaves, disperse, and covering, the whole set, in perfect harmony with angels and birds. The altarpiece is undoubtedly Baroque, although presenting characteristics clearly opposed to the Spanish models. Again, at a time of economic difficulty, gilded woodcarving gives an image of splendour, in an economical way, contributing to the Portuguese cause.

    It is not in vain that King D. João V is called the Magnificent. Iberian peace, and the discovery of the Brazilian gold and diamonds make Portugal, suddenly, the richest country in Europe, allowing for the full development of the international Baroque art in all forms. Gilded woodcarving is no exception. In the reign of King D. João V the Portuguese taste is adjusted to international models and takes a particular shape baptised “Joanina.” It converts the archivolts to trim cut, incorporates sculpture-like angels, garlands, vegetal-like forms, birds and architectural elements. It keeps the spiral columns, gallery and throne. The decor is suggestive of sculpture and spreads throughout the church, reaching the extreme of literally covering every available surface – vaults, walls, columns, arches and pulpits. There are notable examples scattered from north to south, Portugal, but the main ones are, undoubtedly, the Church of São Francisco (Porto) and Church of Santa Clara (Porto). Both were completely covered in baroque gilded woodcarving giving it the look of a golden cave. In spite of Santa Clara being more elegant, São Francisco, a Gothic building, is surprising, boasting a better use of the space. It is also important to know that the huge list of artistic patrimony in Porto includes a large number of absolutely remarkable churches.

    Interesting!   Looks like my next visit to Porto includes a stop to Sao Francisco!   Have a Golden Day!!

    Talke Photography settings:

    • Camera:  Nikon D300
    • Lens: Nikon 10.5 Fisheye
    • Setting: Aperture  Mode
    • Focal Length: 10.5
    • ISO: 200
    • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
    • Aperture:  f/4.0
    • Gear:  Tripod, Cable Release
    • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Color Efex Pro