The Story
For some time I've seen great photos of a place where we can see wooden piers and small fishing boats lost in a maze of walkways. I've never tried to discover where this place was because I always assumed that it wasn't in Portugal, or if it was, it should be very far away.
One day I was chatting with a friend that also is a photographer about a spot I found very near my home. This spot is an old boat shipyard turned into a boat cemetery. In the middle of the conversation he asked me if I knew a place called Carrasqueira do Sado. I've never heard anything about it but went googling for it. For my surprise this place was the place where all those great photos were taken. Better yet, that place wasn't that far away from my home, it was possible to go there some weekend.
Carrasqueira do Sado is a small place near the touristic spot of Troia, in the Sado river delta. The trip there is a bit lengthy (about 100 Km - 62 miles - from my home) so I left it to a better time (we were somewhere around January and the days were still a bit short).
In the beginning of March, 2009 I talked with my wife and convinced her to go there one Sunday. We get to the car, head straight to Alcácer do Sal (a town nearby) to have lunch. After lunch we stopped by Carrasqueira do Sado in our way to Troia.
In Carrasqueira do Sado we found the Cais Palafítico directions and when we got there it seamed to be just another fishing dock... but in the middle of the mainland. We parked, I picked up the gear and went discovering the place.
It really is a wooden walkways maze, with small wooden houses on the sides, lots of fishing nets and boats laying there. In that day there was a low tide and a strong sun (it was about 3 pm - a terrible photo hour). The idea was just to explore the place and get back more in the afternoon to get the sunset, but I started to try some shots and we took a little longer than I expected. I was also a bit uncomfortable with the fisherman's looking at us, invading they're place. So I decided to just take the photos in that moment and leave to another day, perhaps with another company, to return to capture the sunset.

Equipment / Technical Info
Nikon D80
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC
Hitech 85 ND 0.9 GRAD SE filter

1/80 second
12 mm

Original Photo

Post Processing
As always, when I got home from this trip, I went straight to the computer to check the results and pick some photos to publish. I took few photos there and wasn't too much satisfied with them. I picked a few, this one included, and this was probably my first choice.
I started playing around with the Lightroom presets I have and ended using a custom preset from some other photo of mine that was itself already based on another preset from Mike Lao (you can find it here: - 300 V1.
After applying the 300 preset, I've converted to grayscale and played around with gray levels. I mainly darkened the blues, but also made slight adjustments to the other levels.
Then I decreased the Fill Light and the Vignetting, added some Graduated Filter, increased the Exposure, Recovery and Clarity.
And that was it for Lightroom. I then exported it as a PSD file and opened it in CS3.
In CS3, I've just saved it as JPEG. This gave me the full size (10Mp) final image.
I usually publish my photos with 1024px in the largest size and use a great Photoshop action by Manyk to do the re-size.
You can find it here:
My first impression of the finished photo was: I don't like it, it is too "dirty" (I can't find another word for it - it looks weird, with low resolution and a high contrast). But I had just made over 200 km and couldn't accept that there wasn't one single photo to show. I called my wife and showed her the photo. She loved it! I couldn't understand it... I don't like the photo and she loves it?
Well, it was a very sad world if everyone liked the same :)

Final Photo

Link to image

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