About the Location
When we visited Madeira Island (Portugal) in October 2017 I had not done a lot of location scouting in advance. I had a rough idea of the different areas of the island and only few places in mind that I wanted to visit. Fortunately, the road system across Madeira is manageable and I recommend to hire a rental car for some on site exploring.
Madeira is known for mild and summery temperatures throughout the year, especially at the southern coastline. However the high mountains and constant Atlantic winds result in contrary weather in the local areas. The day when I had taken this picture was no exception.
We had planned to do a hike in the highlands on the Eastern part of the island. We started at the hotel with perfect sunshine and ended up with constant rain in the valley where we had planned the hike. We scrapped the plan and followed road ER110 heading northwest.
After a short while the rain eased off and the sky started to open here and there creating patches of the light on the landscape. The mountain by the end of the road was illuminated for a short time only and I was lucky to be there in this exact moment. A perfect example for those situations you cannot plan in photography making the exploration of new areas most exciting.
Toughts on Composition
Without knowing the area I was hoping to find nice curves winding up and down the hills. When we drove past this point I needed to pull over the car with a feeling that there could be an interesting composition around. The road serves as a perfect leading line dragging the viewers' attention into the scene.
By using a wider angle (lens) I could have emphasized the road even more creating a dramatic perspective, but at the same time the background would have appeared a lot smaller and less prominent resulting in a less balanced composition. The illuminated mountain is the main point of interest and I want it to be a dominant part of the picture.
The uniform shapes and darker colors of the bushes on both sides help focusing the attention on the road and the glowing mountain. Although the clouds have not been very spectacular, they give at least some texture and balance quite well with the wide grey road at the bottom of the frame.
Camera: Nikon D500
Lens: Nikkor 24-120 f/4
Focal length: 58mm (approx. 87mm @full-frame)