Light at the End

Light at the End

Winding road in the highlands of Madeira, Portugal

About the Location
When we had visited Madeira Island (Portugal) 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 fairly simple and I recommend to hire a rental car for exploring the island by yourself.
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 planned to do a hike in the highlands on the Eastern part of the island and we started at the hotel with perfect sunshine, but ended up with constant rain in the valley where we had planned the hike. Therefore we scrapped the plan and followed road ER110 heading northwest.
After a short while the rain eased off and the sky started to open 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 unpredictable situations in landscape photography which make the exploration of new areas most exciting.
Thoughts on Composition
Without knowing the area the course of the road looked promising winding up and down the hills. After following a right-hand bend 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 viewer's attention into the scene.
I had also photographed the same frame with a wider angle emphasizing the road even more. The wider angle comes with a more dramatic perspective but at the same time the background appears a lot smaller and less prominent what resulted in a less balanced composition in my opinion. The illuminated mountain is the main point of interest and it should be a dominant part of the image. 
The uniform shapes and tones on both sides of the street help to keep the focus on the center of the frame. Although the clouds have not been very spectacular they add some texture in the top area and balance quite well with the wide grey road at the bottom of the frame. In order to simplify the scene I have cloned out some poles and metal structures in the bushes.

Pink: Main focus
Blue: Foreground, middle ground, background
Yellow: Leading lines

Camera Settings
Camera: Nikon D500 (1.5 crop APS-C)
Lens: Nikkor 24-120 f/4
Focal length: 58mm (approx. 87mm @full-frame)
Aperture: f/8
Shutter: 1/200s
ISO: 125
Taken handheld

Find below another edit of the same scene taken a couple of minutes earlier. In this frame the distant peak is covered in rainy clouds what changes the mood and feel of the overall image although the main feature of the composition remains the same (click on the image to view on dark background changing the perception of luminosity).

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