Portugal

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior: A Colour Explosion

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (5)

The Festas do Povo de Campo Maior photo album is filling up nicely, which means it’s time to set it free. It’s too large to show as a slide show within this post, so I point you to the album in Flickr to see the rest, and yesterday’s post for some video clips.

The paper artistry extends beyond flowers: there was a street decorated like a farm with paper pigs and cows, a wine-themed street with paper grapevines and barrels, paper swans and bullfighters, wishing wells and paper tapestries. Someone even decided to build a cardboard tank in front of the castle!

The Alentejo Region is hot and dry, perfect for an event built around paper, but I did wonder what would happen if and when rain entered the forecast. The event is over eight days, there’s some likelihood for precipitation. Do they have an emergency plan to uninstall within a few hours and then reinstall when the threat of rain passes? The committee has been working on this event since January, I’m assuming they have a rain plan. Let’s hope they don’t have to implement it.

It was an 1,100km round trip for us to attend this event, but Festas do Povo de Campo Maior only takes place every four years, or whenever the townsfolk decide they’ve recovered sufficiently from the last one and are ready to tackle it once again. Considering there are around 20 kilometres of paper decorations, you can see why! We arrived before 10 o’clock in the morning, left around six o’clock in the afternoon, and we still didn’t get to see everything. The level of detail and painstaking work behind these displays isn’t for money (the entrance fee is only €4), it’s truly a labour of love by the people of Campo Maior.

Long live the arts in every corner of Portugal!

Event info (August 22-30, 2015): http://festasdopovo.pt/

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (1)

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (2)

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (3)

Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (4)

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Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (15)

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Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (17)

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Festas do Povo de Campo Maior 2015 (22)

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August 23, 2015
Album: Festas do Povo de Campo Maior [August 2015]

Festa Dos Tabuleiros 2015: Video

Festa Dos Tabuleiros 2015 (Tomar, Portugal)

We spent all day in Tomar to attend a festival that only takes place every four years. Now that I’ve witnessed it (including watching the parade go by twice) and attempted to photograph the spectacle of handmade displays, I understand why Festa dos Tabuleiros (Festival of the Trays) only happens every four years. Everything you see in the festival is handmade by the people of Tomar!

Festa Dos Tabuleiros 2015 (Tomar, Portugal)

The celebrations have been modernized to some extent but the main elements (the carrying of the trays in the final procession, decorating the streets) have continued since medieval times — when Portugal became a country. It is nothing short of impressive.

For an overview of the festival, read Sandra Silva’s article in Pocket Cultures.

Paulo shot four video clips of the main procession and looked after Ice the Dog while I moved around with the camera — as much as I could move in an estimated crowd of 400,000 people. It was a crush, but that is to be expected for an event of this size that only comes around periodically. I’ve got hundreds of images to wade through, as you can imagine. In the meantime, some video:

In the street:

The main square:

The main procession:

July 12, 2015
Album: Festa dos Tabuleiros 2015

Editing Poll: To Crop Or Not To Crop

Vinhais, Portugal

Easter Sunday, enroute to mass in Vinhais (click to enlarge)

Photography can tell a story in multiple ways using techniques like cropping or colour or bokeh, but especially cropping when there’s people involved. Because of the influence cropping has on the way a photo is perceived, there are times when I’ve been stuck on a picture, trying to decide whether to crop things out or leave them in. When I haven’t been able to decide, sometimes I’ve uploaded two versions (or more) because it was easier. How I managed to survive five years of wedding photography I do not know, because I was faced with this dilemma constantly!

A few weeks ago, I posted a little poll on my Facebook page about the two versions of this picture, to ask people which one they preferred and they could feel free to say why. My little editing polls are few and far between, but I’m always surprised at everyone’s answers. There’s never a clear winner, and everyone’s preferences vary wildly. Reading the responses indulges my curiosity about what people are thinking when they see pictures, and gives me ideas for cropping in-camera.

I don’t know why I forgot to post the poll here, too, but it’s never too late to do it since there are no deadlines. Whether you’ve participated on the Facebook page or not, I’m curious to hear your views on which crop you prefer and why.

Vinhais, Portugal

April 5, 2015
Album: Easter 2015 Road Trip (PT/ES)

Carnaval de Ovar 2015: Vampiros

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (18)

Each year the Carnaval de Ovar judges all parade entries in three categories by points: Carnival, Passerelle (catwalk?), and Samba School. The 1st place winner in the Carnival category was the group Vampiros (Vampires), who took on a steampunk-inspired railroad theme with requisite costumes and mega-props, including mobile railroad signals, tracks, and a gigantic train engine with moving arms. It was theatrical and the music was perfect: a dubstep cover of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes, and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”.

I was too busy shooting to get my phone out to make a video, so here’s a one-minute clip from Rádio AVfm of the end of their performance segment. There will probably be more videos of the parade appearing on YouTube over the next little while, but at least you can see the train’s arms in motion (there is a point where it gets very animated, but it isn’t in this clip).

The parade was more than four hours long, so as you can imagine I’m still editing. I’ll have a commentary post up soon along with another batch of photos, but until then you can find more photos in the album: Carnaval de Ovar 2015

Carnaval de Ovar website: http://www.carnaval.ovar.net/
Carnaval de Ovar on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carnavaldeovar

See also: Carnaval de Ovar 2015: A Video Preview

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (13)

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Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (14)

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Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (5)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (6)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (7)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (8)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (9)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (10)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (15)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (16)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (17)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (11)

Vampiros @ Carnaval de Ovar 2015 (Ovar, Portugal) (3)

February 17, 2015
Album: Carnaval de Ovar 2015

Nightshots In Coimbra

Coimbra, Portugal

Another couple of photos from Coimbra, this time some night shots of a chestnut vendor busy plying his trade. (It doesn’t look like it but he was actually quite busy; I waited for the customers to exit the frame first.)

I’m of two minds whenever I shoot under sodium vapour lamps (street lamps): try and colour-correct, or convert to black and white? The problem is that sodium vapour lamps give off such a strong orange — and monochromatic — glow that it’s difficult to capture the mood of street lighting without making everything look awash in orange and lacking in detail. The alternative is to cool it down as low as I can go (2500 Kelvin for me) to get the whites closer to white, but that doesn’t look right either, much of the time — it depends on the type of lamps. LED lights are a whole other colour-correction problem, and if I have both in one picture I throw in the towel and convert to black and white.

Coimbra, Portugal

Viagem Medieval 2014: The Album

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (1)

18th annual Medieval Fair / Viagem Medieval
Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal
July 31-August 10, 2014
Official site: www.viagemmedieval.com
All photos and videos shot August 3, 2014.

It’s a holiday in Portugal tomorrow, and we’re heading off to the family’s home village in Penela da Beira for the festivities. I wanted to post the album before we leave, because we will be unplugged over the weekend and I know I will have another boatload of photos when we return.

This album is BIG, so I’m posting a cross section and I invite you to check out the rest of the album via Flickr:

[thumbnails]
[view as a full-screen slideshow] – includes videoclips

Viagem Medieval 2014: Food & Drink
Viagem Medieval 2014: Videoclips

Bom Fim de Semana!

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (2)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (3)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (4)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (5)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (6)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (7)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (8)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (9)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (10)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (11)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (12)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (13)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (14)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (15)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (16)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (17)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (18)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (19)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (20)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (21)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (22)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (23)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (24)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (25)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (26)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (27)

Viagem Medieval 2014 (Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal) (28)

August 3, 2014
Album: Viagem Medieval 2014

International Chocolate Festival, Óbidos: Chocolate Sculpture Competition

International Chocolate Festival, Óbidos: Chocolate Sculpture Competition

The 12th annual International Festival of Chocolate is in full swing in the historic town of Óbidos, celebrating on weekends (Friday to Sunday) from March 14-April 6 this year. We attended last Saturday, doing our best to curb our appetites for chocolate by filling our bellies with a big lunch before going in. Note: this only works for a few hours!

The entrance fee to the festival is 7 euros (5 euros, ages 6-11), but if chocolate is not your thing, Óbidos has plenty of festivities, art, food and beverages outside the castle walls to keep people entertained.

While we were there, the TV show Aqui Portugal had set up in the main church square — a perfect people-watching opportunity. For a newcomer to Portugal, I find this show very informative as it’s a bit of a travelogue — a mix of entertainment, local commerce, and national pride, travelling around the entire country following festivals and events. Food, drinks, traditions, history, music, religion, and whatever local colour can be found in the villages and cities they set up in for that day are featured on the show. Watching video footage of the scenery — especially from the aerial drones — is for me what sparked curiosity for places like Nazaré, which we visited the next day. It’s easy to spot the show as they always have a stage set up with full lighting rig (I work on the production side of events so I notice these things first), performers, and several hosts taking turns interviewing the local businesses to talk about their products or services. The hosts also mingle with the crowd, which gives people a chance to say hello to their relatives overseas (RTP broadcasts internationally).

Lest I start looking like a PR person for Aqui Portugal, the reason why I’m mentioning them is because of the cultural value — they spotlight villages and cities equally. Of course, there are more festivals in the cities, but the villages don’t get left out. Coming from an enormous country like Canada where the population is very divided between the large cities which get lots of media exposure and everywhere else which gets minimal exposure or nothing at all, a show like this would be of great benefit. The closest thing I can think of to compare with Aqui Portugal is the CBC’s Rick Mercer roaming around the country, but he’s a one-man show who travels to the action and there’s more of a focus on him, whereas Aqui Portugal has several hosts — four? — and the show becomes part of the event.

Anyway, back to the CHOCOLATE. This videoclip (2:42) will give you an idea of what the event looks like:

Official site: http://www.festivalchocolate.cm-obidos.pt/
http://www.obidos.pt (also in English)

Esculturas em Chocolate

Theme for 2014: “Animal Kingdom” — inspired by animals at the Lisbon Zoo

The chocolate sculptures are works of art, created by the food crafters at the Centro de Formação Profissional para o Sector Alimentar da Pontinha and kept in a climate-controlled tent. The competition invites visitors to the display to cast their vote for best group, with ballot boxes at the end of the queue. I took as many photos as I had time for, which wasn’t much since everyone was trying to do the same thing while keeping the line moving through the tent. It was hard to decide between them all — the crocodile was impressive but I was also taken by the amount of detail on the primates. How does one choose??? In the end, Paulo and I voted for two different groups, and I’m assuming we won’t know who the winner is until the very end of the festival on April 6, or maybe afterwards.

Here’s the group list with credits; I’ve put the sculpture photos in no particular order.

O EXTREMO DO PLANETA TERRA / END OF THE PLANET EARTH
Chefes // Conceição Moura, Luís Carriço, Renzo de Marco

PARA ALÉM DO DESERTO / BEYOND THE DESERT
Chefes // Carlos Videira, Daniel Sousa, Rui Alves

O OÁSIS DE ÁFRICA / The OASIS OF AFRICA
Chefes // Carina Gomes, Elsa Costa, Rafael Gomes

A BAÍA DOS GOLFINHOS / DOLPHIN BAY
Chefes // Céu Carvalho, Ricardo Batista, João Ferreira

A SAVANA AFRICANA / THE AFRICAN SAVANNAH
Chefes // João Mateus, Ana Santos, Isadora Pereira

MUNDO DOS PRIMATAS / WORLD OF PRIMATES
Chefes // André Figueiras, Henrique Leitão, Inês Azevedo e Silva

OS ANIMAIS DA OCEÂNIA / ANIMALS OF OCEANIA
Chefes // José Cobra, Sara Martins, Rui Pinheiro

Coordenador // Chefe Vítor Nunes
Coordenador adjunto // Chefe Manuel Gomes

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March 15, 2014
Album: Portugal’s Central Coast

Portugal’s Caretos Tradition: Mischief and Mayhem Before Lent

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

I posted a few videoclips yesterday of the caretos, these loudly-dressed masked characters that run up and down the streets of Podence ‘terrorizing’ the townsfolk. This street entertainment is a tradition from Celtic days called Entrudo Chocalheiro (carnival rattling?) that takes place in the days before Lent — not to the scale of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival atmosphere, but for a tiny village in the mountains of northeastern Portugal it’s a shake-up. The streets of Podence come alive with the sounds of cowbells and shrieking, drums and bagpipes. The population multiplies during this time, busloads of visitors arrive and the local fields are littered with vehicles, all to see the caretos in their devilish glory.

Official website for the Caretos de Podence (PT): http://caretosdepodence.no.sapo.pt/
Visit Portugal (EN): The Caretos of Podence
Azibo.org (EN): Caretos Tradition

High-quality video from the local TV station’s Facebook page (you can actually see us in the video at 0:50 and 1:49):

[video link]

This is definitely the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in Portugal yet. (Remember, it’s not São João for another few months, when Porto goes crazy.) If I hadn’t read up on Entrudo Chocalheiro the day before we left, I wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on. If you’re an uninitiated English speaker like me, I’ll direct you to Julie Dawn Fox’s website where she explains the events in greater detail.

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Basically, on the Sunday before Lent, these caretos unleash pranksterish behaviour on the public for about an hour. During this time a group of males of all ages — from little caretos-in-training (called Facanitos, or “little knives”) to veterans — wear what looks like a colourful head-to-toe fringed rug, some with long hats (all the better to clobber with), some with long sticks (all the better to poke with), and each with belts from which cowbells hang and make a racket when they walk and run. You would think the cowbells make it harder for them to sneak up on the unsuspecting, but caretos move pretty fast and I witnessed a lot of stealth attacks in the crowds.

Traditionally the targets of their attention are supposed to be young women (this is a tradition related to fertility, after all), but these days the caretos are easier on their victims and will chase after pretty much everyone who is looking the other way. They will grab you, rattle their hips against you, try and frighten with loud noises, knock their cowbells against you, that sort of thing. The idea is to keep on your toes and watch out for them, especially if you’re anywhere near the middle of the street. Unlike the Celtic days, however, the Portuguese witness this display with cameras and video recorders, and the caretos actually spend more time posing for pictures than practicing mischief.

For more pictures, check out the full-screen slideshow [Caretos de Pondence] (opens in new window).

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

Caretos of Podence, Portugal (Entrudo Chocalheiro)

March 2, 2014
Album: Carnaval 2014 Portugal
Full-screen slideshow: Carnaval 2014 Portugal (slideshow)

Carnaval 2014: A Preview

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) - Macedo de Cavaleiros, Portugal

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) – Macedo de Cavaleiros

We’re back from our carnival weekend in the region around Macedo de Cavaleiros, near Braganza and the border with Spain. We stayed in a convent, watched a parade at Macedo de Cavaleiros on Saturday night and took in the traditional Careto festivities in Podence on Sunday afternoon. Just a few pics from the parade for now, until I whittle down the huge pile (~1,500!) of files.

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) - Macedo de Cavaleiros, Portugal

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) – Macedo de Cavaleiros

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) - Macedo de Cavaleiros, Portugal

Desfile de Carnaval Noturno (Carnival Night Parade) – Macedo de Cavaleiros

Some short videoclips (shot by Paulo) of what happens during Carnaval in Podence, a tiny village near Macedo de Cavaleiros with a tradition of Caretos — costumed pranksters.

Read more about it here: http://www.azibo.org/eng/caretosorigemeng.html


[video link]


[video link]


[video link]

Album: Carnaval 2014 Portugal