After a late start we rolled out of Comporta towards Santa Cruz, stopping along the way in one of the many cork plantations to see if I could get a picture of the partially stripped trees. I couldn’t get much as it was very sunny and the place itself was not very well looked after, which all combined to make it look a bit of a mess.
The cork tree itself is an evergreen oak tree which is grown in various parts of the African continent as well as in south west Europe but it’s in Portugal where they are most abundant, with the country accounting for about 50% of the world’s cork production. Cork oak trees, or Quercus suber are preserved and cutting them down is illegal unless it’s sanctioned by the forestry department. The harvesting itself is a natural process and it is estimated that the trees can live for over 150 years with the first cork yield obtained from its bark when the tree is about 25 years old and then harvested every 9 years for over a century.
None of which I particularly thought about as I stumbled through the detritus of vegetation, racking up scratches on my defenseless shins as one wickedly sharp thorn after another made a beeline for my delicate flesh.
|I decided to concentrate on one tree as I liked the play of |
light on the contours of its smooth trunk
Once it was clear I would get no real satisfaction from this disagreeable stand of trees we made haste to Santiago, a little country town with a commanding spot on a hill. Parking at the top of the town under the shadow of the Castelo de Santiago do Cacém, the first thing to catch my eye was the beautiful Capela de São Pedro, or Chapel of St. Peter, built in the 16th century. Its main use was thought to be by pilgrims during the processions and festivities which were held in June in honour of St. Peter, it was damaged in the earthquake of 1755 and is no longer open for religious services.
|The sky was looking particularly good above the white chapel|
|The compositional balance of the chapel at lower left and cloud |
in the upper right works quite well
|Mother Church, that stands next to the castle|
|View from the castle walls onto the cauliflower like canopy of the pine trees below|
|The cloudy sky was still looking quite dramatic as I shot, looking straight up, from the top of the town|
|Looking out to the countryside below, taken from |
the top of a steep logging road
|This interesting piece of vegetation made an appealing foreground |
for the fading light on the horizon