top of page

How I Documented My Recent Trip to Vila Real de Santo Antonio

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

In a recent post I discussed the four different types of photography I hoped to employ during my time visiting Portugal and Spain.

Writing the post before leaving home helped with my preparation for my travels.

I began to think in terms of the photography I hoped to do, which encouraged me to think in terms of variety and helped me to avoid repetition of the same types of image.

Thinking ahead helped me to structure my photography, plan what I wanted to do, and avoid taking rushed images.

On some days I was able to go out with my camera for a planned photo shoot, while on other occasions I came across an image while out and about.



As it turned out, most of the images I took come under the category of street photography. This was not surprising as I was staying in the small town of Vila Real and I had many opportunities to go out with my camera and observe what was happening on the streets. This was a change from my normal living situation as I live in a suburb with few people around. Normally I have to travel to find street photography opportunities so I made the most of what was on my doorstep every day, including great light.

Shadow on light

Each morning I waited at this spot to capture a figure in the beam of light. This street cleaner provided a good silhouette.

beam of light

person with dog

So did a person with a dog.

in the shop

A morning chat

Starting the day

Each morning I loved to capture images of people doing what they always did. In the pleasant morning sunshine the atmosphere was relaxed. There was no rush into the day!

Orange jackets

painting the seats

Working to get the town ready for summer.

3 friends

off to school

shadows on the wall

Out in threes!

orange matching

As I mentioned in my last post I like to have some triggers in mind when I go out to do street photography. This gives me a better chance of noticing things on the street. For example, one of my triggers is colour matching so I was in the right place at the right time when a man dressed in red walked past this shop.

As I was staying in a small town I was pounding the same streets several times a day and since there were only so many opportunities for photographs I felt that it might be a good time to experiment and try something creative. I experiemented with reflections, layering and taking pictures in crowded areas. This is a photographic departure for me but a good learning experience. Here are some of the results.

through the window

reflection in the window

through the window

flowers in the window

hats in the window

marina view

shapes as frames

having a chat

time for tea

on the street

under the brolly


I like to capture aspects of an urban landscape that are characteristic of a place, and often very different from the place I live in. I tried to get a good flavour of the area by photographing many different features of the urban landscape, such as pattern and shape or the variety of colour in the buildings.

a view from above

yellow house


bikes on the street

There are also many examples of the contrast between old and new.

roof shapes

the arches

lines and curves

looking out to sea

side street

marina walk

The beautiful...

old cars

... and the not so beautiful.

My morning photography walk took me along the marina on the banks of the Guadiana river. The marina provided opportunities to capture general landscape images although it was difficult to get a variety of different perspectives.

along the riverbank

cat's eye view

morning deliveries

shadows in the sun

black and white harbour view

Experimenting with both colour and black and white gave a slightly different perspective to similar scenarios.


It can be difficult to accurately classify images taken in urban settings that you visit as a tourist. Are they street photographs, urban landscape images or, if they are documenting your visit to a different place, are they more accurately described as belonging to documentary travel photography? The boundaries are somewhat blurred.

The images above tell a story of a place. None of them tell the whole story although when put together they give a flavour of that place. They show the beauty and the decay, the loud and the quiet, the crowded spots and the empty spaces. They show the people, the events and the buildings that provide the backdrop to it all. Whatever the genre of photography might be called, the main joy is that of getting out with your camera, observing, being part of the place and what is happening there, capturing images that show the very essence of the place and its people.

the DJs

chatting to the customers

what's going on?

strolling through the market

Photography is the story I fail to put into words. Destin Sparks


bottom of page