I remember looking at my watch, still feeling drowsy from the very early call. 6:21am. It's at those times when I wonder what the hell I'm doing. It's early, way too early to be here.
I've been driving for half an hour, I believe. I parked on the side of the road, next to a sign that says "Vixía Herbeira". I'm trying to gather some energy, but it's hard after all the driving from the previous day and a short 4-hour sleep.
I can only see a thin horizon under the thick layer of clouds above my head. The sky is still dark, but the red tones are showing up little by little. It's going to be a fantastic sunrise.
The stage couldn't be better. These are the highest cliffs in Southern and Central Europa, in the "Costa Ártabra", near the small town of Cedeira. There's a house, or a shelter, or something, built of stone at the edge of the cliff. It's hard to ask for something better.
I wish I'd done some more research the day before, put some more thought into this. Because even though the landscape is beautiful, I'm not sure what to do, what to capture. The watch is clicking though, so I decide to set my tripod up and play it by ear.
It happened really fast. I didn't see it coming, at all. How long could it have taken me to look away from the cliff and set my tripod up? 30 seconds? 45 at most.
At first, I thought it was a little bit of mist from the ocean. But it kept coming. More, and more. It swallowed me, the shelter, the car, all the windmills that populate the cliffs, in just a few seconds.
The views I was going to photograph, gone.
So were my doubts about what to do that morning.
I turned around and pointed my camera towards the shelter. And then a fence, a rock, a wall, some stairs, the road, the windmills...
The fog had ruined the images I was going to make of the cliffs that morning. It gave me dozens of exciting new opportunities to make more intimate, mysterious images, in return.
When you have very limited time at a place, you can't expect to have the perfect conditions for whatever you have in mind. You can plan it, but you can only go so far. That morning was supposed to be "partly cloudy". And indeed, it was a partly cloudy morning and a clear day... a few thousand feet away from the cliffs. But not up there. There, it was like living in a cloud for hours.
Had I had that partly cloudy morning I was expecting, I would've made a few images and left. Once the best light is gone, your chances to create a compelling image are severely decreased.
This cloud that was gobbling everything up stood there, stubbornly, for several hours. I took advantage of every single minute, as photographing in these conditions are a pure joy for me.
As I was driving back to town, not even once I thought about the "missed" opportunities of that morning. I was a happy photographer with a few new images to share.