Photographing Polignano, with a stormy sea (and my Leica M)
Not always a cloudy day with strong winds means not being able to take good pictures, especially if you are in that wonderful land that is Puglia. These days, in fact, I am here in my hometown, to celebrate the New Year with my family and, of course, I have with me my Leica M and some lenses.
A few days ago, the weather was not the best, raised a strong wind that made me immediately think of how great it is the stormy sea, in the winter season. And so, given that just a few kilometres away from my hometown, Mola di Bari, there is the beautiful and scenic village of Polignano a Mare, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, I did not think twice and literally ran over there to photograph.
The show, once on place, is breathtaking:
high waves breaking on the cliffs, making the village, looking like a large ship adrift at sea.
The voice of the sea is impetuous and has something magic, the wind is very strong and my legs are almost trembling when I position myself near the edge of the cliff overlooking the sea.
I always look for a human element in landscape photos
On my Leica M, I mount first the Summicron 28mm f2 ASPH, and, as I always do, when I have to photograph a landscape, I start seeking a human element to be included in the picture to make the frame even more dynamic and real. So, now I see a couple intent on getting a selfie, he has a long arm with which it holds a mobile phone, and the treasures are almost the same colour of the rock, making all so harmonious.
I do not have much time to capture the scene, 3-4 seconds maybe, not more, but on my side I have the advantage of having set zone focus, on my lens, at a distance of 3 meters and so I do not have to worry about focusing, but I can quickly point and shoot. This is one of the things I love about my Leica M: once you learn how to handle the zone focus, even if it is completely manual, it’s almost impossible to miss a shot!
Waiting for the perfect wave
You know, photography is about waiting and patience, and for that, I remain on the spot a little bit more, waiting for the perfect wave that infringes on the cliff, and that makes the picture more dramatic. I mount on the machine, the Voigtlander Skopar 21mm f4, to try to capture the majesty of the scene, including both the stormy sea and village.
I could stay there to photograph this spectacle of nature for hours, the sea is my element, it makes me feel at home, and each wave that breaks, makes me my heart palpitate.
But the sun is already high, it’s noon and the light now too strong, so I decide to go home.
Why not be back at sunset?
The wind continues throughout the day, and is too strong the call of the sea and the memory of the scenes seen in the morning, to convince me to return to Polignano just before sunset. The decision is, in fact, perfect: the landscape has a softer and more uniform light, waves are higher and the sky is now cloudy, and therefore more dramatic, the little lights that turn on at dusk, make the scene to my eyes, wonderful and surreal.
Low exposure times to capture the movement of the waves
Now I can try to make some different pictures, taking advantage of the low light and so to have lower exposure time, that allows me to capture the movement of the stormy sea. I also carry with me a small tripod Manfrotto. I try to stand in the best viewpoint and start shooting. Unfortunately, the wind is really strong, the tripod is not very stable and I try to protect him with my body and hands. With some difficulty, I can set the exposure time around 4 or 8 seconds and the result is very nice.
In this photo (my favorite), with an exposure time not so slow, the sea seems to have been designed by the brushstrokes of an artist.
Leica M, not only for street…
In this difficult situation, the Leica M worked very well, also in low light, proving, once again, that this camera system is not only good for the street, but also for landscape photos.
I leave you now to the complete gallery, with the most beautiful photos taken on this memorable day.
Stormy sea , over Polignano a Mare