Portugal

Posted by Ellen

Twenty years ago, the largest hydroelectric power plant in Portugal, at Alto Lindoso dam, employed 250 people operating out of this control room; currently, the plant produces just as much power with a total of 1 fulltime employee.

Posted by Ellen

This is the time of year when, in many places, the first springtime crop of mosquitoes takes to the air at once and . . . swarms.

The Alaskan tundra and other Arctic-like regions are notorious for huge dark clouds of skeeters, hovering hungrily and buzzing, whining--call it screaming for blood.

But this photo was taken last week in Portugal, in the salt marshes near Vila Franca de Xira. The swarm affected the shape of a tornado, and perhaps inspired a bit of the fear associated with tornadoes. But it wasn't really a cyclone; the flight pattern of the little bloodsuckers wasn't rotational, just the usual brownian motion within the overall swarm. And the top of the swarm was much closer to the viewer than the bottom, which is why it appears wider.

We are told that outside of the tropics, people don't really die from mosquito bites, even if they get hundreds of bites, as in a serious swarm. They don't die; they just wish they would.

Posted by Ellen

The caged bird sings. Above a doorway in the old quarter of Lisbon.

Posted by Ellen

Above the ships at sea and Lisbon's red tile roofs and satellite dishes.

Posted by Ellen

At about one o'clock in the morning of July 1, 2011, Manuel Claro pointed his camera up at the night sky above Alentejo, Portugal, and opened the shutter for 30 seconds. Then he did the same thing again and again and again, 430 exposures over the next four hours, and combined all the images to create this picture.

During each 30-second exposure, the earth rotated a little, while the stars pretty much stood still (by comparison). So the image of each star is smudged as the camera moves a bit; when all 430 of the smudges are shown together in a single image, we see what looks like startracks but is actually a single earthtrack, circling Polaris, the North Star.

The different colors of the different startracks reflect differences in temperature of the various stars.

Posted by Ellen

 

A blogger from Oporto, Portugal, who logs on as JC, posted this picture on (his or her) photoblog, above English-language lyrics to the 1985 Talking Heads song "Road to Nowhere." Below the lyrics, JC added parenthetical "Advice of the Day" in Portuguese, which thanks to the miracle of instant Internet translation I can paraphrase here for y'all: "When you see two Mormons walking into the sea, don't follow them."