Opportunity comes roundabout...now

July 5, 2022  |  Madrid, Spain


This week I was recalling a lesson about finding success in less-than-ideal conditions while equipped with some pretty basic gear. It was late afternoon and my good friend and colleague Mario and I were winding up a day in Retiro Park in Madrid. We exited the park near an arch that I had tried to photograph unsuccessfully one evening some years before. The Puerto de Alcalá sits in the middle of a crazy busy roundabout - and this was rush hour.

Puerto de Alcalá at Sunset during a rare lull in traffic.

Puerto de Alcalá at Sunset during a rare lull in traffic.

Daylight was fading as I scooted 180 degrees around the busy roundabout - from the east side to the west side of the arch. An interesting cloud, lit by the soon-to-be-setting sun, was moving into position just above and behind the arch. The traffic was non-stop, except for very brief moments when the multiple traffic lights were ‘just right’. My self-challenge: capture an interesting image of the arch on this visit – before the sunset-lit clouds moved away - and sans traffic.

I was using a camera and lens combo that had quite modest specs. The sensor was grainy in low light. The lens was not my first or even second choice for this type of scene. This added to the challenge. The result can be seen in the image above. It is composed of two shots - the upper and lower halves of the image. The upper half with the cloud was easy; it took about ten attempts to get the empty street in the lower half.

The image below was taken a couple of minutes later. The sun had set. I was hoping at this point that I got something to work with.

There are many spectacular images of the Puerto de Alcalá to be found on the web. This one is more in the way of a nice personal travel photo. But it also serves a reminder that even in less than ideal conditions, with less than ideal resources at hand, one can find success.

Technical details: Two source images. Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Olympus m.Zuiko 12-50mm 3.5-6.3. Processed to taste in Adobe Lightroom, Topaz Sharpen AI, Topaz Noise Reduction AI.

Posted in Travel.