Sete Cidades

Sete Cidades is a small town that sits within the caldera of the Sete Cidades volcano.  The caldera or crater is three miles across and the interior of the structure is occupied by diverse volcanic structures and four lakes. It is an almost circular caldera (5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in diameter and up to 400 metres (1,300 ft) high walls) formed through three phases of eruptions.

Sete Cidades has erupted at least eight times since ca. 1444, with six of these eruptions from submarine vents west of the volcano. The eruption in 1638 formed the ephemeral islet of Sabrina. Subaerial eruptions include a large explosive event on the southwest side of the caldera in 1444 and on the west flank of the volcano, at Pico das Camarinhas, in 1713. The most recent eruption was from a submarine vent in 1880.

The settlement of Sete Cidades has clearly been there sometime however, a friend of mine took a geological tour of Sao Miguel, guided by a geologist and volcanologist from the island’s university and when asked if she would live in Sete Cidades, she gave a very emphatic negative reply.  This is still very much an active volcanic region.

One of the main lakes is allegedly blue whilst the other is green and were, as legend has it, formed when a princess fell in love with a shepherd boy, a relationship that displeased the king somewhat and they were forced to part.  It is said that the blue lake was formed from the blue tears of the princess whilst the shepherd boy’s tears were green.

Much of the tourist literature does indeed show a blue and green lake but to be honest, in all the visits I have made to Sete Cidades in the last couple of weeks in all kinds of different weather and light, the two lakes have remained, resolutely, the same green no doubt from the algae and weed one finds in most lakes.  I had to resort to a bit of Photoshop trickery to reproduce what we see on all the tourist literature and what all the tour guides tell the tour groups they should be seeing..Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel, Azores by Adrian Theze

32mm f/10 1/160 sec ISO-100

This is my origianl image..

DSC08248originalSpacerI’ve only ever seen two green lakes as I’ve said but I’m entirely happy to accept that on occasion, a blue and a green lake might be seen under the right weather conditions and light besides, it’s a fun story and this is just such an incredibly beautiful place, who cares?

I will be posting quite a few pictures from Sete Cidades when I get around to processing all the photos I’ve taken but here’s a taster of what one finds down by the lake..

Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel by Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/100 sec. ISO-100

SpacerI’ll be flying home from the Azores tomorrow with lots of photographs to process and I’ll be catching up with everybody just as soon as I can..

SpacerAdrian Theze Photo logo_2Spacer

62 responses

  1. How idyllic!

    May 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    • Thank you, it is very beautiful!

      May 6, 2016 at 5:40 pm

  2. It’s beautiful! I guess we all see different shades of blue :)

    May 6, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    • I guess we do Marina! Thank you. This really is an incredibly beautiful place and the fact that I only got to appreciate two green lakes by no means detracted from the incredible beauty to be found here. :-)

      May 6, 2016 at 6:20 pm

  3. Your work is beyond sublime! I know I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating! :) Cher xo

    May 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    • You are too kind Cher, thank you! :-)x

      May 6, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      • Just being my honest, Canadian self! :) :) Thank you for sharing your magnificent work with us! Cher xo

        May 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      • :-) x

        May 8, 2016 at 12:28 am

      • xo :)

        May 8, 2016 at 12:52 am

  4. Sue

    Great place! Look forward to more images, Adrian

    May 6, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    • Thank you Sue, this is a pretty amazing landscape that has stretched me photographically in more ways than Iceland ever has but I hope I’ve come away with some good results. :-)

      May 6, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      • Sue

        Interesting, I would imagine this is something to do with greens?

        May 6, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      • Indeed! :-)

        May 8, 2016 at 12:28 am

      • Sue

        How did I guess!

        May 8, 2016 at 10:46 am

      • :-)

        May 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

  5. Really magical photos, Adrian. I love the legend even though it’s very sad. You did a great job with the blues and greens. That old saying, “Blue and green should never be seen,” certainly doesn’t apply here. :) Safe travels and have a great weekend.

    May 6, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia! Just landed back in ‘Blighty’. Lots of photographs to process and blogs to catch up with. I’m looking forward to both. Enjoy your Sunday! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 12:28 am

  6. Amazing and interesting post. I wonder if you ever add a personal touch to your photos such as having a picture of your suitcase or something in the picture to show you were there. I knew a teacher who always included something else in his picture besides the amazing images sometimes he included his attache case.

    May 6, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    • Thank you, that’s an interesting idea, leave something of myself in the picture. I like to think I do that in the way I create my photographs but leaving something tangible in view, a camera case perhaps? Hmm, I’ll give that one some thought.

      May 8, 2016 at 12:27 am

  7. I can’t find much fault with it in its original form. Simply jealous!

    May 6, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    • Thank you Jo, me neither! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 12:23 am

  8. It’s beautiful Adrian! The volcano we visit in the Greek Islands, Nysiros, is still active, hot and dry. I would love to visit there in winter though as when the rivers fill and drain into the craters the water just evaporates in great clouds of steam!!

    May 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    • I hope you do get to visit in winter Sarah. It’s so interesting to see landforms and landscapes that are so like Iceland but much, much older such that nature has really taken hold and created a green paradise. Iceland too will one day be green but it’s going to take a while. The creation of soil doesn’t happen overnight.

      May 8, 2016 at 12:22 am

      • Isn’t it magical knowing that you’re witnessing a moment in time for the earth? Thinking of the millenia it takes for these changes to happen makes you realise that our short span of time on this planet is incredibly precious.

        May 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      • It certainly is Sarah. I was in the Azores with a friend who is a very keen geologist and it was great to have first hand, an expert who could explain the landforms and the volcanic activity that produced them over thousands of years. When you stop and think about it all, it’s quite mind blowing and yes, the short time we have here is incredibly precious! :-)

        May 10, 2016 at 6:38 am

      • I chat a bit with a photographer called Andy at fifephotosandart on WP and he’s a geologist! I have said a few times that I’d love to have a real geological tour of places like the jurassic coast :-) For me it just adds new dimensions to a landscape when you understand it’s full history! That must have been amazing to have that knowledge base along with you in the Azores :-) I believe there’s quite an impressive cave network over there as well as the volcanoes! Before I became ill I used to go caving in the Mendips :-) Geology rocks (sorry couldn’t resist the old pun)!

        May 10, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      • Thanks Sarah, it was. It really does make a difference when you get an understanding of the landscape. Caving is not something I’ve ever considered, I’m far too claustrophobic but I can imagine you get to see some very beautiful sights. Oh, and pun excused! :-)

        May 12, 2016 at 5:19 am

      • I love gaining knowledge wherever I can!! Oh it’s soooooo beautiful underground, the formations, the colouring, the waterfalls (in wet caves!) are such a treat. It’s so peaceful too of course :-) I couldn’t possibly do it now! You need to be pretty fit for any caving. So glad I had the opportunity to do it when I was fit enough :-)

        May 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      • It’s a great shame you can longer do it Sarah, you clearly loved it.

        May 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      • It’s the way life plays out for some of us as you know!! There’s lots that I miss doing but loads of things that I love doing now :-)

        May 12, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      • I’m glad Sarah! :-)

        May 12, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      • Me too :-D

        May 13, 2016 at 12:17 am

  9. Beautiful place, looking forward to more photos.

    May 6, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’ve quite a few photos to go through and process which I’ll get on with now I’m back home. I’ll be posting as I process! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 12:17 am

  10. Gorgeous! I really love these.

    May 6, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    • Thank you Laura! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 12:16 am

      • You’re welcome! Did you change your name to Chillbrook?

        May 8, 2016 at 2:58 am

      • I didn’t Laura, Chillbrook is just my nickname taken from the name of the farm where I live.

        May 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

      • Oh I mean the name of your blog. I guess I only noticed your name before and hadn’t noticed Chillbrook was your gravatar. Anyway, that’s really neat where your nickname came from. :)

        May 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      • Still Cornwall Photographic :-)

        May 8, 2016 at 3:03 pm

  11. I didn’t know the Azores was such a beautiful place ! Thanks for the discovery :-)

    May 6, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    • It really is Gin. Sao Miguel is just one of a collection of islands in the archipelago. I would recommend a visit if you can. The people are lovely and the landscape just stunningly beautiful.

      May 8, 2016 at 12:16 am

      • I’ve never considered it as a destination but you’ve tickled my interest :-)

        May 8, 2016 at 9:08 am

      • A little off the beaten track but I always think those are the best destinations of all! :-)

        May 8, 2016 at 10:51 am

  12. Great photos

    May 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed! :-)

      May 8, 2016 at 12:15 am

  13. Like how you brought the legend to life with photoshop!

    May 8, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    • Thank you Carol! :-)

      May 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

  14. A little nudge from Photoshop has created two subtly different colours – I suspect the colour difference may be more obvious in other seasons when the algae do not predominate. A caldera this great in diameter must indicate some cataclysmic eruptions in the distant past.

    May 9, 2016 at 8:05 am

    • You could very well be right regarding the algae Andy. As for the eruptions from this volcano, as you say, they must have been immense given the size of the crater.

      May 9, 2016 at 11:21 am

  15. Very special landscape.

    May 10, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    • It is indeed Lou, thank you! :-)

      May 12, 2016 at 5:17 am

  16. Brilliant!

    May 13, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    • Thank you Elena! :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 7:59 am

  17. I very much enjoy how you lift the curtain behind the scenes of your photographs ~ it is really an art you’ve mastered. I love these shots, both the green and blue…would love to hang around there a bit and see it for myself. Wish you a great weekend Adrian.

    May 14, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    • Thank you very much Randall. Apologies for the late reply to your comment. Sete Cidades was an absolutely beautiful place that I know you would love. Wishing you a great week!

      May 25, 2016 at 7:58 am

  18. A fun post – you sure did a good job of it!

    May 16, 2016 at 12:54 am

    • Thank you Lynn. Amazing what you can do with masks and colour balance! :-)

      May 25, 2016 at 8:00 am

  19. I like the story about the lakes in Sete Cidades. In your original I actually seem to distinguish a colour difference. The one closer seem to be just a tiny bit more green that the one behind—as you have enhanced in the photoshop version. Furthermore, the lake in the foreground may seem a little less clear than the one in the background, which could be due to light conditions, but could also explain the different colours, even if you didn’t see much difference visiting the lakes during this trip.

    July 21, 2016 at 1:34 am

    • I too like the story of the lakes Otto and I concede that under certain conditions, I’m sure the lakes will appear to be two different colours. I’m sure each seasons algae growth, which I suspect varies, will reflect the light differently. At the time we were there, both lakes were very green suggesting the algae was doing rather well, perhaps better than in other seasons. :-)

      July 21, 2016 at 2:23 pm