Sete Cidades – A Lost World

While driving towards Sete Cidades on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, a glance backwards may well reveal the island laid out before you.  A glance forwards more often than not will reveal a bank of clouds obscuring the summit of the Sete Cidades volcano.  As you drive into the mist, you wonder what you might possibly see.


14mm f/11 1/640 sec. ISO-100

SpacerApproaching the rim of this massive caldera however, the clouds give way to one of the most stunning views I think I’ve ever seen.  A lost world. Lost in the clouds.

Within the Caldera a community thrives shrouded in the clouds that form over the island as moist warm air from the Atlantic makes landfall and starts to condense.  I’ve posted about Sete Cidades before here.  These are a selection of pictures taken both on the caldera rim and down at the caldera lake.  I hope you enjoy them.. :-)

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49 responses

  1. Multiple favorites from these photos, I especially liked the gates and rutted road. Do you experiment with angles or always use a tripod a few feet off the ground? I wondered what some of the shots would look like from just off the ground. My son and I were hiking and he took a picture I liked of moss and a branch but from a snail’s viewpoint, it was really good.

    May 28, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I do always use a tripod but I do vary the height quite a bit to give slightly different perspectives. As your son has discovered, a picture taken very low to the ground can be very effective. This I tend to do more with beach shots, getting low to the water always seems to work quite well! :-)

      May 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

  2. Such breathtaking images, Adrian. It was a hard choice, but after scrolling though them at least six times, I decided that my favourite is the one with the lone horse. :)

    May 28, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia. The horse was a nice subject to capture in such a stunning environment, secluded there it was easy to forget that you were standing in the crater of a volcano.

      May 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm

  3. A fine set of images; thanks for sharing them.

    May 28, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    • Thank you Kevin. Much appreciated. It’s always a pleasure to share.

      May 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

  4. Yvonne Theze


    As always the photographs are lovely. I,particularly like the ‘farming’ shots. The weather clearly not as bright as you would have liked X

    Sent from my iPad


    May 28, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    • Hi Mum, thank you. The weather could have been better but I quite liked the moody clouds. Would have been better if the sun could have penetrated a little more often but it wasn’t so bad! :-) x

      May 29, 2016 at 6:51 am

  5. Great landscape wonderful photos

    May 28, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    • Thank you Lou! The Azores are so very beautiful and the landscapes are stunning! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 6:52 am

  6. What an incredible place. Beautiful images Adrian.

    May 28, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    • It really is Edith! Thank you! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 6:52 am

  7. What a beautiful place! Your photographs capture the spirit of the island. Stunning!

    May 28, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    • Thank you Isabella Rose! So lovely to hear from you. I hope you’re keeping well! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 6:53 am

      • Feeling better now that the sun is out, thank you. By the way, where has Poppy gone. I’ve been looking for her blog but it’s been deleted.

        May 29, 2016 at 8:53 am

      • Good to hear. I think the sun makes us all feel so much better. Poppy I think has closed down her blog and is currently working on a new blog under her own name. I’ll let her know you were asking after her.. :-)

        May 29, 2016 at 4:20 pm

  8. Beautiful capture – love the light.

    May 28, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    • Thank you Tina! When the sun penetrated those clouds, it was like somebody turning on the spotlights and the effect was magical. Could have done with it doing that a little more often whilst we were there but it was a fabulous place to visit. :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 6:54 am

  9. hmunro

    Wow. What breathtaking photos! You make this place look like Eden.

    May 28, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    • It feels a bit like Eden. Everything is so lush and verdant! Thanks for your comment! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 6:55 am

  10. All so beautiful Adrian, love your first image and the gates and rutted road image.

    May 29, 2016 at 3:12 am

    • Thank you Beth! The Azores is a very beautiful place! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 7:32 am

  11. Adrian you have produced some wonderful images here. Interesting compositions, perfectly exposed. The light and almost minimalist colours add a strong contrast to the greys of the clouds/fog.

    May 29, 2016 at 8:58 am

    • Thank you JD! Very much appreciated. The Azores was a wonderful place to explore and photograph. The weather was a bit of a challenge led to some interesting images.

      May 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm

  12. Black Lightness

    On first photos first what impress me clouds on sky, they are very beautiful and give to the land something special what I can expres with words. And hole photo is something special and beautiful. I also love this photo with old house, this photo have some beautiful what I can not explain with worsd also…

    May 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

    • Thank you very much for your comments. I really appreciate them and I’m so glad you enjoyed the photographs! :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      • Black Lightness


        May 29, 2016 at 9:03 pm

  13. Brilliant set of images Adrian……stunning views indeed 😊

    May 29, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    • Thank you Mark. Had it not been for a friend attending a geology workshop on the island led by the University there, I would never have considered the Azores as a destination but Sao Miguel proved to be a real gem when it came to photography. As landscape photographers we’re so reliant on the right light at the right time in the right place and you’ve got to be incredibly lucky to get exactly what you need on just a two week break but as it turned out, we didn’t do too badly. :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  14. Wow…..nearly at a loss for words, Adrian. Such beautiful images….what an incredible place….

    May 29, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    • Thank you Scott! The Azores are simply beautiful. Sitting there in the middle of the Atlantic one of the commentators here mentioned Eden. The lush green, unspoilt landscapes certainly make you feel that this is indeed, Eden. :-)

      May 29, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      • You’re most welcome…it is is nearly unimaginably beautiful over there….

        May 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      • It is.. :-)

        May 29, 2016 at 7:51 pm

  15. Very special that green water by reflections of the woods or is the water real green?

    May 30, 2016 at 7:45 am

    • Thank you Lou! The water was very green. I guess from all the algae in the very mineral rich water! :-)

      May 30, 2016 at 8:31 am

  16. These are so very, very good! I like that you included buildings – and very different ones. The light looks like it was challenging at times, and you’ve rendered it beautifully – all that intense brightness is there and the photos are still so lovely. What a range of conditions! This group of images really makes me want to visit!

    May 30, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    • Thank you so much Lynn! The conditions certainly were challenging from a photographic point of view but I’m used to that with my Iceland photography. I do like a challenge and it was a real pleasure to be able to visit the Azores and experience these incredibly lush landscapes first hand. It’s a place I would never have considered visiting had a friend not been there for a geological workshop. The geology is of course fascinating and I’ve found that where the geology is interesting, the photography usually is too. :-)

      May 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

  17. A stunning landscape. I really enjoy the whole series of photos, Adrian.

    May 31, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    • Thank you Otto! :-)

      June 3, 2016 at 6:12 am

  18. Oh wow. Those photos blew me away. I hope I can one day introduce stunning pictures like that on my blog. But for now, I think I’ll just stick to flowers haha.

    May 31, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      June 3, 2016 at 6:13 am

  19. Great images, Adrian! I’ve never been there but for some reason they remind me of Colombia.. Wonderful! :)

    June 8, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    • Thank you Camilla. I think it must be all that very lush vegetation! I really did enjoy my visit to the Azores. Pondering my next destination now.. ;-)

      June 8, 2016 at 6:21 pm

  20. An incredible view of a world that looks as though it can only belong on postcards or picture frames. These are the shots that make it possible to understand the beauty of nature and how man can blend in with the scenes. Wonderful.

    June 9, 2016 at 3:36 am

    • Sete Cidades reminded me of a fairytale land floating on clouds. Definitely somewhere that belongs on picture postcards. Thank you Randall. Your comments much appreciated always. :-)

      June 10, 2016 at 5:56 am

  21. The green rolling landscape with the low clouds makes it a great capture – beautiful!

    June 11, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    • Thank you Inger! :-)

      June 11, 2016 at 4:30 pm

  22. To me, it is simultaneously majestic and desolate. Very unique.

    June 17, 2016 at 10:45 am

    • Thank you GP, it certainly is a unique place! :-)

      June 17, 2016 at 11:52 am