Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily…

I’m sure that, for most of us, everyday is pretty much the same.

Getting up in the morning, shower, coffee, car/bus/subway/train, work, car/bus/subway/train, home…

Eight years ago, I was in a bad place emotionally and my daily routine was driving me crazy. Not the routine itself but going to and getting off work meant I had to spend time with myself, thinking… and I can do a lot of thinking on my own and that’s not always a good thing.

I was being blessed and I wasn’t paying any attention… For God’s sake I take a boat to get to Lisbon everyday! I get to sit by the window enjoying a 10 minutes ride every day, rain or shine.

Yes, it’s always the same and yet it’s always different. Some mornings are blue and green, some are grey. Some are orange and yellow… some are sunny and some are rainy..

I began trying to see and capture that little bit of daily poetry… I’m not on the subway, not stuck in traffic in my car or on a bus… I’m on a boat, by the window.

My old Leica D-Lux 3 was my faithful partner for 3 years and I stopped my daily boat pictures when I sold all my digital cameras. Funny as it may sound, to me, crossing the river is a colorful experience. It’s not the same in black and white.

In the winter, when it’s cold, I can see how that changes our behavior. People don’t mind touching a bit more, getting a little closer… those are lazy mornings and I almost fell asleep too.

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Love the yellow warm stormy light. Those are my favorite mornings and the most peaceful. The sky feels like a soft cozy dome over the cold dark river. Love that contrast.

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Some morning views are paintings. Everyday before I get into the boat I always look left, to the bridge and to the right, to Barreiro (to where the Sun rises) and I get to choose where to sit.

These were all taken between 08:20 and 08:30 on the Sunrise side.

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These are taken from the other side of the boat, the side of the bridge. I usually don’t sit on that side very often. The horizon gets cut in two by Lisbon’s shoreline but I like to see the city appearing on the left side of the frame giving me space to the right, like this:

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Or, at the very end of the ride, when the bridge and the sea are on my left side.

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I really don’t care for people, I care for details, I care for the light.

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However… on some occasions I do take the change and risk a more cinematic shot. If the light is right, the person is right and if doesn’t take a lot of energy, I’ll do it.

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I’ve been using the iPhone for these boat shots and I’m very pleased with the results. I always use the Transfer effect. When I get off the boat, instead of taking the subway, I walk 3 miles to work and I change weapons. iPhone just for music, in the pocket, it’s time for the little Ricoh GRD3 to come out.

However, on my way back home, after getting off the boat on “my side” of the river, I like to hang around the bus stops, smoking a cigarette and looking at people on the other side of the hammered glass, waiting for the bus… It’s like magic. Light, color, headlights, shadows and silhouettes.

Some scenes are just… abstract… and yet I think they are beautiful. I’m not talking about the shots, I’m talking about the actual scene itself.

No scene needs me. I’m only on the “inside” looking… around.

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I see people waiting, taking, not taking, standing together, standing apart. I see a lot of things. I’ve regained the pleasure of really looking at things. Using the iPhone is making me to think more about photography and to enjoy more the act of taking a picture and I really missed color.

It’s funny… I thought it was going to make me want to take picture of my meals on a daily basis but no… very much the opposite. I listen to music and I concentrate on composing the shot, perfect combination. I can’t explain it, really.

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I’m not saying that my iPhone pictures are any good, I’m saying that I have a great pleasure using it for my hobby, which is taking pictures.

The first ten seconds after holding a Leica M6 I felt that I would never own one. It didn’t felt right. It’s a… touch thing, ergonomic thing, weight thing, I don’t know… on the almost absurd opposite side, the iPhone feels so right… can’t explain it also.

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The iPhone is a tool and tools are tools and it’s our use of them that can make us miss the big… ship!

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  1. A beautiful collection of shots my friend how I envy your daily commute. I would love to accompany you on such a journey.

  2. Love these beautiful pictures Paulo and your words too. I am a big fan of yours and have been for a long time now ..Mr up up and away 🙂 xx

  3. Great series. There is something very uplifting about a commute by boat – so much better than a car or train.

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