Light Painting trip to the Azores

Mix up Hawaii with Scottland and sprinkle it with some New Zealand natural flavor. That’s how I experienced my travels to 3 of the islands of the Azores.
During my Light Painting trip to the Azores, I got the chance to share a lot of action in nature and enjoy a lot of food with friends. Lucky us we go to meet several other artists with different creative ideas. Freshly inspired you find here some of the light art creations of two weeks out at night.

Light Painting Azores Forest

Light Painting on Sao Miguel Island, Azores

All the way of the middle of the Atlantic, re the Azores Islands. Starting on Sao Miguel, we went to Furnas and of course the caldera of Sete Cidades. That’s where we found the abandoned Hotel Monte Palace. But more on that later. After Sao Miguel, we went to see Faial and Pico.

Here is a map of the Islands with where the photos were taken.

The Light Painting started after some hot thermal bath in a tiny forest at Lagoa Furnas near the geysers. Furnas is located on the far east of Sao Miguel Island inside of a caldera of a blasted volcano.

Furnas Forest Azores Portugal

Just next to the geysers of Lagoa Furnas you find these amazing trees.

Furnas Forest Azores Portugal

When I saw this forest during the daytime I knew this must be amazing at night with the right set of light.

Light Painting Furnas Forest

Just as everyday normal exploration of a Light Painting spot, the first task was to light up the place and test the exposure time conditions. This is got me this simple light painting of these amazing trees.

Light Painting Azores Forest

Repeating the procedure but with a twist. Of course, I wanted to perform a few Camera-Rotation Light Painting images.

Light Painting Azores Forest

Using the procedure from before I wanted to add some tiny light feature. Using a simple flashlight I created this simple Shooting Star with a single swing of my hand.

Light Painting Azores Forest

Repeating the procedure yet with an extra feature of a star.

Since it was rainy I knew I would not shoot for very long. Despite the difficult weather I wanted at least one more location. Another 30m further I found this beautiful place.

Light Painting Furnas Forest

Since I could not bring too many toys to the islands I thought of lightweight yet interesting light effects. Testing some tools that I have also not been using too much yet made me use the 10mm fiber whip from Lightpaintingparadise.com

Light Painting Azores Ghosts

The second tool I felt like using was the Ball of Light tool from Dennis Smith. I really wanted to get some cool shots with it and practice. This is not a paid advertisement 😉

Ball of Light at the Azores

Photographing the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel on Sao Miguel, Azores

Vista do Rei Sao Miguel Azores

The best views on the island also has one of the most interesting urbex spots I have seen. The Hotel is right on the rim of the Caldera and oversees the two lakes inside.

Hotel Monte Palace Light Painting

One of the most exciting architectural Light Painting spots in the last years is the Monte Palace Hotel at the Caldeira rim of Sete Cidades. You’ll find it right that abandoned Hotel at the Vista point Vista do Rei wrapped in a street bend overlooking the island. Incredible views around.

Coming back with some friends we explored the location. When I saw it during the first drive-by I knew I have to come back at night to light paint. See the full location check in the video section or right here.

Hotel Monte Palace Azores
Hotel Monte Palace Azores

Testing different Light Settings on the outside facade.

Hotel Monte Palace Light Painting

Walking with the Lights up and down.

If you want to find out more about this place I can recommend two articles. One The Atlas Obscura entry and Two the Neverendingfootsteps blog article.

Almost as exciting as the brutalist architecture of the outside is the inside of the structure. The Hotel is stripped down to the bare concrete and is open for photo business.

Lobby Hotel Monte Palace Azores

The Lobby exposed all the levels especially when you have a nice little water puddle to provide a nice reflection. We do love to use reflections in our Light Paintings right?

Lobby Hotel Monte Palace Azores

Watch out for all the trash when walking around at night.

Beyond the grandiosity features of the architecture here you find some smaller details worthwhile your attention. The staircase.

Stair Case Light Painting Selfie

Light Painting Selfie in front of the Spiral Stair Case.

Stair Case Light Painting

When you look up the staircase you get one of those classic photographs. If you take some colored flashlights you can run up and down and change the color of the lines leading up.

Light Painting on Faial Island, Azores

Capelinhos Faial Azores

Some impressive piece of landscape. At the far end of the Island of Fajal the land just feels like the Moon. Breathless and blank of ideas I created an orb. An orb always works – just not when the windspeeds reach 210 km/h. Sorry for the egg Dennis 😉

Ball of Light Azores
Farol da Ponta dos Capelinhos

The old lighthouse Farol da Ponta dos Capelinhos is super interesting because since an earthquake and eruption of the volcano in 1957 the light house is no longer usable and super unsafe to run. Today there is a visitor center.

Light Painting Group fun

Less exposed to nature’s harsh mood swings we played inside the old lighthouse Farol da Ponta dos Capelinhos with some group shots. Just scanning and running.

Light Painting Group fun

Light Painting on Pico Island, Azores

Volcano Light Painting

Pico Island also home to the 2351 m tall Pico Volcano was our last stop and of course, there was some more light painting. It did not feel like I did create a lot. Most of the time we eat nice seafood. We did get to climb the mountain at night and see the sunrise from on top of the volcano. Highly recommended activity once you also get there.

At last some Drone Light Painting

Volcano Drone Light Painting

Flying my drone alongside the open Volcano crater.

Volcano Drone Light Painting

Behind the volcano show the dramatic city lights of Horta (Faial) and Madalena on the bottom of the Pico Volcano.

Pico Night Climb

Every night ends with the sunrise. When sitting on top of the mountain Picinio with luxurious floor heating any night ends with a smile. I hope this blog article also ends with you happy to join my Light Painting trip to the Azores.

Thank you

Sunrise on Pico Mountain


Leave a Comment

  • moji
    2020-12-17 at 20:30

    Best work I have seen for a long time in Light Painting – Regards MN

    • Gunnar Heilmann
      2020-12-23 at 18:00

      Thank you so much, Moji
      What a surprise to see you on my website 😉
      I know you are one of the leading experts on light and acoustics – that’s why I super appreciate your support.
      Made my Day