Azores Photography Highlights: Mosteiro Beach Sunset

Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Seascapes and sunsets: Mosteiro Beach is just one of many great photography locations on The Azores.

The Azores is a Portuguese archipelago of nine volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean.  Europe lies to the west (about 1,500km from Lisbon) and North America lies to the east (about 4,000 km to New York).  I explored two of these islands, Faial and Sao Miguel, for the first time this year and the diverse landscape and uncrowded countryside of Sao Miguel provided a great number of landscape photography opportunities.

Located in the north-west corner of Sao Miguel, Mosteiro Beach is popular with surfers during the day and perfect for photographers at sunset.  Located 40 kilometres from Ponta Delgada, it’s a 45 minute drive along the southern coast’s curvy road.  Alternatively you can reach it after enjoying the picturesque views from the northern coast’s road.  There is easy parking alongside the beach with a number of different paths leading down to the rocky shore.

I arrived late in the afternoon to get familiar with the area and scope out some potential compositions.  Although I initially found myself sharing the beach with sunbathers who had parked themselves on the most comfortable rock they could fine, they didn’t stay long when the sun began to set.  I had the beach to myself, the changing light to myself and the various compositions to myself.  It was long exposure heaven, with the rocky foreground contrasting the more dramatic rock formations in the ocean.

Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Canon 5D Mark III, 28 mm, ISO 100, f/16, 2.5 sec


Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Canon 5D Mark III, 32 mm, ISO 100, f/16, 2 sec

Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Canon 5D Mark III, 80mm, ISO 100, f/16, 30 sec

Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Canon 5D Mark III, 35mm, ISO 100, f/16, 25 sec

Sunset at Mosteiros Beach, Sao Miguel, Azores

Canon 5D Mark III, 24mm, ISO 100, f/16, 49 sec


Arrive an hour before sunset to get familiar with the area, experiment with compositions and enjoy the changing light.

Don’t pack up as soon as the sun disappears from view.  The most dramatic light in the sky appeared after the sunset was over, with the decreased light providing the opportunity to shoot exposures of 30-60 seconds.

Useful equipment:

– a tripod to shoot long exposures

– an ND filter to slow down the shutter speed, especially before the sun sets

– HD filter to balance the contrasting light in the sky and water.



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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at

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