Daily Travel Photo: Really Old Books

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura

Daily Travel Photo: Really Old Books


The Set Up

When the King John fled Portugal during the days that Napoleon Bonaparte was bitting at the ankles of Europe, he headed to his colony of Brazil.  When he came, he brought all of his things, including his entire library.  To this day, that library remains in Rio de Janeiro, and even though it now has a couple computers and WiFi it holds onto its authentic charm.  This may have been the most photogenic library I’ve ever been.  In fact, I may come out with a photo essay on the library later this week.

The Shot

Shooting in museums and dark indoor spaces like this is not easy.  Especially when tripods are not allowed. For these shots I pulled out three tricks from my book.  1) I shot all images on a monopod (tripods aren’t allowed because they take up too much space, monopods are fine).  If you don’t have a monopod, find a table to rest on.  2) I shot the images with an ISO slightly higher, 200.  Normally higher ISO speeds can ruin a photo, covering it with noise.  However, a small jump to 200 never hurt anything.  And 3) I shot with the exposure set slightly underexposed, this meant for faster shutter speeds and less chance of blur.  If you shoot on RAW you can gain that .5-1 spot of underexposure in the editing process.

This image in particular I shot at 18mm at f3.5 with a shutter speed of 1/4, ISO200.

What’s Next?

I fall in love with Rio de Janeiro, and I think the world will too when it finally sees it through the eyes of the Olympics and World Cup.  The upcoming article, which is live tomorrow, is called “When the World Sees Rio”

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. I love bookstores and libraries, and I think this photo is so evocative of the richness and luxury of books. I’m rooting for a photo essay on this library!

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    • Theresa, I just scheduled the photo essay for Friday… keep your eyes open for it

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  2. Great photo!
    The wood seems to have a purple shine, was it actually purple? Or was it by the light?
    Or some after processing?

    Post a Reply
    • ya, definitely not from post processing. What happened is that the roof had stain glass and I think the light coming through the stain glass gave it that purple/blue hue.

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  3. Yes! Please come out with a photo essay of this gorgeous library. 🙂 I could happily spend hours there, tucked up in a cozy chair reading to my hearts content. 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • It will be up on Friday Krista!

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