Photo of the Week: No. 2 River

I sat at No. 2 River on the Freetown Peninsula drinking beers, relaxing and shaking my head at the potential for tourism in Sierra Leone.  The beach was beautiful, the scenery was stunning, and aside from a couple of documentary film makers – who I shared quite a few of the aforementioned beers with – I had the beach to myself.  No. 2 River is famous for being one of the most beautiful beaches in all of west Africa, and it certainly was the nicest that I’ve seen.  However, unlike the beautiful beaches found almost anywhere else in the world, there is only a small hotel here.  There are no resorts in sight, and for me, that’s a beautiful thing.  But I honestly can’t imagine it staying that way all too much longer.

No. 2 River Sierra Leone

No. 2 River, Sierra Leone

How I Got this Shot

I’m not one of those people who goes crazy for an HDR image.  I certainly don’t go around thinking “I want to shoot some HDR today”.  However, I am also not one of those people who hates it so much they yell at puppies every time they see one.  I try to use HDR when the light in a scene isn’t optimal and shooting HDR allows a powerful image regardless.  The morning that I shot this image the light was horribly harsh and almost directly in the front of the image.  Thus, unless I wanted a blown out sky or a dark canoe I had to shoot HDR at this time of day.  I shot 5 exposures (-4,-2,0,+2 and +4) and then used the program photomatix to process them to this image.

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.

Share This Post On


  1. Clearing storm, impending storm? Either way, love the atmosphere you captured.

    Post a Reply
    • impending storm… as I was leaving the beach that afternoon it came down like I’d never seen before… it was impressive!

      Post a Reply
  2. I hate washout from foreground light too … nice job overcoming the lighting challenges and composing a magnificent shot!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks James, glad you like it 😀

      Post a Reply
  3. Incredible photo! I love the contrast between the greyness in the background and the colourful stripes on the boat.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Jessica, I’m glad you like the shot… No. 2 River is a stunning place!

      Post a Reply
  4. Nice photo of the beech. It definitely has good potential for tourism. You’ll have to excuse my of ignore of the camera exposures, optimals etc. All I can say, great shot.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to improve your photography? Subscribe to my Travel Photography YouTube Channel! You will not regret it!