From A Guarda we advance further north but not too much because there is a spot filled with springs, dragonflies, horses who roam free, an easy trail to follow, and it is called Mougas.
This is the interactive map of Mougas with a few pins that mark the main attractions.
Mougas is the name of the town, situated at the base of the mountains (close to the shore). The more memorable building in the area is one of the oldest Monasteries, built in 1137. But we will not see that one now, but rather climb an easy trail, and get a glimpse on an “enchanted” waterfall.
The walking path is very broad, basically cars can and will pass, raising the dust in the air, but more often riders on horseback are the regular traffic. (so watch out if you have small children) I wish I was also lucky enough to ride on horseback, while also be able to take pictures, much like you can do in a Zelda game.
At times, when there are no riders, cars, or other travelers, horses will be marching along the road keeping themselves busy.
The area is exceptionally beautiful, just like all Galicia in general, with trees that are always green (all year), with rocky paths, and breath-taking vistas.
Springs are following the path and plenty of abstract photos can be made.
When we got to this next viewing spot (belle view), I thought that this is the waterfall. At this point I knew not to trust Google… Doesn`t it happen to you also to search for a place and then get generic stuff related to what you searched? Then you dig deeper on the internet and find out that some pictures (the best ones) are actually from another place/city or even continent… Thanks Google…
Well, I was pretty happy to find out (lucky there is GPS signal here) that this is not the waterfall, but just one of the many springs falling the slopes to meet the ocean. You can see us in the picture, as shadows, me with the camera standing up (and the Sigma fisheye lens), and my wife trying a much lower shot.
Before I show the main attraction, I would like to present some photos that I really wish they were better in terms of quality and is the main reason why this Tamron 70-300 lens, while not that cheap, is pretty bad (unless you can turn off the stabilization, then the photos become significantly more sharp).
If the subject (tiny or large) is not moving much, then the Image Stabilization of the lens will do wonders (under tons of light). But if is standing still, then the lens adds a bunch of movement (noise) that makes detail much more blurry.
In fact one of the first photos that I did with this lens was a huge success just because I might have been shaking from standing still for too long, while my arms were reached at maximum.
This dragonfly was so still, that I got pretty close to it, at full 300mm (the digital crop is very small on the original photo, so I print it on A3 photo format. It looks super great, but not as crisp as with a macro-lens or as professionals showcase on the internet with much more expensive gear).
These dragonflies can be seen on most trails in Galicia, usually on sunny days, mostly on paths were many people also travel. I mean they are not domesticated or anything, is just that unlike other dragonflies that are next to water, this one can be really far from it.
And they are easy to photograph also, as they stand still, if the photographer doesn’t move to much either. (on another article you will see these dragonflies also with blue instead of yellow)
This much smaller dragonfly usually is not alone and usually is near water. They are also easier to spot because they fly a lot, don`t sit bathing in the sur for minutes (as the other ones do). And this is how we got plenty of pictures of these guys (there were 5 in the area), even took photos of the wings. By this point I was really loving the new lens. (manual focus)
These photographs were quite successful on the Tamron lens (stabilisation off) and motivated my wife to get also something similar for her Nikon.
But right after this area, we came across many lizards and those are also small, but they are much faster to get away and blend in, if in the distance there is a car/horse coming. And when they stand still, they really do stand still so unless they are in the open, also hard to spot them
In fact this lizard was standing so still, and I was also more far than from the dragonflies, that the lens added noise to the picture. I mean I was taking 2-3 pictures then rapidly looking at the back of the camera. And picture after picture, all had the lizard blurry.
Then we saw a bunch of bees and those were even harder to get into the photo with this lens. And sometimes you can get really good shots with an smartphone (if you don`t fear they might sting you). So this lens did not convince me, and at this time I was wondering: what if I had a smaller zoom, would I get the same pictures of the dragonflies? (because lizard, flowers, bees, butterflies I did catch those with a 200mm).
Speaking of butterflies, we had to follow them for quite a while, and in the end, they are the reason why we got tired and decided that we cannot go (today) too far on the trail, and also we cannot go to the Monastery on the way back.
We did manage to get to the waterfall, and it was a bit crowded, but the other groups (present there) were kind to let us get a few HDR images and then we watched as the kids were enjoying a bath. I do remember to be a very cold water so kudos to those kids for enjoying it no matter!
As you probably saw in the beginning of the article, we did not rate this place as a must see, but rather as a can be skipped place (because there is a bunch more to see in this region, as you shall soon see on pixelstravel.com).
Getting here can be easy if you own a car, or even a bicycle from Baiona (as we did). There are also busses from Vigo, actually is the same one that goes to A Guarda. So taking a photo of the bus time-table can allow you to take photos here at Mougas during the day, then head to A Guarda and eat, and then when the sunset in not far, head to the mountain peak, see the Castros (see here) and enjoy the view.
If you really love taking photos, then a macro lens (or zoom) will do wonders as rarely you need something different ( I think I got only one good shot on a wide lens, the rest on the zoom).
If you stumbled upon this article, while researching on the Tamron 70-300mm lens, well know that I did not like it and not just because of this one trip. I actually used it more times until I got a 70-200 Canon L lens and that one gave a ton more satisfaction for (true) double the price… but also less weight.
If you saw the previous article and wonder where to go hicking, before visiting A Guarda, then I really recomend Mougas!
Thank you very much for reading, or scrolling through the photos and see you in the next article,