A bit of a throwback today, with a photo from early spring this year during a walk near (and in) Il-Majjistral national park. I meant to return to shoot this place some day in the late afternoon or early evening, but I never did. It just has to wait in my list of places to go again.
In the foreground you can see the cactus plant that produces Bajtar tax-Xewk (prickly pear), which can be found throughout the islands. The fruit is great eaten cold, though apparently it’s not good to have too much at one sitting. In the distance you can see Il-Karraba and to the left the tower at Għajn Tuffieħa. I only had my camera with me on that walk, as I was not alone, so it would be a good thing to go again.
Today’s post is for those who still haven’t had enough of the recent lunar eclipse. I set an early alarm that day to try to catch the eclipse during totality. Sadly, that night was overcast most of the time, and by the time I was having my coffee I had almost given up on seeing anything. Thankfully, later the clouds parted and we managed to see the eclipsed moon and starry sky.
My original plan was to shoot a composite similar to what I had done for the solar eclipse earlier this year. With the clouds the way they were, I knew this would not work out, so I didn’t bother, and instead prepared for telephoto shots. I also had a small camera set up to take a timelapse, and perhaps eventually I’ll edit that as a short video. I had done my homework, and knew the eclipse was ending with the moon still rather high in the sky. Which meant that it was difficult to set up any telephoto shots with interesting foreground objects. So I did what I could, and what you see is one of the results.
This is a composite of two shots, one exposed for the moon, and one for the foreground. You can see that we have significant light pollution on this little island, and bear in mind this is around 04:30. I have no idea why the churches etc are still floodlit at this time when most everyone is asleep. And let’s just say nothing about the obscene amount of light on Mdina in the distance.
I also had a better vertical composition during totality, but unfortunately that has to sit in the ‘almost got it’ file. I used the 50mm prime for that shot, which meant I could shoot with a wider aperture. Unfortunately I didn’t take into account that even though the moon was in focus, the depth of field was shallow enough that the church in the vicinity was blurred. You wouldn’t notice on a small scale reproduction, but at actual size it’s very annoying. Shows that I’m just not used to doing landscapes at night, where a wide aperture is often necessary. And teaches me to set focus using a magnified live view, now that I can.
We just witnessed one of those spectacular sunsets. There was a storm system passing through most of today, and I knew this would probably mean good conditions later in the day. I did not have the time to plan a shoot around this, but this didn’t mean we couldn’t just go up to the roof and enjoy the remains of the day. The air smelt fresh as it does after a storm, and the light was incredible. It’s clear that walking season is upon us. Sorry, no photos though.
Instead, today I’m sharing the last photo from the walk at l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa in spring. When I shared the last image, my aunt asked me whether it’s possible to swim there, given I mentioned the cliffs. As it turns out, it is possible to scramble down the cliffs that way, though I’m not sure if the ‘path’ takes you far enough along the shoreline to get to the point where I took the photo. The shoreline is more accessible towards the south and further north, where I took today’s photo. In fact you can see a few enterprising folk spending that morning fishing. It’s well known locally that fishermen know all the paths that can possibly reach the sea. Some of these ‘paths’ are now graded climbs, and it takes some nerve to clamber down without being roped in. But perhaps that’s just me.
My original intention for today was to process and publish one of the photos I took early yesterday morning during the lunar eclipse. However, after about an hour’s worth of processing I wasn’t quite happy with the results of my efforts, so I closed everything and postponed it for another day. Instead, I’ve gone back to our visit to Gozo in late spring, and will continue sharing more images from that set.
This particular photo is from the bay at Dwejra, showing Fungus Rock (for which I prefer the local name Il-Ġebla tal-Ġeneral) and the cliffs in the distance. When we went to this bay we found those stones rearranged in the form of a heart – don’t for a moment think I had anything to do with that. I tend to live by the saying “take only photographs/memories, leave only footprints” when visiting somewhere, being mindful of the plants and animals that call that place home. In any case, while I thought it was rather kitsch, I felt I had to include it in the composition.
A quick blog post today to share the companion image of last week’s photo. Actually this was taken just a short distance away. The water really was that colour, no enhancement at all was necessary. I liked the way the surface rippled, just enough to make it look like hammered glass from this distance. Unlike last week’s photo, in this case I was lucky that the brightest spots in the image were at the limit of exposure. I could have done better with filters and a tripod, so this is a place I will definitely have to return to.