Żurrieq Cliffs at Sunset. (Click on the photo for added detail.)
Tuesday last week was a very welcome public (and religious) holiday. So to properly celebrate the shipwreck of St Paul (or rather, that after this shipwreck he was welcomed in Malta, at least by local tradition), I promised myself I’d go watch the sunset and take some photos somewhere by the sea.
I have a few places I’d like to visit at sunset. I started with the first on my list, so I drove down to Żurrieq and parked at the well-known panorama spot above the blue grotto, to try the easy option first. As anticipated (did I mention the excellent Photographer’s Ephemeris app here before?) I found that that particular viewpoint would not quite ideal. No big deal – I had enough time for plan B, so I drove into Żurrieq proper and left the car at the outskirts. I put on my boots and walked down towards the quarries. Along the way I met a local who kept staring at me; I said hi, and he asked me whether I knew my way. I said I did, at which point he explained that he wanted to make sure I wasn’t lost, as the road I was on didn’t lead anywhere. I did know my way, and explained where I was headed. I guess they have a good neighbourhood watch, and I can understand that.
Once past the quarries I took a path between the fields, leading to the cliffs. I set up close by, and seeing where the sun was setting I opted for a wide angle view, taking in the tiny island of Filfa as well. At this point it was just me and the birds, and after taking my readings and setting up the necessary filters I sat down to wait and enjoy the solitude. One particular bird came quite close, within 2-3 meters. I was rather surprised, as I thought they’d be used to hunters and trappers out to get them. Next time I’m out there I need to take my binoculars. As sunset approached I met the second person I saw on that short walk – another local walking his dogs on the clifftop.
Disclosure: even with two strong grad filters stacked, I still found there was too much dynamic range, and had to take separate exposures for the sky and the foreground. What you see is a composite image.