Delimara Lighthouse

Delimara Lighthouse. (Click on the photo for added detail.)

The weekend before last was a rather long one, with a public holiday on Tuesday, and many (including myself) taking a bridge on the Monday. As things turned out, not only did I fit in a lot of climbing, but unexpectedly also went for a long walk one evening. I say unexpectedly because it’s already June, and definitely past my usual season for walks. A friend of mine wanted to go for a 10k walk and invited me along, so I made an exception this time. We were starting fairly late, so the heat promised to be manageable, and at the time I had no other outdoor activities planned, so this was a welcome suggestion.

I thought we’d do a walk I like along the coastline to Delimara, so we met up in Marsascala, and headed out. I had never done this walk in the evening, so I took my camera with me, with a single lens, for any opportunities that came along. As we were starting late, I decided to reverse the usual route, starting with the rugged coastal walk while there was still some light, and leaving the country roads for the return leg. The walk took longer than expected, because we found some newly installed walls and fences along the way, and had to detour a bit. This is a rather sad state of affairs, as the area is well-known for certain people pretty much claiming sections of coastline and making it inaccessible to others. Illegally, from what I can tell.

In any case, by the time we were at Kalanka, the sun had already been down a while, but there was still a lovely light in the sky. Knowing that the lighthouse was less than half a kilometre away, we decided to head down to visit. There are actually two lighthouses here, within striking distance of each other. The actual current lighthouse, and the old historical one, shown in the photo. This has been restored fairly recently, and is in the care of Din l-Art Ħelwa. The keeper’s living quarters have been converted to a couple of flats that can be rented as holiday accommodation.

As I mentioned already, I only had my camera and a single lens with me. No tripod. To make things a bit more challenging, the lens I took is a fairly old design, with no image stabiliser. So I really put the camera through its paces to shoot this, as I had no option but to shoot handheld in rather low light. I also wanted to use a fairly small aperture to ensure I had enough depth of field to keep everything in focus. In other words a situational nightmare. It turned out to be much less complicated than I expected. I let the camera pick a high ISO, knowing it would introduce some noise, but that’s something I can live with. The required shutter speed was still fairly slow (1/3 s), so I kept as steady as I could, and hoping that the in-body image stabiliser would help. Amazingly, when I checked the result at full magnification, everything was perfectly in focus. So I took a couple more exposures for good luck, and left it at that. Sometimes an upgrade really comes in useful.

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