Sunrise, Sunset

We don’t often see the sun rise and set over the Gulf on the same day. Principally because I try to avoid the obscenely early hours but also because, from our balcony, the sun sets over the mountains behind us. Sunday was an exception because we got up absurdly early (what the coxswain on the ’03-’07 WAC crew team referred to as “the ass-crack of dawn”) so we could run before the heat of day. I grabbed this snap of the sunrise at its northern-most position on the horizon (in a few weeks, it will have moved south again and be hidden behind the building on the right).

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That evening, we went for a beer at a little beach bar in the pine forest near us, and watched clouds blow over the Gulf toward us as the sun settled below the horizon. No post-processing on this one.

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One of the things we love about this place is that we spend a lot of time outside, and on this day, that time extended from before dawn until well after sunset.

Walking around Sikia

When Sue and her sister were galavanting around Greece a few weeks ago, I took a couple of walks around the village with my camera. Nearing sunset, the light is usually great on the mountains but on at least one of these days, we had a heavy load of atmospheric dust, which produced a milky sky. These are the pick of the litter.

Walking around Sikia

This is a building on the beach that previously we had seen used only as a polling place.  Over the winter, it was substantially restored for use as a special needs school.  We passed by during the opening day ceremony and have since seen the class playing outside.  Not a bad place to go to school…

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There was still quite a bit of snow atop Mt. Parnassos (about 8000 ft.) at the end of March.  There’s still snow up there but it’s getting pretty threadbare.

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I love seeing the flowers on the beach.  They’re very fleeting, though.

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Someone put a fantastic coat of paint on this boat over the winter.

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This one and the next one were both shot in the Super Vivid setting of my camera in an effort to capture the hues of the sunset.

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This is a 20x zoom. I love the shape of this peak but it’s my photographic nemesis — it’s so far away that it always appears shrouded in haze.

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I like to take photos of the old, unrestored houses in Sikia because I’m afraid they’ll all be torn down some day.  I think the owner uses the top floor of this one as his beach house.

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This one, however, was nicely restored and it’s next door to the house in the previous photo.

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This ruin belonged to the last Turkish ruler in this area.  It now belongs to the Greek state.

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I’ve shot this one before but I liked the oars propped up in the middle this time.

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These trees are related to the Salt Cedar (tamarisk) tree we have in the States.   They flourish with their roots in salt water.

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That’s Mt. Ellikonas, about 13 miles away.  It had snow on it when we arrived in mid-March.

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Another “Super Vivid” photo.  Mt.  Gerania on the right.

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I shot the sunset from the old railroad bridge in back of the apartment.

I hope you enjoyed these snaps.  I had a good time shooting them.

Moonrise

Moonrise

With sunrise happening at unreasonable hours of the day, we’re really into moonrise. And we pay particular attention to the arrival of the first full moon of our time in Greece, and to the last. It feels almost like a greeting when we arrive, and nearly a leave-taking at the end of our stay.

Sunday at sunset we took a couple of lawn chairs, a bottle of good wine, and a couple of snacks down to the beach at sunset to greet the full moon. It was a still, cloudless day and the mountains went rose and then gray before the moon slid into view behind them. The moon had a harvest-theme thing going on and the smear of orange light reflecting across the water looked like a flame shooting from the sky.

We sat and watched it all until the moon went pale and the sky went dark, and then moved up to our balcony to finish the wine. This week has to do with taking stock, cleaning, storing, closing, covering, and planning for next year. When we finish, we’ll be on a plane.

This year, we were fortunate to have our coming and going marked by a couple of rare dolphin sightings. Until this April, we hadn’t seen a dolphin since the first few days of our first season here. That day, one of the builders drove up in the morning, said hello, and pointed out to sea, where we were dumbfounded to see a line of dolphins making their way across Sikia’s bay.

This year, within a week of arriving, we were sitting out on the balcony drinking a pot of morning tea when we saw a lone dolphin stitching a line east down the Gulf. Peering through binoculars, we watched it out of sight in the distance and judged it a good omen. Last Saturday at sunset, we were headed back to Sikia in the car and Susan spotted a line of dolphins, each jumping in the leader’s puddles, just as we crossed from Melissi into Sikia. We pulled to the curb and watched the show long enough for a swimmer to come near shore and yell to us to see if we needed anything. No thanks, we said, we’re just watching the dolphins.

The Blue Flag

The Blue Flag

Every year, a group called the Foundation for Environmental Education awards “Blue Flag” status to the cleanest beaches in Europe and beyond. Each year since we’ve been here, the beach at Sikya has enjoyed Blue Flag status — until last year. We don’t know the issue but this beach and our neighboring beach in Melissi didn’t make the list. We were happy to see that both beaches were reinstated this year. The award status runs from July 1 to June 30, and on Thursday the flag was hoisted again over the beach. Had this been our first year here, we might have wondered why the responsible official waited until the 5th to raise the flag. With the benefit of 5 years experience, however, we just laughed.

 

Sunset all over again

Sunset all over again

That fuzzy sunset photo a couple of posts ago bugged me enough to (download and then) read the camera manual. Turns out, the problem was I had the “Servo AF” box checked. Go figure.

Anyhow, I was on my way home from Melissi again last night when Hλιος (Helios, the sun god of ancient Greek mythology and the modern Greek word for sun) was standing on the horizon posing for his photo before retiring for the night. I went down on the beach at the Akrotiri taverna and grabbed these snaps of the Sikya cape.

So this is how sunrise looks…

So this is how sunrise looks...

Woke up early this AM and went to the beach to grab a few snaps. The clouds from last evening stuck around overnight so the view was pretty amazing.

I didn’t change the colors in post-processing.  The variance is a result of locking the exposure to different areas within the frame.

All-in-all, a pretty rewarding trip to the beach.  Maybe I’ll get up indecently early again someday…