Monthly Archives: June 2013

Photographing the Parthenon

I am determined to spite my inclinations and avoid turning this post into an ancient history lesson – give me a slap if I fail and start lecturing.

The Acropolis must be one of the most photographed sites on the planet. It is ranked ‘No. 1’ on the European Cultural Heritage list of monuments.

Acropolis

The collection of 2,500 year old temples and monuments, many of which remain to this day (including the huge and famous Parthenon), are our most tangible link back to one of the greatest ancient civilisations the world ever saw: the Athenian city state. *There. History lesson over in one short(ish) sentence.

There were four obstacles to my chance of producing beautiful photographs of this wonderful place during my visit this weekend:

1) Weather: On my day of sightseeing, it was overcast with the constant threat of rain.

2) People: To be specific, tourists. I can be a grumpy misanthrope when I am out taking photographs (and probably most of the rest of the time as well). I know I was a tourist too, but I just wish everyone else would avoid the most beautiful parts of the world when I happen to be visiting them – I like nothing more than to be completely alone with just my camera and some interesting subject matter (e.g., wildlife, architecture, landscapes etc). But as we all know, ‘I want, doesn’t get’.

3) Scaffolding: I expected some work to be under-way, but oh boy! There is a lot of scaffolding!

4) No time for a night visit: Due to only having a couple of nights in Athens and having a friend’s wedding as my primary reason for being there, I wasn’t able to photograph the Acropolis by night – when most people agree it looks most beautiful all lit up.

Here is how I got on in overcoming those obstacles…

Weather

I nipped back for another quick visit on the sunny day I was flying home…

Acropolis sunny

…and, being overcast on the day of my visit gave me an opportunity to exploit my favourite photography conditions: dramatic sky…

Parthenon

People

The beauty of a wide-angled lens is that you can fit the whole of something in shot whilst still being right up close to cordons and avoiding the crowds…

Parthenon close-up

Scaffolding

The restoration work continuing at the site is significant. This is good if we want our grandchildren to see it in good condition, but less good if we don’t like unsightly scaffolding. But, hey! As with the weather, we can (to coin a Buddhist phrase my fiancĂ©e is fond of) ‘turn poison into medicine’ and make the scaffolding part of the picture (and the tourists too for that matter)…

Scaffolding and Parthenon

Night time shots

Although I was disappointed not to get join the throngs of tourists snapping the Acropolis at distance by night, at least I have a good reason to return to this beautiful and ancient city in the future.

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Secret London: Part X – East-end bike ride

Yesterday, I joined two friends for a bike ride by the river in South East London. Unfortunately, I did not take my DSLR as there were some fabulous things to photograph, but I took a few snaps with the iPhone… [don’t ask what I am doing in a concrete tunnel/box/thing below, I just thought it looked cool]

Me on a bike

For those of you who know London, we cycled from Southwark through Deptford to Greenwich and then on to Charlton before coming back via Greenwich and then under the Blackwall Tunnel and up the Isle of Dogs to Limehouse and then finishing at Shadwell.

Cycling up the hill at Greenwich to see this view was tough but worth the effort…

Greenwich

From the fine buildings of Greenwich, including the marvellous pub on the Thames, the Trafalgar Tavern …

Trafalgar Tavern

… through some of the rare remaining industrial parts of London…

Conveyor belt

Ant and Nick

There are still reminders of how significant the shipping and heavy transport industries were in the tidal areas of the eastern Thames…

Ferry

boats

Train track

The docklands and East-end of London has changed beyond most recognition in the last couple of decades…

Canary Wharf building site

Thames barrier

Canada Water

O2

Canary Wharf

Next time, I will remember to take my proper camera.