Category Archives: Malta

The Maltese Falcon

So which one is jewel-encrusted? I seriously want to know which statue is “the” Maltese Falcon, the stuff (as Bogart puts it in the movie) that dreams are made of. Could they all be The Maltese Falcon? 

The Maltese Falcon © Harold Davis

Rotunda of Mosta

Here’s another fisheye lens view of the interior of the Rotunda of Mosta—where the bomb fell through during WWII without detonating, or harming the assembled congregation!

Rotunda of Mosta via Fisheye © Harold Davis

Mosta Dome

This is the interior of the dome in the church located in Mosta, Malta. I photographed it with a circular fisheye lens, specifically the Nikkor 8-15mm at the roundest and widest 8mm setting. This is a specialty lens I don’t use much, but the interior of this gigantic dome seemed an appropriate subject.

Mosta Dome © Harold Davis

More formally, the Mosta Dome, also known as the “Rotunda of Mosta,” is the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady, a Catholic parish church. It was built in the mid-1800s, and patterned after the Pantheon in Rome. It is certainly a large dome: According to the church pamphlet, “At one time, the dome was the third largest in the world.”

During World War II, the Luftwaffe dropped a large bomb on the top of Mosta Dome, which descended into the rotunda where three hundred congregants were waiting for an early mass. The bomb didn’t explode, it wan defused and dumped into the sea, and no one was hurt. Obviously, this was regarded as miraculous, perhaps with more reason than many putative miracles.

If large domes float your boat as much as they do mine, check out the Duomo di Pavia, designed in part by Leonardo!

Also posted in Photography

Time Machine

I asked one of the participants in this year’s Malta workshop what he wanted to get out of the workshop, and after a thoughtful response he turned it around on me, and asked what I wanted to get. I mentally sat on this question a while, and then this morning realized that I wanted to make some interpretive images of the Maltese architecture. Last year, when I was here at the invitation of the Malta Photographic Society, I did fairly literal imagery of Valletta—and now it was time to make some images that used (and implied) the mood and history, past, present and future. So I went out with my camera and tripod to capture some off-beat Valletta moodiness.

Time Machine © Harold Davis

Both these images are single, in-camera long exposures, with both focus and focal-length (zoom) manipulated during exposure. The camera was, of course, on a tripod. Exposure duration was twenty seconds. To accomplish this during daylight hours, I used a #4 neutral density filter.

Deconstructing Valletta © Harold Davis

Also posted in Abstractions, Photography

Wandering in Valletta

Today I wandered in Valletta, Malta. This is a wonderful and extraordinary place to wander with layer upon layer of things to look at and photograph. The whole capital city of Malta is built out on a fortified peninsula that goes up and down, and never stays at one height. Ancient, old, and new cohabitate in a delirious fashion, and the architecture presents fanciful details. Meanwhile, Republic Street, the central thoroughfare in Valletta, is closed to traffic and throngs come evening with peaceful partying like it is still 1999 and New Year’s Eve.

Saint Ursula Street, Old Valletta © Harold Davis

Wandering Valletta, I found the door knocker shown below on the entrance to a medical doctor’s consulting room. I don’t know about you, but if it were me this might make me think twice before entering for a consult with this physician.

Door Knocker © Harold Davis

Slay a Bucket-List Dragon

Time to slay your bucket list and visit Malta with me (photographed on the streets of Valletta). Click here for a detailed itinerary (PDF) and here for the Reservation Form. Small group of photographers, November 2018.

St George Slays Dragon © Harold Davis

Destination Photo Workshop to Malta in November, 2018

Please consider joining me to explore an incredible destination!

Info: https://www.digitalfieldguide.com/learning/workshops-events/2018-malta

Reservation Form: https://www.digitalfieldguide.com/pdf/2018-Reservation-Form-Malta-Harold_Davis.pdf

Also posted in Workshops

Church and Lighthouse on Gozo

This is a view of a church and lighthouse on Gozo, an island that is part of the Maltese archipelago of three islands. We photographed the view in the morning light before everything was too harsh. Gozo is a beautiful and laid back place where I think one could spend a fair amount of dreamy time wandering the cliffs above the Mediterranean. For some reason, there are a large number of out-of-scale and out-of-the-way big, fairly modern churches—like the one shown—in many places on Gozo.

Church and Lighthouse, Gozo © Harold Davis

I’m caught up in the rush of being home in California, photographing flowers, organizing future workshop and travel plans, and being with family. But I’m trying to go through my images from the past several months travel in Vietnam, France, Spain, and—yes!—Malta, and gradually process some of these images.

Special thanks to Paul, we could not have wished for a better photographic guide to Gozo. Gozo, the mythological Ogygia, home to Calypso in the Odyssey, is a place I really, really hope to visit again.

Also posted in Landscape, Monochrome

Lace from Gozo

This is a piece of handmade lace from the island of Gozo, one of the islands in the Maltese archipelago. I bought the lace notionally as a present for Phyllis, and photographed it on a light box. To put the lace on a black background, I inverted it in the LAB color space in Photoshop, then converted the image to black and white.

Lace from Gozo © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Goodbye Malta!

I am home today after a long day in transit yesterday from Valletta, Malta early in the morning to Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris, France, followed by a fairly long layover then a nonstop from Paris to San Francisco, where Phyllis and Katie met me. Travel and Malta are beginning to seem like a dream! On my Air France flight home I binge watched an entire season of Game of Thrones, after learning that much of the location photography for the series was done on Malta.

This is an iPhone image I made from the terrace of my hotel on my last evening in Valletta, the capital of Malta. I shot two versions, one exposed to be bright and the other dark, and combined the versions manually on my iPhone using the TrueHDR app.

Valletta © Harold Davis

Related story: Impregnable

Also posted in iPhone

This evening on Xlendi Bay

Here are two iPhone images I made this evening with walking along the esplanade at the end of narrow and picturesque Xlendi Bay on the wonderful Maltese island of Gozo.

Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis

Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis

 

Street Lamp © Harold Davis

Street Lamp © Harold Davis

Also posted in iPhone

Moon over Xlendi Bay

The sound of the waves in narrow Xlendi Bay on Gozo, the Maltese island of Calypso, put me to sleep. Waking in the middle of the night, moonlight streaming through the open doors woke me. I didn’t even check the time. The whole world was in a dream state.

I went onto the balcony naked in the warm breeze, opened up my tripod, and made an exposure long enough ( 15 seconds) to show the movement of the clouds and waves in the glorious moonlight. Then I went back to sleep, and wondered, if it had all been a dream, when was I going to wake? The image remains as evidence that dreams sometimes converge upon waking reality.

Moon over Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis

Moon over Xlendi Bay © Harold Davis

Also posted in Digital Night

Cliffs of Gozo

Gozo, the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago, is often said to be Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso detained Odysseus, using her wiles to make Odysseus her mate, and to keep him from returning to his wife Penelope and his mortal life.

Whether Gozo is indeed Ogygia I cannot say, although certainly the Maltese tourist bureau would like to have it so. In any case, this is a tremendously beautiful island, much quieter than the larger island of Malta, ringed by cliffs, with today a vast and dreamlike offshore wind pulling the waves into the island.

Cliffs of Gozo © Harold Davis

Cliffs of Gozo © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Tables and Chairs

I photographed these tables and chairs at a cafe with no customers yet from above in strong early morning light from the terraces of the Upper Barrakka Gardens in Valletta, Malta.

© Harold Davis

Table and Chairs, Valletta © Harold Davis

Also posted in Monochrome

Dome, St Augustine Church

This is an interior image of the dome of the somewhat ornate St Augustine Church in Valletta, Malta. I exposed nine images handheld while sitting in a pew, using my fisheye lens with the camera pointed more-or-less straight up. I think the image looks almost like a mandala, or perhaps like a jewel, if one can abstract it from its source as a church roof!

Dome, St Augustine Church © Harold Davis

Dome, St Augustine Church © Harold Davis