I’m never sure to what degree I want to say anything too personal on my photo-blog. The truth is that this hasn’t been a great year; my dad died this year and my poor mum is in care now as my dad was her full time carer, (she has dementia sadly). A dear friend and I, who has her own recent changes to contend with, decided to have a relaxing week abroad together. with the help of a friendly travel agent, we chose Malta as we didn’t fancy the sun-lounger-on-the-beach number. The other three or four options we were shown all featured this. Malta was a good choice, interesting and vibrant.
This is the view from the hotel we stayed at in Sliema in Malta last week. This is the old town of Valetta. Photographically, the difficulty with this is the blank water foreground and the blank sky. It is dramatic that the city is so beautiful and it screams “please put me across the central third” , the problem is the blankness of sky and sea inlet; I waited from the hotel balcony for something interesting to break the blank water and was rewarded with this trio of powerboats. Suddenly an interesting picture! For the record as an ex sailor (failed) I hate powerboats – the antithesis of green transport).
Another view of Valetta, but with the apartments at Tigne Point, Sliema included.
In the foreground is an amazing pavement/walkway to the shopping centre at Tigne Point. It was only from the water that I realised it looks like a crane; it is a lovely piece of design that is (pleasingly) more than was necessary. With a wide angle lens it makes a great foreground for another view of Valetta.
The Maltese photographs found on a web search typically include lots of doorways and old-style buildings; I wish I was so original that I could make an exception. (Oops, so sorry, the clichemeister strikes again!)
The compression of a telephoto zoom at 140mm!
This is the vibrant harbour of Sliema with two striking but elderly ships at mooring. A telephoto shot with my 70-300 mm lens at full stretch brings them magically close to the shoreline.
And here are three evening views with my 50 mm f1.4 of the old town of Mdina
Malta is of course Justly famous for its elderly and characterful buses: (17 – 85 IS)
The challenge for a photographer with these buses is that the recognisable, straight from the front views are best to identify the colourful buses. The next two are a necessary step for this photographer; after the simple, recognisable, symmetrical shots, two different sections of the bus, add interest.
Another day in Valetta, and the amazing buildings are worth capturing.
This one is all about the textures and warm tones; any photographer who can walk past this is stronger than me!
Valetta is big on festival decorations, these are typical for the time that we visited. These enclosed balconies are classic Malta.
I was brought up in Catholic schooling, although I never liked it. I always joke that a Lapsed Catholic or a never-really-took-to-it Catholic like me can particularly appreciate the over-the-top nature of Catholic symbols. If you see this symbolism like me as being south of tasteful, then you’ll love the Maltese examples; this is one of the more understated ones.
I’m afraid that I can’t resist a cute animal. This little puss, resisted my advances, and I had no opportunity therefore to tickle its ears. Its a cutie.
My friend spotted this picture, I stole the idea and tried to do it as best as I could. I might go to hell for this blatant theft. Aren’t these British artefacts amazing in the Mediterranean? The 50mm 1.4 wide open helped single the postbox out from the background. Although centredness generally should be avoided, when the background shows symmetry, you are better placing the subject as perfectly in the centre as possible.
Another classic Valetta scene. A grab shot with my fast 50mm f1.4 wide open. My friend pointed out how odd the horses leg position is. I have to say, I feel for the horses working in this heat.
The traditional boats in Malta sport this paint job. This one is a tourist-boat in Sliema.
The genuine traditional style boats in the fishing village of Masaxlokk.
These are the background buildings in Marsaxlokk with the coloured boats in the foreground. All distances compressed by the 300 mm lens, fully extended.
A close up of the apartments at Tigne Point from the hotel balcony. I love the shapes and the sheer exuberance of the design.
Valetta again from an evening boat trip with the sunset beginning to colour things beautifully.
One of the real appeals of Valetta is the plethora of old-fashioned shop signs. Dig this!
This was the caricaturist working Valetta’s main street, and yes we did in case you are wondering?
Malta was a lot of fun, don’t hesitate if you fancy a visit, but a high hotel room overlooking the old town is to be recommended.
Great images and commentary, Matthew! Enjoyed the “tour” of Malta. I especially like several of your shots of Julie. In particular, the one over lunch with the focus on eyelashes and the one with the great smile that is either b&w or sepia. Wonderful captures!
I spent two weeks in France and Germany in July and we are headed for Portugal in September and I always struggle with shots I want to take that are not, as you say, cliche. It is tough, because one does always feel that one needs to capture the ‘documentary’ shots since this may be the only time one will see this spot. It is a struggle to do that AND to try and be creative. You have a nice variety and I do like the color shots of boats.