Friday, June 23, 2006

The Dardanelles and Rhodes

If I have learned anything about photography in the five years since I first picked up a camera,* it's that you absolutely never know when you're going to have a good shooting day and when you're not.

Case in point: Rhodes. The town was enchanting. We docked right in the middle of the action.

The Minerva in Rhodes
The Minerva II in Rhodes

I had a very long morning on my own to work it over, and yet my photos are decidedly humdrum. Here's the best of a mediocre lot from that day.

In the morning I'd got up at 5:30 to watch our passage through the Dardanelles. I wasn't alone–at least twenty other passengers had the same idea. Most of them seemed to be interested in the World War I memorials. I was in a more romantic mood, with Hero and Leander, and the Trojan War, uppermost in my mind.

This, according to legend, is Hero's tower. The strait does narrow at this point considerably, and I enjoyed imagining Leander's late-night swims back and forth.

Of course, having now seen the Hellespont I am certain of one thing. Hero can't possibly have been giving Leander any cookies. If she had, he'd have knocked off the swimming, stayed on his side of the water and watched television all night.

This is not a sleepy backwater. As has been the case forever, there's a lot of commercial traffic. But even that looks pretty in the right light.

Ship in the Dardanelles
African freighter in the Dardanelles

Rhodes Town itself was great. The main drag seethes with tourists, but all you have to do is turn down a side lane (I recommend going left if you're heading uphill on Socrates Steet) and you'll find yourself in the old residential quarter. I've never seen anything like it. I'm afraid I was probably too impressed to see it clearly and take interesting photographs.

House courtyard, Rhodes
House courtyard, Rhodes Town

Weaver, Rhodes
A weaver, Rhodes Town

Ice Cream Van, Rhodes
Ice Cream Van

A street, Rhodes Town
A residential street

Stalls in a niche, Rhodes Town
Stalls in a small neighborhood church

When I say the church above was small, I mean it would fit in my (not large) living room. This is fully half the seats.

In the afternoon we drove to Lindos, a ruined town beautifully situated on a hill above the sea. It was, at that point, the most complete ancient settlement I'd ever seen. Exploring it was intense. But my photos, alas, are not.

However, the excursion did yield one rara avis in the form of a photograph of myself that I actually like. (Thanks, Ed.)

In the forum at Lindos, Rhodes
In the forum, Lindos

Dolores stuck to the shops, where she bought a cunning little model of the Colossus of Rhodes. When you tug on the torch, his skirt flies up and a wooden match pops out.

"I feel that art should be a practical part of everyday life," said Dolores. "Me and Ruskin, we have that in common."

*My camera (thanks for asking, Jess) is a Canon 20D. I use two zoom lenses: a 24-70 mm, and a 70-200 mm. That's what I've been using since Christmas. Everything before that was taken with my first camera, a Canon G2 that I tricked out with third-party wide-angle and telephoto converters.


Sister Sue said...

If only my photos were as good as your idea of ho-hum photos! These were great. Keep 'em coming.

Cordelia said...

Oh, I am in love with that residential street. Gorgeous light & angles, or something.
Clearly, I'm not an artist. It's fantastic.

I need orange said...

I, too, love the shot of the residential street, and I like the one of the ship in the sunny water, too.

So much depends on the light, the clouds, what ever junk may be in the background, etc, etc. So many factors beyond our control....

I'm convinced that the key to getting good shots is to take millions..... If I stand in one place and snap off one after another, the light is slightly different, the clouds may help here and hinder there.......

I am loving using Photoshop Elements to improve my pics after the fact...........

Carol said...

The photo of the old man sitting by the street is especially lovely.

David said...

Looking rather studly there, brother.

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for sharing your trip and pictures with us. I love the shots of the everyday and unexpected. Like the side street with the incredible door "art" or the ice cream truck which is my personal fav. That Dolores is one crazy gal, but she does know how to have a good time. I was glad to hear that you both made it back to Chicago without hearing her name on the evening news.

LaurieM said...

You look hot. And I don't mean from the sun.

Ted said...

Franklin, do you know if the weaver was working tapestry or knotted rug? I can't tell from the picture. Interesting to see her cartoon book hanging in front of her like that.

hillary said...

I'm really enjoying your pictures. I especially like the one of the residential street. The atmosphere is just so inviting.

Mel said...

Photography is, indeed, almost as reliant on luck as on skill. I think my favorite is the church. There's something particularly inspiring about devotional works, whether I share the belief or not. I have to say, though, that you're probably the last person I'd expect to be taking shots of balloon boobs - though the colors and composition were admittedly quite striking.

Isela: Purling Sprite said...

Your photographs are amazing. I love that you capture the essence of the residential street. The freighter picture is soothing.

And Dolores, my darlin', I am glad you brought a piece of art with ya :)

And that picture of are looking mighty fine!!!

Sonya said...

I'll add my voice to the chorus loving the residential street photo. That one belongs on a wall. What an amazing trip.

PuppyMomma said...

I kind of want to see Dolores' souvenirs!

Sherry W said...

Am I the only ignorant git here without a liberal arts education? Every post seems like a mini classroom lesson... things like the Hero and Leander story make me run towards Wikipedia.

rho said...

your HoHum pictures make me want to travel to all the places you have been - I think you could make up a great travel brochure.

Sneaksleep said...

Please tell me that you chatted up the weaver lady. Or at least complimented her on her yarn. I love the residential street pic, and that one of you is hot!!!

Barbara said...

FYI in older Greek churches, people don't sit. They stand - usually clustered around the priest who stands on a small platform in the center of the empty space. The few seats along the walls are for visiting dignitaries or the elderly or infirm.

Penny said...

At some point, will you go off knit topic and blog a little about cameras? I was the recepient of a Canon Rebel a couple of years ago from my husband. I love it, but there are times when I am unsure if I want to haul it around with me. Like when I go to knit camp or to Mexico. Then, I think if I leave it at home, I'll regret it. I think about buying a smaller Digital to throw in my knit bag for those times, ( I used to carry an Elph in my film days),but want to make sure I buy a good one that I don't have to fiddle with after the fact for the red eyes. Any suggestions?

Enjoy the heck out of your blog!

LornaJay said...

The freighter does it for me - something about the light I think, and the lack of colour.

Completely and utterly unrelated: thanks for recommending "Self made man" back in January. I've finally read it....

Lisa said...

nah, I know what you mean about the photographs. They might look amazing to those who weren't "there" but you feel that they don't reflect what you wanted to capture/feel. It happens to me too.

But on the other hand, I've been in completely normal places and produced a photograph that made me wonder where I was when I took it.

Chalk it up to the muses. Or camera gremlins.

Nancy said...

Your residential street reminds me of a similar photo my next door neighbor took while in Italy. He then rendered it in watercolor (that's his hobby/second source of income), and sold the painting at a gallery for quite a bit of change.

Anonymous said...

The street is okay, I like the old man sitting there, but the motorcycle hanging out around the corner, yuck. Love the African Freighter, off center but balanced with the mountians, soft background, shimmery water, and the boat so black, . Very nice.

All the Way With Knitting said...

The weaving looks fascinating and there ain't nothing wrong with how you look that's for sure.

Jon said...

Can I have a blown up, zoomed in copy of that last photo???


Anonymous said...

who WAS that short, dark, and handsome man? (tee hee)

dolores, you MUST tell us your side of the trip...and leave no turn unstoned...we want DETAILS, however nasty!

anne marie in philly

Lisa said...

I think the photo's are really good....don't be so hard on yourself! I love the street shot through the arch.

Snarled Yarns said...

The photo of the weaver makes it all worth while! glad your back tho...

Anonymous said...

What to visit all the beautiful places around Rhodos by car, rent a car from Colossos cars. Log on at

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