Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Riserva Naturale di Vendicari

Lately the weather has been mediocre, at best; but on Saturday we had a bit of a reprieve from the clouds, wind, and rain and actually saw the sun for more than a fleeting moment.  Les and I took the opportunitity to enjoy the outdoors at the Vendicari Nature Reserve which is about two hours from home, near Noto.

The Vendicari Nature Reserve was created in 1984, but did not become operational until 1989. It consists of a narrow strip of marshy coastline covering 574ha and provides a rare, and now completely protected habitat for migratory species and a highly peculiar kind of sand-loving Mediterranean vegetation. The large stretch of swamp, a hostile environment in many ways because of high salinity levels, has evolved a very unusual ecosystem which continues to attract vast numbers of birds passing through the area on migration. (http://www.siracusa-sicilia.it/english/vendicari.htm)
Les and I wandered the reserve for a few hours, both of us with our cameras.  I got a few good shots, but mostly just enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, walking the footpaths among the marshes or along the sea, listening to the waves.

An Old Tuna Factory (La Tonnara di Vendicari)

While we were walking along the coast I decided to practice a photo technique that I have been trying to get the hang of - using a longer exposure to smooth moving water, rather than using a faster shutter which freeze-frames the water.  Ideally, this would be done at dawn or dusk when there is less light, allowing for slower shutter speeds, but in mid-afternoon I had to get creative.  Here are a couple of my attempts.  I think I have the general idea.

Another attempt at smoothing the water a bit farther down the coast

Inside what remains of the Tonnara

As the sun fell lower in the sky we decided to call it a day.  We made our way back to the car and then drove around some of the small towns in the area around Vendicari.  For dinner we went into Noto, a gorgeous town that I have only been to during festivals.  It was nice to see it a little less crowded.  No pictures, though.  It was dark at that point so I left the camera in the car.  We had dinner at a little ristorante, it was good, but nothing special or out of the ordinary.  After dinner I grabbed a quick gelato and then we headed home.  Les had studying to do so we couldn't stay out too late.

On our way home we got stuck in traffic near Siracusa.  Stop and go for about 45 minutes.  And then we were forced to turn around.  The polizia were turning everyone around.  Ugh....so we were forced to find an alternate route home.  None of the roads in Sicily are direct so what would have taken us around 2 hours had the road not been closed took us 4.  We ended up backtracking to Noto and then went through Modica and Ragusa. We didn't make it home until 2 in the morning, and that was earlier than we expected, given the detour.  Poor Les still had to do some homework.  I don't know what time he got to bed.  I was out when my head hit the pillow.  It was a good day, but much, much longer than we expected.


Mrs. Crab said...

Beautiful pics as always!! I love Vendicari, perhaps my favorite spot in Sicily!! Just a thought, you should do a "tutorial" on your smooth water techinque ;)

Cat said...

great pictures, I say you mastered the technique you were after....

Angela said...

Thanks for the compliments. I'll definitely consider a tutorial or possibly present something about it at the next photo club. :)

valentina said...

Great photos, you seized the atmosphere of that wonderful place!

Angela said...

Valentina - I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks for visiting my blog! :)