Day 12 – Tuesday. – Sunrise Shoot with car
This post is titled Paxos car hire – what I did in 48 hours. Makes it sound like a road trip. On Paxos? Hardly. No but I did want to tell you what it was like having a car on Paxos for two days, including those two fantastic photographic sunrise shoots that I enjoyed so much.
I wanted to write about the places I went with the hire car on the 2 days I had it. So here is that post.
Getting up for sunrise on Paxos
I got up at 5.40am. I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed and headed off down to the harbour in Lakka. This morning I was after the lights on the tops of the masts on the boats – it is such a lovely sight that I missed yesterday.
I decide this time to get shots in from both sides of the bay very quickly, then see if there was anything else that I wanted to photograph. I treated this shoot like a paid shoot for a client – just get stuck in and get the shots that I need first. I do this and then can relax and give my Platypod a try. I haven’t given it a chance to be fair, going for the quicker option of the Manfrotto Pixi tripod – not ideal but quick and easy.
I will compare the sharpness of the respective images when I get home, but it worked just fine to be fair.
I forgot the accessory pack that came with the Platypod Ultra I have, so I had to get the screws from the older model and use them. Don’t worry – this made sense to me!
I get some nice shots from low level, which I love doing. I wish that my Canon 6D had an articulated screen which would make it easier for my old carcass to view what I was photographing. Rather than lying on the ground that is! Here is a video of me taking a photo on my Paxos Travel Guide YouTube channel.
The trials of filming in public
During one video shoot the bin man appears – a man on a scooter no less. The noise somewhat spoils the ambience of sunrise in Lakka, but this is the reality of early mornings. Next I say good morning to the coughing boatmen going off to a days fishing.
There are also lots and lots of cats milling around – so many they are almost threatening! Like something out of a horror film. They are everywhere now that I have noticed them!
Back to the hotel.
Having got the photos I want I go back to the hotel at about 7.20 – I can’t call Nickie to see if she wants to join me as my calls are failing, and the texts are unanswered.
I get back to the hotel at 7.25 and can’t get in the room – Mr Bastas appears and thankfully lets me in.
Turns out Mrs M was sound asleep!
I get back into bed and have a doze till about 8.45 when we both get up. We are not getting the car till 10am (I bet its later than that). We have teas and coffees and then slowly get our stuff together and head off down to get the car.
Is the car there at 10?
Babis! He arrives at 10.20, blaming the Italians for bringing the car back late.
Not a problem. There are much worse places to have nothing to do for 20 minutes!
I hand him the form I have filled in and we head off in the freshly cleaned, white Peugeot 108. Here it is…
Let’s get out of Lakka!
We have a car, we can leave Lakka under our own steam. First call is a lovely restaurant called Averto up on the hills in the middle of the island in the village called Magazia.
This is the view from the outdoor eating area – not bad eh?
Averto has lovely views from the terrace, and really comfy chairs on which you can relax and take in the views.
For breakfast we both have two poached eggs on toast – very, very nice it was too.
I have a coffee, Nickie has a fresh orange. We are also given an unusual bottle of rather earthy (sustainable) water, which I quaff.
After breakfast I pop off for a quick wander and take some photos of the village and the views.
And now off to the east coast of Paxos for the first time
I get back to Averto, and we then head off to find a restaurant called Erimitis Bar and Restaurant.
We drive a long, long way down a hill and get to the bottom. I mean a long way down.
And would you believe it – there is nowhere to park! And this is when we discover one of the limitations of the Peugeot 108 – it is a tad underpowered to say the least. I just manage to get back up the hill with the stench of overworked clutch to accompany us.
It really was a struggle so if you have a conventional hire car think twice before driving down this road!
Safely back on the road
Back on the road we drop into Loggos, where I quickly find the spot I am after for my sunrise shoot tomorrow. Using an app on my iPhone called the Photographers Ephemeris I work out where the sun will be rising and find the exact spot I am looking for.
One less job in the morning.
One of the best bars on Paxos – Roxi Bar
We have a lovely beer at the water side bar called Roxi.
It really is in a stunning location and has to be one of my favourite bars on Paxos. We have been here before, and always had a lovely time, receiving the most friendly welcome and service you could ever with for.
Give the Roxi Bar a try – you will not regret it.
Loggos to Gaios.
On the way to Gaios we end up at the New Port but find a road sign into the town centre. Yes, I have gone the wrong way. Going the wrong way on holiday is good – this is how we find new places.
The road I ended up on takes us back up the hill where there is a very helpful little parking area and a viewing platform giving stunning views of the channel that goes through the frontage of Gaios.
I take photos and a quick video.
And this is my Gaios sunrise location sorted.
I have the car for two sunrises – one is sorted in Loggos and I have just sorted the Gaios location.
All good then.
In Gaios we park at the supermarket and get our jobs done quickly. When I jobs I mean holiday stuff.
We get some more Babylonian jewellery from a lovely shop just off the main square in Gaios, have a wander around the lovely shops of Gaios and then brave the restaurant where my Barbados t-shirt is/ should be/ might be.
Reunited with my t-shirt!
It is there. Unbelievably my Barbados t-shirt is there at the restaurant called Taverna Pan and Theo. Happy with that we continue our explore of Gaios before sitting down for a quick eat. One of my favourite meals in Greece is chicken Gyros, which we eat in the square at Gyros Ton Paxon.
And it was very good indeed.
Time to get out of the big city.
Gaios is getting busy so we go back to the car and head back to Lakka.
I drop Nickie off at the hotel and then go to try to find the lighthouse. It takes me some time, but I get there, and am greeted by a Greek chap who says – yes? Can I help you? I have my camera in my hand and say that I am here to look at the lighthouse.
The response – no photos!
I turn away dejectedly and get back in the car. I like a good lighthouse – even square ones like this.
I drive around a bit and end up parking at the end of a road overlooking the main harbour of Lakka. A 10-minute walk and I am looking down on the entire harbour from above the entrance. Stunning views and I got lots of great shots.
I also found a very small inaccessible beach on the other side of the harbour which I had never seen before.
I get back to the car dying due to a complete lack of water – again. That and the fact I am wearing flip flops – completely unpractical for the terrain I had to negotiate.
I drive around a bit more, trying to find the restaurant called Sunset but give in. I get a few lovely views on the way back and start looking for interesting olive groves to photograph. I get a few decent photos, some by just sticking my head out of the window!
I head back to the hotel to find a bottle of water in the boot…..
Enough of that – where is my holiday? And more importantly where is my wife?
By the pool. Which is where I head off to. An hour by the pool and it is time to get ready for dinner.
And back to lovely Lakka for drinks and dinner
After cocktails at Romantica we walk around the waterside to the lovely restaurant called Arriva, where we drink wine and peruse the menu. We share a starter of cheese Saganaki with some bread. For mains I go for beef in a garlic and mushroom sauce with roast potatoes. Nickie has Moussaka. I need to check which meal is the most chosen – Moussaka or Stifado?
Stifado was the winner by the way.
The meal was all lovely and good. We pay the bill and head back for a quick Metaxa on the balcony.
And before bed I prepare my gear for the morning – Loggos at sunrise. Can’t wait!
Day 13 – Wednesday – Sunrise shoot with car
5.40 am is not pleasant I have to say. I manage to leave at 5.55, armed this time with Capri biscuits from the fridge, a coke and some water. Well I have the luxury of a car to put stuff in for a change.
It is weird driving in the dark, and I get to Loggos in 10 minutes. I keep thinking that places take longer to get to than they do – this really is a small island after all.
I park up in the car park right near where I am going to take my sunrise shot.
All I need to do is walk about 20 yards to the wall that front the beach, get my camera out and go through my sunrise shoot ritual.
My sunrise photography routine
This is it.
- Take my Canon 6D with 17-40mm lens out of the bag.
- Turn it on.
- Turn on the GPS (it is infuriating that I have to turn this whenever I turn my camera off or it drains the battery even with the camera turned off).
- Check my camera settings.
- For a sunrise shoot they are as follows.
- AV Mode.
- Back-button focus.
- Continuous drive.
- Auto-bracketing on (correct exposure, -2 stops, + 2 stops)
- Then I attach my camera to my Manfrotto Pixi tripod, and I am done.
OK – that is the camera set up – now time for the composition
I use Live View as I am placing my camera at low level and can’t get down to the viewfinder. Age/ equipment relates woes.
I place my camera on the harbour wall and get a stunning pre-sunrise shot with deep red colours. I move around a bit getting different shots, then place my camera for the sunrise shot. Once set up I take videos and photos with my iPhone – I do this, so I have stuff immediately available to me, and this also helps me to see what my compositions look like.
One of my favourite photography Apps – The Photographers Ephemeris
I have screen shotted (is that an actual term?) The Photographers Ephemeris App, showing me where the sun will rise – exactly.
I used to hate this app, only because I did not take the time to learn how to use it. Now I have learned properly how to us it I love the app and use it to plan shoots.
I get lots of shots, with my favourite being this one, with the boats lined up at the bottom, the sunrise going on in the middle and lots of sky above leading to the clouds glowing red.
This is my sunrise composition. Once that has all happened I take a variety of different shots. I also do a 6-minute video with my Canon 6D, and another long video with my iPhone – both are capturing the sea and the moving water – can’t wait to see what they look like and also how the watch time performs on YouTube.
Sunrise done and how good was that???
I walk round the harbour taking more photos and videos, then head back to the car and am back at Hotel Bastas for 8.30am.
Breakfast at the Mongonissi Beach bar
After a freshen up we head south to the bottom of the island, back down to Mongonissi (which we went to on the boat trip). I have a full English breakfast, Nickie just has a fresh orange juice. $7.50 for a cooked breakfast with juice, a coffee and bread is pretty awesome. The brekkie even came with the thickest sliced bread I have ever seen.
It was nice to go back to the Mongonissi Beach Bar, the place we went to yesterday on the boat that helped with the t-short reunion in Gaios!
And now a much anticiapted landmark for me – the Tripitos Arch
Next stop is the Tripitos Arch. Well that was the plan. We kept losing signal on our phones and could not find the place. I blame in part the lack of signage. I park the car at the top of another awful hill and try to find the arch. As Nickie is sat in the car waiting for me and I don’t find it straight away I give up, head back to the car and we return to the hotel.
Lunch back at Hotel Bastas
We have a spot of lunch, a vegetarian pizza by the pool, then have an hour by the pool relaxing. At 3 I head of again to try to find this illusive arch. Following a 10-minute chat with Sam the Olympic rep I am none the wiser. The advice is to ignore the signs and just wander around till you find it.
I will write a separate post about the Tripitos Arch which you can access here.
Back to Lakka
It is a quick drive back to Lakka from the Tripitos Arch and Windmill – I am beginning to feel like I have really got to know this place now and having sorted the car parking problems I pop to the shop for supplies then head back to the hotel for a drink and to write up today’s events.
Writing back at the hotel – my idea of work!
I listen to Planet Rock whilst writing, which I have to turn off when I hear an advert for B&Q – I am not ready for that reality yet!
It is our second to last night, so we eat at Paxos La Rosa. Cocktails, Lobster pasta. Wine. Table by the water.
Utterly lovely and a fantastic end to a great day!
Want to know more about Paxos?
I hope that you have found this post helpful, informative and even a little bit entertaining! To find out more about my favourite, wonderful Greek island all you need to do is click here and I will take you straight back to the start of my Paxos blog. Nice and easy!
Oh yes, I hope that you enjoy the next post.