Photography by Yann Mornet

Aphrodite’s Birthplace

By Yann Mornet • Landscape Report • 19 Jun 2013 •

Today I am going to discuss something completely different. Today I am going to tell you a few words about how a picture I made in August 2010 could have been done.

Before going to Cyprus, there is one location I had identified for long exposure purposes and might provide outstanding pictures only if you manage to set your alarm clock at unearthy hours. This place is known as Petra Tou Romiou (Rock of the Roman), or Aphrodite’s Rock, and is a sea stack between Pafos and Limassol. Accordingly to the Greek Mythology, the goddess Aphrodite came out from this rock, thus she born this way.

This is the way my Aphrodite picture born.

Petra-Tou-Romiou

Petra-Tou-Romiou

I am on the place; the first step is to take a look at this site: for great photography sessions, scouting is a winning key. So I go on this beach ahead of the target day and take a careful look to the rocks, the cardinal points and the sun course. Hopefully this is the Mediterranean sea so tides are not a problem.

I walk on the shore and take a few shoots to study them carefully later to prepare my upcoming session.

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

Scouting shoot, Petra Tou Romiou

 

Back to my hotel room, thinking about all these shots and given the parameters to be taken in consideration, I decide that the best shot conditions are at dawn, the last pic being really very promising. Also definitively, I have to find a way to take this photo in the water to get the best perspective.

An approximate calculation teaches me that I have to get up at 4:00 AM. Ouch, that hurts. I am in vacation after all!

OK then, batteries charged checked, my two zooms & ND400 in my bag checked, I my tripod just at the entry door of my hotel room check. Maybe I will not be too excited and will be able to sleep a few hours.

An awful vibrating noise awakes me. Who lets his phone buzz in the middle of the night? Oh I remember now. Who is stupid enough to get up at this hour of the day, really? Wife&kid are still sleeping. Good.

I take all my stuff, put them in the car and drive away from the hotel. 4:07 AM. I could kill for a coffee right now…

The car is parked. This is a bit early to be the appropriate time. Good. Let’s start with the less promising side of the rocks. I climb on a big one and set my gear in place. Long exposure time has come … it is 4:34 and there is absolutely no need for an ND400 at the moment. 100 ISO, f/11, 17mm. Here we go …

As I cannot see a thing in my viewfinder and there is no liveview to provide any help in adjusting my framing, I have to make a few shots before getting something interesting. The first shot is not interesting and took almost 10 minutes to be made. Let’s try again.

Aphrodite's Rock #1

Aphrodite’s Rock #1

 It is 4:55 and this pic had been exposed for almost 500 seconds!

Aphrodite's Rock #2

Aphrodite’s Rock #2

Second chance. It is 5:10 and this one took only 40s. Gosh the sun is rising so fast! This is why winter is my favorite season. Let’s move and try something else.

Aphrodite's Rock #3

Aphrodite’s Rock #3

Aphrodite's Rock #4

Aphrodite’s Rock #4

f/16, 28s. Well it is hard time to go to the target place. There I screw my ND400 up, I go into the water, I try to frame correctly. I have water above my knees and waves come just under the ball head. The tripod is stable, fixed between stones. Here we go then, this is THE moment

 

Aphrodite's Rock #5

Aphrodite’s Rock #5

Aphrodite's Rock #6

Aphrodite’s Rock #6

Aphrodite's Rock #7

Aphrodite’s Rock #7

Aphrodite's Rock #8

Aphrodite’s Rock #8

What I can see on the LCD screen is highly enjoyable. Stay focused! After shoot #8 the sky becomes too bright and I cannot see a thing on the rocks because of the back light. Also the colors are too yellow and I like blue/purple tones. I make a few additional shots on the beach and I go back to the hotel. 7:30. Breakfast time. My little family is still sleeping. Well, let’s enjoy the swimming pool with nobody else inside it 🙂

A few hours later I copy the files on my laptop and check whether I did an interesting work or not. Pics #1, #2, #3, #4 are nice but I am not convinced that much. #5, #6 look great. #7, I cannot see the stones as clearly as the 6th displays them. I don’t like the colours of the #8 and the framing is too tight.

The 5th is balance, harmony. Mid air / mid water.

The 6th is definitively the kingdom of water thanks to the lens directed 30° down. At the bottom of the sea the shingles give an amazing texture. This is a picture I have to work on.

Making the Picture, framing

Making the Picture, framing

Now contrast, saturation:

Petra Tou Romiou, Aphrodite's Rock

Petra Tou Romiou, Aphrodite’s Rock

Hey that was not a so bad idea to get up that early!

The legend says that any person who swims around the Aphrodite Rock will be blessed with eternal beauty. Well more than that I was in communion with this place, litterally worshiping these rocks in front of me while trying to get the best representation of them. And, you know what? Exactly three years and one day after, my daughter born.

I hope she will blessed as well!

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