Sunset & Moon Rise – Cape Sounion, Greece – October 2019

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Temple Of Poseidon silhouetted against sun-setting coloured sky
Temple Of Poseidon silhouetted against sun-setting sky

Two years ago (2017) during my very first trip to Greece, a high point was visiting Cape Sounion at the time of the full moon in late September. That time, we paid the fee and entered the archaelogical site of the Temple of Poseidon and watched the amazing view of the sun setting over the Aegean Sea. Honestly, if you love sunsets, put this on your bucket-list to experience this amazing visual occurrence that takes place at Sounion, Greece!

Back dropped by the ancient ruins of the temple, it’s a hard-to-describe sense of awe and amazement at the stunning beauty of the colours in the sky and how large the sun appears on the horizon. To sit there and consider that ancient peoples sat in that same place and wondered and admired at the same beauty is enough to bring goosebumps to my skin. And not only did they sit in the same spot, they built a temple to Poseidon (on top of a previously ruined temple), the God Of The Sea, Earthquakes, & Horses. I am not really sure how the Ancient Greeks managed to have a deity that ruled both horses and the sea; perhaps my son who is a Greek Myth enthusiast will explain that one to me someday.

It’s amazing also to me that some of the marble columns that were built around 440BC still stand today, in 2019AD (I know, some people prefer using the abbreviation “CE” but I have my own reasons for liking “AD”).

Yesterday, October 13th, we arrived at Sounion a bit later than originally planned and did not enter the archaeological site proper where, I think, the best views of the setting sun are. But that was okay as I really wanted to experiment with the Nikon DSLR camera I have. I really wanted to try to get photos of the rising moon.

Admittedly, I’m a novice with this and in some ways, miss the old 35 mm SLR cameras where there were not so many controls and knobs and I knew exactly what I wanted to do as far as adjusting focal length and shutter speeds. Having the “Bulb” (or B) option on my old Pentax and using a remote shutter cable, while exposing photos for as long or short as I wanted instead of presetting something was really handy. Perhaps there is some kind of similar option as trying to preset your shutter speed in manual mode is awkward for me.

I had my tripod with me, but was not prepared for the very windy conditions. It was unfortunately so windy that even with the tripod, the wind was hitting the camera and it was really difficult if not impossible to get any photos without some blur while using long exposure times.

Anyhow, I did get a few photos that were interesting enough to post here (but not many of the moon).

You can click on the images to see a larger version:

patrikos island with sunset colours in the sky behind and small boat in the sea

Patroklos Island used to be a “haven for pirates” but today, is a private island. In 2004, there was a bit of a scandal in Israeli politics with Prime Minister Sharon involved, as an Isreali businessman had plans to turn the island into an “exotic casino.” If you’re interested, it’s listed for sale even today.

The island is beautiful to view from the cape when the sun is setting, regardless of it’s past history and present ownership status as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Looking almost directly south from the area of the cape I was standing on – ships plying their way through the Aegean sea. I am not sure the name of the island in the background that you can see, but I’ve always had a romantic spot for ships on the seas, wondering where they are going and from where they’re coming, and what they might be carrying. The poem “Cargoes” by John Masefield always comes to mind:

Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.

Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Emeralds, amethysts,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rails, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

John Masefield

The Moon

Of all the photos I tried to take of the rising moon, only two were any good, and really, they are not very good at all. From Cape Sounion, you can’t actually view the moon rising directly over the horizon on the Aegean, but rather from behind mountains on the island of Makronisos (I think). I had attached the 70-300 zoom lens to the camera and had issues trying to remember how to set some things on the camera (more practice will help) while trying to rush while the wind blew. The photos don’t do the experience any justice though, of just how amazing and beautiful the site is. Of course, with the wind blowing, trying to get a good in focus shot was also a bit frustrating.

moon rising above makronisos

moon rising over makronisos from cape sounion

Temple of Poseidon

What’s a visit to Cape Sounion without photos of the Temple? I do have better photos taken two years ago when the sun was still shining, but here are a couple from last evening, the first taken before the sun had completely disappeared behind the horizon, and the other taken some time later after dark (I have no clue what the blue blob is in the last one, though):

temple of poseidon at sunset

temple of poseidon after dark

Maybe next year, I’ll have this camera figured out a bit better and will have much better photos to share! But instead of looking at photos, plan a trip yourself to this absolutely beautiful place and be sure to schedule it around the time of a full moon. At this time of year, Neal Young’s “Harvest Moon” always comes to mind.

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