Malta street scenes / by Neil Alexander

Old man on a bench (Click to view larger)

In an attempt to improve my SEO, and to show off a little more of my work, I'm going to to try and move up to a bi-weekly posting schedule. No, that doesn't mean I'm going to start posting on transgender topics! So as part of my new schedule, here's another couple of images from my recent trip to Malta. They're both hand-held 5 frame HDR sequences processed in Photomatix and then in Nik's Silver Efex Pro. Not too much of a back story to the top image, other than I couldn't resist the guy's smile. However the image below was a little more interesting.... At midday on the Saluting Battery just below the Upper Barracca Gardens in Valetta they fire a salute from a series of cannons, originally as a time signal for the city of Valetta and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, I was late arriving and got to the area above the battery to discover the cannons had been removed and there was some restoration work going on. Instead there was a solitary cannon tucked away around behind the cafe and quite a substantial crowd. I managed to get a few frames of the soldiers preparing the cannon, and muscled myself into a position in line with the end of the barrel - I wanted to try and get a shot of the blast itself - it was an experiment ok! I pumped my ISO so I had a real fast shutter speed, steadied myself (hand-held) and waited. Now I knew it was going to be loud as I was probably 10 feet from the gun itself, and as they lit the fuse I began shooting.... Nothing prepared me for the shock, and I literally jumped out of my skin. Though I did manage to keep shooting, the sequence of images look like I must have been waving my camera around all over the place!! The bottom image is the best frame of the series of the blast itself but as you can see, it's hardly sharp. In fact it's so blurred I debated whether to post it or not. Moral of the story is twofold; arrive early and either carry ear defenders or bring a tripod and a cable release. On the plus side, the ringing in my ears did stop eventually...

Midday canon firing in Valetta, Malta (Click to view larger)

The canon blast