Malta might be a solitary island in the middle of the Mediterranean, but there are some perks to that – and one of them is definitely being able to see a Sicilian volcano on a clear day… sometimes.
Malta’s terrain is quite extreme, with some highly elevated areas scattered around the archipelago. Some of these points, on certain days, even allow you to look 300km to the north of Malta and see Mt Etna in Sicily, in all her glory.
A few photographers have noticed this rare occurrence, and have figured out the best locations to snatch a unique snap of the famous – and active – volcano.
Daniel Cilia, a professional photographer, spoke to Lovin Malta about capturing these beautiful shots early Christmas morning.
“It was made – I insist that photos are made, not taken, when one does not just point and shoot – at 7.30am on Christmas Day,” he said. “I had been going to the same spot for a week after I had pinpointed the angle where I could bring the Merzuq Hill in Gozo in alignment with Etna.”
“On Friday 22nd December I managed to get a good shot, yet I was not too happy with it, so I kept on going until Christmas day when I got a very nice present,” he said. “Mt. Etna was very visible and fuming towards the west so it made a perfect composition with the Merzuq hill.”
Daniel recalls seeing other images of Mt. Etna online at the beginning of December, and started looking for the best locations to snap the Sicilian volcano.
“On the 7th December many photos of a snow-clad Etna were appearing online. On the 8th I saw the mountain yet did not manage to get a good shot of it in the morning. In the evening went to the so-called ‘Top of the World’, at Gharghur, and managed to shoot it before sunset with a couple in the foreground.”
Whether you choose Merzuq Hill or Top of the World, once you’ve found a location that is high enough to see 300km away, favourable weather conditions are essential.
“Low wind and high visibility, and the coldest of days,” says Daniel of what he considers the best circumstances. “The volcano is easier to see at dawn and before sunset, when the sunlight is low in the atmosphere.”
As photographers scour the island looking for the perfect location to to view Mt. Etna from Malta, Daniel is convinced that Merzuq Hill is “must be my favourite place.”
“Now I need to discover another one!” he says.