Weekly Photo Challenge – The Golden Hour

Swanage 2010

Theme of the week: The Golden Hour. The first and the last hour of the day.

Maybe it’s just my warped sense of humour but that sounds like a terrible title, but hey ho I’ll run with it lol! 😉

That final hour before the sun dips below the horizon is a magical one and never ceases to inspire a profound sense of wonder in me. The light and colours in the sky, and the way that it shrouds and highlights everything below it is truly spectacular. Like the famous painter Turner (who incidentally happens to be my absolute favourite painter) I am drawn to sea-scapes and sunsets in my photography, ever trying to capture the nuance of light and colour that he was so expert at observing in his own work. A fellow Londoner too, and like all Londoners you are never too far away from water.

I’ve always lived near water, no matter where in the world I have lived, whether coastal or by big rivers and lakes. I guess that’s why I loved Venice so much! Captured here at sunrise…

Sunrise in Venice

Early morning light has a different feel about it, a freshness that puts a spring in my step no matter how tired I am (I’m really not a morning person usually). I make an exception when I’m away on my travels as the world is only just waking up with the brave few who are around are usually making their way to work, or going out to get breakfast like in this early morning street scene in Florence…

Sunrise in Florence

The direction of the light at sunrise is of course opposite to that at sunset, and unless you are up regularly at those kind of times it’s a light that is often missed. The Alhambra Palace at this early hour was magical…

Alhambra Palace at sunrise

And then at sunset, again the fading orange light makes the ancient Moorish palace look like a flaming beacon on top of the mountain…
View of the Alhambra from the Albaicin

Then further north and west to the Atlantic coast as the sun is dimming, on the northern strip of the coast of Galicia in Á Coruña, the birthplace of my maternal Grandfather, a special place indeed…

View of the Atlantic, Coruña, Spain

Thank you all for taking this little trip with me and visiting some of my favourite places!

Have an awesome day!



36 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – The Golden Hour

  1. Oh wow! These are absolutely stunning Ish! It’s so beautiful there. Makes me wish I could just teleport over and visit. You’ve captured it so beautifully hon! I really won’t mind living there either. 😀 Thanks for sharing! *big hugs*

    1. Thank you Sophia! 😉

      You know I’m seriously going back to Venice next month, even if just for a few days. I absolutely fell in love with it last year even though I was really ill while there. I just need to go and get my fix!
      Big hugs back 😉

      1. Oh, you lucky girl! Please pack me in one of your suitcases! Or we could take Ark’s stone bed and you can say I’m a ‘mummie’..hahahahah

        When you get your fix, please give me one too! 😆

      2. LOL you’d be most welcome my lovely friend! Not a lot of give in a stone bed though, I wonder if it does teleportation too? 😉

        Hugs back… if I ever get there I will definitely bring you some Venice-love back! 😉

      1. Only the north of Italy… well, north of Rome. My dads family hails from Auronzo di Cadore; right up on the Austrian border. They actually founded the town in 1111.

      2. I’ve been checking out some Google images of the place, absolutely stunning. It has a very fascinating history by all accounts, contested territory for centuries. I also came across a document that you might find interesting in Italian dedicated to the town Auronzo and this particular person’s research into its genealogy, it was very interesting (I’m guessing translation software would help unless you have an Italian speaking friend):


        I hope you don’t mind me having a little nose, genealogy fascinates me. I think because my own heritage is so diverse. I’ll do a proper search one day.

      3. That is brilliant! Thank you

        I was just piecing through it quickly. Interesting to see he says it was possibly permanently inhabited as far back as 1,000 BCE. Utzi (the Cave Man) had pollen on his clothing that only comes from around the Tre Chimi (the huge peaks north up the valley) so it’s entirely possible it goes back as far as 5,000BCE. Cool, huh? We have a document (it’s brilliant) from 1111 which outlines the land owned in Villagrande (Auronzo is split into two villages, grande and picolla, which was settled by a different group of families). They were around before that date, but this title was (as far as I knew/know) the first document dividing up the land for legal purposes.

        Now, can you guess which suffix Zandegiacomo I am?

      4. It’s very cool indeed! Hey that means Utzi might actually be a distant relative? 🙂
        I think it’s amazing that you have such a document dating back to 1111. Do you know how far back the Zande family name goes back?
        It’s such a unique surname that from my knowledge of how language evolves and changes over time, I would say that anyone with a variation of that family name, from Zande to Van Zande, Van der Zande, Von Zande, Zandi is probably a distant relative. Such distinctive names are usually very specific to a particular geographical location. Did you know there is actually an African tribe called the Zande tribe? Look it up on the net.
        Fascinating stuff! 😉

      5. Goes back earlier than 1100’s, but there’s no records prior to that. None that I’m aware of, at least. They thought it all through pretty well. To keep the gene pool healthy in such a small town they enforced strict rules as to who could marry who. Only after a certain distance was achieved (genetically) between families was a new suffix appointed: so far there’s been 27, I think. We’re all related back to this Giacomo fellow (Zandegiacomo, Zande from James) but I have no idea who he was. I don’t think anyone knows.

        So, you didn’t hazard to guess: Which suffix do you think I am? Here’s the list the guy gave:

        ZANDEGIACOMO: Zandegiacomo Della Bella, Zandegiacomo Bellan, Zandegiacomo Bianco, Zandegiacomo Bonel, Zandegiacomo Caneva,
        Zandegiacomo Caprone, Zandegiacomo Cella, Zandegiacomo Copetìn, Zandegiacomo Crepe, Zandegiacomo D’Alessio, Zandegiacomo De Lugan,
        Zandegiacomo Della Morte, Zandegiacomo De Pasqual, Zandegiacomo De Tomasina, Zandegiacomo De Zorzi,Zandegiacomo del Nono, Zandegiacomo Fabbro, Zandegiacomo Folletto, Zandegiacomo Gilè, Zandegiacomo Maccarine, Zandegiacomo Marzer, Zandegiacomo Mazzon, Zandegiacomo Mansionario
        Zandegiacomo Mistrotione, Zandegiacomo Mistrotofolo, Zandegiacomo Nanon, Zandegiacomo Orsolina, Zandegiacomo Pause, Zandegiacomo Prussia, Zandegiacomo Ride, Zandegiacomo Risata, Zandegiacomo Riziò, Zandegiacomo Sampogna, Zandegiacomo Seidelucio, Zandegiacomo Soriziei, Zandegiacomo Totola.

        Yeah, I did know about the Zandes in Africa. It’s the name of a people, a language and a religion. They’re animists, which is pretty cool.

        The Van der Zande’s aren’t related as far as I know. The name just popped up in the Netherlands for some reason.

      6. That list is pretty extensive! Although if I had to hasten a guess…. Zandegiacomo Caneva? I say this because Caneva is just down the valley from Auronzo di Cadore on the map, and the first place that my eyes fell on. It’s a name that appears a lot in Venice too.

        Your family name can be broken down to Zan de Giacomo, so Zan of/from James/Jacob. I did a quick search and there are plenty of Zans in the world. Also, and you might find this amusing, I checked out variations of Van der Zande and came across one chap called Jeff Vande Zande who bears an uncanny resemblance to you I think, going by the couple of pics I’ve seen of you on your blog. Also I think I read in that link I sent you yesterday that offshoots of the family were found in Holland, with prefix Van der and Vande being dutch. Just a thought.

        The funny thing about language is that it doesn’t really change very much. You may get different contractions of words and names as time passes, but there are always many remnants that do survive, just due to lack of movement geographically, that is up until very recently. But you’re already pretty well versed with this kind of stuff anyway. Be it far from me to teach you to suck eggs! 😉
        I still think it’s pretty amazing that your family name has survived that long, and possibly before 1100 in such a pure form. Makes you wonder where or what Zan was, being that people’s names in days of yore would have alluded to something, an attribute or place of birth.

      7. Teach away, I like hearing about the linguistics of it all. So there are two mysteries, huh: who/what is Zan, and who was Giacomo?

        It is kinda’ cool to have such a strong bloodline, over a 1,000 years pure in my dad (he was 1st generation born in Aust). My mum is about as English as they come.

        Sorry, but your guess was a little off. We’re della morte; “from/of the dead.” As a kid I thought this was about the best name ever 🙂

      8. Ah never mind, I can’t always be right! 😉
        Della Morte, that’s cool! It would be interesting to know why that suffix was adopted, as in what happened to make that so significant.
        Of course! It’s just hit me Zan means tooth, comes from the Proto Indo-European root ‘donts’.
        I like that though, John ‘the tooth’ Zande 🙂 Even better if alludes to an animal tooth rather than a rotten tooth!
        So now to find the link with Giacomo/Jacob/James, obviously referring to St.James I would imagine. I’m making an educated guess that Giacomo is a place rather than a person per se… I’m going to take a look….

      9. Here’s another possible avenue of investigation for Giacomo, interesting how the document suggests that names ending in ‘o’ were of southern Italian origin, and there is a Saint Giacomo on the west coast not far from Naples. Remember also that much of Southern Italy was under Moorish and then Spanish rule for a number of centuries. There are extremely strong links with St. James in Spain, particularly in the north because of the Pilgrim’s route that leads to the tomb of St.James, which dates back to the 700s (although the route was originally established and built by the Romans).


      10. Well funny you should say that, I’m off to Venice in a month, so I might go and visit the Dolomites and Lake Misurina (I think that’s what it was called?), as it’s not too far away. Apparently the Renaissance painter Titian was from that neck of the woods too.

      11. Misurina is wonderful. The drive up from Auronzo is gorgeous. It’ been years since i was last back. When i was visiting regularly the main ski town was Cortina, leaving Auronzo to be its own very sleepy little secret spot. Apparently that has all changed 😦 If you go (depending on the season) walk up Mt. Agudo (or ski down it)… that’s part of the della morte family kitty.

      12. I can imagine that it is a fantastic journey up the valley. I’ve never been to any of the Italian lakes before, so it’ll be an experience. If I happen across your family mountain no doubt I shall have the urge to climb it. I would imagine in the middle of August it won’t have much snow on it.
        How cool is that though to have a piece of the mountain scape in your family heritage?

        I know I said I was done, but a thought did occur to me as I was out walking this afternoon, that there is an old German saying that goes something like: you are the tooth of your father, directly translated, the German word for tooth is Zahn. It means to be the spitting image of your father, or like your father. So I’m wondering if that is what your family name alludes to, Zan de Giacomo, tooth/son of Giacomo, or more broadly of the blood line of the Giacomo name. By all accounts the Giacomos were Florentines, hailing from further south perhaps?
        Interesting stuff. You’ve got me going now. If any other little gems pop into my tiny head I’ll let you know! 😉

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