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Autumn forest meets winter peak
Another spectacular view on our way towards the Southern slopes of Mount Etna. The mulit-coloured forest with its Autumn outfit creates a stunning contrast with the already frozen and snow-covered main peak. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-26)
Survivors: Trees regaining their territory
A nice example abouot the power of forests to recover from natural disasters. The first spruces reclaim their territory after a devastating lava stream destroyed all life in its path years ago. The snow-covered Mount Etna in the background surrounded by dark clouds adds to the dramatic atmosphere of the scenery. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-25)
Grass patches on black ash and red rocks
On its Southern slopes, Mount Etna shows a different face. Extended fields of colourful lava and ash are slowly being reconquered by grass and other vegetation. The contrasting colours and the blue sky are a true feast for the eyes. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-27)
Fumes from hell
When hiking on Volcano, it is important to check the wind direction, so that one doesn't get smoked in the stinky and potentially toxic fumes constantly evaporating from the otherwise quiet crater. Watching the flow of smoke above the yellow sulphor field is a fascinating spectacle. (Volcano Island, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-17)
Colourful Etna
Another view of Mount Etna from the touristically more developped South side on a beautiful December Sunday. The peak covered with fresh snow contrasts with the red rocks and beige grass at lower heights. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-14)
Sulphoric volcano fumes
Living on a volcanic island with constant fumes flowing out of the crater always reminds you about the currently sleeping powers of nature. I guess the inhabitants of the small village on Volcano have got used to it. (Volcano Island, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-16)
View over Volcano village and Lipari
The views from the top of the main crater on Volcano island are breathtaking. Looking North, the neighboring island of Lipari seems just a short distance away. So relaxing and beautiful! (Volcano Island, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-18)
Volcano main crater and Lipari
The hike up the main crater on the island of Volcano ("nomen est omen") is quite steep. As such, carrying up all the photo gear is a bit painful, but still worth the effort. Just sitting at the crater and enjoying the panoramic view over the Aeolian islands = pure joy. (Volcano Island, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-15)
Just an illusion
On the way hiking up the steep path towards the Volcano main crater, one is under the impression to reach the top where the red soil meets the blue sky. In reality, the walk is still quite a bit longer, yet very rewarding. (Volcano Island, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-19)
Mount Etna snowfield
After taking the cable car, we embarked for a longer walk in a winter wonderland at 2.500m above sea level. With a strong wind, it was quite chilly, despite the strong sunshine from a dark blue sky. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-12)
Etna tricolore
Three different surface colours of the same mountain against the background of a dark blue sky. A spectacular contrast creating a number of geometric shapes. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-11)
Snow groomer craters
The traces of the snow groomer (also used to carry tourists) lead towards two side craters of Mount Etna. We decided to rather walk this loop, and to enjoy the sunshine and the amazing scenery. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-13)
Peak in the valley
Another view from the North side, approaching Mount Etna. Whilst the snow-covered peak is a clear sign of winter, the forest still carries its colourful autumn outfit. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-09)
Grass patches on black lava
The south side of Mount Etna looks quite different, with extended lava fields, slowly reconquered by vegetation. On the peak, snow has replaced the black and red summer colours. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-10)
Autumn meets winter
The advantage of visiting the North side of Mount Etna in the morning is perfect sunlight illuminating the peak, and less clouds than in the afternoon. Visiting in early December was perfect to combine the snow-covered peak with the colourful autoum leaves of the forest in lower elevations. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-08)
Rust meets water
Sometimes the most simple things surprise you with the most amazing photo opportunities. I found this striking contrast between rusted metal and water while waiting for a ferry. (Sicily, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-20)
Mount Etna peak in dark clouds
"Bad" weather frequently creates exceptional photo opportunities. Compared to a clear blue sky, dark clouds result in a far more dramatic scenery. I took this image of the Etna main peak from the North side from Taormina. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-01)
Mazzaro blue hour chair
An off-season evening scene on the otherwise very busy beach of Isola Bella. Not sure who brought this chair here, but I was quite happy to have it as a photo model. (Mazzaro, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-21)
Don't give up!
Nature never does... A spectacular view of the snow-covered Mount Etna; a dramatic contrast to the dark lava field and the blue sky. A few spruces show the success of reforestation by nature, regaining it's territory after the complete destruction of all life in the area. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-05)
Birch family
A surprising sight around 2.000m above sea level: a forest of birches. Apparently they enjoy the fertile soil on top of a very old lava field. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-07)
Natural reforestation
After the previous devastation caused by the lava stream, a few small spruces have started to regain their previous territory. No man-made CO2 reduction reforestation project, but rather a natural evolution process. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-06)
Empty terrace lounge
During low season, the otherwise very crowded attractions tend to be quite empty, even on days with beautiful winter weather. This terrace on top of the coffee shop next to the Taormina amphittheatre offers outstanding views over the Mediterrenean. (Taormina, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-03)
The boot
Urban exploration in Taormina: the old city with its narrow lanes has a lot of details to discover. Like this boot-shaped area where the paint came off an otherwise colourful staircase. Do we need a painter or a shoemaker to fix this? (Taormina, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-04)
Taormina coastline reflections
The glass panels surrounding the coffee shop within the Taormina amphittheatre added a nice special effect to an otherwise pretty ordinary photo. Even though the coastline alone admittedly is quite pretty. (Taormina, Italy, December 2012 - Image ID: 202212-IT-02)
New life evolving from the ashes
A very symbolic picture! After the devastating destruction caused by the lava stream, only a few dead trees remained. Many years late, grass and even a number of young spruces are growing on the fertile ash. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-24)
Lonely trunk in a field of lava
Whereas most other trees in this area completely vanished when the hot lava made its way downhill, this one tree somehow stood strong. New vegetation has started to reconquer the black field of sharp volcanic rocks. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-23)
Not a chance...
Concrete and steel were not strong enough. Only a few remains of a former hotel remain visible amidst the once powerful lava stream that destroyed everything in its path during a previous eruption. A powerful reminder about the forces of nature. (Mount Etna, Italy, December 2022 - Image ID: 202212-IT-22)