I had been planning to climb Parnitha in my car for some time then. I had recently seen a photo of Athens in the night with all those small lights against the dark landscape and I was fascinated! No, don't get me wrong I could say a billion other excuses why I drove up the mountain in my car, but this was what really made me wanting to drive to the spot (well not exactly to the spot). I started Google Earth and zoomed to the location, opened some photos from around and found the one I had come across by accident. It was a spectacular view and I knew I had to go there, so I set up my GPS on my phone and started driving, having made the time and plans from the previous day.
Some days ago it had snowed but I was very sure that the snow was now gone and I could drive without problems up the mountain, this was confirmed by some drivers returning from the top when I reached the feet of the mountain. The route was beautiful, the road was clear and atmosphere clarity at that time very good, but it was still very early when I almost reached my GPS saved location. The road was not entirely empty and there was slight traffic every now and then, when I noticed some distant clouds in the horizon almost in the same height as mine, but I was not prepared for what I found in front of me when I took the last turn to the mountain's peak.
A large cloud of fog came out from nowhere and I was not able to see farther than two meters ahead. I quickly slowed down to almost immobility and turned on every light switch my car had except the cabin lights. I was terrified in the thought that as I could not see ahead myself, the other cars would also not be able to see and a collision could be caused.
Thankfully, a few meters later the foggy cloud was gone and I left to explore (and shoot) around (another cloud appeared later on, when I was taking photos around, but it was nothing fearful as I had already parked my car) . The last snow was melting and I took some photos of the teleferic carts that moved people to the casino on the top and the surroundings, that despite the cold, were breathtaking (and full of people).
It was a few hours later when I realized that the framing I had in my mind for the night photos was not what I hoped for. The photo I had seen was taken possibly from a casino's room or roof and I had no intention of trespassing around at night, trying to find another good spot. It was hopeless!! I decided to drive around and take some photos of a burnt hotel in the recent fires in Parnitha while I was thinking about this, but I knew I was not here for that.
I drove down the mountain searching and comparing in my mind all available spots for photographing, without any obstacle, the future lights of Athens in the dark. I had to drive up and down two or three times until I found a spot that almost met my expectations. And I was not disappointed, but it was still too early and too cold. I decided to stay in the car and turned on the heat occasionally to warm up my hands and feet before I set up my tools at a spot just ahead of me. My gosh it was really cold!!!
I knew that when I exit my car, my hands would be stiff very soon and my body would be very cold, so I planned ahead to make this little time worth and take some beautiful shots. I tested my frames and re-entered my car until blue hour started to make an entry. Clouds and fog had returned and I desperately tried to set up my tripod, making the best of my equipment and take as much different frames as I could, but giving weight to the frames I had planned before.
As someone who knows me would expect, I lost tracking of time and stayed out longer that I was supposed to, barely feeling my hands and feet when the time came to pack my things after there was no light in the sky and some drops of rain started to fall. It took me some time later in my car with the heater on to catch my breath and feel my feet and hands again so I could drive home, but if you ask me if I'd do it again, you should know the answer by now ;-) .