Thursday, June 26, 2014

Exploring Santorini

Blue Dome in Soft Light

Santorini is a stunningly beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. It's also relatively easy to visit. A handful of comfortably walkable towns are draped along the edges of dramatic ocean cliffs.

Santorini, or Thira as it's known in Greece, is a fragment of an ancient volcano. Sea views from steep "caldera" side of the island are breathtaking. The architecture in each of these towns is uniformly elegant.

The cliffside topology adds a vertical dimension to the touring experience. Turn to one side, and you'll be looking upward at structures; in the other direction, you'll be looking out over rooftops. Many of the famous view of Santorini incorporate the ability to look out over the roofs of churches and chapels.

a photo of a chapel with a blue dome santorini
Blue Dome in Soft Light - Santorini

The chapel pictured above is a well-known landmark in the lovely town of Oia. The chapel isn't large, but it would be challenging to shoot from this vantage point without being able to stand above it on the cliffside. 

The main pedestrian route through Oia runs right past the chapel. I stood on that pathway when I snapped this photo. Everyone with a camera or smart phone or a tablet stops here - just about in this very spot - and takes a photo.

So, why did I bother to take yet another photo of something that's photographed thousands of times a day? Why not? I was there. And I felt that I had my own interpretation to add to the heap.

This shot was taken on a cloudy morning and benefits from the softness of the light. On other days, direct sunlight yielded a higher-contrast look. I appreciate them equally.

I took great care to maximize sharpness, detail, color fidelity, and dynamic range with every shot. After all, I need to keep up with those ubiquitous tablets and smart phones! ;-)

Camera:    Nikon D800E
Lens:        Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S 

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2014 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Bourtzi Fortress at Dusk - Nafplio

Castle On The Water

My brief stop in Nafplio coincided with uncharacteristically rainy weather. The showers ended about an hour before sunset, but thick cloud cover remained.

I wanted this shot dearly. The enchanting island fortress of Bourtzi hovers so elegantly just above the calm waters. But the light from the gloomy sky was far from flattering.

My only hope was that the town would have the good sense to illuminate their lovely little Venetian-style castle. I set up my tripod, focused the camera and waited for dusk to fall.

a photo of the bourtzi fortress in nafplio greece
Bourtzi Fortress at Dusk, Nafplio

I was extremely fortunate. Floodlights emerged as the evening sky began to darken. Fog draped distant mountains and added to the atmosphere.

I love the mix of cool, blue dusk punctuated with highlights from warm, artificial sources. Daylight white balance captured the blue cast of the evening sky simultaneously with the orange glow of the mercury vapor lamps. 

The image required almost no post-processing, only sharpening and a dash of contrast. The atmospheric conditions and the magnificent mix of light sources are what make the photo stand out.

This is one of my very favorite photos of Greece. Thank you, Nafplio, for turning on the lights!

Camera:    Nikon D800E
Lens:        Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VRII

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2014 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved