Exploring the Cyclades: Santorini

Exploring the Cyclades: The Ever Popular Santorini

This is the fourth and final post in my series about the Cyclades Islands of Greece. The previous episodes can be found here:

For the final leg of our island-hopping journey in the Aegean Sea, we landed in Santorini. I must confess that my ideas about this very popular destination didn’t exactly fill me with anticipation about visiting it. I expected it to be crowded, overpriced, and lacking the rustic charm that its close neighbors still retain, in some measure. I also expected it to be visually stunning.

Well, I must say that Santorini didn’t disappoint and that it was exactly as we imagined it would be: filled with large crowds, mostly organized in huge groups just disembarked from the two or three large cruise ships that stop every day in the harbor and wondering from a tacky souvenir shop to an overpriced taverna serving an overpriced imitation of a Greek salad or (shivers) pizza!

I will never be able to understand why some people subject themselves to this kind of elaborate torture in exchange for princely amounts of money.

Fortunately, Santorini was also everything we expected from a visual point of view, and more. Its famed sunsets are rightly famous. Say what you want about postcard shots, but there’s a reason why some locations are considered iconic, so I did my part in trying to capture some of this iconic beauty, even though that meant elbowing for a place to put down my tripod and getting the same shots that a million other people have already gotten.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Whenever I visit a very popular place, I always try to get the safe, postcard shot first. Once I have a few of those and I am confident that I can come home with a few good, if not particularly original, images, I always try to find alternatives.

Sometimes this means using a telephoto lens, even when the wide vista in from of me compels me to use a wide-angle lens.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Other times, it means looking in a different direction. As everybody’s glance is fixated towards the setting sun, turning in the opposite direction can reveal the silhouette of a neighboring island (Ios, in this case) as it starts fading away into the twilight.

Ios as seen from  Santorini, Greece

Ios as seen from Santorini, Greece

Finally, in a place where the colors are bright and vivid, shooting in black-and-white can paint a different picture of Greece, one that is all about the stark contrasts and the magical light of these places.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

You can find more of my black-and-white images of Greece in this article I wrote for The Creative Photographer: Greece In Black And White.

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