Santorini, Greece

Photos from Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece ranks as the number one island to visit in Greece, and is an absolute dream for photographers. From the stunning sunsets, to the unique architecture, Santorini offers just about every photographic challenge you’d like to tackle.

On the island for one week, I took only my Nikon D7000, Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 DX, Hoya Pro1D Circular Polarizer, Walimex Pro 8mm Fisheye, GorillaPod, and Lowepro SlingShot 202, to travel light, but still have the ability to grab those wide and super wide angles I love. As always, the workhorse 17-55mm rarely came off the camera, but this was one of the first times that I’ve worked with a circular polarizer. Convinced by Gordon Laing’s article concerning the reduction of haze and reflections using a CPL, I knew this would be the perfect time to take the plunge, as this was exactly the type of material I was going to be shooting.

Many of these shots were captured within one day, and I only returned to a few places at different times of the day to grab the best possible light. For transportation, I rented a 4 wheeled quad, which conveniently came equipped with a top case that was large enough to accomodate my SLingShot bag. From a geographic viewpoint, I found Fira and areas to the north to have the best locations for some incredible shots. That’s not to say that the south side is any less beautiful, but I found more opportunities and interesting outtakes primarily in Fira, Fira Stefani, and Oia.

With that said, be sure not to miss both the black and red beaches. The black beach is located in Kamari, and is extremely easy to get to. For a great overview not only of the black beach, but the surrounding area, take the quad ride up the side of the hill and visit the ancient city of Thira. Inhabited from the 9th century BC to the 8th century, there are a number of interesting ruins, but the real star here is the view. As the city was built upon a rocky outcropping, providing a strategic advantage, namely in the way of incredible views.

Out on a RockHeading back down to the black beach, for a nominal fee (7 EU) grab a water taxi that shuttles you from the black beach to the red beach. A beautiful ride around a few points, and you’ve arrived at the red beach. One of the most unique beaches I’ve ever seen, gigantic slabs of red and black volcanic rock form a natural barrier behind sunbathers and swimmers. As I though a shot from the beach might not capture what was really going on, I spotted a small trail leading up to a natural ledge that overlooked the entire bay, and decided to go for it. Now, I’m by no means a rock climber, and the terrain didn’t call for a vertical assent, but still a bit unnerving altogether.

However, when it comes to those “You know, that classic shot from Santorini,” it’s all about Fira and Oia (pronounced EE-uh). If you’re looking for that one blue dome with the bells next to it with the water in the background, don’t waste your time. There is no one dome. There are literally hundreds of them. Per square kimometer, I’m convinced that Santorini, has the highest density of chapels and churches in the world, save perhaps for Rome. If you’re after that shot, you best bet is to head up to Oia on the very north shore of the island. Not only is the village itself a photographic treasure, but the sunsets are the best on the island, as they offer a 270 degree view.

As the main city in town, Fira is generally packed with tourists that arrive via donkey or cable car from one of the main cruise ships that arrive daily. Generally while on vacation I avoid these areas, however they’re always lined with interesting wares for sale, and people watching/shoot while they’re on holiday can sometimes lead to some very fun moments, or at least a fun chat, particularly if your subjects hail from the same country you do.

A quick thank you to the wonderful hosts at Kafieris Blue Apartments, as they were more than helpful, provided great, affordable service, and I couldn’t have been happier. If you’re heading to Santorini, be sure to consider them first. The rooms were clean, spacious, and each unit has it’s own balcony. A great place to overlook the caldera with a coffee, or a perfect cocktail and sunset.

View the Santorini, Greece collection here.

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