Santorini ~ A photographers paradise

001. Dusk is always a magical time in Santorini. The temperature barely drops off at night so alfresco dining is the way to do it.

Santorini is an Island of contrasts, a victim of natural disasters and a labyrinth of charm both old and new. Here is a collection of photographs from my 10 day visit to the island. All the pictures were shot on my Fuji X-Pro1 with either the 18mm, 35mm or 60mm Fuji lenses. The Fuji kit is small enough to take everywhere so that’s exactly what I did.

002. Greece has had a battering over the past few years and the fabric of the country is testament to that. Santorini, like most of the other islands are sheltered from the economic woes that blight the Euro zone. Tourism is the big provider here and as long as the sun shines the tourists will keep coming.

003.

004. Alongside the quaint and old is the new and fresh. This fresh, spotless landscape is the playground of rich, mainly western tourists.

005. Imerovigli is the home for the finest hotels and apartments on the island. It has the best sunsets too.

006. A small gate to a church in the beautiful town of Firostephani.

007. One of the many back streets just a block away from the immaculate resort hotels.

008. There is no shortage of properties for development on the island.

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Last year I was challenged to find a holiday for our family for this August. I did a bit of web surfing and found Santorini. It resonated with me because so many of our wedding couples went there on honeymoon and the few pictures that I saw in Google looked easy on the eye. Santorini ticks all the boxes for us. Julie and Francesca can lie by the pool reading while I write my next book. We can all walk along the cliffs and explore quaint villages in the morning and evening light plus we can enjoy wonderful dining experiences too. Most of all though, Santorini is a visual delight just asking to be photographed.

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013. The crumbling heritage of one generation becomes the restoration project of the next.

014. I love spotting faces in architecture. The castles of Tuscany each have a face too.

The tourists mostly see the main towns of Fira, Perissa, Kamari and Oia. I much preferred the smaller towns with real charm like Pyrgos and Megalochori.

015.

016. The ships and boats in the harbour of Fira dart about in a seemingly chaotic fashion.

017. Great graphics mark the entrance to the museum.

018. Umm brave choice of colour.

019.

020. The crisp modern architecture somehow compliments the traditional styles.

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022. I came across this couple from Manchester having a post wedding video shoot. I grabbed a couple of frames on my Fuji X-Pro1. Julie and I are now available to shoot destination weddings in 2013 and 2014. Our new website goes live in October 2012.

023.

024. Every way you look at the churches of Santorini there are pictures to be taken. I find that shooting architecture on prime lenses sharpens my composition skills.

025. Then at twilight the colour goes mad.

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028. This was the pool at our apartment. I went on Trip Advisor and chose the number 1 recommended place in Santorini and we were not disappointed. Anastasis Apartments service and attention to detail was simply superb. That's why they were voted number one hotel in the whole of Europe for service. I love retail and the customer experience so I just had to give it a go. All in the name of research.

029.

030. The tip of the island in a place called Oia. Crowds flock to Oia for the sunset but end up packed together trying to get a vantage point. Oia is overrated in my opinion. If you like trinket shops and card sellers it is fine but other towns on the island are far more beautiful.

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034. I'm not sure about my fascination with dereliction. When I see a property like this I feel compelled to explore it.

035. Most of the buildings you see here were completed following the disastrous 1956 earthquake. Most of the original buildings were built into the cliff face in a cave like fashion.

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038. Around every corner is a location for a portrait or fashion shoot. When the cruise ships are in there are parties of people being marched around the small streets of the tourist towns but they never get to see the derelict stuff like this.

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040. The island is dotted with abandoned windmills. This one is part of a hotel complex in Oia.

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047. We went to Santorini in the busiest week in August and enjoyed a relatively calm experience. The tourists from the ships never get to Imerrovigli where we were staying and the island hotel population is very well regulated. Apart from Oia everywhere we went was wonderfully quiet.

048. I wanted to rearrange the stones but I thought better of it. A good placement of three stones would make it for me.

049.

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051. I love the way the 18mm lens on the Fuji X-Pro1 pulls in foregrounds. I used a polariser for nearly all the shots in this set.

052. This church was on the start of my walk from Oia to Firostephani. I couldn't persuade Julie or Francesca to accompany me and I soon discovered why. It was more of a hike and took a couple of hours in the searing afternoon sun. A great experience though and one I would recommend at the end of the day.

053. A toll of pines aloft the mount.

054. This was as close to Kamari as we got and you can see why. There are literally thousands of beach parasols on the black sandy beach. This is the view from the walk up to the ruins of ancient Thira.

055. There is a lot of Annabel blue paint in Santorini.

056.

057. The 'Tunnel Of Love' Santorini is the perfect honeymoon destination.

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059.

060. A universal language or just to warn the crazy English?

061.

062. It pays to climb in Santorini. Sometimes the best vantage points for pictures are on precarious ridges or walls.

063. There is something magical about the proportion and scale in the islands architecture. It's a beautiful random that just looks right. I wish new homes builders in the UK were just a bit more fluid with the design of their boxes. I feel robbed of a beautiful housing heritage that ended in the 1920s.

064. Green paint is rare on Santorini.

065.

066. The Caldera is the at the heart of the island. The steep escarpments plunge 350m to the sea.

067. Infinity pools are great.

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072. Oia in the morning sun before the crowds have their breakfast.

073. A cave existence is a pretty cool idea for the hot summers in Santorini.

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080. A pleasant alternative to tarmac.

081.

082. Fabulous plaster work in the atrium of the Catholic Cathedral.

083.

084. The end of another day. Taken just before we went out for dinner at Mamma Thera restaurant in Firostephani.

085.

086. The Stairway to the street above.

087. I love the little bird.

088.

089. These are the bits of real Santorini that you won't find in the tourist brochures. The grapes on this gate are little raisins now.

090. I'm not a 'street' photographer but I like having a go from time to time.

091. The Santorini landscape is arid in August. The last rain was way back in March.

092. An old café on the cliff would make a fabulous shoot venue. It's the sort of place I'd convert into a photographic studio if I were to live on Santorini. There is a big market with destination weddings on the island.

093. We hired a car for three of our days on the island to get out and about beyond the bus routes. There are plenty of caves to explore in the landscape around the villages.

094. I had a sneak around this old Lido with my camera.

095. The café/ bar at the Lido.

096. There are still unopened bottles of Mythos, the local beer left around the place.

097. The reality of the infrastructure on Santorini means you occasionally have to work harder to get clean images. None of these pictures have been near Photoshop. They have all been tweaked in Lightroom.

098.

099. Santorini favours the minimalist photographer too.

100. From the small village of Emporio I went for a walk in the countryside to see more of the rural way of life and to go picture hunting.

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102. The 60mm macro for the Fuji is a fabulous landscape lens.

103. The local farmer here has a collection of beach parasol hats in his field and a life ring for good measure.

104. The donkey has been the preferred island transport for thousands of years.

105. The donkey replacement is made by Honda. The island is overrun with scooters.

106. This dog hitched a ride by propping himself up on the back of his master. A grab shot taken through the side window of my hire car.

106. Wine production has always been big business on the island. This old factory is now abandoned.

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109. The cliffs on the South coast are quite dramatic.

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111. The black sand beach under the white cliffs.

112. A big thing is made of the sunset in Santorini and it is a magical experience. We had ten of them in the ten days we were there.

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There you have a few of my holiday snaps without the holiday snaps if that makes sense. My next job is to add the family pictures to this set and make an iPhoto book of the holiday.

I can throughly recommend Santorini to any photographer wanting a holiday in the sun in Europe.  Be warned though, Santorini is a bit pricey. Everything is a bit more expensive than in the UK. A bottle of beer costs from €3 – €5 depending upon the quality of the view from the bar or restaurant you are in.

Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro1 with 60mm f/2.4, 35mm f/1.4, and 18mm f/2

Flights direct from Gatwick with Ezyjet

Our accomodation: Anastasis Apartments in Imerovigli – Simply superb.

Please feel free to comment below.

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About Damien

Damien Lovegrove learned his trade as a cameraman and lighting director during 14 years at the BBC, working on programmes such as the Clothes Show, Top of the Pops and Casualty. Fifteen years on, Damien has become one of the foremost trainers of photography and entrepreneurial business strategies in our industry. A published writer and regular columnist, Damien has travelled the globe sharing his knowledge and expertise. “Photography fascinates me” declares Damien. "Much of my photography is inspired by a burning enthusiasm within me” explains Damien. “Picking up a camera gives me such a rush that I’m instantly driven to create pictures.”

29 thoughts on “Santorini ~ A photographers paradise

  1. I’m glad to see those photos are going into a photo book. I like to see what others capture on holiday. I would love to go there some day. I saw a few photos on Scott Kelby’s blog.
    I’m sure the smaller camera must have felt good as well. Keep up the work!

  2. Really lovely set of photos of what is clearly a very beautiful and, as you say, photogenic place. Thank you for sharing. I must get myself a more portable camera for exactly these reasons!

  3. Thanks for the great images of Santorini which are timely for our visit next week. Can’t wait now I’ve seen what’s on offer and the fantastic variation across the island. We visited the island two years ago on four hour excursion from cruise ship and just had to revisit so looking forward to finding the run down bistro’s buildings etc
    Excellent stuff as always on ProPhotoNut – keep up the great work

  4. Oh Damien, those are so beautiful! Amazing place and amazing photographs. I always wanted to go there, now I want to go even more if that’s possible at all:)) Thanks for sharing those. Beautiful!

  5. Love the images!. Are you shooting raw or jpg? If raw what are you using to process them? Your exposures are so good, thanks for sharing.

  6. I love the fact you did a little urbex’in whilst there!
    Pic 110 is screaming out for a model and a quadra :)

  7. ich war in den 80.ern da :eine sehr schöne fotoinsel,aber nichts für den urlaub… !
    -die fährfahrt in den frühen abendstunden kurz vor der ankunft : eine traumhafte meerlandschaft mit unwirklich wirkenden vulkanformationen,wie in einem fantasyfilm…-werde ich nie vergessen.

  8. Beautiful. The island as well as your pictures. Simply beautiful. Imagine a bride walking down the stairs (or up the stairs, with a long veil flying behind her) in No. 55. Imagine Katy in No. 8. Let us shoot something there! See you in Cologne!

  9. Thanks Radmila,

    Santorini is a magical place to shoot but it’s not cheap to stay there. The next time we will shoot maybe in Munich at your new studio perhaps :)

    Fondest regards,

    Damien.

  10. Hi Brian,

    I’m using RAW but I nail the exposure at the time of shooting. With an electronic viewfinder it is easy to asses the exposure exactly prior to pressing the button. When shooting in aperture priority you can see the effect of the exposure compensation live and you get exactly what you see when you take the picture. Even in bright sunlight the viewfinder is spot on for assing the picture because you can zoom in to 100% and scoot around the image checking highlight and shadow details. With an SLR I have to use a Hoodman Loupe to do the same job.

    Kind regards, Damien.

  11. Hi Ben,

    A small camera in a beautiful place makes a perfect holiday combo for me. Thanks for your compliments on my pictures.

    Best regards,

    Damien.

  12. Amazing shots Damien, and great to hear that you stayed at the same place as we will be at the end of May next year. I had Anastasis’ website bookmarked 4 years ago and it’s only now that I’m in a position to be able to go there financially, literally cannot wait!

  13. Hi Chris,

    “Take half the clothes and double the money” was the advice I was given. Seriously though you will be visually inspired, creatively reinvigorated and you will love every minute.

    Have fun :)

    Damien.

  14. amazing. spot…………………………….i will visit soon with my girlfriend…………………………..

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