I love to photograph when I travel and explore new places or destinations. And of course I want to take some great photos. I’ve had my current camera for more than a year and it’s not always easy to learn all the amazing features that are in it. I practice as often as I can and not only when I’m on holiday in Greece. Often my composition in the image is perfect, but the colors in the picture are not always as expected. A lot of hours of practice and many photos later provide experiences, so here are my tips for beginners.
My best non-technical tips for beginners:
The light is alfa and the omega as the greeks says, and makes the difference between a good photo and the best photo. The image tends to get sharp shadows and shapes when you take it in the middle of the day, specially during the summer. The best light is available in the morning or in the afternoon, the “golden hour” is often the hour before the sunset.
But often when we travel, we do not have the luxury to be in place early or late in the day. I usually look for a shadow to stand in and shoot from that spot, it gives my photos a softer impression and bring some more colours in my picture.
Another tip is to shoot the image from several directions. For example, on a street, I shoot the picture in two different directions. Sometimes the difference is seen immediately in the camera or mobile phone and sometimes you see it when you export the picture to your computer.
I grew up in Stockholm, in the middle of the city. Landscapes views and nature were not around the corner. It was usually up to date on summer holidays when we went to Greece. The exception is my earliest childhood year when I lived with my grandparents in a small mountain village. As the years goes by I’m drawn to the mountains like a magnet and love the views of the those hilly landscapes…
In the region of Epirus, in the north west of Greece, you will find the 46 stone villages in a magnificent landscape, just one hour drive from the city Ioannina. Zagori means beyond the mountains, from the Slavic za “behind” and gore “mountain”. The area had its greatness during the Ottoman period and that is evident in the architecture of the houses, the unique bridges and monasteries. Kalderimi is the name of the cobblestone paved roads around the stone villages in Zagori. They are designed for foot and hoofed traffic and tie together many of the villages in the region. Zagoria or Zagori or Zagorochoria (villages of Zagori) is divided into three regions, western, eastern and central Zagori. Here is the attractions you do not want to miss.
West Zagori: The villages you must visit here is Megalo Papingo and Mikro Papingo, its the villages in the photos above. From Mikro Papingo you can start your hiking up to the mountain top of mountain Tymfi and reach the top Gamilla with an altitude of 2436m. The famous lake Drakolimni is also on the way up to the top and about 4,5 hours from Papingo. Between the two villages you find he natural swimming pools of Rogovo, recommend you to take a swim here during the summer. On your way to the village Aristi, stop at Aristi bridge and perhaps join the rafting groups for a pleasant rafting tour in the river of Voidomatis.
Central Zagori: The main attraction here is Vikos gorge, listed as the deepest gorge in the world by Guinness Book of Record. It begins between the villages of Monodendri and Koukouli and ends near the village Vikos. The village Monodendri has the most tourists as you have a spectacular view to Vikos gorge from this point. In the centre of the village you have Rizario Exhibition Culture Centre with nice handcraft and photography exhibitions. Central Zagori has the most famous stone bridges and monasteries in Zagori, don’t miss them if you are nearby. Villages like Dilofo, Kipoi are just some of the 20 villages in this section.
East Zagori: Consist of 16 villages which has the oldest villages in the area. This part of Zagori is for nature lovers, hikers, scouts and hunters. On your way up to the very east you find the villages Greveniti, Elatochori, Vouvousa and Perivoli among others. I have been to Vouvousa twice as its at least a few hours drive from Ioannina city. Here you can enjoy the national forrest of Pindos and the river Aoos which flows through the village.
Once upon a time the center of Minoan civilization which is the earliest known civilization in Europe. Today one of the most popular destinations for Scandinavians and many others.
And the reasons for spending your holiday in Crete are many, the beaches with the long bathing season and the sights with Greek ancient history are just a few. But what I’m most impressed of is the gastronomic culture. The Cretan cuisine is fairly considered as one of the healthiest and most delicious in the world.
If you ask the staff at your hotel what they are doing after the holiday season is over, they will probably tell you that they are taking care of the piece of land and the olive trees they own. Crete produces olive oil of course, wine and even their own beer. The name of the beer is Charma and is very tasty. And the best part is that you usually can visit the producers and taste and learn about products in place. We use to rent a car to make trips around the island to discover the producers or the restaurants with the authentic Cretan cuisine.
The last time we visit Crete we stayed in Rethymno and drove up to the little village Maroulas and there at the top of the hill we found a little nice family restaurant Fantastico with a fantastic view. The typical dishes we use to order as starters besides the Greek salad are: Dakos also known as Koukouvagia, consisting of a slice of soaked dried bread or barley rusk topped with chopped tomatoes and crumbled feta or mizithra cheese, and flavored with herbs such as dried oregano. Skaltsounia or Kaltsounia is pastries with kafkalithres or mironia, Greek wild greens that reminds of spinach. The locals here are very fond of drinking Raki or Tsikoudia the traditional wine of the island made on distilled grape peel. The Cretans love Raki so much that almost each family has its own unique recipe and can contain up to 37% alcohol. Raki is usually served after the meals with or without dessert.
The first time I heard about Ithaca I was probably 12 years old. My parents made an attempt to move back to Greece from Sweden and I had my first real challenge in Greek school. Homer’s epic book Odyssey was on the schedule in ancient Greek! We read the poem, a couple pages each lesson, translating it to modern Greek and then tried to understand Odysseus fantastic journey on his way to Ithaca.
So last year it was time to visit Ithaca. It’s actually a wonderful little island in the shadow of Cephalonia which is a much bigger island. If you want to explore the Greek nightlife this is not island for you! Ithaca is missing the big hotel complexes and keeps the life more still and authentic which is a blessing for some of us. Here are the things you do not want to miss when visiting the island.
The beaches The Ionian Islands have the coolest beaches according to my opinion and that’s because of the exiting landscapes on those islands. Some of the beaches can only be reached by boat. Afales beach is my favorite in Ithaca, the water out there is awesome. Don’t forget to ware something on your head, when you’re out there on the north point of the island. Gidaki beach is the other one. Here there is actually a bar and some pleasant sunbeds so you can enjoy the sea view with more comfort.
The villages Kioni, a beautiful village with a lovely port and with plenty of restaurants. The port is surrounded with boats and yachts of any size. Frikes on the north side is another of those little villages and also the port where the ferry’s from Lefkas arrive. Perachori has most fantastic view over both sides of the island, towards Cephalonia and the mainland. The village is located near to Vathy, the capital of Ithaca. The perfect place for photo shooting.
Vathy Vathy is the capital of the island and founded at 16th century and was the main port in Ithaca. The town was destroyed during a fire 1956 and has then been rebuilt in original style. The municipality organizes cultural festivals with theatrical plays, concerts, debates and art exhibits and give this island a special culture profile.
My parents met nearby this peaceful bay during the summer of 1963. My father was long, blonde and handsome young man and my mother short and with that Mediterranean look. They met through mutual friends and after a few weeks they got married and went abroad to make themselves a new future. The move abroad happens to many Greeks today as well, but back then it was of course a gigantic step to the big wide world at least for my mother and her first journey abroad..
Amvrakikos gulf is a quite place with 250 km coastline in the north west of Greece. According to naturelovers it has 20 lagoons hosts more than 160 species of birds, many species of fish, turtles (Caretta – Caretta) and dolphins. Here in Koronisia you can find the traditional hamlets of the local fishermen who still use the old fishing methods. Traditional fish taverns serve local fish such as sardines, prawns mullets, eels and cuttlefish.
A new experience! So far I have posted my photographs on Instagram to improve my photography. Now I take the next step and out of my comfort zone. Hope to learn more about blogging and be able to share stories about Greece, where I was born, with you!
As you might have seen I started a new hashtag at Instagram called #girslaroundgreece. I want to encourage and inspire women to create and promote their photos and stories. It’s even a way to encourage friends at Instagram to follow and use the hashtag to keep up with all the amazing work women create together.
There are so many hashtags but I hope this one will be filled with a lot of wonderful pictures. A hashtag can grow organically as time goes by, something to go to when you need inspiration or when you want to connect with women who share the same interest about Greece!
Thank you for reading my first blog post, hope you pop back soon!