20 November, 2013

Moments In Time | Oia Santorini

As the stars dance above the enchanting town of Oia Santorini, the island paradise of the Aegean Sea…

When I first began traveling full time in 2009, I had a long list of destinations that I wanted to visit and photograph. Now, well over 40 countries later, that list has more than tripled in size. It seems like the more places I visit, the more I seem to discover the world around me and find new places to explore.

Over the years I’ve also learned that I rarely check a place off the list. Instead, I find myself returning to my favorite destinations again and again, year after year, enjoying the subtle bits of knowledge gained by becoming more comfortable with my surroundings. In a sense, it’s a way for me to focus on the quality of travel experiences rather than the quantity. Frequent visits also allow me to better learn the area as a photographer and take advantage of the unique weather conditions that different seasons have to offer.

Oia Santorini is the perfect example of this. Even after a wonderful 10 day visit full of amazing photography opportunities, I know that with everything I’ve learned about this beautiful island, my next visit will be even better.

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 24-70 f/2.8 (Shot at 30mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 100 at f/8
Base Shot: 3 Exposure Brackets at f/8
Stars: (150) 30 Second Exposures at f/4 ISO 250

Location: Shot in Oia Santorini, Greece – September 2013 and post-processed in Melbourne, Australia – November 2013

Hardware: 15” 2013 Macbook Pro Retina, Wacom Cintiq Companion Hybrid

Software: Lightroom 5, Photoshop CS6, Nik Color Efex Pro 4, Nik Sharpener Pro

Technique: The main scene (without the stars) is a manual blend of 3 exposure brackets. Slight detail enhancement was added using Nik Color Efex Pro 4 and additional sharpening was applied with Sharpener Pro. The color and saturation barely needed any adjustment at all.

During the course of the evening I shot over (200) 30 second exposures for star trails. In the end, 150 of them were blended together in Photoshop and used in the final composite. Santorini is a busy island so there were many jet trails to remove which, in truth, added a few extra hours of post-processing.

It’s also worth noting that since there was so much ambient light, I was able to shoot the stars at a very low ISO. As an effect, the trials came out very clean and no noise reduction was required.

Espresso: Thankfully, I brought along plenty of Lavazza Oro because Greeks aren’t well known for their coffee. 😉

Moments In Time || Oia Santorini

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.

  • Omkar Kokamthankar

    Hi Elia
    Firstly what an Image man..!! Hats off.!! 🙂 My question for u is how did u battle over exposure here? I meat with all those city lights how did u manage to get the stars in your image.

    • Greg Riegler

      If I’m reading his set up correctly, it appears he did a single base shot for the city at a bracketed 3 Shot exposure. Then blended in the sky.

    • Elia Locardi

      You can still photograph stars over city lights. You just don’t capture as many as you would with a completely dark sky.

  • Lennie Appelquist

    Very gorgeous image! I am inspired to travel much more and to break out my tripod for some longer exposures… Thanks!

  • Denis Grenier

    I love the new site Elia. You did an Awesome job!

    • Elia Locardi

      Thanks Denis! I appreciate that. 🙂

  • Denis Grenier

    Can you tell me the name of the child template please. I am looking to find one Child Template of Genesis that would give such a nice display… Thanks a lot

  • Baptiste Sibé

    Hi Elia! I’m still wandering how to set my WB to get those warm tones in the light while shadows still have this blue tonality!