12 March, 2014

The Heart of Santorini | Oia Greece

When people talk about the Greek Island of Santorini, they often say that it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. In my opinion, all of the positive things people say about this Aegean paradise are one hundred percent true. From the scenery, to the food and wine, to the wonderful attitudes of both the residents and visitors, Oia is simply spectacular from every angle.

Though there are dozens of beautiful vantage points all over town, this is probably one of the most popular and iconic views that can be captured of Oia. It’s also the main viewing area where thousands of people gather every single night for the chance to witness a famous Santorini sunset. It’s a crowded area to say the least and once the sun dips below the horizon, the entire town joyously erupts into cheers and applause.

This spot is beautiful to experience every day but most often the skies around Santorini remain a constant stark blue. If you’re lucky however, there are a few times during the season when you can capture the town of Oia under beautiful dramatic clouds. I spent 10 days patiently waiting for this opportunity and on my third to last day, that patience finally paid off. 🙂

Technical Mumbo Jumbo

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: 14-24 f/2.8 (Shot at 22mm)
Tripod: RRS TVC-33 / BH-55 Ballhead / RRS L-Plate
ISO: 100 at f/8
2 exposures: 6 Seconds and 13 Seconds

Location: Shot in Oia, Santorini – September 2013 and post-processed in Taipei, Taiwan – March 2014

Hardware: 15” 2013 Macbook Pro Retina, Wacom Intuos5 Small Tablet

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

Post-processing: A very straight forward blend of the 13 second exposure for the main scene and the 6 second exposure for the extreme highlights. The colors were naturally vibrant and beautiful so I only made small tweaks using a combination of adjustment layers and Nik Color Efex Pro. Sharpening was applied using a high pass filter.

Espresso: Unfortunately, I’m almost fresh out of Lavazza and I’m leaving for Shanghai tomorrow. I better stock up in Taipei before my flight!

The Heart of Santorini || Oia Greece

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.

  • Florian Cortese

    Very magical photo, Elia. What CEP filter/process did you use, if I may ask?

  • Robin-Angelo Fuso

    Very nice picture, which Nik Color Efex Pro’s did you applied ?

  • Ron

    Hey Elia, I was wondering for a while now. Are you still using Photomatix or are they the processed Lightroom versions from different exposures?

    • Elia Locardi

      Hey Ron, I’m in the process of updating the HDR Tutorial to reflect my latest techniques which rarely include Photomatix. Most of the time, I’m blending everything manually in Photoshop.

      • Ron

        Hi Elia, thanks for the reply! Looking forward to seeing the new tutorial and workflow. Have been doubting the extra value of Photomatix lately, especially since nowadays RAW files are extremely rich in data. I think Lightroom and Photoshop give it a more natural feeling and are powerful enough on their own. Again looking forward to the new tutorial.

  • Elia Locardi

    Hey Florian and Robin-Angelo, for this shot I applied a bit of “Pro Contrast” and “Detail Extractor.”

  • The_Pierre

    Great shot! I have a Nikon d90. I will be traveling to Santorini next month and would like to learn as much as I can to be able to get this shot. Any tips on settings i can use? Also, do you remember exactly where this spot was, i only have one night there and would love to find this spot