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