Make your own “Google” search story! I tried my hand at mine :-)

I am sure you have watched and enjoyed the Google viral video about “Parisian Love“. Now, Google and youtube offer you an ultra easy-to-use online tool to help you create your own “Google search” videos in a few minutes!

All you have to do is make up your own story as a sequence of  “Google searches” and then define what kind of results you want (typical search, maps, images etc.). You can preview the short clip, then select the music and voila! Of course it aims at promoting Google capabilities more than you, but hey! it’s fun!

As a Greek photographer I have made my own 30″ Google Search video to promote my Greece photos! What do you think? 🙂

A feast of the eyes, preserved – Stories behind photos #10

Santorini photo

Fira, Santorini - Full moon - Yannis Larios Photography

We had just completed our magnificent dinner at the village of Oia (Santorini) with my wife, Nancy. We had selected a cozy restaurant overlooking Oia and we enjoyed the perfect temperature for some great dishes on a wide balcony! It was a warm early-June evening, so tourists where long gone to their cruise ships, letting us enjoy the real-atmosphere of the island.

After we had our last sips of famous Santorini wines, we decided that it was time to head back to our base in Fira. We set back on foot. But then surprise had us!

While we were walking back, we suddenly experienced this rare moment: a full moon just entering the scene, just behind the island, overlooking Fira! It was so great that all bypassers stood there in awe, looking!

We were indeed mesmerised! I had my wines, so a tripod was really necessary and not only due to reasons of low-light. It was one of the moments that you always keep in mind as a perfect justice on why you should always carry your heavy equipment with you!

I set up tripod, adjusted my camera settings, and shot two consecutives frames: one metering for the moon and one metering for the very low light of Fira ahead, that I later combined in a single frame.

This was destined to be one of my most glorious Santorini photos. Was it the dinner, the Santorini Vinsanto wine? Was it the atmosphere of Oia, or the equipment ready at hand? Was it all? I don’t care! For the result, pleased me immensely.

I had kept this feast of the eyes for the years to come! And this was the crown to another great day in Santorini.

Travel Photography: featured in Digital Photographer!

 And then, out of the blue, the leading UK Digital Photographer magazine contacted me and asked to showcase some of my travel photos and a brief interview, for its “Travel Photography feature” ! Needless to say, I was enthusiastic about this!

A photo from Venice, a photo from Santorini and one from Burano were selected as distinctive of my photography work.

Click here to read an excerpt (pdf file, 520k)

Kaminia Harbor, Hydra – Stories behind photos #4

Kaminia harbor - Yannis Larios Photography

Click here for the photo, found at my Hydra island (Greece) photos portfolio.

I had hoped that the photography magazines that I am subscribing to, would enrich my photography knowledge beyond the aperture and shutter techniques and beyond Photoshop post-processing. And I am glad they do!

You see, I am always seeking those articles which do not just stand at the brink of my camera’s manual or at the edge of Photoshop’s menus. Articles about learning how to chase light certainly do deserve my attention.  And when I was in Hydra island, Greece a couple of years ago, it happened that I was reading one of these, on how to anticipate light when the clouds clear, usually at the afternoons.

We had planned to stay in Hydra island for only a couple of days. So each day was precious. However, an afternoon’s rain and a grey dull sky prevented us from walking leisurely at the island’s perfectly preserved alleys. For the rest of my company it was time for an afternoon rest. For me it was a good moment to test my favorite magazine’s credibility…

I had already planned where to go. The small Kaminia harbor further away did look perfect when previsualised. I took a boat-taxi to drive me to other side of the island under heavy rain. Tourists and locals had already made their choice to empty my photographic scenics. Everything was working according to the article’s words: rain, dull grey sky, afternoon, people inside their homes… The stage was set. We had to wait for the actor now: the sun rays.

The boat-taxi driver that left me at the small harbour, asked me where I would stand under the rain, being there alone. And also, what was that thing that I mysteriously sought after… I could not answer “just the light” ’cause I would add another one to this large group of people that believe that I have pushed my photography passion a step too far. So I just answered “I am searching for my friend’s summer house“… and went on to find my spot.

I did a quick walk around the harbour…. The rain was becoming lighter . Time was passing by. The clouds started to change. The act was on. I sheltered a bit to wait for the skies to open. Opened the tripod legs and selected a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle to fit the whole picture. I would have a bit of distortion but didn’t care. I still regret forgetting to change the ISO setting back to 100. But I guess that’s why I am called a hobbyist…..

Suddenly, as the sun was setting and as if a recipe was being followed religiously, the clouds started to break apart. The first glimpses of sun light would come over the clouds. The rays started colouring the place. I was there in advance, a bit wet but at a good spot. I had the priviledge to see the full act of the sun.. and to capture it.

Three shots, admittedly not with the best settings back then in 2005. But at least I was satisfied… Not only for depicting Kaminia harbour at Hydra island as I wanted… but also because the magazines subscriptions are actually well-worth it!

Santorini Wedding couple – Stories behind photos #3

Newly weds 

These Newly Weds can also be found at my website at a larger size, by clicking here.

This specific photo has admittedly created a lot of misunderstandings in my Santorini photos portfolio! 

You see, Santorini is a great wedding destination. Thousands of marriages are carried out every year at the hundreds of its small churches and chappels. Specialised wedding services provide everything but the bride (…. or the groom accordingly!) and help people experience what is probably a wedding at the most exquisite place!

So…. how could I possibly explain that this shot is not a staged one, but rather a spontaneous glimpse captured through my lens?  How could I persuade all those good people that ask me to cover their wedding in Santorini that I am not a staged-photo wedding photographer, but rather a hunter of real moments?

Exhausted from another full day of walk around the cliffs of Firostefani, we rushed with my wife for a sip of coffee and some final relaxing views before our flight back to Athens. While at the cafe, we saw that just-married couple arriving having some of its shots taken by a pro photographer.

Hey! We see thousands of them every year…..“, mumbled the cafe-owner, a typical middle-aged rogue greek villager with the moustache and the belly. “It’s just another couple! No big deal!“… he said making good efforts to de-mystify the moment. 

They were standing at the terrace just below us. A single staged photo here… Another staged photo there…. Another fixed setting after that… Sit-down. Stand-up. Smile. Now hug.

Nice hour…“, I thought “and a truly beautiful couple. Pity about the stiff positions!“. Following the strict commandments of their photographer, the couple moved endlessly around the terrace, sitting… standing…. smiling, yet not sure whether being themselves. After almost a ten-minute shoot, the photographer left. The light was even better now. And the couple was relaxed…

Well, I was not! You see I had the perfect spot. Higher above them at the cafe, priviledged to examine their now more natural moves. The “pro’s” work was over…. But now it was our own time! The couple and me in co-ordination… They strolled slowly across the terrace…. My fingers were already fumbling my camera in the bag. I was already wishing for their next steps… I was sending thoughts on where I wished they would stand… They followed!

The lady left the flower-bouquet resting on the wall. The couple stood side-by-side, hands held, admiring the magnificent view. The light was spot on. She leaned on him, giving me the signal… Stood-up, grabbed the camera, two shots, 5 seconds in total.

The rest of the story was typical: The cafe-owner shaking his head about this fool-enthusiast photographer who gets charmed by nonsense. The pro leaving the spot with a bag full of staged shots. The couple admiring the view and enjoying their new life. And myself with a precious moment captured…

Now how on-earth to explain all that, to these good people asking for wedding shots, that in wedding photography I prefer to capture real moments….

[edit: After quite some demand from couples, from Greece and abroad, I am now among the Greek Wedding Photographers 🙂 ]

 

Oia, Santorini – Stories behind photos #1

Santorini

A photo of Oia, Santorini at dusk.

Oia’s sunsets are nowadays a tourist attraction, gathering thousands of tourists every evening. I ascended a high-vista point where I could have a good view, early in advance and before the sun set.

Thousands of tourists were around me. All with their cameras, P&S, DSLRs, long “L” lenses…. whatever, you name it!…. They were shooting ferociously at the sunset…. Bursts of photos, thousands of merciless clicks towards the sun…

No point! The high contrast was killing their scene.

I could see them…. Instead of enjoying the moment, they were absorbed by their camera LCDs, mumbling dissappointed, and saying things about the “damn camera” that could not capture the sunset.

When the sun set, they all left… like they where vaporised! I was left there alone, with another enthusiast photographer. A total stranger to me….

Both of us with our humble amateur-ish cameras. Mine a Canon 350D. Himself with a Nikon D40. Both of us on tripods. Both of us with our ND grad filters. And watching there…Alone! In silence…

The moment was delightful! We didn’t speak to each other… But we looked in understanding, just shaking our heads…. “how foolish are they! To travel so many thousand kilometers to come here, to pick the vista point, and to leave like flocks at the most precious moment?

Two shots was all I needed. Alone. In silence…

Thank you Photography, for letting me chase the moment.

I failed miserably……

A couple of posts below, I thought I should be entering the ECB Photo Awards which had as a theme “Greece 2007”

Yesterday, one of the -probably- worst signed letters ever came by post: I was informed, in less than 30 days after my submission, that I had failed in being shortlisted 😦
Pity! But…. not for not being in the 10 nominees (this would be difficult after all!).
Pity because the competition was open to “young people” up until the age of 35. This was my last chance of registering officially as “young”!
My submitted photos (that failed!) are listed below. Click for larger versions and post any of your comments, in my photo website by clicking here!