Street Photography in Greece

As a follow up to my recent Images in Greece article, this piece features some examples of street photography done while in Greece. This style of photography by its very nature is a very personal thing. What appeals to one person may leave others scratching their heads. So if you’re wearing a hat…take it off and be prepared to scratch. Rather than simply show you some images with very little comment, I thought I would share some of the thoughts behind the photographs. Be forewarned that you will be getting a glimpse into a rather twisted mind.

My client business focuses on video work and industrial photography. Unlike many photographers I don’t do any weddings, family shots, or portrait work. Photographing others of my species is just not of any interest to me. As a result most of my street photography tends to be devoid of people. I like the feeling of quiet and solitude that this can bring to an image. Sometimes it is like capturing a surreal moment of what would be left behind if all of us suddenly disappeared from the planet.

(NOTE: click on images to enlarge them)

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6

I look for interesting leading lines like the centre paving stones in the following image. A good leading line brings viewers into the image and also makes it feel deeper. This is especially true when shooting with a wide angle lens.

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6

Sometimes I discover a pair of leading lines that can add drama from both sides of an image and significantly accentuate the feeling of depth. In situations like this I look for a unifying element to tie both leading lines together. In this case it is the alternating, coloured paving stones at the bottom of the image. I use perspective control software extensively when working on street photography images to try to achieve the exact look I want. To pre-empt the obvious question, I use DxO ViewPoint 2.

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

I will often shoot from unusual positions or down on one knee to change the viewing angle in my photos. Given sufficient time and appropriate clothing (and perhaps a small crane to help me get back up) I can sometimes be found on my belly lying in the street.

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/320, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/320, f/5.6

There are times when it can’t be avoided and on occasion other humans do get captured in my photos….grrrrr. To help support a leading line or to create one, I will often crop a building or some other element in the corner.

NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/800, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 6.7-13.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/800, f/5.6

I am drawn to strong colours like the red on the stool in the following image. I loved how the coloured floor tiles formed a leading line that also connected the red elements on both sides of the image creating some visual flow. The red watering can touching the partially hidden red element adds to that flow. You’ll also notice a small touch of red towards the top of the photo. This forms the third point of a color triangle that we often like to build into our compositions when possible.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/1000, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/1000, f/5.0

Strong colours can be found in a range of different places. In a display of artwork…

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/5.6

On the doors and trim of houses…

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/160, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/160, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/6.3

In whimsical street art…

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

…or on a promotional statue.

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/2000, f/2.5
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/2000, f/2.5

Unusual light and shadows get my attention in the evenings. Whether on menus…

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/100, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/100, f/5.6

On a gate leading to an upstairs apartment…

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/20, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/20, f/5.6

Or from a candle glowing in an ornate holder. As I mentioned earlier, I use perspective control software extensively when doing street photography, and I changed a distracting angle on the left hand edge of the candle holder in this image to give it better balance.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/30, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/30, f/5.0

Sometimes the lighting in a scene will compel me to try to take a hand-held image at a stupidly slow shutter speed…even when I should know better. For some reason I don’t mind the slight blur in this photo. Maybe that’s just an attempt to justify to myself that trying to take an image at 2/5 of a second hand-held was a good idea.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 4/10, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 4/10, f/5.0

Some colour against a monochrome background always grabs my attention.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/6, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/6, f/5.6

Two of the things I love about doing industrial photography is finding beauty in angles and symmetry in objects. This finds its way into my street photography by capturing perspectives of buildings.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/5000, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/5000, f/5.0

Or re-positioning myself, and framing an image so I can make contrasting colours and angles intersect and form an image more akin to an abstract painting than a photo of a wall outside of a home’s courtyard.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/25000, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/25000, f/5.6

Repeating patterns intrigue me…

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/5.6

Especially when a repeating pattern also includes angles.

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

Being a guitarist, albeit a very bad one, I couldn’t help but notice this railing and take a picture. Tight cropping and the strong contrast in the image helps to focus attention.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/50, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/50, f/5.6

Sometimes I simply take an image because I’m hungry.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/50, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/50, f/5.6

If I’m very lucky I can find repeating patterns accompanied by strong colours like this flag assortment.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/125, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/125, f/5.6

Or in a display of souvenir flip-flops.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/125, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/125, f/5.0

I love discovering some whimsy.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/6.3

Or the intrigue that comes from wondering what’s at the top of the stairs…

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/80, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/80, f/5.6

Or around the next corner.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/400, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/400, f/6.3

I love finding multiple flowing lines that radiate from the centre or side of an image…

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/200, f/6.3

Taking some images is so obvious to me that I wonder why everyone visiting the island of Mykonos doesn’t have the following one.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/20, f/5.0
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 3200, 1/20, f/5.0

Finding a Scottish bar on Santorini in Greece earned a smile and a photo, especially given the bright colours. Plus, a flag waving in the breeze.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/40, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/40, f/6.3

Some subjects have great depth of character, like this pair of doors with a broken mail slot.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/30, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/30, f/5.6

A locked wrought iron gate.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/1000, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/1000, f/5.6

Or a courtyard protected by railings and a gate.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

Other images help capture the history and culture of a country. Like this statue which is a reminder of the Ottoman Empire’s control of Greece for over 400 years.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/125, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/125, f/5.6

Or the fact that the town of Mykonos was subjected to so many pirate attacks over the centuries that its streets were purposely built very narrow and twisted, making defense of the town more effective. This is a photo of the narrowest street in Mykonos. If I had a time machine and dialed it back to 1974 I think I could make it up to the other end… just barely.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/640, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/640, f/5.6

Greece has a very strong connection to the Orthodox church.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/400, f/5.6

And its people are extremely proud of the country’s rich culture and history. Patriotic displays can be creative like this Greek flag window treatment.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/500, f/5.6

Scooters are so plentiful in Athens and on the islands that I swear that they must make them in both male and female versions, and that they propagate in the evenings when tourists are sleeping. More often than not they serve as delivery vehicles on the islands.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

Examples of pottery are widely found in doorways and on window sills and can make for some interesting photos. This is a bit of a technical deviation but have a good look at the following image. It was taken hand-held during an evening walk in Mykonos town at f/5.6, +0.3, 1/13th of a second, at ISO-1600. I used a Nikon 1 V2 and its much maligned 1” sensor, coupled with the 10-30mm non-PD zoom lens. Noise reduction was done using the PRIME function in DxO OpticsPro 9. Take a close look at the detail that is visible in the clamp fastened around the vase and in the fine weaving in the curtain.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/13, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 1600, 1/13, f/5.6

Visitors to Santorini from cruise ships can take a cable car up to the town of Fira or ride up the steep stone covered trails on the backs of donkeys. I used the edges of a window to create some added depth in the following photo, and positioned the dark shadow of the window to anchor the bottom left hand corner of the image, and add more overall contrast.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/2500, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 160, 10/2500, f/6.3

Some scenes reminded me of the economic turmoil that Greece has been experiencing.

NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/1000, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 32.0 mm f/1.2 @ ISO 160, 1/1000, f/5.6

And the challenges it still faces.

NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/250, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 10.0-30.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 @ ISO 160, 1/250, f/5.6

And, the final image that I want to share with you captures the essence of Greece. It is a country with a long and rich history…its citizens somehow remaining vibrant and growing in the face of difficult circumstances.

NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 30.0-110.0 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ ISO 400, 1/500, f/5.6

To view more of my street photography images taken in Greece, click on the following YouTube video:

If you would like details on the Nikon 1 camera gear used to shoot all of the pictures in this article, here is a summary:
Nikon 1 V2 body
Lenses:
1 Nikon 10mm f/2.8 (efov 27mm)
1 Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 (efov 50mm)
1 Nikon 32mm f/1.2 (efov 86mm)
1 Nikon 6.7-13 f/3.5-5.6 (efov 18-35mm)
1 Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 (efov 27-81mm)
1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 (efov 81-297mm)

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Article and all images Copyright 2014, Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, reproduction or duplication including electronic is allowed without written consent.

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