End of Day, Santorini, Greece by Yvan Bedard

It was my second trip to Santorini, a very photogenic region of the Greek Islands. This was in early Spring just before the tourist season started, a great time for photography. I made several photos on the island, including some of the blue domes and of the famous sunsets at Oia. Nevertheless, I wanted to feel the soul of sailors when they are on the sea and see the sun setting, ready to enter the darkness of the night. Armed with my Nikon D800 and my Nikkor 80-400 zoom, I was hoping to encounter another sailboat to photograph the solitude of sailors on the sea. When we encountered this one after sunset, it was far away and I had to use the 400mm focal length of my zoom under such a low light. Being on a moving sailboat, a tripod would have been useless. To take my photos handheld, I cranked up the ISO to 800 to keep noise to an acceptable level and closed the diaphragm 1/3 to increase sharpness a bit without loosing too much light. The shutter speed was only 1/250 sec. Thanks to VR and a good long lens technique, I made a few photographs that were sharp enough for my large prints (typically 24"x 36"). I was very careful with my composition, giving emphasis to the empty space of the sky to accentuate the feeling of loneliness. This led me to include the small cloud in the sky and to lower the sea level while placing the sailboat far in a corner. The warm light, the low contrast between the sky and the sea, and the dark silhouette of the sailboat give a nice feeling to this photograph. No post-processing was needed besides slightly adjusting the white balance and minimal removing of noise. Santorini is a photographer’s paradise, I highly recommend this place where sunsets are amongst the nicest I’ve seen.

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