Month: January 2018

Historical Relaxation: 2 Stops In Greece Besides Athens

Historical Relaxation: 2 Stops In Greece Besides Athens

From the blindingly beautiful beaches of Santorini to the wonders of the Acropolis in Athens, there’s no shortage of Greek travel destinations worth your while. Greece is the perfect choice if you wish to marry leisure with learning, hot destinations with history.  And while you can easily spend all of your time exploring one-stop cities like Athens, some of the country’s most worthwhile destinations will take you off of the typical tour.


Just under 70 miles from Athens, Corinth has been an epicenter of commerce, architecture, and culture since the time of the Ancients. Situated on a temped gulf, Corinth boasts swimming spots with views fit for the gods. Historically, this town was a bustling port for sailors making their way around the mainland. The isthmus and the situation of Corinth in between two different gulfs made it defendable both on land and on sea, with the Corinthians controlling both avenues. Because of the importance in ancient times, Corinth is now home to some of the most incredible ruins accessible to visitors. The archaeological site of Ancient Corinth boasts a museum full of artifacts from Corinth and the surrounding areas, the Temple of Apollo and Acrocorinth, along with remnants of an ancient road and market center similar to the Agora of Athens.

When on a time crunch, a hike up the Acrocorinth will be well worth the steep trek up to the top. During the assent to the apex of the acropolis, you get the opportunity to see firsthand how the site had been occupied from ancient Greek times all the way up to the early nineteenth century. Fortress walls that date to the Byzantine Empire can be followed around the site, offering an incredible hands-on approach to the history and culture that shaped modern Greece. If you’re resilient enough to climb to the very top, you’ll be rewarded with access to the Temple of Aphrodite. Although in ruins now and only the ground plan survives, the views you get of the entire Corinthian plain is unparalleled. On a clear day, some say you can see to Athens. The panoramic views are sure to be the highlight of your Corinthian excursion. Just be sure to pack plenty of water and sunscreen.


When looking for an island feel that only Greece can provide, but still wanting to explore large parts of the country, Crete is the perfect compromise. Accessible by a short flight or, more commonly, an overnight ferry ride, the entire island can be circumnavigated in a week time. I suggest starting off at Crete’s largest city- Heraklion. Take time to visit the archaeology museum as well as meander through narrow paved streets and fountain dotted squares. Charming outdoor eateries overlook the harbor spotted with sailboats, producing a picturesque night of lights, wine, and authentic Greek food. Just three miles from Heraklion is the famed site of Knossos, a Minoan palace that dates to the 15th century BC. Thanks to excavation and restoration efforts in the late 1800s, the Palace of Knossos is a great place to spend the day wandering around and seeing how the ruins would have been rendered in ancient times. With restored buildings, staircases, and floors, the palace succeeds at capturing the charm and intrigue of the Minoans. Moving around the island, several more palace sites are worth the educational visit such as Phaistos and Malia.

One of the great things about Greece is the seamless coupling of historical sites and total relaxation. Crete boasts crystal waters surrounded by mountains and monuments. Just a simple drive from one town to the next promises spectacular views of plains and ruins and farms and villages; the warm weather and fresh diet inspire you to take more time to look and experience rather than rush from one spot to the next; the people are welcoming and love to talk about their own history and heritage and pointing out what makes their corner of the world an unforgettable stop. Corinth and Crete are two popular destinations, but seem to get skipped over as travelers opt for Athens or Santorini. When looking to immerse yourself in culture while also kicking off your sandals and feeling the ancient sands, they are a must see for your next Mediterranean excursion.

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Inspiration Taken From Visiting Rome

Inspiration Taken From Visiting Rome

Taking pictures in Rome, one of the world most famous ancient cities is an honor.

I spent days wandering around photographing everything I saw. Here are some of my thoughts for those of you who might be visiting this amazing city in the future.

Walk. And walk some more. And then, when you’re tired and want to call it a day, walk even more. Being one of the greatest cities in the world, there is over 2,500 years of history and experience packed along every cobblestone street and inch of the Tiber River bank waiting to be uncovered. Walking from the Colosseum to the Pantheon will undoubtedly take you a while; however, in doing so, you may pass by a partially collapsed column, a sunken forum, shops selling handmade leather journals, and architecture that looks like it was taken from your imagination. With so much to do in Rome in terms of culture and sightseeing, following any specific tour or guide book will only enable you to see portions, pre-selected. Walking gives you the freedom to change your course and travel down a few side roads, see the quiet side of Rome.

Rome is a city proud of its heritage and ancient civilization. They hold their heads a little higher, stand a little straighter, when you talk with them about their long-gone ancestors. Allow them to. Ask them their favorite spot in the city. Ask them why. While (like any other city dwellers) some may not be inclined to talk with you about the splendor of their city, some certainly might. In my experience, the shop owner whom I asked the best way to get to the Capitoline Hill was my best connection made. She gave me tips on how to get there, places to be sure to stop and take a deep breath at, cats to notice at the Torre Argentina, and a cafe to go to when I got hungry.

There is something about Rome that does in fact seem eternal. The buildings of Julius Caesar next to a concrete paved road; Aurelian Walls that shade houses built under Mussolini; carriage tracks for emperors with the sound of honking cabs in the background. The city is accessible to any type of visitor or tourist and has something for everyone. The trick is to really feel the power and the history of what has happened there. Imagine the triumphal processions after a war with Caesar at the helm, imagine Michelangelo walking to the Vatican to paint the ceiling down the very path that you are on now, imagine that all of this took place in this one very spot. And then walk.


Shooting Silhouettes

Shooting Silhouettes

Hey guys, today I am going to share with you an awesome photography tutorial. Photographer Gavin Hoey shows us how to shoot silhouette photos, then use Photoshop layers to transform the image. Gavin gives us some great tips about shooting silhouettes on location, but during the day! He speaks about the importance of contrast, and the best times of day for optimal contrast. Early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is coming up or going down create the optimal lighting conditions for shooting silhouettes.

In the video Gavin shows us how to make these shots work during the middle of the day while the sun is shining. We are given tips about subject placement. When shooting silhouettes during the middle of the day, you can have your subject wear dark clothing. You can also have your subject use different props to make the photo pop. Props also allow the viewer to see a photograph and immediately recognize what it is by the form of the prop. In the video, he uses the example of a bicycle that has a unique and recognizable shape.

Placement of your subject and the use of props are two important tips for taking silhouette photos during the middle of the day. However using the correct camera settings to filter out some of the light and change the exposure are just as important. Gavin recommends using the following settings:

Shoot in aperture priority mode

  • f/5.6
  • 1/800th sec
  • 200 ISO
  • Exposure compensation  -2

Gavin then goes on to explain how the use of smoke and flash can add even more to a silhouette photo. A lot of the time we do not have access to smoke or flash, so we can take many images and Photoshop them together using different layers.

Using these silhouette techniques to shoot travel and landscape photos

You can apply these tips to landscape photography also. Since you will not have as much control, a bit more patience will be necessary. Personally I love taking silhouette photos while I am traveling, it has been the reason I got interested in photography in the first place.

I hope you can go take some of these tips and try them out next time you are taking pictures. You can find out more about why I started this blog, and what the goals and objectives for sharing my photography and tips are here.