Sarakiniko, Milos Island, Greece

There are some outstanding locations for landscape photography on our planet. Many of them can be too far away for most people, not to mention that one needs to spend a fortune to get there. Other locations can be visited only after special permission has been attained and for this, sometimes you will need to wait in a queue and for some time, not to mention that you need to walk for miles to get to it.

However, there are many locations that exist literally at our doorstep and in some cases, only a short drive away. Sadly, many of them are overlooked for a variety of reasons. One reason is that 'nearby' locations have been photographed by others and they have become 'clichéd'. Now, here is one of these extraordinary words that personally I can't stand the sound of. What on earth is cliché? I know what the word means but for the life of me, I have no idea what it has to do with landscape photography. Here is a tiny scenario: a gorgeous and extremely well-known to landscape photographers location. No one should visit and photograph it because many have photographed it before. Does this sound nuts? It does to me. It is the same as saying... don't visit Paris because many have been there before you and it has become cliché – what? Pure madness.

Anyway. My visit this time was to a location that is only a 20 minute flight from my previous home town in Greece. I am talking about the island of Milos in Greece – the location? Sarakiniko. If you need to mention to someone an example of a lunar landscape, Sarakiniko can be a very good example of it. Upon arrival, especially during early dawn, you will not be far wrong in thinking that you have landed on the moon. For almost a mile long, the surface of the area is covered with a pale (almost white) coloured limestone. The surface is so soft that it can be carved with a blunt knife – and this makes it very fragile also. The best time to visit is after a windy day as all the dust has been blown away and the place can look superb and unspoilt.

As this is a well-known location and people arrive from all over the world to see it, the best time to visit is early in the morning. There was a shipwreck there that used to be a superb photographic subject but unfortunately, it has now been broken up by strong waves and only two parts of it are above the water's surface.

And there you have it. I visited a clichéd location but I did my best to give the picture my personal touch under the available light conditions I experienced on that day.

About the picture
When it comes to composing a picture at Sarakiniko, you are spoilt for choice. The main element I wanted to include in the frame was the island. However, leaving a gap with water before and after it, while you include some foreground interest can be a bit tricky. I looked around until I found this gap on the foreground land and this left enough space to accommodate the island and allow for enough space to breath. As I wanted the composition to include only what you see here, I opted for square format. Scenes like this can be overwhelming and one can ignore formats but I assure you, it always pays off to have the ‘format’ settings stored somewhere in your memory and bring it out every time you compose a picture.

I used a 0.45 hard grad to bring down the brightness of the sky and balance the exposure. The water’s surface was blurred nicely due to the time of day that allowed for 20 seconds exposure. I don’t like the water’s surface to take away from a picture due to the amount of detail it provides.

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Sarakiniko, Milos Island, Greece

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