I wanted to capture the first sunrise of the year, and/or the first sunset, but since I was unable to shoot either due to family obligations, I thought it might be a good idea to make the first post of 2014 a photographic recap of last year.
This review will enrich the blog with some nice photos too, since I didn’t upload them one at a time on separate posts, as was my original intention.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane then and see what 2013 was all about for me….
January 4th found me in a mountain (Vasiliko) outside of my hometown with a group of astronomers, and I gave it a shot in shooting stars and startrails. It was the first time I’d shoot startrails, and I think it turned out pretty decent (although I could do it a lot better now)
It was also the first time I’d experiment in stacking, a process I described in my second blogpost here
Another awesome thing that happened that night, was the fact that I met Andrew, who lend me his 75-300mm Nikkor lens with no hesitation, after telling him that I hadn’t bought a tele lens yet. I gave it back to him just 4 nights ago, almost a year later, since I’d recently bought my 55-200mm and I didn’t need his anymore. Many thanks again man, if you are reading these lines, much obliged.
On January 12th, I was asked to shoot a social event organized by a drug prevention group, that had as guests the mayor, the ex-mayor, parliament members and many other notable persons from my town, which was an unprecedented experience for me, and I managed to pull through quite nicely.
January 26th had me walking around my town in a photowalk that was organized by a local photography group, having various subjects as an exercise. Some of my photos got nice reception, with the best one being one of my favorites too
On February 3rd I took my camera and took a walk again in my hometown, following Ben Long’s advice, trying to shoot with a steady focal length (35mm in my case) and giving careful consideration in composition. I repeated the same route at another day shooting at 18mm, and I truly recommend you try something like that sometime, it will really improve your photographic skills!
I had a Valentine’s Day trip to the town of Bari at February 13th, coming back with a ton of photos and a longing to return some day and shoot more, maybe visiting Rome too that time. The town of Bari was full of photographic opportunities, with awesome buildings and churches that didn’t go unnoticed. I guess the best one from the trip is this shot of the Mincuzzi Palace
As soon as I returned from Italy, I had a shipment of Hoya ND filters and a Circular Polarizer waiting for me in my mailbox, and I immediately went out to test them. I made this photo, which kind of exploded after posting it on reddit, reaching 4000 views on Flickr and being by far my most viewed photo ever. Kind of strange, for a test shot…
Ten days after, on the 24th, I created this blog, which was kinda silly because I’d get recruited for my compulsory military duty in the Navy a month later. Perhaps I thought at the time that I’d had plenty of time to post regularly… silly me.
I got bogged down during the first month, photography-wise, since we weren’t allowed any cameras on the camp, which was a downright shame, since the town of Tripoli had fantastic weather conditions and awesome landscapes and perhaps I could have created some spectacular pictures.
Anyway, I got re-assigned at the capital, Athens city, and I visited Acropolis at the first chance I got. This is May 18, the International Museum Day.
Back in my hometown during my first leave of absence, just in time for the second annual photomarathon there, organized from the local photography group “Idyfos” on May 19th
and a couple days later, on the 22nd, I shot the Red Arrows over our port, with that old 75-300 manual focus lens I had borrowed, expecting all of my shots to turn out useless, but getting quite surprised with my results!
Things got a bit stale after returning back at Athens, and I shot whenever I had the opportunity, trying to always carry my camera with me (a habit I never dropped, by the way), and making shots like these
and capturing a Playmobil exhibition that got praised by it’s creator
At the beginning of July, I took part in a photowalk in Athens, where I met fellow photographer/blogger Helen Sotiriadis, which was kinda awesome cause I’d found her photos online from about two years ago and had followed her ever since, never imagining that one day I’d have the chance to shoot alongside her. Check out her personal page here.
Cheers Helen, if you are reading these lines, thanks for (still) being an inspiration to me.
I also met Julia Gospodarou at that walk, and all I can say is that her photography is truly on another level, her photos being also a great influence and inspiration too. Check her out here.
Later on in July, I was asked from a friend of mine to shoot her handcrafted jewelry, in order to promote them in her online marketplace (Facebook page here), and was happy to oblige, creating some nice photos along the way. Thanks for the opportunity Marlene!
I also tried my hand in portraiture, using my girlfriend as a model, and setting up her bedroom as a homemade studio, creating this
I managed to shoot a full moon above the Parthenon through an old gas tank from a cafeteria, too.
Finally, a chance for a week of vacations, and my girlfriend and I visited a dear friend in Ancient Epidaurus (Facebook album), creating this spectacular shot on a deserted beach
I truly believe that this is the best photo I’ve made so far. Flickr link
August 10, and I’m back in my hometown in leave of absence again, creating what I consider to be my second best photo ever, while trying to capture the Moon and Venus above the Rion Bridge
August 24th, and while visiting a nearby beach, I took the opportunity to experiment with long exposures once more, creating images that where blatantly copied the next day but I ain’t even mad.
‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, as Charles Caleb Colton had once said.
Back in Athens, back in the military camp, and time flies by until October 5th, the date of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk, where I officially participated this time round.
October the 13th, and since I am revisiting my hometown, I go outside early in the morning to catch a sunrise. I got something way better, I think
Another couple of stale months go by inside the camp until I finally get this army nonsense behind me. My only photographic activity was with my mobile phone and some submissions in a Facebook group that holds weekly contests where I get voted to the top 10 finalists with some of my photos.
December 13th, and having more that two months to actually get my camera in my hands, I am asked to shoot a theatrical performance for children (the one mentioned here). I had a blast, my creativeness kind of bursted out, after such a long time of abstinence.
A week after that, I am being asked to use my skills and talent to portray as best as I can the makeup that a friend applied on herself for a beauty-makeup contest. Needless to say, she got pretty excited with the results, and super excited when she got the first place! Yay! Here’s her portrait from that day
Back in my hometown for the Christmas holidays, where I finally made up for the lost time, shooting almost every day for two weeks. Went to another photowalk on the 22nd,
visited the first winery of Greece, and took awesome shots of it (also tasted wine from 1979),
captured heavy rainclouds from my favourite spot at the pier
visited Naypaktos city, getting nice shots there too, despite the rainy weather
and finally, on December 29, I took my longest exposure (over 11 minutes) of the Rion Bridge, making a wish come true for 2013.
To come full circle, I closed my year taking another stargazing trip to the mountain, same one as I started the year with, albeit this time with few photos, and this group shot
which, considering that it was pitch black when I took it, came out pretty good.
So, to sum it up, during the year that it was supposed to be a blank period in my life due to the fact that I concluded my obligatory military duty, I went to a World Wide Photowalk, five local photowalks, a trip to Bari, a trip to Epidayros, a trip to Naypaktos, a visit to Achaia Clauss, had two sessions of stargazing and one of night photography, made an 11 plus minute long exposure, covered several events, and according to my file numbering, took more than 7000 photos!!!
That is… extraordinary, come to think about it.
I would like, given the opportunity, through this summary of my 2013 and this blog, to thank everyone, and I truly mean everyone (even you, unknown reader), from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you, for viewing my photos.
Thank you, for liking them.
Thank you, for your kind words and/or critique.
Thank you, for your support.
Thank you, for making me realise my abilities, and helping me in improving them.
Thank you, for making photos that inspire me, that make me getting off my chair and go shoot.
Thank you, for everything.
Here’s to more and even better photos in 2014!
Happy New Year!
Until next time,