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Ancient Stagira

Ancient Stagira – Olympiada area, Chalkidiki, Greece

Ancient Stagira is an archaeological site, few hundred meters out of Olympiada, Chalkidiki, Greece.

Stagira was founded in 655 BC and it is best known as Aristotle’s birthplace. Aristotle is one of the most known philosopher of Greece, son of the personal doctor of King Amyntas II (father of Macedonia’s King Philip II), a student of Plato’s Academy, and later the teacher of Alexander the Great.

After the end of the Persian wars, Stagira joined the First Athenian Alliance. However, during the Peloponnesian War, Stagira citizens revolted against Athens and sided with the Spartans. Few years later, Philip the Macedon besieged Stagira and had it destroyed. In honor of Aristotle, the teacher of his son, Philip rebuilt the city and had the enslaved inhabitants freed.

In 322 BC, Aristotle passed away. His body was transferred to Stagira, where he was buried in great honors. He was declared founder of Stagira, and a festival named Aristoteleia was established.

Despite the rebuilt of the city, if was the beginning of a decline. The city was deserted during the Greco-Roman era. Close to 1000 AD, we have reports of a castle called Livasdia. Today, the most notable remain of the castle is the byzantine wall, visible even from Olympiada.

What can you see these days in Ancient Stagira? The byzantine wall, the citadel, old houses, the big agora, large ceramic bowls, tower ruins.

The road to Stagira is well signaled, you can see a lot of signs in Olympiada. You can access Ancient Stagira from the main road to Stratoni, or from the dirt road in the vicinity of Olympiada port. I recommend you to visit Ancient Stagira during spring or autumn, to avoid high temperatures during the summer. Reserve for the visit at least 2 hours. Entrance is free.

How to shoot a landscape

How to shoot a landscape

– use camera in Aperture mode (usually A or Av on your mode selection button).

use a small aperture. Typically, in a landscape picture, you want everything to be in focus, from foreground to background. To get this, you will have to use a smaller aperture. F/8 is a good start for a landscape picture.

use a wide lens. To help with the effect we spoke above, you have to use a wide lens, and this will greatly help you to have a large depth of field. A wide lens will also help to capture the greatness of the nature. 17mm is a good start for landscape photography, but don’t be afraid to experiment.

– use a low ISO value to get a great image quality, even ISO 100 if possible

use a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter will greatly improve the quality of your landscape photos. The sky will be blue (instead of vague white grayish nuance), the vegetation will be more vivid (either green in the spring, either yellow/orange in the autumn)

– use a tripod. Small aperture combined with large distances, the usage of a polarizing filter and low ISO will result in low shutter speed, especially in low light situation. After the polarizing filter, the tripod is the most used accessory in the landscape photography world.

– use water as a mirror. If you photograph a lake, there will probably be reflections on the surface of the water. Make use of it, include both the reflected object and the reflection, or only part of the object and full reflection. Don’t be afraid to experiment 🙂

– include people. We are used to see people everywhere. Do not fear if there are people around your beautiful landscape. Embrace them, make humans an element of your photo.

– the sky is looking better with clouds. No doubt, a clear sky is boring. Throw some clouds in the sky and everything is changed 🙂 I’m not talking about post-processing. But you can be careful when framing. Nice interesting sky? Maybe make it bigger, usually two-thirds of the picture. Boring clear sky? Make it smaller, one-third of the picture, or even get the sky out of the frame.

– speaking of sky, in many landscape pictures we have to work with the horizon line. The big question is where we place it. Generally it’s a good idea to avoid the middle, remember the rule of thirds. For better results, you have to choose which element should have a bigger impact. If it’s the sky, then give the sky two-thirds of the image. If it’s the land, then give the land two-thirds of the image. You will get very different results in these two situations, maybe for start you want to try both ways.

shadows are really interesting in landscape photography. Avoid taking picture at noon, there is almost no shadow at all. Get out for landscape shooting in the mornings or in the evenings. You are going to see more details and a bigger sense of depth in your images.

Interested in more photography tips? Check my book, Essential Photography Tips: Get the Most out of Your DSLR.

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