An Expensive Meteora Photo

Meteora Sunset

Meteora Sunset

Allow me to brag for just a minute: I won 3rd place in the photo contest with the above photo.This is both a good and a bad thing. My prize is a four night stay at the Plaza Beach Hotel in Naxos and ferry tickets for two from Athens. Pretty cool. The bad news: I’ll have to fly to Athens in order to take advantage of my prize. So it could be an expensive victory. This photo contest had some excellent prizes. First through fifth place were four night stay packages at various resorts in the Greek Isles. Sixth place was a canon DSLR camera – I was really hoping for 6th place; my wife was hoping for a top 5 finish.

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” ~ Ansel Adams

I got this photo because of patience and persistence. We stayed three days at Meteora and it was overcast and rainy the first two and a half days. I had a few decent photos of the monasteries, but nothing that was going to win any awards.

On the afternoon of our third day, the clouds gave way to rich blue skies. I had a choice to make: stay at the hotel and drink wine and eat feta cheese with my wife, or hike up a mountain and take photos. I decided to go hiking, even though it meant a steep climb.

Meteora from below

This better be a pretty sunset, I was thinking as I hiked up this mountain.

Initially, It wasn’t great for photos. The sun was really bright and washed everything out, but scattered clouds started to roll in. All the elements for a +3 sunset (see footnote) were in place, so I waited. It was our last day in Greece and we’d been traveling for five weeks. I spent about two hours atop the mountain reflecting on our trip and enjoying this view:

Meteora in autumn

I was jolted out of this moment of zen when sun rays started stabbing through the thin clouds. I fired off photos like a crazy person. Thank God for digital. I was rewarded for my patience, persistence and effort with this incredible scene, even if it may be the most expensive photo I’ve ever taken.


Sunset Rating Score

Click here for a sunset rating system explanation.

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39 Comments on “An Expensive Meteora Photo

  1. Totally worth it! Beautiful shot definitely deserving of a prize.
    And a reminder to me to make the early-morning/late-afternoon effort to get the special shots. Thanks.

    • Yes Alison, those hours of the special light are when we get our best photos. On vacation I usually drag my wife with me, or bring back breakfast if I go out early and she sleeps in. She likes the 2nd one better.

  2. Fabulous celestial photo – easy to see why you won a prize! I went back to look at your original post on Meteora – lovely place.

  3. Awesome photo. Almost Tolkien-ish. Totally expecting a hobbit and a wizard to appear at any moment. 🙂

  4. Congrats on the priE Jeff! I can see why you would have won. The shot is amaZing and definitely hots the top of your sunset rating system whichade me laugh out loud. That’s likely what the judges said when they saw your shot. 🙂

  5. Congratulations Jeff! Perhaps this is the universe’s way of of suggesting it is time for a return trip to Greece!

    We had the pleasure of visiting the Meteora a few years ago when we were in Greece. They are a sight to behold! Fantastic shot!

    • Thanks Lynn, maybe you are right. Greece is one of those places that we always talk about returning to for an extended period of time. It is sad the turmoil the country is going through right now. Such a great place with wonderful people!

  6. That is an amazing picture. I just recently read about the Meteoras and how they are placed in difficult locations to reach, which makes your picture all the more impressive.

  7. Congrats on the win, even if it is going to cost you flights to Athens. Too bad you weren’t still there when the contest ended. Your images are always inspiring and your sunset rating is brilliant!

  8. Congratulations! Brag away – this image is truly impressive and great achievement! I wish I have your patience and commitment – which mostly I don’t have 😀

    Ah yey, totally agree with your funny sunset ratings 😀 😀

  9. your picture is wonderful. I checked the other entries and was quite surprised to see the 1st place. Anyway! Congrats on your prize! 🙂 Now you have a good excuse to go back.

    • Suze, I liked the creativity of the winner though. That was a unique photo. I really wish I’d have placed 6th! Greece is one of my favorite countries so I’ll be glad to go back.

  10. Congrats on a great photo. Wishing against the wishes of your wife … hmm … how often has that worked out well for you?

  11. Congrats! The photo is beautiful, the way the sun comes through the clouds makes it perfect! 🙂

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