Beauty and the Bees


Lupin Terraces. A terraced hillside near Finikia is covered in vivid lupins, Santorini, Greece.

I have never been to Santorini during the summer, but by all accounts it is mobbed. And hot. Early April was pleasant and, while not deserted, was not crowded, either. One nice benefit of a springtime visit was the lush fields of wildflowers all over the island. These fields gave opportunities for some more traditional landscape photography that combined colorful flowers and terraced slopes. The image above was only a short walk from our hotel in the village of Finikia, near Oía. This view was eastwards, away from the caldera.

Our group spent a lot more time photographing Santorini’s architecture (and, in truth, the countless feral cats) than landscapes, but we did stop at a church down on the flats that was surrounded by dense fields of wildflowers. Daisies, sea rockets, and lupins were the most common flowers.

Sinister Daisies. Fields thick with daisies—and bees—are separated by a dry stone wall.

Tight views of fields of flowers are made for tilt lenses, and the dense lupins below were photographed with my PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8D, tilted forward to get all of the flowers in focus front-to-back. With this many flowers this close together blowing in the breeze, focus stacking is impractical and the tilt lens reigns supreme. Of course, you have to have one and have it with you. Looking at my Lightroom catalog, I used it for about 1% of the 1900 images I took in Santorini and most of those were in these fields; not a lot, true, but the only practical way to get this image.

Lupine Forest. A few sea rockets and chrysanthemums are scattered among densely packed lupins, Pori, Santorini, Greece.

After taking the preceding photograph and some others, I walked a short distance along the fences and terraces through the flowers looking for other images. As I went, there were more and more bees, and they were more and more persistent in their attentions. Finally, I came around a corner and saw a long row of dozens of white boxes stacked several high—I had found a beekeeper’s hives. I retreated. Unfortunately, a number of bees followed me back to the road and some switched their focus to one of my companions who, while not stung, did shatter his eyeglasses while flailing (and cursing) at the bees that repeatedly flew into his face. I believe two of our other friends nearby did, in fact, get stung.

There were plenty of other wildflowers on the island. The image below was taken at the far end of the island from the images above. This was also taken with a tilt-lens tilted forward (and a bit to the side) but this time was a wider view with the PC Nikkor 19mm f/4E ED.

Daisies and Iceplant. Daisies and iceplant in bloom cover a slope near Emporio, Santorini, Greece.

Technical notes. The first two photographs in this post were taken with a Nikon Z7 using a Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens. All four photographs were processed  from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Classic.

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