Five tips to enjoy your photography in Cyprus

Deserted village of Souskiou, Paphos District, Cyprus, 26 April 2009

Deserted village of Souskiou, Paphos District, Cyprus, 26 April 2009

Here’s five tips to help you enjoy your photography in Cyprus. Its a beautiful island with terrific light. Make the most of it and take some fantastic pictures home with you.

1.  Are you safe walking around with camera gear?

Yes, providing you’re sensible. All the things you’d normally do to look after your kit apply in Cyprus. Don’t leave expensive kit on show in cars. Don’t leave expensive kit on show in hotel rooms, apartments or villas.

2.  Is the heat a problem?

For your camera, no. For you in the summer months of mid June to mid-September, maybe. Stay hydrated – drink regularly and often. If you’re going out into the countryside away from shops and kiosks, carry some liquid.

3.  Watch out for sunburn

Cyprus is a sunny place, pretty much all year round. If you’re not used to that, putting some sunblock on before you spend hours outside is just common sense.

A hat is a good idea (but watch out for the brim of your hat upsetting some camera’s auto white balance – for some reason Nikons are prone to this one!).

4.  Do I need to speak Greek?

The majority of people you’ll meet in Cyprus speak English. The exception to this is if you get away from the beaten track into the villages. Even then, you’ll have no difficulty making yourself understood in shops and cafes.

If you want to photograph the locals, generally they’ll be only too happy to have their picture taken. As a common courtesy, it’s always good idea to ask first. In that case a ‘Kalimera’ (good morning) and an ‘Efharisto’ (thank you) will go a very long way. A general purpose word you’ll find helpful is ‘Paracalo’. It’s got a variety of meanings that generally boil down to ‘please’.

5.  What kit will be useful?

At the most basic level, a camera is all you need. Other things you might want to consider include:

  • Lots and lots of memory cards. The light in Cyprus can be amazing. There are times it’s so good even dustbins look good. You’ll end up taking a load of pictures, so you need the space to do so. Expanding that point, a laptop and external hard drive can be very useful if you’re planning to take a load of pictures. The laptop and external hard drive combination enable you to make a backup set of pictures – one copy on the laptop, one on the hard drive.
  • Lenses to cover wide angle to medium telephoto. If you’re coming to shoot birds, a long telephoto (but you’ll know that anyway!).
  • A flashgun to enable you to do fill flash is very useful. The sun is very bright in Cyprus, so being able to use some fill flash to lighten the shadows is a good move. Set it to run at about minus half a stop and it’ll work fine.
  • If landscapes are you’re bag, graduated filters are very useful. You’re probably going to have a big blue sky in your shot (or alternatively a golden sunset), so being able to maximise that is good.
  • If you want sunset shots or shots with motion in them (moving water, moving trees and flowers) you’ll need a sturdy tripod. It can get breezy, so a nice firm tripod that stays put is helpful.
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