We’re in the Greek Islands, eight years ago, when gale force winds keep us in port for three days. Not to be deterred our tour Director, Elisabeth Kontidou arranged for this huge Ferry to get us to the other islands on schedule. Now, that may have been her job; but, her attention to detail, friendly smile and readiness to help made a lot of our group of 23 very happy we had her.
Why do these people look happy? Elisabeth.
Yes, her knowledge was superb, and preparation – over the top, but her personal interest in each of us was really the key to this trip.
Why am I going on about this? Well, for one thing, it just occurred to me. After friends asked what it was that made this particular trip so nice, I couldn’t put my finger on it.
This was one of the few actual Travel Tours we have taken. The other dozen or so trips outside the US were independent where we made all the reservations, took all the risks and probably missed out on a lot about the areas we were in.
But what prompted me to put pen to my thoughts? Just this morning I received an e-mail from Elisabeth answering a query I sent her about the Dalmatian Pelicans in northern Greece.
She writes, “If you are interested in traveling to the North of Greece during winter time there are innumerous options and possibilities. There is always the chance of doing great archaeology and combine it with really unusual, extraordinary areas, mountains with stone built villages, beautiful small cities and their monuments, wine roads and wineries, ski resorts etc. January is usually a wonderful month because it includes the 12 Halcyon days with great weather, only it is impossible to foretell which part of the month will be having the good weather. If you would tell me what you have in mind I could be of more help with suggestions of specific sites and destinations.
Hoping that this note covers a few of your questions,
With my warm regards, Elisabeth”
I should point out that we were on an
Overseas Adventure Travel tour and they do an outstanding job in putting together small group cultural events like this. They deserve a huge amount of credit.
This trip was more relaxed than our independent travel, had impromptu parties, cooking and language class, a Greek family hosted dinner, plus we learned much more about Greece than we probably would have read on our own. And as a photographer, I had plenty of time for the camera.
Equipment: They say the best travel camera is the one you have with you. That could be your Smart Phone in many instances. If one wants to carry a camera with interchangeable lenses I suggest the Digital Photography School for more information. Few brands are not good. The images you see here were taken with a Nikon D70s with a 18-200mm lens. That in ancient equipment by todays standards. My travel outfit today is the Sony a6000 with a Sony 18-200mm lens.
What about Model Releases? Well generally in the US, they are not required when taking photos for educational or news. As editorial Stock Photographer for many years, I cannot recall being asked by an editor, art director or publisher for a model release. I use to have a preprinted card that people could sign giving permission to use their image in magazines, news or commercial. Over a 20 year period, I only had two people deny permission. My procedure now is to just ask the person if it would Ok to use their image in a magazine. I want them to know what my intension is.
For this Tour, I had spoken to the OAT PR department about doing some photography and even arranged to use their Model Release form. I met with Elisabeth early on and discussed my arrangement with her. We sent it around for our group members to sign. Everyone did, and they became use to me being around with the camera. You may notice that many of the images have people in then. So, that part is covered.
To me, even as a nonworking photographer, I derive a lot of pleasure in recalling our trips through the images. Have fun but especially in foreign countries learning the words in that language “May I take you picture?” can go a long way to a comfortable relationship. Some people even open up and give you a warm smile. Is traveling great or what.