Congratulations to our Free Print Winner…

During our last Art Fair, The Alameda Spring Festival, we ran a drawing for a free print for all those that signed up for our newsletter blog. Congratulations to our winner, Tom Wilson.

Tom has made his choice for his free print. He has chosen the image “Santorini Sunrise“.

Santorini Sunrise

This image is really special to us. This was taken by my wife on our honeymoon, on the gorgeous island of Santorini (famous for it’s buildings with the blue rounded roofs).

Come see some of the other images we took in Greece here, and look around at some of the other places Alyx and I have been. And, as always, leave us a note so we know you were there.

Stay tuned for details on our next Art Fair coming up at the end of July in Alameda, CA! Hope to see you all there.


Craig Smith

Variations On a Theme

As a photographer, I’m always looking for the perfect shot.  Whether it’s a different angle, a different time of day, or countless other variables, I have to factor all of these in when looking for that image that shouts out “YES!  I’m the one you want!”

This means I end up taking anywhere from 10-30 shots of the same image.  There are a few times where I know I’ve got “it” within the first 5 shots, but it’s really rare.  I’ve also taken 10 or so shots of my subject and stopped when I thought I’d captured what I wanted to, but once I start cropping them in Photoshop, I find that one of my other shots is better than the one I thought I’d like.

That’s one of the reasons I’m SO glad there are DSL cameras nowadays.  I began taking my pictures on a Kodak Advantix, and wound up wasting so much film in my search for wonderful photos.  I do NOT miss the days of getting a roll of film back from the developers, only to find that a third of them are useless because they’re too blurry, or didn’t fully capture what I was looking for.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to pick the “right” picture, because many of them look great.  And it’s not a matter of being so arrogant that you think all of your images are gems . . . there truly are times when I’ve taken multiple shots of a subject and a lot of them are keepers because they’re all at different angles.

Take, for instance, these images of the steps at the Athens National Library.  There were so many cool and unusual angles and lines to be found there, that I’ve got five different variations of it on our website.  In one case, the only difference is between color and black and white:








Personally, I’m more partial to the b/w one, but I also think the faint color of the original helps lend some age to the shot.

I’ve also got several variations on the actual staircase and pillars:








Athens_Library_Steps_6_BWThen there’s a far shot that shows the outside of the staircase and its glorious curve:

Athens_National_Library_StepsAnd those are just the ones that I chose to put up on our site.  I’ve got three or four more in my files that I haven’t posted because I didn’t want to overwhelm people with so many versions of one subject (tho, I do suppose that any one of those might appeal to a potential customer).

So, while it’s great that I can now take as many pictures as I want and delete the ones I don’t like, I guess the “problem” (if you can call it that) is now what to do if I have a few that I think look great.

But hey, there are many artists who have several variations of a theme in their portfolio: Andy Warhol, anyone?  ;o)

Greece From Alyx’s Camera

I’m going to continue with Craig’s theme this month and show you some of the photos I took while we were on our honeymoon in Greece.

I know it probably seems like a cliche to honeymoon in Greece, but we both wanted to go somewhere we’d never been before, and we both wanted to go outside of the US.  PLUS, we got married in July, but weren’t planning to take our honeymoon until later in the year, so we wanted it to be someplace warm.  With those stipulations, that left out Paris, London, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.  Both of us had always wanted to visit Greece, so voila!

Due to transit strikes, limited ferries and uncomfortable beds, it wasn’t the idyllic trip one hopes for as a post-wedding celebration, but we still had a great time overall, especially picture-wise.

We both took similar shots, so I’m going to share some of the ones he didn’t already showcase.

Temple of HephaestusWe started in Athens, and got lots of great photos around the Acropolis, as Craig shared earlier.  So I’m going to show you a shot of the Temple of Hephaestus, which was situated in another group of ruins down the mountain from the Acropolis. This structure was actually more in tact than the Parthenon up on the mountain.  That may be because this one was shielded by the elements, since it sat in the shadow of the more famous structure, but it had enough decay to still make it look interesting.

Next, we planned to spend a good week on Crete, driving all over the island.  There weren’t as many famous relics here as Athens has, nor was anything as famous as Santorini, but for gorgeous scenery, you honestly can’t beat Crete (pardon the rhyme).  The mountains that we drove through there was breathtaking and we often found ourselves pulling over to the side of the road to just soak in the majesty of them.  We did take lots of pictures of the mountains, but neither of us felt we properly captured their essence, so we won’t be sharing any of those here, sorry.  I guess you’ll have to go and see them for yourself.  😉

Matala SunsetWe did, however, get lots of gorgeous sunsets on Crete.  We even hung around one particular town for a few hours, just so we could capture the beauty of the sun setting over the ocean.  Matala is a small coastal town near the southern most tip of Crete.  We’d never heard of it before, but the guidebook we’d brought with us said it was a must see for people staying on the big island for any length of time.  There were caves carved into some of the cliffs where it’s said people used to camp out during the height of the hippie movement.

The rest of Crete held amazing wonders for us, too, and then we made our way to Santorini.  We’ve already got some of the photos we took from Oia (the most famous town on Santorini) up in our shop–and Craig’s already shown you a sunset on our way from Crete to Santorini–but the sun wasn’t beautiful only at the end of the days . . . it was also gorgeous first thing in the morning, as this image of sunrise over Santorini shows.

Santorini SunriseCraig and I must’ve stood outside in our pajamas for a good hour or so in order to capture what we thought of as the perfect shots, but oh, they were so worth it.

I hope you enjoyed the longer vacation in Greece.  You can see these and other images up on our Etsy store.

Greece from my camera

My Honeymoon trip to Greece was only my second foray outside the United States. Australia was my first, coming in my early forties. But Greece was the first trip I took after Alyx and I had decided to start a business selling our images. So, this was the first time we had taken our cameras on a trip with the intent of taking great professional pictures, not just snapshots of things we like. Don’t get me wrong, that philosophy is still how we choose what we take pictures of, but now we turn the camera settings to “super big and detailed”.

So far, only Alyx has put up photos on our Etsy site… until NOW. I had previously listed only my stippling artwork. This is the first time I have put my photos on Etsy, and it’s only the beginning. The photos I am adding are from our honeymoon to Greece.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

Alyx and I started out the Greece portion of our trip in Athens, not too far from the Acropolis. For those that don’t know, the Acropolis isn’t a building, it’s essentially a mountain in the middle of Athens, and on this mountain are ruins. Among the ruins is the Parthenon, probably the most recognized structure on the Acropolis. Also, there is the temple Erechtheion. You can recognize it by the Porch of the Kariatids, which is a porch area where the pillars are carved in the shapes of women. There is also the Temple of Athena and a couple amphitheaters that we don’t have pictures of yet on Etsy.

Temple of Erechtheion, Porch of the Kariatids

Temple of Erechtheion, Porch of the Kariatids

After Athens, we went to Crete. It is a very beautiful place, and doesn’t get enough attention or credit as far as I’m concerned. We rented a car and traveled to several stunning locations on the island. One hidden gem in the middle of nowhere, near the far western coast of Crete, is the site of Agia Sofia, which is located at the side of a winding road clinging to the side of a rocky mountainous gorge. There was just enough room for a few cars to pull off the side of the road, then a long climb up a great stone stairway. At the top of the stairway was a cave with one huge cavern. There were great stalactite and stalagmite formations and you could do a lot of exploring without much danger and without going very deep into it. The cave itself is used as a church of sorts, and is still a place of religious worship. There were many other sites we visited on Crete, but I’ll confine the story to coincide with the new crop of photos. If you want to hear more, feel free comment below and ask us anything.

Stone Steps near Agia Sofia

Stone Steps near Agia Sofia

After a few days in Crete we hopped a boat to Santorini. One of the most beautiful and captivating (not to mention photogenic) places on Santorini is the town of Oia. It’s whitewashed buildings with the sky blue roofs is just as lovely as it looks in the pictures. We had fun getting lost in the veritable labyrinth of steps that wind their way up, down and sideways throughout the town.

Sunset over the Aegean near Santorini

Sunset over the Aegean near Santorini

Santorini itself is a surprisingly small island. You could rent a scooter (which we did) and putt around the entire island in a few hours at most. In a car, you could probably do it in about an hour or less. There’s a high point right in the middle of the island where you can see the whole caldera (remnants of the volcanic rim sticking up from the ocean in a large circle) and almost the entirety of the island. That was one of my favorite experiences; seeing that panoramic view. Unfortunately, Alyx and I didn’t get to spend as much time as we had planned on Santorini, but that’s a story for another time. We were, however, satisfied with the photographic opportunities we had, and the results. I hope you like the pictures as much as we do. Please check out the new batch and all the great shots my wife has also posted already at our Etsy store.

Windmill of Oia, Santorini, Greece

Windmill of Oia, Santorini, Greece

Thank you so much; don’t forget to check out all the photos at:


MAS Artwork