Lefkada and Fuji X-T20

Before starting this article I have a confession to make. I love Greece.

Last year, in July, I managed to reach Lefkada, a destination fairly close to my hometown (1200 km by car), but also a destination that has eluded me for many years.

Now, the island is split in two parts (east and west) and, trust me, there is a big difference between the parts. Even though there are small distances on the island, because of the traffic and the roads your driving time will be always high. For example upon wanting to reach Cape Lefkada, even though there were only 40 kilometres it took me about 1:35 hours to reach this place.

Right from the start I will tell all photography lovers that the east side is best for catching sunrises while the west is best for amazing sunsets and trust me, Lefkada sunsets are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

What I will do bellow is run you through the places I have visited and give you some pointers that might help you if you plan to take pictures here. I am aware that I missed some places in Lefkada but I wanted this holiday to be a mix of taking my time, enjoying the beach, relaxing and taking pictures instead of trying to reach all places. And now, the introduction being over, let’s jump to the sights I photographed during my stay here.

Pasa Beach
The first beach I visited in Lefkada. After a long 13 hours drive and a small meal I drove to this place that is very close to Nidri or Kariotes. I made the mistake of seeing this place in the evening and since this is a east side beach it is nothing that spectacular at sunset but if you plan it right, this could land you a beautiful morning shot. That’s not to say that even great sunset shots could be taken here but if I were you I would keep this place for a morning shot. There are plenty of boulders and rocks in the water and depending on your skills you could find some lovely compositions here.

Agios Ioannis beach
Do you like great sunsets? Do you enjoy windmills? Do you like kitesurfing? If you checked yes on all three questions then this place is for you. This is the kind of place that is perfect for an evening golden hour shoot so I suggest visiting this place starting in the late afternoon. This way you can still catch the surfers, take some practice shots of the old, abandoned windmills and get ready for a beautiful sunset. This place is very close to Lefkada Town and the roads are not that bad which means you’ll be able to arrive here faster than in other locations.

Kavalikefta beach
Just between Avali beach and Megali Petra lies maybe my favorite place in Lefkada. A narrow, twisting never-ending road leads down to a small parking from where you go down the stairs towards the small pebble beach. The color of the water is just surreal and this must be the place where I took the most pictures from my trip. Even though it is flanked by two other beautiful beaches, Kavalikefta for me remains an amazing sight on a lazy afternoon. Situated on the west side it is a magnet for a great sunset and the boulders and rocks coming out of the water will help you obtain great pictures.

Kathisma beach
Probably one of the largest beaches in Lefkada and one of my miss points. I wanted to photograph a small stone arch so badly but unfortunately tens had been raised inside the rock formation and no picture could be taken. However, if you are lucky to get this place free, it would make for a great sunset picture.

Porto Katsiki
When you say Lefkada, you really say Porto Katsiki beach. Featured on all magazines and ads for Greece, constantly featured in top beaches of the world, Porto Katsiki is a gem of Lefkada. Situated on the west side the beach has an amazing watercolor thanks to the Ionian sea but as far as actual shooting is concerned I am afraid the localisation of the beach makes it difficult for a very inspiring shot. Nonetheless, this is one of the most beautiful places in Lefkada so you might just enjoy it even if your pictures would not turn out stunning.

Cape Lefkada and Doukato lighthouse
Close to Porto Katsiki you will find this beautiful place, a place where many compositions are available from different points, overlooking the lighthouse from various angles. I have chosen for this article an image that I took before reaching the lighthouse, leaving the car on the side of the road and climbing a small hill to this view. Regardless of the location, you can clearly see that this place has many photographic opportunities. Adventurers, upon reaching the lighthouse, move down, towards Cape Point but I found that a bit dangerous and risky and since I wasn’t alone I decided against it. Sometimes you just have to weigh all the variables and decide if a shot is worth risking your health so for me that meant stopping in the courtyard of the lighthouse.

Now, I know that Lefkada also means Vasiliki, Mylos beach, Egremni beach or Agiofili beach or maybe the waterfalls but I saved some of those for a future trip.

My desire is to reach Kefalonia next and the best road passes through Lefkada from where I will take the ferry so I can easily add 2 more days to my trip and see some of the things I missed the first time. As the years pass and the duties of a grown man gather I find that 15 day trips with walking about 25-30 kilometers each day are in a way a thing of the past. After long periods of hard work, stress and other things added, lately I try to mix my trips in a way that I can see as much as I can but without draining all my energy and leaving me exhausted.

This is one of the reasons that I am currently looking for a smaller, lighter tripod. To bring my kit in size even smaller. Now, my Fuji’s have performed lovely during my trips but I have to add in the weight of the tripod also and suddenly my kit is not small anymore.

Regarding this trip, this has been my first trip using my Fuji X-T20 and two lenses: the 18-55mm kit lens and the 50-230mm. I could have easily left the big zoom at home but I wanted to photograph some kiters and windsurfers so that was the reason it found its way into the bag.

Even though I had both Lightroom and Capture one accounts I tried one thing and that thing kind of stayed with me to this day. I only played a bit with the jpegs. I had customised a few profiles on my Fuji camera before leaving and if I remember correctly all the pictures in Lefkada were taken using a modified version of the Velvia profile. I didn’t want to spend countless hours learning Capture One and I wasn’t really happy with how Lightroom was rendering my pictures so I chose an easier way out. I tried to get the picture as perfect as I could and only went through small edits on the jpegs like adding some sharpness, clarity, etc.

In my opinion the pictures turned out more than OK and I have stayed with shooting jpeg plus raw out of habit but to this day I still make some minor adjustments to my jpegs and post them to my site, to articles or to social media.

Being able to connect my Fuji to my phone, have the jpeg uploaded, touch it briefly with Lightroom mobile and 30-40 seconds later being able to upload it to social media or send it to my friends and family is really priceless. Yes, if I was to shoot the Milky Way, comets, the moon, etc, I would definitely go for raw, multiple exposures and so on but for my travels, for many of my landscape pictures I find the jpegs just perfect.

Overall, the Fuji X-T20, has performed amazing and thus it became my number one choice for future travels. The speed, the dynamic range, even the cheap zoom left a great impression on me and therefore I have used this setup on quite a few trips after this one.
It is hard to beat a system that is so small and light yet it holds so much power inside.

"My name is Stefan Panaitescu, I am 38 years old and I am from Bucharest, Romania. I work in sustainability and corporate social responsibility and I love my job. I am an avid traveler and in my spare time I run a travel blog and I try to get out as much as I can and shoot with my Fuji cameras."

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