Behind the Lens: Seeing Athens and Ancient Greece Through New Eyes

The impressive structures of Ancient Greece allow visitors to peer into a window of the past – from the Orthodox monasteries teetering on a cliff edge to the towering pillars of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon temple.

For Silversea expedition guide and filmmaker, Denis Elterman, the polar regions are where his career behind the lens has flourished. However, an adventure to mainland Greece with his camera took him to the bustling streets of Athens and the scenic Pindus mountain range among the landscapes of Meteora, among many other sights.

“This trip to Greece was quite special for me,” says Denis. “I have been to Greece before, but I’d always wanted to get to explore the Greek mainland. This trip allowed me the time to see some amazing out of the way places that were spectacularly beautiful.”

Athens Behind the Lens, statues in the Acropolis
Statues of the ancient Caryatids in the Acropolis/Denis Elterman

Unique architecture, remarkable backdrops

“Meteora was absolutely incredible. Perched on 600m tall rock formations, you can see monasteries floating above the town below,” Denis adds. “Steeped in Greek Orthodox tradition, they have survived from the times of Byzantium (an ancient Greek colony).

“There are still six monasteries that are home to monks and nuns today. The breathtaking site has one wonder how they were built, and how the day to day life of the monks is still continuing to this day. You can see how difficult it must be to climb the cliffs.”

Aside from filming monasteries located at great heights, Denis explored a new way of documenting the history of Greece as this destination sparked his curiosity. Casting his lens on the intricate architecture and archeological sites such as Delphi, he discovered interesting details and sculptures.

“When going to Athens, the focus is naturally on the monuments and architecture of ancient Greece. What is so unique is that through the lens of a camera and some dedication of time, [I could] bring these seemingly familiar places to life with the changing light and different photographical techniques. In studying this work, I found that the photographs revealed details of the architecture that I may not have previously noticed.”

Athens Behind the Lens, Monastiraki Square
Vivid Monastiraki Square in Athens/Denis Elterman

A spectacular view of the Acropolis

Using a time lapse camera method, Denis filmed the Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as the sun set, the grand pillars reflecting the orange glow as dusk fell. For this filmmaker, it was a view he enjoyed over a few hours.  “I walked to the top of Filopappou Hill with my trusted Nikon D850 and a tripod and found a quiet spot overlooking the Acropolis,” he says. “I set my camera to take over 500 stills over two hours and sat there watching the day slowly turning into the night. While this method is time consuming, it is very rewarding. Watching the sunset in person over such an iconic landmark was a true highlight.”