Aghia Samarina is an old church located near Kalogerorachi in Messinia. I had to locate it on Google maps, then take the coordinates and copy them to my mobile GPS device to find the exact spot. The name is said that it derives from Aghia Marina (=Santa Marina =Samarina), but it is widely known as Aghia Samarina. The church has some ancient parts that are built into the walls.
It was a beautiful sunny morning and I had nothing to do that day, so I followed my GPS route to reach the spot in a few minutes. Reaching the destination I was quickly amazed by the church almost in the middle of nowhere, but they had cleaned the place from wild grass. I shot some shots around the church because the sun was about to cast its harsh shadows as it climbed on the sky and I was careless enough to shot them all in ISO 1600, which was left from the previous shooting last night.
Thankfully I realized the wrong setting before I left the spot, so I shot the photos again, but it was not the same at all. The sun was harsher than before, the shadows darker and I had no idea what framing I had used for every subject. I managed to take some of the photos by reviewing the ones in ISO 1600 on my camera, but it was way too slow, so I just made another round shooting whatever I liked with a fresh eye.
Unfortunately the church was closed and I had no chance to explore the inside treasures. It belongs to the Voulcanos Monastery, as I found out later and the keys are there. This was the first time I shot using the X-Rite Color checker password device for creating color profiles to use with Lightroom and Photoshop, but the colors were too yellow for my taste, so I manually corrected the white balance. I also used a polarizing filter, because I thought that the stone walls would be a problem reflecting stray light back to me, but I now think I could manage without it as the walls were yellow and not white. It also made the shadows darker and after a while it produced very dark shadows extremely difficult to correct and extract the details.
The place looked beautiful and lonely, almost deserted, but I liked it as I didn't have people getting into my photographs and ruining my photos. This place is best photographed in the morning with the soft light of the sun as the afternoon is a whole different story, since the sun strikes the building from a different direction. It was beautiful and I would go there again not to just photograph the inside of the church, but also to rest under the trees opposite the building.