26 Feb 2015

Pelicans of Lake Kerkini

In the final installment from my recent workshops in Greece and Bulgaria, these are the famous Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini in Greece. This is one of my favourite workshops and certainly always one of the most productive. This year I shot around 15,000 images, although these have been edited back to around 100 keepers.

The conditions this year were challenging to say the least. Although the weather itself was good while we were there, previously they had an awful lot of rain which had caused the water level in the lake to rise extremely high, covering the banks and making it difficult to shoot from the places we normally do. It also made the birds quite nervous, as they were unfamiliar with the new shoreline. We worked around this problem as best we could and once we'd been there for a while the pelicans became more tolerant and approached closely. We were, however, unable to do as much photography with wide-angle lenses as we normally would.

Over the course of the two workshops we had a very nice mix of weather conditions, although the lake was only calm enough for reflections on a couple of occasions. The sunny days with blue sky were very nice, but I actually prefer the overcast light for this particular subject!

The Pelicans at this particular location are tolerant of humans as they are regularly fed by the local fishermen. We have to stay in the areas that the fishermen work, otherwise the birds quickly become more timid.

These are huge birds with a maximum wingspan of almost ten feet! This means that they are quite easy to photograph with a modest camera and lens. Big telephoto lenses are certainly not essential and I took the majority of my photographs using a 70-300mm zoom lens, making this workshop a great choice for anyone starting out in wildlife photography! More experienced photographers can practice different techniques such as slow speed panning, as well as being more creative with composition.

During the second of my two workshops we were extremely lucky to have snow falling whilst photographing the pelicans from the shore. I had never encountered these conditions at Lake Kerkini before and it led to some very atmospheric images. We managed to find an area in which we could photograph the birds against a dark background, which made the falling snow stand out even more.

As you can see in the last three diary entries, these workshops were extremely productive once again. I will be sending out booking forms for next year's workshops to all those currently on my waiting lists over the next few days. Any remaining places will be advertised on my website next month, but if you're interested in joining me next year you'd be well advised to contact me as soon as possible to get your name on the list!

I will be writing a report on my recent Cornwall workshop when I return from the Outer Hebrides next week.

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