20 Feb 2015

Winter in Bulgaria

Each of my two Bulgaria and Greece wildlife and landscape workshops began with a session photographing the nutcrackers shown in my previous diary entry. After that we headed towards Bulgaria's southern border to an area of spectacular landscape known as the Sand Pyramids. This is a large wild area with incredible sandstone formations, gorges, canyons and a backdrop of splendid snow capped mountains. Given good light this is paradise for a landscape photographer!

Access to the best viewpoints can only be acheived on foot, but the area is criss-crossed by paths made by livestock and shepherds. On the first workshop we captured a very colourful sunrise and during the second workshop we were very lucky to have clear sharp light for some time. Broken cloud works best, with areas lit by the sun contrasting against those still in shadow.

On the second workshop we had fresh snow, as well as a reasonable sunrise. This particualr viewpoint requires a very wide-angle lens...and a head for heights!

On the final day of the second workshop some of us went exploring. After a long steep walk into the heart of the Sand Pyramids we found this view back towards the mountains just before sunset. It was a very peaceful yet dramatic location where the sounds of modern life could no longer be heard.

Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris) © Roger Wasley

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes) © Roger Wasley

During both workshops our clients had the opportunity to spend some time in a purpose built hide for woodland birds. During and after the snowfall bird activity was high and a number of interesting species were visiting. Unfortunately there was only room in thge hide for four photographers, so I was unable to take any images myself. However, one of my clients Roger Wasley kindy provided me with a couple of his favourite images (above).

Thanks to Emil's excellent spotting skills we were also able to photograph a wild European Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo), which was quite a bonus!

My final diary entry from this year's Bulgaria and Greece workshops will show some of the 15,000 images I shot of Dalmatian Pelicans!

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