Pui Hang’s review of the 2017 Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

,

Lake Kerkini in Northern Greece is situated in the northeast of the district of Serret just 40km from the town of Serres & 100km from Thessaloniki. The lake is one of the most important wetlands in Europe with about 300 bird species having been observed there. Among them, the Dalmatian Pelican, a prehistoric looking but utterly photogenic & charismatic bird.

Our 2017 Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Tours to photograph the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini marked our third year of visiting this beautiful lake & back in January, I had the pleasure of leading the first of our two trips out there with Sean Weekly, the newest member of our guiding team.

I have to admit to being more than a little excited about the trip. Kerkini was experiencing its coldest winter in over a decade with lots of snow & ice, something they had not seen in 15 years & snow was something that we have been hoping for since we started visiting the area.

As we approached our hotel, we could see that the lake was completely frozen over, which meant boat trips were not going to be possible unless there was a big thaw while we were out there.

A frozen Lake Kerkini barely a pelican in sight at our normal locations image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

This didn’t deter our group though, all of whom were very excited at the prospect of unexpected snow photography & the opportunity to capture some unique images of the Pelicans during our 3 days of Dalmatian Pelican photography.

One of Kerkin's Dalmatian Pelicans gingerly lands on the white snowy landscape image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour A Pelican Ice Brunch a fish caught in the beak of one of the Dalmatian Pelicans image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

We were blessed with gorgeous light & wonderful shooting conditions on our first day, which reminded me a lot of photographing Whooper Swans in Japan.

Kerkini's Pelicans at sunrise image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

The photographic opportunities were so plentiful that we completely forgot about going back to the hotel for breakfast! By the time we remembered, everyone voted to stay out & return only in time to have a quick lunch, before heading back out for our second session.

One of the pelicans stands in an icy Lake Kerkini image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

Day 2 saw us heading further out towards the dam where the water wasn’t frozen. We took breakfast with us to eat on location in order to maximise our photography time.

Kerkini's Pelicans preen themselves in the icy lake image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

We encountered a large pod of Pelicans, who, once they realised we had fish, became quite confident & comfortable around us, giving rise to some amazing photographic opportunities with wide angle lenses.

A Wide angle pelican shot showing their reflections on the melting ice image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

There was also much hilarity as the group watched Sean, along with two other members of the group crawling ninja-style to get closer to a White Pelican.

Some of our guests photographing one of the white pelicans image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

The afternoon light gave us some opportunities to practice some birds in flight.

One of the pelicans takes flight in the golden light image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

Our final day at Lake Kerkini saw us returning to the dam for more birds in flight & some creative photography.

 

Close up of the preening behaviour of one of the Dalmatian Pelicans image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour With a wing dipping in the water, one of the pelicans flies over Lake Kerkini image captured during the 2017 NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Tour

As we said goodbye to our hosts & commenced our journey back to the airport to fly home, it started to snow heavily again. Just in time to turn everything back to a pristine white for our second group!

This will be my last trip to Lake Kerkini for a while as Sean will be stepping in to lead two of our Dalmatian Pelican trips next year.

If you fancy lots of good food, plenty of laughs & some fabulous dalmatian pelican photography opportunities, why not join him in 2018?

DO YOU WANT TO UNDERTAKE SEVERAL DAYS OF DALMATIAN PELICAN PHOTOGRAPHY FOR YOURSELF?

We have a third trip that is to be run during January of 2018 & we only have a couple of places remaining available, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1149 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Thessaloniki itself – all ground transportation from Thessaloniki & back, & to & from shoot locations, food, accommodation & guidance/tuition is included, the dates for the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday are January 6 – 11, 2018.

To hold a place on the tour, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the tour taking place.