A collective of puffins of Skomer Island, also known as a circus of puffins, showing tht unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins jpg

Golden Light & Puffins – Magical Photography

There are two fantastic reasons for taking an overnight stay on Skomer Island, simply put, if it happens, the golden light & puffins – if these two happen to coincide, some magical imagery can be achieved.

A solitary puffin of Skomer Island, showing the unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins A solitary puffin amongst the sea campion of Skomer Island, showing the unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins A collective of puffins of Skomer Island, also known as a circus of puffins, showing tht unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins jpg A solitary puffin of one of the steep escarpments of Skomer Island, showing the unique images that can be achieved with the right combination of golden light & Puffins jpg

WOULD YOU LIKE TO UNDERTAKE 3 DAYS OF PUFFIN PHOTOGRAPHY FOR YOURSELF IN 2018?

For 2018, NaturesLens have already announced a return to undertake puffin photography on Skomer Island – the trip has been scheduled to start on July 7 & ending on July 10, 2018.

The Skomer Puffins Photography Holiday costs £499 each participant, this price excludes travel to Martins Haven itself – all food, accommodation & guidance/tuition during the 3 night stay on the island is included.

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

One of Calera's Bustards at sunrise image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Dan reports in from our Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

This was my second year leading a group for NaturesLens on their Spanish Bird Photography Holiday that is focussed around the fantastic hides in Calera & once again they did not disappoint.

The stars of this area in Spain are the bustards & the black-winged kite but when Europe’s more common but still wonderful & colourful birds are also on your doorstep there’s really nothing not to like – add in some paella, sunshine & a few beers & I’m happy!

This year I had the chance to photograph a few species I missed last year. Starting with the charismatic little owl! I’ll share the others in my second blog but for now just look at those eyes…

A little owl poses in the Spanish olive grove image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday On the ground, a little owl attempts to out stare the camera lens grove image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday Nestled in the trees within the olive grove, the little owls make their nests image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

This year Spring was much more advanced when compared to last year; this meant the bee-eaters were already digging away, courting, & mating by the time we arrived – a bee-eater colony never fails to impress!

They became a firm favourite with the guests on the holiday & were a great way to spend the afternoons on the Spanish plains.

Tossing an insect, this European Bee eater demonstrates it's agility image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday Demonstrating the classic food pass, this pair of European Bee eaters are entranced with one and other image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday Of course, when we visit, many of the species, such as this pair of European Bee eaters, are at the height of their mating season image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of the solo Bee eaters perches awaiting the return of it's mate image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

The bustards were putting on a good show too, with a large group of lekking males making their rounds on the short grazed fields. Great fun to watch from the hide, massive & really impressive birds!

On the plains, the bustards are king image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday A pair of bustards stride, gathering their harem of females as they do so image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday One of Calera's Bustards at sunrise image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

Their smaller (but still rather large!) cousins, the little bustards, also put in an appearance & whilst waiting for the famous jumping display I took some photos as they scratched away & scurried amongst the arable fields. Unfortunately, the jumping display evaded me again!

A highlight for many during the holiday, is the chirping and jumping of the Little Bustard image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday The little bustards are early risers, often seen in the blue of the dawn image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

I’ll finish this first part of my report with some photos from one of my favourite hides for Spanish Bird photography at this location, the lake hide!

It’s great; you’re there, laying on a comfy mat at water level with waders feeding around you. The sun gets lower & the light gets better & better, just brilliant …

Low level photography from the shoreline hide image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday The afternoon sessions at the shoreline hide are often bathed in a glorious light image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday Reflection shots are more than achievable at the shoreline hide on a small water body in Calera image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday The shore line hide sees you laying on a comfy mat at water level with waders feeding around you image captured during a NaturesLens Spanish Bird Photography Holiday

WOULD YOU LIKE TO UNDERTAKE SOME SPANISH BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY FOR YOURSELF IN 2018?

For 2018, NaturesLens have already planned a duo of Spanish Bird Photography Holidays that can be joined together to form one seamless opportunity to add a plethora of photos of the birds of Spain to your portfolio – or you can attend the separate events individually – the two events are the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday followed the next week by Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday.

Starting with the Spanish Raptors Photography Holiday during mid-April – specifically starting on April 13 & ending on April 20, 2018 – to be led by Sean Weekly for NaturesLens, then the amazing Spanish Birds of Calera Photography Holiday starts on April 21 & ends on April 29, 2018, this trip is being led by … Sean Weekly … so you’ll have his company, photographic tuition & guidance for the whole fortnight.

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

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

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One of the Black winged Stilts poses one only one leg photographed during the Natureslens Birds of Spain Photography Holiday

Derek reviews our Birds of Spain Photography Holiday

I have been on wildlife photographic trips many times with David & PN. Sometimes as personal friends & sometimes as a client of NaturesLens, whilst discussing plans for 2017, David mentioned that he felt the Calera trip to photograph some of the Birds of Spain would be exactly what I wanted as I have for some time yearned to photograph the Little Bustard displaying.

As all wildlife photographers know you can go to the right place at the right time & still fail to get your shot. – this is exactly what happened on this trip! If it was easy it would soon become boring.

So did I come away disappointed from my trip? The answer is a resounding No as there were so many other great birds to photograph & in wonderful lighting that I almost forgot why I first decided to go on this trip.

Photographed from the lake hide, one of the Black winged Stilts photographed during the Natureslens Birds of Spain Photography Holiday

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Double the Hide Sessions for Bear Photography

We have doubled the hide sessions for the Slovenian Bear Photography Holiday that is to be held during September 2017 – this means instead of 4 sessions, there are now 8 – 4 of the mornings now have a session of bear photography included as well.

One Of The Adult European Brown Bears Poses On Rocks - Photographed On The Natureslens Slovenian Bear Photography Holiday

Our revised itinerary now looks like the following:

02/09/2017 Travel to Slovenia Overnight near Ljubljana
03/09/2017 Travel to Markovec Afternoon Bear Photography
04/09/2017 Morning Bear Photography Afternoon Bear Photography
05/09/2017 Morning Bear Photography Afternoon Bear Photography
06/09/2017 Morning Bear Photography Afternoon Bear Photography
07/09/2017 Morning Bear Photography Travel to Ljubljana

If you would like to join our Slovenian Bear Photography Holiday on the dates of September 2 – September 7 2017 – now with 8 bear photography sessions instead of 4 & at the promotional price of £1099 for the four places on this departure – the details are available here & the booking form is at the base of the page.

The trip will be led by Kevin Morgans, one of the NaturesLens photography leaders, you will spend mornings, afternoons & evenings photographing the Slovenian Bears from within comfortable hides deep within the forest.

Witness this beautiful solitary animal as it roams the fir & beech woodlands, tracking prey across the land that the Slovenian Bear has called home for centuries.

One of the juvenile lion cubs looking thoughtful an Image captured during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

India’s Big Cats – the Asiatic Lions of Gir

Julianne joined us for the second week of our Indian photography tour to photograph the Asiatic Lions of Gir. She was looking to hone her composition skills & hopefully capture some stunning images of the majestic residents of the Gir forest, the Asiatic Lion.

Whilst her first day drew a blank for lion sightings, Julianne was lucky enough to spend time with a mother jackal & her adorable young pup.

A Jackal mother & one of her cubs photographed during the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

In fact, Julianne proved to be extremely lucky on her first day when during the afternoon game drive, whilst trying to get a good angle on a buzzard in a tree, she encountered a leopard lounging in the bushes. In her own words “I have been trying to get great leopard photos for a decade & this is THE best encounter!”

One of Gir's Leopards sat in the foliage capture whilst on the NaturesLens Asiatic Lions of Gir Photography Holiday

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Sitting contentedly, one of the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

The last of the Dalmatian Pelican images from Sean

In January I had the pleasure of co-guiding one of the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Greece Photography Holidays, along with Pui Hang. We took a group out to Greece to capture images of an oft-overlooked bird, the Dalmatian Pelican. This is the third and final part of a series of three blog posts covering the trip. All the Dalmatian Pelican images shown here were taken on this spectacular trip. If you missed the first part, then you can read it here or the second part here.

A Dalmatian Pelican lands on Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

We had hoped that the lake would thaw sufficiently for a boat trip on our last day. The sun was melting the ice and snow by day but by night the temperatures dropped, freezing the lake again. Ironically, the second group led by Dan were hoping that the lake remained frozen so that they could also have a chance at getting some unique shots too.

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