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A Dalmatian Pelican captured at sunrise photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

The 1st of a series of images captured on Lake Kerkini by Sean

In January I had the pleasure of co-guiding the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday, 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 first part of a series of three blog posts covering the trip & showcases some of the images that I captured.

It was looking to be a unique trip as Lake Kerkini had its harshest winter in over 16 years. In fact, the weather was so harsh that the whole 17km lake had completely frozen over! This was going to make the trip completely different from any other. In the past, the itinerary was such that we would be heading out onto Lake Kerkini in boats to photograph the pelicans in beautiful morning light. This trip was not to have the same itinerary in any way whatsoever,  but it would offer a whole different experience altogether!

A black & white portrait of one of the Dalmatian Pelicans photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

On the first evening the group relaxed and settled into the homely accommodation that would be our home for the upcoming days. We sat around the log fire enjoying the warmth whilst the weather outside was hitting a very cold -14c.

A Dalmatian Pelican captured at sunrise photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A pair of Dalmatian Pelicans tussle over a fish on the banks of a frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

The next morning our local guide drove us 5 minutes to the lake to photograph the Pelicans at first light. There was literally only one area of the lake that had not frozen due to a constantly flowing stream that was entering the lake. Here the Pelicans could enjoy a small area of water to take refuge in. Luckily for us, the sun was rising directly behind the birds, the warmth of the morning light was starting to slowly melt the top layer of snow on the frozen lake giving us some amazing misty conditions. We spent several hours in this location before the sun became too harsh to get any more backlit images.

A pair of swans take off & fly above the snow clad surface of a frozen Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday At sun rise, the pelicans started to move & wake to their frozen environment photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday Lake Kerkini is also home to the flamingos who live in the area all year round photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the flamingos of the area walks through the waters of a wintery Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the Pelicans catches a fish photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF LAKE KERKINI FOR YOURSELF?

We have a third trip that is to be run during January of 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1049 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Thessaloniki itself – all ground transportation from Thessaloniki & back, & to & from shoot locations, 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 trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

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With the signature head feathers, one of the Dalmatian Pelicans glides serenely on the icy waters of Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Johan’s images of Kerkini’s Dalmatian Pelicans

The ice and snow that covered Lake Kerkini on this year’s Dalmatian Pelican trip facilitated some fantastic & creative images from our guests. Here are some images which were taken by Johan, who was extremely happy with the weather conditions that allowed him to unleash his creativity.
One of the young pelicans stares straight down the lens photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A look throgh at one of the Dalmatian Pelicans of KerkiniOne of the young white pelicans waits for fish photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday With the signature head feathers, one of the Dalmatian Pelicans glides serenely on the icy waters of Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

The snow & ice meant lots of opportunity for high key shots but Johan wanted to capture images that were different from the norm.  He used other birds to frame his shots & also produced some stunning work with slow shutter speeds. Thanks to an extremely friendly white pelican, there were also some great opportunities to break out the wide angle.

A long shot of one of the Dlamatian Pelicans photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the Dalmatian Pelicans glides serenely on the icy waters of Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography HolidayOne of the young pelicans sits in the snow clad shore line of Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the young white pelicans waits for fish photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

We were concerned that the group would be disappointed at the lack of boat trips due to the lake being frozen over.

Luckily, this wasn’t the case as the weather gave the group the opportunity to come up with some truly unique images.

Something we wildlife photographers are always looking for.

Frozen motion, some of Dalmatian Pelicans attempt to get some warmth into their wings photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday One of the young white pelicans photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A trio of Dalmatian Pelicans against a snowy backdrop photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday Two Dalmatian Pelicans spa over a fish photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday A group of Dalmatian Pelicans rise from their slumber on a snowy bank on Lake Kerkini photographed on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Holiday

Thanks again to Johan for sharing his images with us.

DO YOU WANT TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF LAKE KERKINI FOR YOURSELF?

We have a third trip that is to be run during January of 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography holiday costs £1049 each participant, this price excludes air travel to Thessaloniki itself – all ground transportation from Thessaloniki & back, & to & from shoot locations, 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 trip, we only require a 20% deposit from you, with the balance due 12 weeks prior to the trip taking place.

Dalmatian Pelican Trio Detail one of Daniel Trim's images captured on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday

Pelicans of Greece … continued …

As we moved into the second half of our Pelicans of Greece Photography Holiday the lake had really started to thaw with larger areas opening up. With an increasing area to fish in the birds started to move around, the sheer number of cormorant fishing in the open areas was astonishing & another reflection on how productive the lake is. Here rafts of them can be seen snorkelling whilst pelicans wait on the peripheries hoping to steal their catch. I shot this with a slower shutter & again high key to try & replicate the effects of a painting.

Creative Dalmatian Pelican Photography one of Daniel Trim's images captured on the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini Photography Holiday Read more

A truly beautiful scene of the dalmatian pelicans with the mist rising behind them off the lake photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday

A different angle on Kerkini’s Dalmatian Pelicans

Derek has been on several photography tours & trips now with NaturesLens – you can see his images of Florida’s Blue Cypress Lake Ospreys elsewhere on our blog – & right now, he is in Calera, photographing some of the best birds that the Spanish Plains have to offer; however, in January, he joined Dan’s group & flew out to Thessaloniki, the intent of the trip, to capture some images to add to his portfolio of Kerkini’s Dalmatian Pelicans.

Like the first group, the second group found Kerkini wrapped in the cold embrace of winter conditions that had not been experienced for years; parts of the lake remained frozen whilst they were there, gradually thawing towards the end of their trip, although the normal boat trip could not head out onto the lake, our local guides took the various group members out on small fishermen’s boats instead.

A truly beautiful scene of the dalmatian pelicans with the mist rising behind them off the lake photographed during the NaturesLens Dalmatian Pelican Photography Holiday Read more

A White Tailed Sea Eagle stood on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles

Stellers & White Tailed Sea Eagles – more aspects of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The fourth & last instalment of Nicola’s images are dedicated to the magnificent Steller’s & White Tailed Sea Eagles. Our winter wildlife in Japan tour includes 6 boat trips to photograph these fantastic raptors. Each day, the group faced different weather conditions which presented them with different photographic opportunities. Sometimes, the eagles came so close that the group were almost over-lensed with intermediate zoom lenses!

A visit to one of several frozen lake in the area is always included in our tour, & this year yielded some great images of the eagles ‘striding’ across the ice.

A Stellers Sea Eagle sweeps it's wings forward on the ice of one of the frozen lakes photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's White Tailed Sea Eagles photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayOne of Hokkaido's Steller Sea Eagles swoops for a fish photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Read more

A solitary whooper swan swims in a thawed area of one of the Caldera Lakes of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Whooper Swans & Foxes

Whooper Swans – the graceful aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

The Whooper Swans of Lake Kussharo are always a revelation to our guests. When one thinks of winter wildlife in Japan, the first thought is inevitably, Snow Monkeys, followed closely by Stellers’ Sea Eagles & Red Crowned Cranes. But people rarely think “I want to go there to photograph whooper swans” & who would blame them?

Take a look at Nicola’s images below. Such beautiful, elegant birds with plenty of opportunities to photograph them in flight, walking in the snow & sat on the lake with a backdrop of snow capped mountains. The possibilities are endless.

A Whooper Swan comes in to land on the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday A bevy of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA pair of whooper swans wander across the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography HolidayA solitary whooper swan isolated within the snowy landscape of Hokkaido photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Read more

A pair of huddled snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday

Winter Wildlife in Japan – Snow Monkeys

Snow Monkeys – the always amusing aspect of Winter Wildlife in Japan

Whenever we mention our Japanese Winter Wildlife Tour, the first thing most people say to us is “Do you visit the Snow Monkeys? I would love to see them!”  No trip to Japan would be complete without a visit to these charismatic primates, watching them play in the snow & relaxing in their onsen. These wonderful images were sent to us by Nicola (Billows) who was one of the participants of our 2017 trip to Japan.

One of the adult snow monkeys of Hells Valley on the main island of Japan photographed by Nicola Billows during the NaturesLens Japanese Winter Wildlife Photography Holiday Read more