Touching down in Thessaloniki there was some uncertainty about how this particular Dalmatian Pelicans trip would work out. Normally the itinerary is reasonably established for this trip with days of shore-line feeds & boat trips, but there was one factor meaning we had to tear up the rule book; the lake was completely frozen for the first time since 2002. Both this trip, & the one led by Pui Hang, were to be conducted during Greece’s harshest winter for a very long time.
The Landrover Defenders of our local guides made short work of the icy roads & we weaved to our hotel alongside Lake Kerkini; this was our base for the trip, arriving we found it to be a lovely cosy place with open fires & plenty of sofa space to unwind & review photographs – I could see why this had proved so popular for the all years that NaturesLens had been running the Dalmatian Pelicans Photography Tours to this location.
On the first day we headed to a very small patch of open water near the dam, the birds were congregating here & we had lots of opportunities for close encounters. With overcast skies the conditions were perfect for close up portraits of these charismatic birds. The high key effect is produced by over exposing & the overcast sky behind helps give pure white backgrounds, a style that works well with Dalmatian Pelicans.
With flat light it’s also possible to highlight the intricate details of the birds with close up photographs of their feathers or the yellow tinged hook at the end of their bill!
Ultimately though we wanted to make the most of the ice, we’d never seen photos of them on the ice before & had a very unique opportunely that we needed to make the most of! Some of the fishing boats are very rustic & had been frozen solid in the ice. I felt this made a good set of photographs because the dalmatian pelicans often follow the fishermen around hoping for a free meal.
I liked the scene so much I spent a fair amount of time trying different compositions & this was a great example of where breaking the rules works – I didn’t want to get down & low on the birds level as you would normally, the view from higher up made the boat more visible & really highlighted the fact that the birds were sitting on ice.
My next photo shows a wider scene documenting the incredible number of fish eating birds Lake Kerkini supports; pygmy cormorants, great cormorants, herons, pelicans & more! This next photo was taken at dawn giving the cool colours.
By the afternoon on our second day there were signs that the lake was starting to thaw & a hint that we may be able to get out on a boat & I’ll cover that in the next post! To finish this post I’ll sign off with a heron relaxing on the ice & another of my favoured style for these birds, high key & up close!
DO YOU WANT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE DALMATIAN PELICANS FOR YOURSELF?
We have a couple of spaces remaining on the first trip of 2018, this is an opportunity for you to undertake photography of the Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini for yourself; the photography trip 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 11 – 15, 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.