My travels earlier this year took me to the astonishingly beautiful Lake Kerkini in Greece. It was winter, the snow capped mountains of Kerkini are visible in the distance and form a dramatic backdrop for one of the most important wetlands in this part of Europe. For those interested in birds, this area has a special claim to fame – this is where you can best approach, observe and photograph the threatened Dalmatian Pelicans.
So after a long drive from Sofia in neighboring Bulgaria, I reached here late at night. I got the distinct feeling that US passports aren’t very commonly seen at the over land checkpoint crossing into Greece. But while it was too late to recon the lake, I arrived to a warm welcome and delicious sea food. The next morning I woke before daybreak to a steady drizzle, grey skies and generally miserable conditions. But if you know me, this has never stopped me before. A very kind fisherman welcomed us into his little shed on the shore of the lake and I shot as much as possible in the rain from the shore and on a boat.
The rain seemed to make the birds more approachable, so I took advantage of that to get some tight profile shots.
I was also able to use a slow shutter speed for some creative blurs as the birds flew by.
Here are some other compositions I made in the poor light. It allowed me the freedom to overexpose and play with high-key styles.
And of course – true to my style – I have some head on shots as well. Photographs that highlight the bird instead of just a bird.
The next morning was much better for dramatic skies and backdrops, so my wide-angle lenses were put to good use. Note that one of these pelicans is not like the others – can you find the interloper? I put on my waders and went into the water for these shots. Blend in – I guess.
And the boat trips allowed for some action photography. Some at very close quarters.
I’ll wrap this post up with a gallery of varied shots – conventional flight shots, blur induced by slowing shutter speed down and some portraits of these gorgeous birds.