Autumn Photography Workshops & Tours Update

So it's been a couple of weeks since returning from our autumn tours of Valia Kalda & Lake Kerkini in Greece and I finally managed to find a moment to update the blog with some of the images we were able to make...

I have to say, the weather was particularly and unseasonably unkind to us throughout the tour but we were still able to come away with some nice shots, though it did mean changing the itinerary to try to work around the weather.. hats off to my attendees though who were completely unfazed and whose enthusiasm was great testament to their character.

First stop on the Valia Kalda trip was Metsovo... climbing out of the town to the plateau above we were treated to a magnificent panorama of clouds curling and furling over the mountains into the valley below so as well as some beautiful telephoto shots of the clouds...  

Clouds furling over Metsovo photographed on our autumn landscape photography tour and workshop of Meteora and Northern Pindos

Clouds furling over Metsovo photographed on our autumn landscape photography tour and workshop of Meteora and Northern Pindos

....we tried out some panoramic techniques... and if memory serves, this image was made up of 17 separate shots brought together in Photoshop and given a gentle HDR treatment too for a little added drama...

Panoramic image of Metsovo created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of Meteora and Northern Pindos

Panoramic image of Metsovo created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of Meteora and Northern Pindos

 ..not that you'd realize it from the photos but the weather was actually quite foul and changeable which meant that our planned hike up to mount Flegga and her two small high altitude lakes had to be cancelled.. it was a great shame because from this hike apart from the glorious views of Lake Aoos and the mountains surrounding there is great chance to see bears, wild horses and other wildlife.. so, instead we made a tour of Lake Aoos and had another tutorial on Panoramics... this time with long exposures.. 

panoramic image of Lake Aoos created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of Meteora and Northern Pindos

panoramic image of Lake Aoos created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of Meteora and Northern Pindos

...with the weather rapidly turning against us, we made the decision to re-locate and headed off for the hour long drive up to the beautiful town of Kastoria, famous for its fur trade and the lovely lake surrounding it.... and thankfully we were greeted by the sun coming out and bathing the town in a lovely soft afternoon light. 

photograph of Kastoria Town in the early evening light created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

photograph of Kastoria Town in the early evening light created during our autumn landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

We spent the night in Kastoria and and having bagged some nice images of the old town we headed another hour further north, still trying to outrun the weather, to Prespes on the border with FYROM and Albania.

We ended up spending 2 days exploring the two Lakes... Mikri (little) and Megali (big) Prespa Lake and were able to come away with some lovely images... 

Mikri Prespa Lake photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

Mikri Prespa Lake photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

the pier at MikroLimni photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

the pier at MikroLimni photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

...and then our time was all too quickly over and we set off across the north of the country back to Thessaloniki... making a brief stop near Florina to take a walk in the beautiful forest of Mount Nymfaio undergoing it's autumn change.. hoping we might catch a glimpse of a bear... but not unfortunately on this occasion...   

Forest at Nymfaio resplendent in golden autumn colours photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

Forest at Nymfaio resplendent in golden autumn colours photographed during our autumn 2013 landscape photography workshop and tour of northern Greece

...we made it to Thessaloniki with plenty of time spare thankfully and everyone set-off homeward bound... I in the meantime waited for my next guests to arrive which they did without any delays at all.. all on the same plane too which made life that much easier..  and we set off for Lake Kerkini.. whilst waiting I managed to catch a glimpse of the weather report for the next few days and luckily we seemed to be in for a bit of break in the bad weather.. the morning would tell..!

That evening after arriving at the Oikoperiigitis (Ecotours) Hotel and having settled everyone one in, we sat out in the shady courtyard of the hotel in what had turned into a balmy autumn evening and chatted about what we would do over the next few days... our host Yianni had stirred up a little excitement when he announced that 28 Lesser White Fronted Geese and a pair of Cranes had arrived at the lake just a few days earlier.. and so it was decided we would spend the first day on a circumnavigation of the lake in the hope of spotting them.

Unfortunately that first day they proved a little elusive.. but we did manage to see a spectacular Short-Toed Eagle that buzzed just about 50 feet over our heads giving wonderful views and an amazingly close photo opportunity... 

short-toed eagle photographed during our 5 day wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini;

short-toed eagle photographed during our 5 day wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini;

 The afternoon was spent taking some lovely scenics of the flamingos and thousands of water fowl..

water birds at Lake Kerkini photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife & bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

water birds at Lake Kerkini photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife & bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

Greater Flamingos photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

Greater Flamingos photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

birdlife photographed during our autumn 5 day wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

birdlife photographed during our autumn 5 day wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

 ... the following days were spent in much the same vein including a boat trip into the lake and a 4x4 excursion into the Lake Delta with Yianni's Landrover... when we were finally treated to a view of the Lesser White Fronted Geese and the Cranes... though unfortunately at too great a distance to do anything other than get some id'ing shots.

Our final day had a couple more treats in store for us with a wonderful viewing of a pair of Levant Sparrowhawks and seven Greater Spotted Eagles flying at great height.. though this one decided to come down for a closer look at us...

Greater Spotted Eagle photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

Greater Spotted Eagle photographed during our 5 day autumn wildlife and bird photography tour of Lake Kerkini

...not to mention at the other end of the scale some lovely bearded tits of which this is the female... 

Female Bearded Tit photographed during our 5 day photography tour of Lake Kerkini

Female Bearded Tit photographed during our 5 day photography tour of Lake Kerkini

... all in all a couple of fantastic autumn tours with some great photos and a fab time... my thanks to the two teams who came out with me... David, Emma and Nils on Valia Kalda tour and Frank, Patricia and Penny on the Kerkini tour... hope to see you all again...

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