Meteora & Pindos Photo Workshop/Tour 2016 - Part 1 - Meteora

In the brief respite between Christmas and New Year, I thought I'd write up the trip reports from our trips last month to Meteora & Pindos for a landscape photography workshop and to Kerkini for our winter birds photography tour... so here we go...!

Pick up from Thessaloniki airport went smoothly with no delayed flights or cancellations which meant we could get going with our trip on time..! a 3 hour drive later and we arrived under the cover of darkness at our hotel in the village of Kastraki. Despite the darkness of the night, the hulking shadows of the Meteora dolomites could still be discerned against the ink black sky which gave us a hint of the views which we would be enjoying the following morning,

A very cold 6am rise next morning and still the dark of winter cloaked the mountains for our 15 minute drive up to the first sunrise location... by the time we had driven up and scrambled over the precarious rocks to start setting up tripods and cameras, the slimmest light of dawn had begun to sneak over the horizon.

George assisting a guest as dawn spread over the horizon as we set up for our first sunrise shoot at the Meteora during our autumn landscape photography workshop to Meteora & Pindos in Greece

George assisting a guest as dawn spread over the horizon as we set up for our first sunrise shoot at the Meteora during our autumn landscape photography workshop to Meteora & Pindos in Greece

The sunrise shoot at Meteora is always a challenging one as the sun rises directly behind the Monasteries meaning multiple exposures to capture the beauty of the valley and monasteries as well as the breaking dawn sky... thanks to Tam for the above pic she took of me on her iPhone assisting Ciaran to set up for the shoot.

We were so lucky with the sunrise shoots as on both mornings we had sun and on both mornings the mist came rolling through the valley to grant us a fantastic opportunity to photograph the monasteries "floating" in the clouds...

Cloud and mist roll through the valley beneath the Meteora during the first sunrise on our landscape photography workshop to Meteora and Pindos Mountains in Greece.

Cloud and mist roll through the valley beneath the Meteora during the first sunrise on our landscape photography workshop to Meteora and Pindos Mountains in Greece.

Dawn over the monasteries was followed by a return to the hotel for a well deserved and hearty breakfast and gave us the opportunity to shake off the cold from the morning's outing... wasn't long though before we were out again and up the mountain once more to photograph some of the other monasteries...

Another panoramic taken this time on my own iPhone.. Tam & Ciaran photographing one of the monasteries of the Meteora perched seemingly impossibly on a dolomite.. during our Landscape Photography workshop to Meteora and Pindos mountains in Greece, 2016;

Another panoramic taken this time on my own iPhone.. Tam & Ciaran photographing one of the monasteries of the Meteora perched seemingly impossibly on a dolomite.. during our Landscape Photography workshop to Meteora and Pindos mountains in Greece, 2016;

After a brief stop for an amazing lunch in the village below (no soggy sandwiches on our tours..!) we were back up the mountain for a third time in the day... this time to catch the sunset... which is always spectacular at Meteora... I've been coming here for many years and have yet to be disappointed.. somehow Meteora is such a mystical and magical place and always seems to deliver what I like to call, "a God moment"...

Photographing sunset over the Meteora monasteries during our Landscape Photography Workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

Photographing sunset over the Meteora monasteries during our Landscape Photography Workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

Magical and mystical Meteora... during our Landscape Photography Workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

Magical and mystical Meteora... during our Landscape Photography Workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

...and Tam even found time to "Zen" out a little...

Tam's Zen moment watching the sun set over the monasteries of the Meteora... during our Landscape Photography workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

Tam's Zen moment watching the sun set over the monasteries of the Meteora... during our Landscape Photography workshop to Meteora and the Pindos Mountains in Greece, 2016;

A very successful first day at Meteora..! ....evening back at the hotel and after yet another amazing meal in the village and a quick review of the day's images the team was enthused and thirsty for more.. so a decision was taken to delay the drive to Pindos by a couple of hours the next day and spend the next morning up at Meteora again but this time from a different vantage point with the sun behind us... once again the Gods did not diappoint... the sun came out, the mists rolled in, and fab photos were made..!

Back down to the hotel again after another very satisfying morning.. full Greek breakfast and onward to the Pindos Mountains....!