purely pelicans

Photographing & filming the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini

Join National Geographic photographer & filmmaker, George S Blonsky in 2023 for your next photographic odyssey… to capture the most amazing images of the most glamorous of birds.. the Dalmatian Pelicans… the first and original photographic tours and workshops to Lake Kerkini and other amazing locations throughout Greece….

Welcome to Lake Kerkini in Greece and to its resident population of Dalmatian Pelicans – Pelecanus Crispus.

Lake Kerkini is a man-made lake in the North of Greece near the Bulgarian border. Since its creation in 1932 to combat the effects of malaria which were prevalent at the time due to the marshes that existed in its place, the lake has become an exceptionally important wetland. In the winter it is a focal point for migrating birds traveling south from the arctic and in the summer it is a focal point for birds migrating northwards from Africa.

As such, it has a very rich and varied avifauna depending on the season one visits.

It is happily also home to many resident species, probably the most iconic of which is the beautiful but endangered Dalmatian Pelican. In fact Lake Kerkini is the first new breeding ground for these wonderful birds in over 150 years.

I  am very proud of the fact that I was the first to organise wildlife photography workshops in Greece and the first to organise workshops specifically to photograph the Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini, and I look forward to welcoming you here.

Our 4 day Purely Pelican trips to the lake are usually in January/February timed to coincide with their breeding season… at this time of year the males bill pouches turn bright red and their feathers whiten making them look magnificent in the winter light and stunning to photograph.

We undertake photography both from the shoreline and by boat, with the objective of capturing as many situations and behaviours as we can.. from individual portraits, group portraits and ‘in flight’ images both as they glide just inches from the surface of the water and also as they spiral up into the sky on thermals.

The lake itself is situated between two mountain ranges and at this time of the year their 2000+ metre peaks are usually snow-capped making for a beautiful backdrop to the images we are there to create.

SAMPLE ITINERARY:

  • Day 1: arrivals & transfers from Thessaloniki Airport to Hotel;
  • Day2: AM: pre-dawn rise for 3 hour shoot from the boat out on the lake;
  • Day2: PM: 2 hour shoot from the shoreline;
  • Day3: AM: pre-dawn rise for 3 hour shoot from the boat out on the lake;
  • Day3: PM: 2 hour shoot from the shoreline;
  • Day 4: departures & transfers from Hotel to Thessaloniki Airport;

Whats Included..

  • all guiding, advice and assistance from our Photographic Tour Leader
  • all accommodations for the duration of your stay on a non-sharing basis with NO single supplement
  • breakfasts, lunches & refreshments whilst out shooting (lunches may be of the “packed” variety so that we don’t cut short trips into the lake or mountains by having to return to the hotel or village to eat)…;
  • transportation : both to and from Thessaloniki airport as well as all “in-trip” transportation;
  • 3 organised excursions by boat & 3 by land;

What’s not included..

  • flights/visas
  • Insurance (recommended you have full health, medical, travel and equipment insurance);
  • activities not listed in the itinerary
  • evening meals
  • personal expenses – gratuities/tips, sundries, snacks etc..
  • all drinks: alcohol and special order drinks like cappuccinos,lattes etc..

Wildlife Film-making

This 5 day wildlife film-making workshop is aimed at beginners and wildlife photography enthusiasts who would like to improve their film-making and storytelling skills taking advantage of our close access to the beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans at Lake Kerkini

The course is suitable for novices, amateurs or anyone looking for mentorship in filming wildlife. All ages and abilities are welcome and the aim is that by the end of the 5 days you will produce a short film. We will look at filming techniques, building a storyline, and editing techniques as time allows. You will shoot exciting footage in challenging conditions and beautiful light and you will leave Kerkini better equipped to tell the stories you want to through your filming and photography.

We will try to touch upon technical aspects on film-making as well as on how to build a storyline of the natural world, looking at:

  • frame rates, shutter angles & exposure settings
  • storyboarding
  • filming for the edit
  • editing

There is at maximum a 1 to 3, teacher/guest ratio on this trip so there will be plenty of time to devote to each guest for 1-1 guidance. Note you will need your own video capable camera & lens kit.

Upcoming TOURS & workshops

Due to the pandemic I have been unable to run these trips for the last couple of years and unfortunately this year, Jan-Feb 2023 looks like I might still not be able to run it… watch out though for news in November for any last minute updates and sign up below for my newsletter to be notified first.

JAN/FEB 2023 ???

purely pelicans

5 day

Wildlife Photography Workshop

Photographing the beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini

MAX: 4 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

JANUARY 4th – 8th 2024

purely pelicans

5 day

Wildlife Documentary/ Filmmaking Course

Filming the beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini.

MAX : 3 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

€1800

(€300 deposit)

JANUARY 8th – 12th 2024

purely pelicans

5 day

Wildlife Photography Workshop

Photographing the beautiful Dalmatian Pelicans of Lake Kerkini.

MAX : 4 PAX

NOTE: dates subject to change according to airline flight schedules

€1400

(€300 deposit)

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To make a booking:

Fill out the form automated form below right, send us an email or telephone to check availability.

Once dates are confirmed, we’ll send you a booking form or you can download it in advance (below left) ..complete it, scan/photograph it and return by email to geopictorial@gmail.com …don’t forget to specify your preferred method of payment, either by Bank transfer or credit card via Paypal.

Once we have received your booking form we will send you an invoice either for the deposit or whole amount depending how far in advance you are booking. (Bookings within 12 weeks of the trip are paid in full)

Visas & Travel Permits: All our current trips are within the European Union.. please ensure you have the necessary travel documents & Visas necessary to visit any EU country before booking your tickets and your place on one of our trips. We cannot arrange these for you.