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Dalmatian pelicans

Last week I spent some days with the Dalmatian pelicans in Greece, joined by a group of photographers that I was guiding. It was my third time with these great birds and I was looking forward to get wing-beaten again, every time they get up too close. Last year my glasses flew off my head and I’d had quite a headache. Yes, I wanted more of that!

Rain had been abundant in Belgium this winter, so I was happy to see the nice forecast for Greece: sunny, dry, 15°C! While we were in Greece, it never stopped raining back home. And it was still raining when we got back. What a sad winter.

Perfect conditions, perfect gear

Anyway, our days with the pelicans were great again. We had with windless weather on our first day. That meant perfect reflections in the water and smooth backgrounds. The best part was the visibility of the mountain range in the background; the very first time it was clearly visible.

Although I love prime lenses and photographed the pelicans before with a 300 and 600mm (apart from the fish-eyes and wide-angles, of course!), I was considering to buy the new Nikon AF-S 80-400mm lens for some time. I tried it earlier and was really amazed by its optical quality and speed, compared to the previous one or the 70-200mm with converters.

So, the day before we travelled to Greece I went to the shop of my friend Lieven Coudenys and bought the lens. This was the perfect opportunity to really test the lens to its limits. Why? Well, a lot of photography takes place on a small boat, where you can’t use a tripod. And fast action is everywhere and up close. It’s not the cheapest lens, but I really do recommend it! I used it on the D4 and the D800E. It was very fast on both and still very flexible to hold (and to carry in my bag, next to the 600mm, some garments, some smaller lenses, flash, …). Very happy I finally got one, and I look forward to using it again! Or to see my Sophie using it!

Most of the flight shots and landscape pictures in this gallery were taken with the 80-400mm lens. I think I convinced several people in my group to get one for themselves 😉

See you next year, beauties!


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