Dalmatian pelicans

Last week I spent some days again with the Dalmatian pelicans in Greece, with a group of photographers that I was guiding. It was my third time now with these great birds, and was looking forward again to get wing-beaten when they got up too close. Last year my glasses flew of my head, and had quite a head-ache afterwards. Yes, I wanted more of that!
It had been raining a lot here in Belgium this winter, so I was happy to see the nice forecast for Greece: sunny, dry, 15°C! When we were in Greece, it actually didn’t stopped raining back home, and when we got back, it was still raining. What a sad winter…

Anyway, our days with the pelicans were great again, and we were spoilt with windless weather on our first day. That meant perfect reflections in the water, smooth backgrounds. Best of all was the visibility of the mountain range in the background. This was the first time it was really well visible.

Although I love prime lenses, and photographed the pelicans before with 300 and 600mm lenses (apart from the fish-eye and wide-angle lenses too of course!), I was looking at the new Nikon AF-S 80-400mm lens since a long time. I had tried it earlier and was really amazed by its optical quality and speed, nothing to compare with the previous one or compared to 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. Since a lot of photography is done on a small boat, where you can’t use a tripod, and fast action is everywhere and up close, this was a challenging opportunity to really test the lens to its limits. It’s not the cheapest lens, but I can really recommend it! I used it on the D4 and the D800E, and on both it was very fast, sharp and still very flexible to handhold (and to carry it in the bag, next to the 600mm, 3 bodies, some smaller lenses, flash,…). Very happy I finally got one, looking forward to use 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 in my group to get one themselves ;-)

See you next year, beauties!