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BULGARIA Wildlife

Golden eagles, Griffon vultures, Foxes and Wolves

Bundespreissieger Berufsfotografie 2023

National prize winner

Professional photography 2023

NATURE / WILDLIFE

3-days wildlife workshop in the mountains of Bulgaria. A very special treat for wildlife lovers, where there is also a little variety in front of the lens.
Depending on the season, golden eagles, griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures can be seen here. But wolves, foxes and jackals can also be seen in front of the lens from time to time. Jackals are very common 😊

Which animals can be seen in the cold season from November to March and the probability as a percentage:
Golden eagle 90% - Raven 90% - Griffon vulture 80% - Fox 80% - Imperial eagle 40% - Wolf 30% - Jackal 30% - White-tailed eagle 30% - Raven vulture or black vulture 20%

Which animals can be seen in the warm season from April to October and the probability as a percentage:
Egyptian vulture 90% - Griffon vulture 90% - Black kite 90% - Common raven 90% - Fox - 50% - Black vulture 30% - Wolf 20% - Jackal 20% - Golden eagle 20% - White-tailed eagle 10%.

For the year 2024, there is still a workshop in May for those who decide quickly.
This will be followed by the 2024/25 photo workshop series, which starts in December 2024 and runs until mid-May 2025.

Prerequisite for this photo workshop

For beginners and advanced photographers and of course all those who have already taken the "Sharp in Flight Basic" or "Advanced" workshop series. You should have some basic knowledge of bird photography and birds in flight in order to capture the birds well in flight.
In this photo workshop, we will fine-tune your cameras and also the tracking technique. However, this workshop is not intended for the complete basic settings and exercises and there is not enough time for this. The "BASIC" and "ADVANCED" workshops, which are held in Austria, are the right choice for this.

As a hunter, falconer and wildlife photographer i am happy to pass on my extensive knowledge to the participants and of course provide full technical support in all aspects of photography so that the maximum of 4 participants in this workshop can take the best pictures. Why so few participants? - "Optimal support for all participants is only possible with a maximum of 3-4 people. In large groups, the learning effect is very modest, because as a single person I can't look after everyone at the same time and that's exactly what I prioritise." The photo workshop in Bulgaria should also take you a step further photographically.

The workshops take place every year between 1 December and 15 May
 

Next available date
16 - 20 Dec 2024

Short Info


Prices
€ 1990,- each person Incl. transfer from airport to location and back, hire of hides

 

Excluding flight, accommodation and catering

Date

From December to
mid-May - 5 days each

Participant

max. 4 persons
This guarantees professional support

Departure

Munich or Vienna to Sofia

DATES for 2024/2025 - maximum 4 people

09.-13. May 2024 
 

16.-20. December 2024

10.-14 January 2025

13.-17 February 2025

14.-18. March 2025

11.-15. April 2025

16.-20. May 2025

3 places available - for quick decision makers

4 places available - early bookers until 15 August 2024

4 places available - early bookers until 15 September 2024

4 places available - early bookers until 15 October 2024

4 places available - early bird until 15 November 2024

4 places available - early bird until 15 December 2025

4 places available - early bird until 15 January 2025

EARLY BOOKING BONUS!!!
This should be an incentive for you to book as early as possible, but also to get a place
for this photo tour.
The tours are usually fully booked months in advance.
The early booking bonus of € 100.00 will be deducted directly from your invoice.

Workshop content
 

  • Theoretical introduction to bird of prey photography, wildlife photography - fine-tuning autofocus, camera settings, tracking camera

  • Body language of birds of prey and its interpretation for photography (extremely important, this usually puts you one step ahead photographically)

  • 2 different hides and places to choose from, thus different perspectives possible on these 3 days

  • Image analysis in the evening and discussion of possible improvements for the next day

Programme schedule

Travelling by plane from Vienna, Munich or Salzburg

Day 1:
Meeting point at the airport very early in the morning, depending on flight time, followed by a flight of approx. 2 hours to Sofia.
Here we change to a hire car and drive to the hotel - approx. 3 hours by car.


After arriving in the late afternoon, we have a cosy dinner in the hotel restaurant. Afterwards, each participant receives a script and the most important topics such as camera settings, focus and behaviour of birds of prey and wild animals are discussed in order to be best prepared for the first day in the hide.

 

Day2-4:
 

On these 3 days we have to get up very early, we have to be in our hide before sunrise and we don't get out of the hide before sunset. Our local ranger takes us directly to the hides by vehicle.

Warm clothing, if possible in many different layers, is recommended, in winter it can be very cold (so-called onion look is recommended) to be able to take something off in the hide. The hides are heated, but on very cold days it can still be chilly.

The golden eagle is often the first bird of prey to show itself at sunrise, when there is usually still little light. The griffon vultures are not normally here at this time and the golden eagle takes advantage of this and enjoys the peace and quiet.

But it doesn't take very long for the first griffon vultures to arrive. At first you see one or two circling in the sky. But then they quickly increase in number and within a short time there are often 20-40 of them settling on the site.
It is also very impressive to see this number circling in the sky and how they then land one after the other.
These places are used for feeding with natural fallen game - i.e. deer, very often cows etc. that have died naturally are offered to the griffon vultures for utilisation. The griffon vulture was reintroduced here years ago and now breeds successfully in the mountains of Bulgaria.
It can be seen regularly in this hide and, above all, lives in the wild in its most natural form. There are always wild fights here, because the scavengers know very well that game the size of a deer is often completely processed after 3-4 hours and only bones and fur remain. That's why the motto is to be among the first and the place is accordingly lively.

 

Every now and then, black vultures appear; they have also been introduced here in recent years and breed in the mountains. With a wingspan of almost three metres, it is the largest bird of prey in Europe.
 

Attracted by the sounds of the griffon vultures, jackals can also be seen from time to time, which naturally want to dust off some of the delicious food. This can also often lead to fights. However, the jackal is too small to be a serious threat to the vultures, even in a group. But it also has its demands on the daily menu.

 

If all the birds of prey suddenly fly up and flee, then either a person is coming or it's a wolf. That's exactly what happened to me when I was there in February this year. I wondered what the cause could be.A few seconds later I knew - the wolf was looking over the cairn at me.

Then, of course, I knew why everyone was fleeing, because the wolf is a potential danger to all vultures and so not one stayed put and took up the challenge. I had him about 10 minutes before the hide, but he was visibly nervous and tense. The wind was in my favour. I had a crosswind, but he felt my presence.

I was alone in the hide and so the chances of getting him in front of the lens were much higher, because you don't normally talk to yourself 😄 It's much more difficult with a group and it requires a lot of discipline.

 

Everything here is absolutely wildlife and so there is never a guarantee of what will happen in front of the hide. But in three days there's always a lot going on and you'll get lots of photos of all kinds of birds of prey and wild animals. But you never know which animals will turn up.

Every day after sunset we are picked up by the ranger and we drive to our accommodation. The approach and descent is really adventurous and can only be done with the heaviest off-road equipment. Very steep, knee-deep holes ...... If you've never done anything like this before, it's an additional adventure. But our ranger has it fully under control.


 

There is an extra room in the Hide, with a toilet, for small needs 😉 It is not possible to go out during the day.

 

In the evening we have a perfect dinner with starter, main course and dessert and the landlady really spoils us and we enjoy delicious Bulgarian beer. Afterwards, we discuss the pictures and get tips and tricks for the next day. There's not much time left, we have to get up early again.
 

Day 5:
 

We don't need to get up quite as early as the days before and can have a normal breakfast.
After breakfast together, we leave for the airport in Sofia and arrive in Munich or Vienna in the late afternoon or at night (depending on the flight time). From here we return home.    


 

Requirements and recommended equipment 

 

  • Good basic knowledge of photography, especially of birds in flight 

  • Own SLR camera or system camera

  • Telephoto lens from 300-500mm with full-frame camera, telephoto lens 150-300mm with MFT camera and telephoto lens 200-400mm with APSC camera, if available 1.4 teleconverter

  • If possible, a second lens with a different focal length - ideally a lens for short distances 200-300mm and up to 500 or 600mm for long distances

  • Enough memory cards and full batteries, spare batteries

  • Laptop and external hard drive to save the pictures and empty the memory cards for the next day

  • At least one gimbal

  • Tripod for mounting the gimbal

  • Card reader with cable for reading your pictures

  • Good and above all warm and waterproof footwear and clothing (in several layers - so-called onion look)

  • Torch (preferably a headlamp)

  • Gloves (especially in the winter months)

  • Passion for wildlife and bird of prey photography 😊
     

Included in the price
 

  • Transfer from Sofia airport to the hotel and back to the airport on the last day  

  • 3 Tage spannende Wildtierfotografie in beheizten Ansitzhütten

  • Snacks und Kaffee, Tee für den Tag

  • Täglicher Transport vom Hotel zum Hide und retour

  • Technische Unterstützung von Manfred Hesch, wissenswertes über die Wildtiere. Organisation während der Reise und vor Ort.

  • Objektive und Bodys von Nikon können getestet werden

  • Wimberley Gimbal oder Gitzo Gimbal können getestet werden
     

Nicht inkludiert in Teilnahmegebühr ist

 

  • Anreise zum Flughafen in Wien oder München (Fahrgemeinschaft möglich) 

  • Flüge von Wien oder München nach Sofia und retour (ich arbeite hier mit einem Reisebüro zusammen und jeder bucht seinen Flug über diese Firma) Kosten des Fluges ca. € 300,00 - auch hier gilt je früher umso günstiger!!

  • Hotelübernächtigung inklusive Frühstück, Lunchpaket für die Tage im Hide und Abendessen für 4 Tage
    Hier habe ich eine sehr schöne Pension ausgesucht, welche gepflegte Zimmer und hervorragendes Essen bietet - Kostenpunkt für 4 Tage/Person ca. € 350,00

    Verpflegung: Frühstückskaffe und Lunchpaket für den Tag, Abendessen mit Vorspeise, Hauptspeise und Dessert - für 4 Tage, Getränke

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