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Wildlife photography

Wildlife photography and Outdoor adventure in Greece – Relax and Travel as an Adventurer: Hiking, Diving, Sightseeing and fishing on exotic island.

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There’s a great range of landscapes in Greece, from wetlands to forests, beaches, high mountains, gorges, and valleys, to name just a few. Even the islands have their own scenic beauty. Whether you’re a nature lover or want to discover more about Greece besides its ancient monuments, temples, and beaches, here are the national parks you can visit.  It’s not necessary to brag about Greece’s lengthy Mediterranean shoreline. The seacoast is well known, and it seems to “hide” the mountains. Because of its fame, the mountainous country of Greece is primarily known for its seacoast. There are around 300 mountains in Greece, covering 80% of the country! Because of the fragmented terrain of islands, endless sandy shores, and mountains, nature lovers will find a great diversity of microclimates and environments, making it a paradise. There are more than 5700 plant species in Greece, and their diversity is what makes them so interesting and unique! Many of them can only be found on isolated islands or in remote mountain regions. 

What are the restrictions on Wildlife photography in Greece?

Legal restrictions on photography in Greece

People photography

It is perfectly legal to photograph people in public without their consent:
  • An adult person in public space
  • People at work in public space (e.g. policemen)
  • Groups or assemblies of people (celebrations, demonstrations etc.)

However, keep in mind that people are full of fears, especially in big cities. They may feel that a photographer intrudes their personal space and privacy rights. Approaching people with a smile, politeness and trust is always a good starting point. Some photographers think that you cannot capture spontaneous, unexpected moments or expressions this way. The reality is that when people get accustomed to your presence they tend to forget about you. You have to first earn their trust and respect and then click the shutter!

The law assumes that consent has been provided silently if the depicted person has been paid by the photographer or has paid for the photography session.

It’s not legal to photograph people without their consent:

  • People in their private space
  • Monks in monasteries
  • Children (required parents permission)
  • People arrested and transported to court by the police

In practice, we have never had any problem with people photography in Greece. In our photography expeditions, your photo guide will take care of the communication with local people that you want to shoot their portraits. We always politely ask before shooting the portrait of a person.

Architecture, art, archaeological sites and museums, private properties, special environment preserves.

It is legal to photograph public properties:

  • Public buildings
  • The facade of private buildings when shooting from public space and not interfering with the privacy rights of the property owner
  • Works of art in public places (sculptures, graffiti etc)
  • Most of the archaeological sites and public museums (with exceptions)
  • Most churches with taking great care to be quiet and discreet. No flash and tripods.

Photography in archaeological sites and museums

Photography in archaeological sites and most museums is permitted with a handheld camera without flash as long as the photos will not be used for professional/commercial purposes. No tripods allowed and in most cases if you carry a tripod you’ll be asked to leave it at the entrance. In some museums or areas photography is restricted.

You can obtain a license from the Ministry of Culture for shooting for commercial purposes at archaeological sites and museums. Special fees apply.

A general museum policy prevents visitors from photographing ancient sculptures with people next to them.  This restriction is created out of respect for the ancient  pieces of art.

Photography in special wildlife preserves
Photography in special areas and wildlife preserves is not permitted without special license. A general wildlife protection policy prevents visitors from visiting and photographing the wild animals in these areas without special permit.  This restriction is created out of respect for the animals safe.

Photographing monasteries and monks

You can photograph monasteries, just be aware that you may need a permission from the Ministry of Culture to publish those pictures. You cannot photograph monks! But you can politely ask though! In our photography trips, your photo guide will take care of the communication with monks.

Never take photos of military establishments

NEVER! You will get yourself into real trouble!

It is not legal to photograph private properties or sensitive areas without consent or license:

  • Inside of private buildings
  • Private museums
  • Military establishments (NEVER!)
  • Industrial establishments
  • Large ports
  • Monasteries (you must ask first)

Publishing photographs

Commercial use
Model & Property releases are required for every commercial application of the photographs (advertising etc.).

Editorial use
Editorial usage may or may not need Model & Property releases but this is quite a complicated matter with many parameters involved. The general idea is that the laws pertaining freedom of the press and freedom of the arts are counterbalanced by the privacy law and personal rights.

Photographs of the works of contemporary artists shot in public space (sculptures, graffiti, architecture etc.) are for personal use only. Publishing those photos requires an explicit license from the artist.

Social media sharing
Uploading photographs of recognizable people without their consent to social media is considered personal data processing and this may be a violation of the privacy law.

Street photographers shooting homeless people without their consent and then uploading those photos to social media. This action could negatively affect the personality, life and future of those unlucky people. Unless you are a professional photojournalist and know what you are doing, better find another subject to shoot (or find another way to help them).

Drone photography & videography

The regulatory framework for the operations of drones in Greece is based on the Proposal for common rules for operating drones in Europe developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency. Here is the greek implementation of the Regulatory Framework for Unmanned Aircraft Systems – UAS  (in greek).

In short most amateur and professional drone photographers and videographers will be interested in the “Open Category” (The drone weighs less than 25 kgr) with the following requirements:

UAS Open Category

  1. The pilot is required to have direct eye contact with the drone with a max distance of 500 m
  2. Max flight height is 400 feet (120 m)
  3. The operator is responsible for keeping a secure lateral distance of more than 50 m from people and private properties
  4. The operator must be registered to the Department of Aviation Authority

Flights are forbidden (or require a special license):

  1. In restricted areas as published by the aeronautical publications of the Department of Aviation Authority ΥΠΑ (NOTAM).
  2. Less than 8 km from airports
  3. In civil or military controlled airspace
  4. Over or near military installations
  5. Over or near industrial installations
  6. Over restricted areas (e.g. Schools, Hospitals, Stadiums, Prisons, etc.)
  7. Over or near urban areas such as villages, towns and cities
  8. Over or near public buildings and utility facilities
  9. Over or near archaeological places
  10. In environmental protected areas
  11. Flights over an assembly of people or with a lateral distance of less than 150 m
  12. Over 400ft (120 m) above ground level
  13. Outside of direct line of sight
  14. Over or within 50 m of any person or private property
  15. Farther than 500 m from the drone operator

Be advised that there may be privacy or trespass laws or other legal issues that should be taken into consideration by the person operating the drone.

Flights over people assemblies require a special professional license along with flight safety devices (parachutes, foam material, etc.).

Professional operators

Professional operators are those using the drone for commercial purposes and need to meet the following requirements for obtaining their operator license:

  1. Professional operators registration
  2. Deposit (annual)
  3. Third party damages insurance
  4. Confirmation of required knowledge of the basic regulations of air traffic
  5. Health certificate (Class 3 Medical Fitness)
  6. Practical experience certified after successful execution of four (4) take-offs / landings in front of a qualified Civil Aviation Authority instructor
  7. Very good knowledge of Greek language
  8. Adequate knowledge of English language (level ICAO English proficiency standard level 4)
  9. Adequate level of theoretical knowledge on aviation topics certified by a written exam in front of  a CAA qualified instructor
  10. Practical exam in flying ability in front of  a CAA qualified instructor
  11. Over 18 years of age

When all the above prerequisites are met you can apply your application along with all the above paperwork to CAA for your professional operator license.

Foreign professional operators

CAA can recognize and accept certificates/licenses issued by other Member States of ICAO if they have been issued with similar criteria.

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Dangerous wildlife photography

According to the most recent research data, at least 700 brown bears live in the wild in Greece. One of Europe’s best-kept secrets is that there are still bears living in the wild here. Brown bears can be found in Northern Pindos National Park in Greece, as well as roe deer and wolves. Every day life can be hectic, so take a walk on the wild side and discover bear habitat while hiking through the huge wilderness with like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.

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Photography wildlife - The brown bear

Brown Bear Ursus arctos. … It is estimated that in Greece there are around 700 brown bears that have formed two small populations in the most remote regions in the Pindos and Rodopis Mountain Ranges, which now constitute the largest in number populations in the Member-States of the European Union.
In North America, the populations of brown bears are often called “grizzly bears”. It is one of the largest living terrestrial members of the order Carnivora, rivalled in size only by its closest relative, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), which is much less variable in size and slightly larger on average. The brown bear’s principal range includes parts of Russia, Central Asia, China, Canada, the United States, Hokkaido, Scandinavia, and the Carpathian region, especially Romania, Anatolia and the Caucasus. The brown bear is recognized as a national and state animal in several European countries

Photography wildlife - The wolf

The wolf is found in a diverse range of habitats in Greece, ranging from degraded, hilly terrain to densely forested mountains. In mountainous and semi-mountainous areas with low human populations, the wolf is more abundant. The species was eliminated from the whole of the mainland country prior to 1930. Before the 1940s, wolf populations were exterminated in Pelloponisos to the south and in the Prefectures of Voiotia and southern Fokida (Central Greece). Re-population of wolf populations began in the 1980s as a result of the abandonment of the bounty system and the use of poisoned baits. It is uncertain whether populations are increasing in most areas of its range, although there is a potential for an increase in its southern range. Today, wolf populations are found from Thrace in north-eastern Greece to Voiotia in southern Central Greece. Although small gaps in wolf ranges are observed, there is no evidence of a complete barrier to interbreeding between neighbouring wolf populations.

Sapientza Island is the only place in the world where you can find the wild pure Kri Kri ibex.  The kri – kri (Capra aegagrus cretica), sometimes called the Cretan goat, Agrimi, or Cretan Ibex, is a feral goat inhabiting the Eastern Mediterranean, previously considered a subspecies of wild goat.
The kri-kri has a light brownish coat with a darker band around its neck. It has two horns that sweep back from the head. In the wild they are shy and avoid people, resting during the day. The animal can leap some distance or climb seemingly sheer cliffs.
The kri-kri is not thought to be indigenous to Crete, most likely having been imported to the island during the time of the Minoan civilization. Nevertheless, it is found nowhere else and is thereforeendemic to Crete. It was common throughout the Aegean but the peaks of the 8,000 ft (2,400 m) White Mountains of Western Crete are their last strongholds–particularly a series of almost vertical 3,000 ft (900 m) cliffs called ‘the Untrodden’—at the head of the Samaria Gorge. This mountain range, which hosts another 14 endemic animal species, is protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. In total, their range extends to the White Mountains, the Samaria National Forest and the islets of Dia, Thodorou, and Agii Pandes.
Ibexes on Sapientza island originate from Crete, from there they got their name. But on the main land of Greece hundreds of years ago where they mixed their genes with the freely walking domestic goats of the locals. Because of that reason all Kri Kri that inhabit some parts of Greece are hybrids and are much bigger, with different colour and larger and twisted horns than the ones at the island of Sapietza.
Sapientza is an island of lush vegetation, with a rich flora and fauna. Here we find the unique in the Mediterranean forest of perennial hollies and arbutus which reach heights beyond ten meters. The great zoological importance of the island is highlighted by the bottlenose dolphin, the Mediterranean monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle. The famous Cretan goat Kri-kri lives here, as well as many bird species. Researchers and visitors are mystified by the beauty of the landscape and its harmony with nature.

In November, access to the island is strictly limited for Kri Kri hunting.
Trophy hunting on the island is the best way to prevent overpopulation and preserve the vegetation. An unhealthy population, on the other hand, can result in infections or vegetation destruction. It is therefore critical to maintain a healthy population through trophy hunting in order to maintain the ecosystem.

Photography wildlife Sapientza Mouflon

Sapientza Mouflon Latin name: Ovis Ammon Musimon is a subspicie and looks more like Corsican sheep then European mouflon. Smaller body the same as the Kri Kri ibex is defined from the limited food source of the island. Mouflon sheep have reddish to dark brown, short-haired coats with dark back stripes and black ventral areas and light-colored saddle patches. The males are horned; some females are horned, while others are polled. The horns of mature rams are curved in almost one full revolution (up to 80 cm). Mouflon have shoulder heights around 0.7 m and body weights of 40 kg (males) and 25 kg (females).

Photography wildlife Mediterranean Monk Seal

The Mediterranean Monk seal (Monachus monachus) is one of the larger species of seals in the world.

The greater part of its population is situated in Greek waters and is estimated to be about 550-600 seals. The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) is a monk seal belonging to the family Phocidae. As of 2015, it is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean, (especially) in the Aegean Sea, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. It is believed to be the world’s rarest pinniped species.
Sapientza is an island of lush vegetation, with a rich flora and fauna. Here we find the unique in the Mediterranean forest of perennial hollies and arbutus which reach heights beyond ten meters. The great zoological importance of the island is highlighted by the bottlenose dolphin, the Mediterranean monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle. The famous Cretan goat Kri-kri lives here, as well as many bird species. Researchers and visitors are mystified by the beauty of the landscape and its harmony with nature. The habitat of this pinniped has changed over the years. In ancient times, and up until the 20th century, Mediterranean monk seals had been known to congregate, give birth, and seek refuge on open beaches. In more recent times, they have left their former habitat and now only use sea caves for these activities. Often these caves are inaccessible to humans. Often their caves have underwater entries and their caves are often positioned along remote or rugged coastlines.

Photography wildlife Sea turtle

A marine park’s purpose is to protect a specific habitat and preserve its fragile ecosystem, ensuring that the animals that live, breed, or lay eggs there are protected. This is the reason for the restricted access for people to the habitats of endangered marine species.
Giant sea turtles are found in several locations around the world, including the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, as well as the Mediterranean sea. The loggerhead sea turtle is considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. In total, 9 distinct population segments are under the protection of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, with 4 population segments classified as “threatened” and 5 classified as “endangered”[5] Commercial trade of loggerheads or derived products is prohibited by CITES Appendix I. Untended fishing gear is responsible for many loggerhead deaths.
The greatest threat is loss of nesting habitat due to coastal development, predation of nests, and human disturbances (such as coastal lighting and housing developments) that cause disorientations during the emergence of hatchlings.[6] Turtles may also suffocate if they are trapped in fishing trawls. Turtle excluder devices have been implemented in efforts to reduce mortality by providing an escape route for the turtles. Loss of suitable nesting beaches and the introduction of exotic predators have also taken a toll on loggerhead populations. Efforts to restore their numbers will require international cooperation, since the turtles roam vast areas of ocean and critical nesting beaches are scattered across several countries.

Sea turtle

Three species of sea turtles frequent the Mediterranean. The Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and the Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest here, while the Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is an occasional visitor. 

Cave diving

Cave diving is underwater diving in water-filled caves.

Monk Seal

Monachus monachus, also known as the Mediterranean Monk Seal, is found around the Mediterranean Sea region and the Northwest African Coast.

Deep Sea Alien Creatures

I love octopuses in the Mediterranean. They are intelligent, widespread, and interesting with their remarkable camouflage skills.

How do we find shipwrecks?

Or just sunken treasure.

Shipwreck & underwater

Free diving with our professional guide