If you love to see the natural world close up, in all its amazing technicolour detail this is the ideal holiday for you! The tranquil and verdant Lake Kerkini and surrounding mountains are the perfect place – full of butterflies, bugs and beautiful flowers for a feast of macro photography!
The area we’ll visit is rich in diverse habitats within a relatively small area, making it a prime location for finding biodiversity. The habitats we’ll explore include Lake Kerkini and associated wetlands, flowery hillsides, alpine pastures and emerald green mountains covered in forests of beech, hornbeam, oak, black pine and oriental plane. In turn this diversity supports an equally rich flora and fauna, thus a wide range of different and exciting macro opportunities! There can be dragonflies and tree frogs close to the water, orchids and other flowers in the hillside meadows, along with a beautiful palette of colourful butterflies. And everywhere we go there is the chance to find other fascinating insects and other invertebrates, like praying mantids, longhorn beetles, katylids, spiders and much more.
Our home for the week is a very welcoming, family-run hotel, close to Lake Kerkini. It provides the perfect base for our week of relaxing and fun photography in the wide open spaces and verdant mountains that surround the beautiful Lake Kerkini that we’ll call home.
The holiday has been designed to maximise the opportunities for macro photography by staying in one wildlife rich place for the week, where we can spend as much time as possible outside with our cameras.
Matt will be on hand to advise on how to capture intimate and interesting portraits of butterflies, spiders, insects and other invertebrates in their natural habitats. The kind of techniques that will be covered include: basics of macro photography; optimising natural light with reflectors and diffusers; working with off-camera flash; creating creative macro compositions and digital workflow for macro photography.
Our daily schedule is kept flexible as we’ll want to take account and full advantage of the local conditions, which can be changeable. In general we’ll try and split the day into three sections:
The time when many of our smaller macro subjects like dragonflies and butterflies will still be sleeping or waking up and not warm and fully active, making them easier to photograph. They may also be covered in attractive dewdrops and lit by gorgeous early morning sunlight, helping to bring extra life and beauty to your photographs.
We may also have moths to photography from overnight traps on some of the days, which we can either photograph in the mornings or evenings, before releasing them back into the wild.
Late morning and afternoon
The sun will be higher and the temperatures too, so it is a good time to photograph some of the more stationary subjects such as orchids and other wild flowers. Many insects and other invertebrates will be active now and although may prove challenging at times to photograph, being more visible can help to find more subjects and opportunities too.
Late afternoon and evening
Another good time to begin to look for butterflies as they seek out places to roost for the night. The light can also be wonderful for these types of shots, or just for photographing flowers on their own.
We may also choose to go out late on one or more occasion, to trap moths and either photograph them then or keep them safe until the morning when we can set up a shooting session for them.
The potential species to photograph are endless and there is always a new discovery to be made on such a trip, but here is a selection of subjects we have a good chance to encounter… (check out the gallery for some example photos)
Little Tiger Blue butterfly, Nettle Tree butterfly, Marbled Fritillary, Spotted Fritillary, Yellow-banded Skipper, Purple-shot Copper, Black-veined White, Cardinal, Praying Mantis Empusa pennata, European tree frog, Tortoises, Beautiful Demoiselle, Broad Scarlet, Thread-winged Lacewing, Longhorn Beetle Agapanthia kirbyi, Predatory Bush Cricket Saga pedo – largest grasshopper (and insect) in Europe!, Violet carpenter bee, Lizard Orchid, Woodcock Orchid, Humming-bird Hawk-moth and colourful Spurge Hawk-moth caterpillars.