This past weekend should have seen me hosting a series of orchid-hunting days in Kent for Greenwings – a chance to share my beloved orchids with a gathering of friends old and new. By now we should have been surrounded by Lady Orchids and even rarer things besides… Circumstances, of course, have sadly intervened and dictated otherwise – the latest disruption to my program of anticipated tours in Britain and Europe this year.
That’s a terrible shame, of course, but there’s a silver lining to that particular cloud – it’s allowed time for planning a rather special new Greenwings orchid-hunting tour for next year – one with a significant difference.
I love taking photos of all manner of wildlife, orchids in particular, and was delighted last year that one of my recent orchid images was shortlisted in the Close Up Photographer of the Year competition. That said, I’m a nature writer and wildlife tour leader as well as a photographer – I’m not a full-time, professional plant photographer. They’re a different, rarer breed altogether.
It’s with a huge sense of anticipation, then, that I’m looking forward to the Rhodes Orchid Photography tour next March, which I’ll be co-leading alongside acclaimed professional garden and plant photographer Sarah Cuttle. Sarah’s images are a delight for the eye, and feature regularly in a host of publications – BBC Gardener’s World, RHS The Garden, The English Garden, Gardens Illustrated, House & Garden and Country Living. She provided the images for the sumptuous illustrated Wild Flowers of Britain and Ireland, and if all that weren’t enough, she’s an Associate Photographer for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
I’m pretty sure that I’m going to learn a thing or two from her!
Better still, you can too – we’ve designed a tour that will introduce our guests to one of the most botanically diverse and colourful islands of the eastern Mediterranean, at a time of year when it is abounding with spectacular wildflowers – with orchids a particularly diverse and abundant feature of the island’s flora.
With a week at our disposal, we’ll explore the island’s varied habitats, spending full days in montane and lowland locations, in lush meadows, dry garrigue, and shady olive groves, both inland and near the blue waters of the eastern Mediterranean.
This will be a gentle-paced introduction to orchid photography, with an emphasis on our guests coming away with images they will cherish and techniques that will stand them in good stead nearer to home.
Sarah and I will be on hand throughout to offer practical advice on how to capture intimate and interesting portraits of orchids in their natural habitats, combining the eyes and sensibilities of a pair of professional plant and wildlife photographers for your exclusive benefit – we’re delighted to say that nobody else is offering a plant photography holiday with such a unique perspective.
The kind of techniques that will be covered include the basics of plant photography; working with natural light, and tools to help optimise it; working with off-camera supplementary lighting; and composition of shots and digital workflow with Photoshop.
The tour will run from 20th-27th March 2021 – prime time for some mouth-watering orchid photography opportunities, not least with the bewildering, diverse array of Ophrys bee orchid species to be found on Rhodes. I can’t wait to return there, and maybe you’ll join us there too…