Of all the spring wildflowers, none have quite the allure, beauty and mystique boasted by the orchids of Europe. Of all the places in which to photograph them, few can approach the Greek island of Rhodes for a warm welcome, stunning surroundings and, of course, sheer numbers and variety of orchids. With acclaimed professional plant photographer Sarah Cuttle and Jon Dunn, author of botanical bestseller Orchid Summer, as your guides it’s the perfect setting for an orchid photography holiday!
Rhodes in mid-March is bursting into life after a mild winter. 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. A range of habitats in such a compact island as Rhodes means we can expect to find a good variety of colourful and dramatic orchids for some exciting photographic opportunities!
Some of these will be within walking distance of the welcoming, family-run, small hotel at which we will base ourselves for the week, set on the outskirts of a small village in the heart of the island. Our central location means that nowhere on the island is beyond striking distance within a day, and allows us to offer a varied daily program.
We’ll keep the daily schedule flexible as we’ll want to take account and full advantage of the local conditions, which can be changeable at this time of year – the good news being that if one side of the island has rain, we can usually find dry conditions elsewhere!
Our timing means we should find fine late examples of some of the earlier-flowering orchids and early examples of some of the later-flowering species – and, of course, a good range of species that will be in their absolute prime. This holiday is not, however, about building a big list – it is, instead, about enjoying a gentle-paced introduction to orchid photography, and coming away with images our guests will cherish and techniques that will stand them in good stead nearer to home.
Sarah and Jon 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 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 composing your shots and digital workflow with Photoshop (you will need to bring your own laptop with software if you want help and advice on digital workflows).
Potential species include:
Giant Orchid Himantoglossum robertianum; King Ferdinand’s Orchid Ophrys regis-ferdinandii, Mirror Orchid Ophrys speculum and Sawfly Orchid Ophrys tenthredinifera – plus a wide variety of further Ophrys bee orchid species, including O.lucis, O.dodekanensis, O.sitiaca and O.omegaifera; Dense-flowered Orchid Neotinea maculata; Anatolian Orchid Orchis anatolica; and doubtless some surprises too!
We will undoubtedly encounter a great many other spring wildflowers and, while this photography holiday has an unashamed orchid focus, we certainly won’t ignore opportunities for composing other striking wildflower images.
Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese group of islands in Greece, is situated just off the western coast of Turkey. Therefore, it is blessed with an interesting mixture of east Mediterranean and Asian flora and fauna. Although the island is a popular destination for sun and beach loving tourists, there is much natural beauty to discover, if one takes the time! The island is blessed with 1,500 recorded plant species, including well over 50 species of Orchid – an impressive list for an island only 80km long and 30km at its widest point.
Our base for the week will be a family run hotel in a traditional village, nestled at the foot of the island’s highest mountain. From here we’ll embark on daily adventures around the island, followed by relaxing evening meals at our hotel or in traditional tavernas.
We look forward to welcoming you to join what we are sure will be a very popular tour!