What could be better after a long, dark British winter than spending a week immersed in the wildflowers of the beautiful Dodecanese island of Rhodes in the warm eastern Mediterranean? Spending that week photographing those myriad wildflowers in the company of acclaimed professional plant photographer Sarah Cuttle, and passionate plant-hunter and author of botanical bestseller Orchid Summer, naturalist Jon Dunn!
Rhodes in late 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 wide variety of colourful and dramatic wildflowers for some exciting photographic opportunities, from delicate cyclamens to immense dragon arums, swathes of campanulas, fritillaries and hyacinths like Impressionist paintings, gorgeous endemic peonies, and myriads of orchids in all shapes, sizes, colours and forms.
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 fine dry conditions elsewhere!
The holiday is about enjoying a gentle-paced introduction to wildflower 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 wildflowers 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).
On the subject of which camera equipment that would be best for this holiday, Sarah and Jon are confident that they can help every guest get the best images of wildflowers regardless of the camera that they have. If possible, it is recommended that you bring along with you the manual to your camera.
However, Sarah and Jon would like to stress that you don’t need to have an expensive camera to take brilliant plant portraits. Many of us use the cameras in our phones on a daily basis, and the quality of images possible can, with the right technique, be extraordinary. Our daily photography excursions will focus on getting the best from whatever equipment our guests prefer to use. For some, this holiday will be an introduction to plant photography, and for others this will be building upon an existing enthusiasm for this highly enjoyable aspect of natural history. Above all, we will have a lot of fun, and see and photograph some of the finest spring wildflower spectacles in Europe!
If guests are looking to purchase equipment before the holiday, Sarah recommends taking a look at the Consumers Association website, as they have tried and tested every level of camera out there. There is also a great deal of good advice on The Amateur Photographer website:
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.
We look forward to welcoming you to join what we are sure will be a very popular tour!