Long rows of lavender flowers in bloom, dazzling fields of giant sunflowers, and charming French villages -- what could be more exciting for a European photo tour! Join Jim and our local guide Patrice for a wonderful sojourn through Provence, France to photograph landscapes full of purple, picture-perfect villages, Medieval abbeys, palaces, and Roman ruins. We will take advantage of the best light -- sunrise and sunset -- to capture award-winning images, and twilight is also beautiful for the villages and the Medieval architecture. Jim will discuss many techniques like HDR, focus stacking, and sky replacement to help you get the best pictures possible.
Day 1, June 30, Saturday. Depart from your home city and arrive in Marseille, France. Our group will meet in the baggage area at 3pm on June 30 and leave the airport for our hotel in the heart of lavender territory where we will base our operators for the first part of the trip. Overnight Gordes.
Day 2, July 1, Sunday. We spend the day today photographing the beautiful lavender fields in and around Sault as well as the quaint village itself. We'll shoot from elevated perspectives where telephoto lenses are the perfect choice as well as from the edge of the lavender rows where both wide angles and telephoto lenses capture the graphic designs, the wonderful color and texture, and the receptive patterns of the lavender flowers. Low angled sunlight adds warmth to the scenes, and by including the sun with a wide angle the images look like magic. For twilight, we will photograph the lavender field at the foot of Banon village, and with HDR the lights on the village can exposed correctly along with the flowers in muted light. It's stunning. Overnight near Gordes.
Day 3, July 2, Monday. This morning we photograph sunrise on the hillside village of Gordes, and then we visit the picturesque villages of Roussillon and Lacoste. These villages are beautiful from afar as they are nestled into the hilly terrain of the countryside, and up close they offer wonderful architectural details in cobblestone streets, windows decorated with flowers and artistically designed doors. In the afternoon, we visit the 14th century Pope's Palace in Avignon, one of the largest and most important Gothic buildings in Europe. Overnight near Gordes.
Day 4, July 3, Tuesday. For sunrise this morning we photograph Senanque Abbey, famous among photographers because of the rows of lavender that act as leading lines that bring our right to the Medieval structure that was consecrated in the year 1178. This is a great place to use a telephoto lens for compression and at the same time use focus stacking for complete depth of field with the long lens. We follow this with a visit to Saint-Remy-de-Provence to photograph the beautiful St. Paul-De-Mausolea monastery and the lavender field in front of it as well as the wonderful cloisters. After lunch, we head toward the 2000 year old aqueduct, Pont de Gard, one of the two best preserved ancient aqueducts and a World Heritage Site. Overnight near Gordes.
Days 5 & 6, July 4 - 5, Wednesday and Thursday. After a morning sunrise shoot in the lavender fields, we check out of our hotel and drive to the village of Moustiers Sainte Marie near the Valensole Plateau. This is one of the premier lavender growing areas, and we will spend these two days exploring the best vantage points to capture the incredible 'sea of purple.' The village in which we stay is beautiful, too, as it's nestled in a mountain backdrop. At twilight the lights from the city spread their glow on the sheer cliff face, and the setting is one of the prettiest in Europe. Overnight Moustiers Sainte Marie.
Day 6, July 6, Friday. After a last sunrise shoot and breakfast, we head back to the Marseille Airport for our return flight home. We should arrive around noon, so make sure your departure time is around 2pm or later.
Tour cost: $4350 Includes all lodging based on double occupancy, all breakfasts, two dinners, entrance fees, all ground transportation, services of a French-speaking guide, intimate knowledge where the best flowers fields are located, and photo instruction.
Not included: International airfare, meals not specified in the itinerary, items of a personal nature, and alcohol.
Single supplement: $760 (to have your own room)