This exciting new workshop will take place in central Bulgaria and our aim will be to capture a wide variety of summer wildlife from birds and reptiles to insects and wildflowers. There may also be the chance to photograph a few farmland landscapes with sweeping fields of sunflowers and lavender.
This trip is limited to six participants and on most days the group will be split up, allowing different guides to take smaller numbers of photographers to different hides and locations. We will be using several different hides for bird photography, both temporary and permanent. These hides accommodate various numbers of photographers so the groups will be rotated in order to take advantage of each hide location. We will be visiting many great areas for both insect and wildflower photography. Bulgaria has some of the largest expanses of unmanaged grassland in Europe, so there is an abundance of species. We will endeavour to make use of the best light of the day around dawn and dusk, so be prepared for long days out in the field with early starts and late finishes! Whenever possible we will try to make time for rest during the harsh midday light.
This itinerary will be very flexible and is likely to change according to weather and seasonal conditions.
• Day 1: Arrive in Sofia and transfer to our hotel in central Bulgaria. If we arrive by 14.00 we will have an afternoon photo session for Bee-eaters, Little Owl or European Souslick.
• Day 2: A full day of bird, macro and landscape photography at various locations.
• Day 3: Bird and macro photography in the morning. Mid day – transfer to our next base (1.5 hour drive). In the afternoon we will look for the elusive Apollo Butterfly. Many other butterfly and insect species are possible. In the evening we will be in a good place for moths and Green Toad. Hotel in secret location close to the Apollo meadows.
• Day 4: We will have another two sessions on Apollo Butterflies (morning and afternoon) as well as exploring other meadows for insects and other butterfly species. There will also be the opportunity for some landscape photography. Hotel in secret location close to the Apollo meadows.
• Day 5: Early morning session for Apollo butterflies. We have included several Apollo butterfly sessions as this is one of our main target species and we need sunlight for the best possible images. If we are successful during the first two sessions we can move early to our next location. Mid day – transfer to our next base (1.5 hour drive).
• Day 6: A full day of bird, macro and landscape photography at various locations.
• Day 7: Early morning photography session before heading back to Sofia airport (2 hour drive)
Our transport during the workshop will be a nine-seater minibus, so there will be plenty of room. Smaller vehicles will be used to transport the group between photographic locations.
Please bear in mind that, due to lack of space, it will be impossible for a guide to be with you when you are working from some of the hides, so a reasonable level of photographic knowledge will be required. This workshop is not suitable for complete beginners.
When we are photographing macro subjects such as insects, reptiles and plants it will take time to find good specimens. As many species of insect and reptile are highly mobile it will not always be possible to take turns to photograph them. Therefore it will be important for you to find subjects for yourself at times. There will always be a guide present to offer technical and compositional advice and help with identification. I will do my best to divide my time between all members of the group as much as possible.
The list of insects and plants that we hope to find is too long to write here, but as a guide here are just a few of the bird species that we hope to photograph: Black-headed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Cirl Bunting, European Bee-eater, Europian Roller, Little Owl, Common Nightingale, lesser kestrel. There will also be opportunities to photograph the European Souslik or Ground Squirrel (Spermophilus citellus).
Transport from Sofia airport, photographic tuition and guiding, single occupancy of en-suite bedroom, all meals and most drinks
Flights to Sofia, additional drinks, travel insurance