Photographing Orchids on the Balkan's paradise.

Orchids photography in the prime time in Bulgaria

Tuesday 7th - Tuesday 14th June 2022

Of all the plants, the orchids are perhaps the most iconic, beautiful and mythical. More than 28,000 species are found worldwide, most of them in the tropics. Out of these, more than 200 species are found in Europe, and the greatest species diversity can be found in the Balkans.
The Rhodope mountain in Bulgaria is one of the best places to enjoy them – with a great variety and sheer numbers, plus many other very rare and endemic plant species, stunning surroundings and great landscapes. In addition to that, the warm welcome with incredible hospitality of the local and the delicious food will make your holiday unforgettable.
The Rhodope mountain in mid-June is bursting into life after the winter. For a week we will explore various habitats, spending days in deep forests, wet meadows, deep gorges, pastures with bushes and along streams. The range of habitats in the Rhodope mountain will help us to find a good variety of beautiful orchids for a lot of exciting photographic opportunities! Our tour will finish with one day in Rila Mountain, where will take shots of some rare species.
We need short and longer walks on mountain trails, most of them are easy and some moderate. We will have some picnic lunches and the whole days at our disposal for photography. Depends on the weather, in some days we can have siesta, to avoid the warm mid-day time when also the light is sharp.
We will be accommodated in pretty and welcoming family hotels and guest houses, located up to 30-minutes drive from the orchid-rich places.
Our timing means we should find some of the interesting and rare species in Europe, in their absolute prime. This tour is not, however, about building a big list, instead, about enjoying a gentle-paced introduction to orchid photography, with trying different techniques for photography of the plants. In any case we expect around 25+ species, and potential species include: Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), Green-winged Orchid (Anacamptis morio), Loose-flowered Orchid (Anacamptis laxiflora), White Helleborine (Cephalanthera damasonium), Long-leaved Helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia), Red Helleborine (Cephalanthera rubra), Frog Orchid (Coeloglossum viridae), Coral-Root Orchid (Corallorhiza trifida), Baumann`s Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza baumanniana), Heart-shaped Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza cordigera), Early Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), Kalopisis` Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza kalopissii), Sack-bearing Orchid (Dactylorhiza saccifera), Elder-flowering Orchid (Dactylorhiza sambucina),  Chalk Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Frivald`s Orchid (Gymnadenia frivaldii), Lizard Orchid (Himantoglossum jankae), Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum), Lesser Twayblade (Listera cordata), Common Twayblade (Listera ovata), Bird`s-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), Burnt Orchid (Neotinea ustulata), Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera), Horned Woodcock Orchid (Ophrys cornuta), Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera), Bug Orchid (Orchis coriophora), Elegant Orchid (Orchis elegans), Military Orchid (Orchis militaris), Lady Orchid (Orchis purpurea), Monkey Orchid (Orchis simia), Pink Butterfly Orchid (Orchis papilionacea), Spitzel`s Orchid (Orchis spitzelii), Three-toothed Orchid (Orchis tridentata), Lesser Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera bifolia), Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha).
For a week we will visit three different sites – Trigrad gorge, Dobrostan ridge and Belmeken reservoir. All of them are high in the mountain, between 1000 to 2500 m asl.
In addition to orchids and spring flowers, you will be able to enjoy breath-taking views, incredibly delicious Bulgarian cuisine, the hospitality of the local and really fresh and clean air away from the busy and noisy cities.

Notes: It will be good to come with a bring water-proof boots and light rain shelters. Macro lenses, flashes and tripod are also needed


ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrival at Sofia airport and 3 hours drive to our first base – village of Trigrad. If the time permits, we can make short walk in the surroundings. Accommodation for 3 nights.

Days 2 and 3 Both days we`ll spent for orchids photography, visiting different habitats. Here we expect to find - Pyramidal Orchid, Green-winged Orchid, White Helleborine, Long-leaved Helleborine, Red Helleborine, Frog Orchid, Coral-Root Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid, Sack-bearing Orchid, Elder-flowering Orchid, Chalk Fragrant Orchid, Violet Limodore, Lesser Twayblade, Common Twayblade, Bird`s-nest Orchid, Burnt Orchid, Bee Orchid, Horned Woodcock Orchid, Fly Orchid, Bug Orchid, Elegant Orchid, Military Orchid, Lady Orchid, Spitzel`s Orchid, Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid. If you are interested, we can visit the most popular place in Europe for watching the beautiful Wallcreepers. Many rare and interesting butterflies and other plants are also in the area.

Day 4 Today we will move to the next site – the Dobrostan plateau, it takes about 3 hours’ drive. We will have many stops along the road for orchids and macro photography as well as lunch. Accommodation in family hotel in the village of Mostovo for 2 nights.

Day 5 All day we will explore Dobrostan plateau, having a picnic for lunch. Old-growth forest, meadows and pastures, small streams and wet meadows are our habitats for the day. Here we expect to find Pyramidal Orchid, Green-winged Orchid, Loose-flowered Orchid, White Helleborine, Long-leaved Helleborine, Red Helleborine, Frog Orchid, Coral-Root Orchid, Baumann`s Marsh Orchid, Heart-shaped Marsh Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid, Kalopisis` Marsh Orchid, Elder-flowering Orchid,  Lizard Orchid, Violet Limodore, Common Twayblade, Bird`s-nest Orchid, Bee Orchid, Horned Woodcock Orchid, Fly Orchid, Bug Orchid, Lady Orchid, Monkey Orchid, Three-toothed Orchid, Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid.

Day 6 Morning photography session in the range of the hotel. Then we travel to our last location – Rila National Park, in Rila Mountain. Some stops are possible along the road. Accommodation for two nights.

Day 7 All day photography in the vicinities of Rila National Park. Here our targets are Pyramidal Orchid, White Helleborine, Long-leaved Helleborine, Red Helleborine, Frog Orchid, Baumann`s Marsh Orchid, Heart-shaped Marsh Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid, Sack-bearing Orchid, Elder-flowering Orchid, Frivald`s Orchid, Common Twayblade, Bird`s-nest Orchid, Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid. Picnic lunch and Farewell dinner.

Day 8 Depending from your flights time short morning session is possible. Driving to Sofia airport (2 hours driving). Departure.


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Orchids in Bulgaria

Orchids in Bulgaria

Orchids in Bulgaria photography tour gallery