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Orchids, Wild Flowers, Broomrapes and The Duke of Burgundy

The location is a chalk Downland nature reserve, a truly beautiful setting in the Hampshire countryside. It has been described as one of the most interesting chalk grassland and scrub sites in Britain, rich in flowers and butterflies. There is very little walking on this workshop, more like easy going meandering. In terms of photography equipment required it can be described as minimal. There really is no reason to be weighed down carrying a vast array of lenses; a 100mm macro or similar plus a wide angle is really all that is required. I would say it is probably one of the most relaxed of all my workshops added to by the fact that we shall be photographing some of Britain’s most exotic, rare and beautiful plants, orchids.


Early Purple Orchid


Fragrant Orchid


Duke of Burgundy


Albino Fragrant Orchid


Pyramidal Orchid


Knapweed Broomrape


Common spotted Orchid


Musk Orchid


Frog Orchid

At least eleven species of orchids have been identified growing here. They are Twayblade, Musk, Pyramidal, Fragrant, Frog, Common Spotted, Early Purple, Fly, Bee and Southern Marsh. The colony of Musk Orchids runs to approximately 10,000 spikes and is of National importance. It is not just orchids because there is quite a range of wild flowers growing with them including Cowslips and Primroses plus a very unusual plant that is specifically parasitic on Greater Knapweed called, not surprisingly, the Knapweed Broomrape. This is a really photogenic plant that grows up to 75cm and is totally lacking in chlorophyll.

For the butterfly enthusiasts there will be an assortment butterflies on the wing including Marbled Whites, Dark Green Fritillaries, Brimstones and Blues. The prize butterfly on site is The Duke of Burgundy, quite a rare UK species. However the emphasis on this course is to show the various techniques needed to overcome the problems facing the orchid photographer. For example you often need to be able to diffuse your backgrounds to show your subject at its best as I have shown here. Over the years I have developed a range of useful tips and tricks to do just this and many others and naturally I will be demonstrating these. You will be able to stay on the site as long as you like after the workshop officially ends and re-visit it as many times as you want. This is a truly wonderful site to know.