Wild Nature in The Pyrenees, Wildlife and Horses in The Camargue
The Pyrenees offer stunning panoramic photography of unique glacial cirques, canyons, and waterfalls. In Saintes Maries de la Mer we will photograph portraits and the Gypsy festival. We’ll end our time with some of the most exciting action photography on the planet—the Camargue horses with help from the cowboys of the Camargue known as “guardians.” Armed with their traditional lance, the guardians will help us take pictures of these white horses and bulls as they run in the swamps and the salt pools of the Camargue.
We’ve crafted our itinerary to comfortably cover the most ground possible in this stunning area of the world, and to provide the greatest diversity of photo opportunities. Our accommodations are among the best and most comfortable available, and everything is all-inclusive, including gratuities for our excellent English-speaking local guides.
Expect to be challenged and to learn a lot in this workshop. Andy will be right beside you in the field, and later in the classroom for Lightroom post-processing instruction. We’ll also have our signature image critiques. In addition to photographic instruction, your guides will teach you about the people, culture, and ecology these unique destinations.
The Pyrenees, Camargue
May 17–29, 2020
Itinerary and General Information
May 17, 2020: Arrivals in Barcelona. After pickup at the airport we will meet for dinner and an introduction before we begin the workshop.
May 18, 2020: Barcelona – Sierra de Guara – Alquezar. After leaving Barcelona, we will set out in vehicles towards the Sierra de Guara, a massif in the center of Aragon. The highest point in the area reaches 2,077 meters. A number of rivers run through these mountains, creating endless amazing crevices, canyons and gorges such as the Rio Alcanadre, Rio Vero, and many more. All these rivers flow in the end into the Ebro River. We will start off photographing around the town of Alquezar and the crevice surrounding it. The area is sparsely populated and there are a number of abandoned villages, the town of Alquezar, with a population of 301, is the tourist center of the area
May 19, 2020: Vultures – Villages of Aragon – Ainsa – Torla. We will begin our day with an unusual and unequaled experience—we will join the supervisor of the vulture-feeding station as he feeds them. Scores, and sometimes even hundreds of wild vultures come for the feeding and Bearded vultures and Egyptian vultures can often be observed as well. Our vantage point will be at about five meters from the feeding point, but we can sometimes get much closer, even up to a mere couple of meters from the vultures. Later on, we will continue through the gorgeous roads of the Sierra de Guarra towards the medieval walled town of Ainsa, passing through authentic villages and ancient farms. Towards evening we will reach the medieval village of Torla, where we will spend the night.
May 20, 2020: Ordesa Natural Park. We will set out in the early hours of the morning towards the magical cliffs of The Ordesa National Park. The park is one of the most important sites in the Pyrenees due to its many unique glacial cirques, canyons, and waterfalls—some of which are among the most beautiful in Europe. The area is also known for its wild bears, though they are extremely rare and are hardly ever seen. Later on during the Day we shall go for a hike towards the waterfalls of the valley
May 21, 2020: Ordesa Natural Park – Aran Valley. In the first part of the day we will continue shooting in the Ordessa Natural Park
In the afternoon we will continue through the mountain passes crossing from Aragon back into Catalonia and the wonderful Aran Valley. The valley is also where we will spend the night.
May 22, 2020: Aiguastortes National Park. We will start driving out of the Aran valley and head for one of the pearls of the Pyrenees—The Aiguastortes National Park. All the characteristics typical to the High Pyrenees can be found here, but above all: the water! The amount of clear waters flowing through the lakes, rivers, and waterfalls of the park is simply unimaginable. Water and more water, and the beauty is stupefying. And then there are the forests and breathtaking views on every side. This is heaven for the nature lover! There is an abundance of different trees, rocky slopes, mighty summits, and peat bogs. We will be driven in 4x4 vehicles belonging to the park, to one of the highest points of the park, where we will spend the day walking and taking advantage of the many subjects waiting to be photographed. In the afternoon we will return to the village of Espot and continue along the Noguera Pallaresa river to the town of Sort where we will spend the night.
May 23, 2020: Aiguastortes National Park – Cerdanya Valley. The first part of the day we will dedicate to further explore the national park and its many amazing landscapes. Later on we will continue heading east and we will cross the Cerdanya Valley, one of Catalonia’s most beautiful, surrounded by the renowned Cadí-Moixeró mountain range. We shall spend the night by the town of Puigcerda touching the French border.
May 24, 2020: Saint Georges Gorges – Cathar Country – Beziers. After crossing the border into France we will pass through the Gorges de Saint-Georges, a narrow road sandwiched between two huge rocky walls and the river Aude, which is said to be one of the most stunning roads in France. We will reach the region of The Cathars, which were the followers of Catharism, a religious cult, operating in Europe between the 11th and 13th centuries. The area is speckled with some of Europe ́s most well-preserved castles and fortified towns. We will spend the night in the town of Beziers.
May 25, 2020: Gypsy Festival of Saintes Maries de la Mer. In the morning we head to the small town of Saintes Maries de la Mer where families of gypsies from all around Europe come to a colorful event full of dances, dancing and fascinating human-scape. Today is the 2nd day of the festival and the climax of the day is when the 2 figures of the saints – Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe are taken out from the church and in a long procession accompanied by the gardens of the Camargue on horseback, are brought into the sea and the crowds follow entering the water. After the festival is over we shall go to the small side roads of the Camargue to appreciate the beauty of the region.
May 26, 2020: Aigues-Mortes – Horses of the Camargue. The first part of the day will be dedicated to the walled medievel town of Aigues Mortes. The second half of the day will be spent taking pictures of the famous Camargue horses in their natural habitat. The cowboys of the Camargue (known as “gardians”), armed with their traditional lance, will help us take the pictures of these white horses as they gallop in the swamps and the salt pools of the Camargue. Of course we will do this during the sweet light of sunset.
May 27, 2020: Flamingos and Bulls of the Camargue. Before sunrise, we will head back into the Camargue Reserve to witness and photograph the renowned Flamingos and various water birds which can be seen throughout the region ́s many swamps and ponds. In the evening the famous black bulls of the Camargue will be waiting for us to photograph them in their environment. We will spend a second night at our hotel in the Camargue area.
May 28, 2020: Beach Stallion – Costa Brava – Barcelona. The last day of our workshop we will head down to the beach dunes with a single white stallion,where we will photograph him dashing and diving in and around the sea and surf, as well as rearing on the top of the sand dunes, making for a wide range of dramatic action shots. Afterward, we will say our farewells to the Camargue and begin our drive back towards Barcelona. If time permits, we will stop in unique spots along the Costa Brava—the famous wild coast of Catalonia, where incredible rock formations can be seen along the cliffs overlooking the shore.
May 29, 2020: We will then transfer back to the airport anytime this day, for flights home or elsewhere.
What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop
Please see our How To Prepare For Your Workshop page now for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
Double-occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)
All meals, soft drinks, snacks during workshop
All transportation during the workshop
Photographic guiding and instruction from Andy Williams
Image reviews and post-processing sessions
Fun, inspiration, and a great time!