Briefly about Provence
Provence, heart of the Southeast part of France, is a very colorful region during summer. The sweet light and colors drove to inspire some of most famous painters: Van Gogh, Cezanne or Picasso, made some of their masterpieces here. And we can easily understand why, from the pituresque small villages settled on the slopes of the hills, to wineyards or olive groves, Provence have spectacular landscape. And has many to offers for photographers, especially Summer which is mostly the blooming period for the endless Provence lavender and sunflowers fields.
Some villages of this all-year-long sunbathed region are among the most beautiful of France like Gordes or Roussillon. Settled on the slopes of hills, they were entirely buit with stones during the Roman Empire period. Imagine yourself walking in narrow streets, discovering small squares with typical fountains, searching for a bit of shade to protect from the sun. And admiring the purple shades of the lavender.
Lavender plays a major role for Provence. This plant cultivated since ages by farmers, in the famous Valensole plateau and all around. With a blooming period running from mid-june to end-july farmers then start to harvest fields, to produce essential oil of lavender. This lavender oil is then transform for usage in various ways. Obviously for the perfume industry but also for their medicinale properties, or else a culinary use.
Flowers are almost hand craft by farmers, by taking care of the plant during few years through the passing seasons. Till the plant died, and they then leave soil rest or plant another kind of seed. Farmers are not the only beneficiaries of the Lavender, bees by thousands come day in and day out in the fields to gather pollen and make honey.
What to bring and recommended equipment
- Any camera, with a preference for DSLR camera
- A tripod is a must have in the lavender fields. A remote release will be handy too- A wide angle lense like 14-24mm or 16-35mm for architectural scenes in the villages or nigth session in Valensole Plateau. During summer, night time are short and daylight period is long: sunrise is around 6:00AM and sunset is around 9:30PM. There is some light pollution to face off but astrophotography and the lavender fields offers nice night composition possibilities
- I recommend a standard zoom equivalent to 24-70mm. This is the lens I mostly used for shooting this series of pictures and, in my opinion, is the most versatile lens to use in Provence. From landscape of the fields, or to isolate some streets or architectural scene this standard lens is the one to go. If I have to only choose one, I will go with this one.
- Another lens I strongly recommend is a telezoom like 70-200mm or more. This is the second most useful lens I use in the lavender or sunflower fields. Indeed, it offers endless composition possibilities, from close-up photography, or portrait/model photography. This kind of telezoom works perfectly here. You can isolate elements of the landscape, like small house or trees. Or even a lavender row lit by a sweet light
- Another lens I recommend is a macro lens. This suits perfectly best for details isolation of close-up flower parts or small wildlife like bees or beetles, who is live within the lavender
My setup used for this collection
- Nikon D750
- Benro TMA27C + B2 ballhead
- Sigma 14-24mm F/2.8
- Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8
- Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.5
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