Rows of lavender, Provence, France
Rows of lavender, Provence, France

How to photograph patterns of lavender in Provence, France

Every year, from the end of June to late July, the plateaux of Provence in South-East France are a riot of colour with lavender, sunflowers, sage and wheat. The fields of lavender have to be uprooted every 10 years. and are replaced by either wheat, pink sage or left fallow before being replanted with lavender. This means that the landscape is always changing, which is good news for photographers.

I am always on the look out for patterns when running a photo workshop in Provence. When the landscape is rolling, the rows of lavender follow the undulations and form beautiful shapes. To capture these patterns I recommend using a telephoto lens which allow you to pick out a section of the landscape. Using a tripod ensures that the image is sharp eliminating camera shake. The depth of field is shallower on a telephoto lens, so I suggest shooting at F11 or F16 for greater depth of field. A subject such as rows of lavender has a relatively shallow depth of field if only a part of the field is selected. Imagine that the beginning of the image is 100 metres away and the end is 150 metres away, the depth of the image is relatively shallow, so most if not all of the field will be sharp. For an example of this, see the above image which was photographed during our Provence Lavender workshop 2015.

If, however, you want to photograph a field that starts only 5 metres away and finishes 200 metres away then you have to use a wide angle lens. The depth of field is far greater and choice of focal length and point of focus is critical to getting a sharp image. I will discuss this at greater length another time.

Shapes and patterns exist everywhere in the landscape and can create abstract images that are timeless. These type of images look great in print and appeal to lovers of fine art photography. Cropping and black and white conversion can add to the creative process.

For a chance to photograph these amazing fields, here is a link to our Provence lavender workshop in 2016. 4 places are left!  /