Wild White Horses & Gypsy Festival
- Camargue / France
- 6 days – 5 nights
Wild White Horses & Gypsy Festival
Photographing the Wild White Horses is a dream come true for most people, capturing this world-renowned and noble breed splashing through the shallow waters of the marshland and lakes with the Gardians (Camargue Cowboys) on horseback. On this workshop, you get to photograph not only the horses but also stunning portraits of weathered Gardians (Camargue Cowboys) and also some amazing street photography during the festival.
The gypsy festival witnesses the Pilgrimage that transforms the seaside town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer into a place of rituals, traditions and a wild carnival of Flamenco as Europe’s Gypsies come together to celebrate their faith and culture. A procession, headed by the king of the Gypsies and the archbishop, alongside the Gardians, dressed in their traditional outfits on beautiful Camargue horses, traditional Arlesian women and children, takes the relics of Saint Sara, the Patron saint of the Gypsies, through the village streets, singing their chant and wading into the Mediterranean with the crowd, to the sacred waters.
Key facts at a glance:
Create Away is the only photography workshop company actually based in the Camargue, making us the number one specialists
- We have built up strong relationships with the locals who highly respect traditions, wildlife and their treasured land
- Exclusive access to private land, unavailable to everyone else
- Galloping horse shoot with several ‘drives’ per shoot, single stallions on the beach, sparring stallions & portraits
- 2 days Festival photography
- Led by a highly successful, professional photographer whose international career spans over 3 decades
- B&B at a charming hotel in a picturesque Mediaeval walled city
- Airport transfers (Montpellier) & all transportation included
We will collect you from the airport (by mid-afternoon) for transfer to your charming hotel in the centre of the medieval town of Aigues-Mortes. Take time to unwind, unpack and perhaps explore the streets of the city that lies within the mile-long rampart walls.
At 18h00 we will meet for a welcome drink & briefing meeting at the hotel.
We spend the morning shooting portraits of the Gardians (Camargue Cowboys) with their ‘weathered’ faces – they are perfect subjects for stunning black and white classic portrait photography. Serge demonstrates how to obtain a classic portrait, along with some great tips for working with subjects who may not be comfortable in front of the lens. You will learn about composition, lighting techniques using daylight and portable flash, lens choice and how to deal with the elements around you.
In the afternoon we photograph the famous Wild White horses running through the marsh and heading straight towards your camera! We shoot several drives with the horses running across your field of view! We will also take shots of the ‘Gardians’ (Camargue Cowboys) dressed in their traditional Camargue shirts, surrounded by the herd as well as some close-up portraits.
At dawn, we head to the beach for a shoot with a beautiful White Stallion. We photograph him dashing and diving in and around the sea and surf, as well as rearing up on the top of the sand dunes, making for a wide range of dramatic action shots.
In the afternoon we have another session with the Wild White horses running through the marsh but at a different location and with a different backdrop and composition, providing a wide-range of iconic images.
We head to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and witness the Pilgrimage that transforms this seaside town into a place of rituals, traditions and a wild carnival of Flamenco as Europe’s Gypsies come together to celebrate their faith and culture.
A procession takes Sara, the Patron saint of the Gypsies, to the sea. Just before this, inside the Church, the reliquaries containing her relics will be slowly brought down from the ‘High Chapel’, in the midst of the songs and praises. The statue of Sara, carried by the Gypsies to the sea, symbolises the waiting for and welcome of the Saints Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome.
We head back to Saintes-Maries for the second day of the Festival.
Following the morning’s solemn mass, the ‘craft’, with the statues of the two Marys aboard, is borne to the sea, accompanied by the crowd of gypsy and non-gypsy pilgrims, carried by the ranchers on horseback and the Arlésienne girls in costume. The bearers go into the sea to symbolise the arrival of the Saints Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome and of the Faith. The Bishop, on board one of the traditional fishermen’s boats, blesses the sea, the region, the pilgrims and the Gypsies. The Procession then returns to the Church amidst the joy and acclamations, accompanied by musical instruments and the ringing of bells. In the afternoon at the Church, with prayers and a popular fervour, the ceremony of bringing the reliquaries back up to the ‘High Chapel’ takes place.
Group dinner at typical Camargue restaurant (optional).
At dawn, we photograph the white stallions sparring – this is a unique opportunity to photograph these magnificent creatures with their feisty temperament in full flow, as they rear and entwine at full height.
Flights from Montpellier in the afternoon.
Single occupant (en-suite bathroom): £1950 per person
2 people sharing room: 5% off the workshop price
Discounts available for group bookings. Please enquire to find out more
A deposit of 25% is payable at the time of booking
* To join our workshops, you need to have a good understanding of how your own camera works (how to set it up in Manual, Aperture and Shutter priority) and understand about exposure.
Pre-workshop course (subject to availability)
If you would like to arrive a day early to benefit from a course on your camera, settings, techniques and how to obtain the best out of your workshop, please let us know. We consider the pre-course very worthwhile for intermediate-level photographers and essential for beginners or photographers with new equipment they are not familiar with. Cost including hotel £370 pp.
What is included in the price:
- 5 nights B&B in charming 3-star Hotel (4-star hotel with price available on request) in Medieval Aigues-Mortes
- Airport transfers to and from Montpellier airport or train station (other airport transfers are not included)
- All transportation during your course
- Expert tuition
Before you book your flights, you might like to consider arriving a day or two earlier or staying a day or two after the workshop to make the most of the beautiful region and sunshine – we also offer an amazing horse riding experience as well as other excursions & activities – just ask Ros for further details.
Bookings & Payment:
Payment by bank transfer (please request our banking details) or by PayPal online
Why not treat someone with one of our Gift Vouchers? – available for full or partial workshop prices
For non-photography partners or friends, we can organise a variety of activities to keep them busy whilst you are out shooting – click here for more details