If you want to experience untouched wild nature in the south of France, see some flamingos and other wild animals then you should definitely visit la Camargue.
During April to October is the best time to observe nature in the morning or evening. Be aware that when it is hot you will not find any drinking water in the Camargue and away from the villages so make sure to take enough water for you and your friends. Also, be prepared for mosquitos from April to November.
If you are a solo traveler then it can be tricky to travel here alone, without a car you can’t reach all the place so highly recommend to take a tour with a guide where he will drive you to La Camargue: check it here
Highlights of La Camargue, France
This flat area is one of Europe’s largest wetlands. The Camargue, France is a protected area with uncountable species of birds, black bulls, white Camargue horses, rice paddies and salt flats. It is located on the Mediterranean coast. It became a regional park in 1970. This park attracts a lot of visitors in summer and autumn and when you visit La Camargue then you understand why.
As I mention you can go to the Camargue at any time, although in spring and autumn it’s especially interesting because hundreds of thousands of birds migrate from here. During summer, the beaches of the Camargue are quite popular. The most famous beach in St. Marie de La Mer, although the beaches of Piemanos and Beauduc Beach are more for adventure seekers.
The Camargue horses
Nature is amazing here, although Camargue is special also for the white horse breed the Camargue horses. This white breed horses you find in this area are called Camargue horses or Camarguais. Why they are so important? Well, they are white and they look gorgeous and also they are one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. Traditionally Camargue cowboys use these horses to herd the black bulls. The horse breed is calm and intelligent that’s why they are very useful for this purpose. In Camargue you can ride those horses, although I am quite against it, I truly recommend to choose better a bike and explore the area.
Visit Parc Ornithologique to explore even more wildlife. You can choose different trails in Camargue to see many different animals. Most of the people get super excited seeing flamingoes which are the absolute highlight of the park. Of course it is quite hard to make a good quality photo of them, you need a camera and good lenses for that, the only smartphone is not enough. Actually, I was quite surprised how easy was to find flamingoes here.
A Pink Lake in France – Salins d’Aigues-Mortes
The pink salt lakes are another remarkable feature of the Camargue. It is known that Southern France has been known for producing superior salt since the 1850s. Visitors of the park are invited to see the vibrant pink salt lakes in the area. The pink color of the Salins d’Aigues-Mortes comes from a special microorganism that lives in the lake in combination with the salt. The nearby village of Aigues Mortes is a historic place built to cater to the needs of the workers in the salt industry. The medieval streets are best explored by foot, and there are many small shops in the area to visit. Also, you would need a car to reach this place so consider to take a tour here.
Tips for Photographing Wildlife
If you love to shoot wild nature and birds then make sure to invest in the good quality lens, you will need to zoom a lot, because fences are quite far from the birds, but La Camargue is the best place to make really amazing photos. These are my few tips on how to make better photos of wildlife.
1. Choose longer lenses
When it comes to photography of wildlife, a telephoto lens is usually the best option. It will enable you to keep some space between a wild animal and you, allowing you to capture them in their natural environment, doing what they normally do, not disturbing them or distracting them and scaring them away. Keeping your distance is not only practical but usually wise as well.
2. Turn off the flash
Make sure you turn off your flash, you don’t want to miss a perfect photo for this silly mistake. A sudden burst of light will definitely frighten the animal. However, try to adjust your camera’s settings, slower shutter speed can add more light in, without running the risk of scaring off the animals.
3. Be cautious
Wild animals are very intuitive and scared, they can smell and hear that you are coming. To enhance your chances of seeing any wildlife, you will need to cover yourself. Many photographers choose to wear camouflage to blend with nature, and you may also wrap your camera in fabric to help muffle the sounds.
4. Use a fast shutter speed
Wild animals don’t hold still for long periods of time and most wildlife images can end up looking blurry or in poor quality. To prevent this situation it is a good idea to shoot with a fast shutter speed if possible. Be sure to take test shots periodically to get the settings right. Obviously, you should know that shooting at fast speeds will require you to change your aperture and ISO accordingly in order to get the correct exposure.
5. Be ready
To get the best picture, you should be ready to take your image as soon as the animal arrives. This means you have to make sure everything is ready. In some cases, for example, you photograph birds, it could be a good idea to set up your shot and let the wildlife come to you. You could position yourself near a bird feeder and then wait for a bird to arrive on your scene.
6. Look to include some context
When you shoot wild animals, choose to add some of the surroundings which can help to set the stage for your photos, giving the viewer some info on the type of environment the wild animal is in. It can also help to make a better composition.
7. Get closer
In some cases, it is great to get as close as possible –with your lens. Zooming in on the animal’s eyes can help to draw out beautiful details that could easily be overlooked.
8. Try to familiarize yourself with the animal
The more familiar you are with the wild animal you are hoping to photograph, and its habits, the better your photography will be. While animals are usually unpredictable, having an idea about the timing when they are most active and what their habits are can help you to increase the chances of seeing them. It can help you to predict their actions, helping you to better time your shots.
9. Photograph your surroundings
Finally, do not go home without nothing. Even if no wild animal crosses your path, you can still capture some beautiful landscape images. Why not take some photographs while you are there? Look to create images with a strong focal point, excellent composition, and great lighting.
Enjoy La Camargue!