Back to Perk for another misty sunrise

A few weeks ago, I bought a new tripod (Manfrotto 055 CXPro4) and ballhead (MH054) and I was looking for an opportunity to test my new equipment. A few days later, on a (very) early Saturday morning, I could not sleep anymore and the weather was looking perfect for some mist low on the ground: it had rained for a few days, the night was relatively cold and the day was supposed to be sunny. So I jumped out of bed, picked up my equipment and drove a few km to be around the village of Perk just in time for sunrise. You may have already seen an earlier image taken at the same spot but I think that this one is better. The mist and colours were just right. This time, I also had enough time to build a panoramic image by taking a series of 7 vertical pictures that I later combined to give an image that would be 150 x 50 cm if printed at 300 dpi!
And, by the way, the tripod and ballhead are a pleasure to use once I got used to the ballhead.

Misty sunrise in Perk

Belgium National Day in Brussels

July 21st is Belgium National Day. After continuous bad weather for the last few weeks, the weather was showing some improvement so I decided to go Brussels to see the military parade and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this special day.
I would of course not go without a camera and I decided to give myself a mission: one body and one tele-lens to go on an urban safari. My initial idea was to shoot everything in black and white (but using RAW to make sure I could use the colour images if I preferred to). In the end, I did not (yet) convert any of them to black and white. Although some of them are certainly worth a conversion, the colours were everywhere on such a day, so it was better to show them.

Belgium colours in the sky of Brussels

Here is a selection of what I saw.
Continue Reading…

My latest photography exhibition: Horizons Sylvestres

For the second time, I have participated to the Randonnée d’Artistes de Rixensart (could be translated by Artist’s Walk) and it has just ended. I spent two week-ends welcoming visitors attracted by my exhibition.
I must confess that I was quite impressed by the way visitors reacted to my pictures. I did not think that they could have so much success. Lesson learned!

To all of those who visited my exhibition, a big thank you for your comments, discussions, but also useful tips for preparing my future photographic trips in Belgium or abroad.

Horizons Sylvestres - exposition photo

My pictures shown during the Randonnée d’Artistes are now visible in my gallery.

You can also find below the catalogue/price list of the exhibition (in French).

While preparing this catalogue and doing my first steps with the page layout software Scribus (a free open source alternative to InDesign), I thought that it would be a good exercise to rapidly produce another catalogue with the pictures of my previous exhibition, showing mostly pictures from my “Intrigantes” series that I had presented during the Randonnée d’Artistes de Rixensart 2010.

One of my visitors, who is often documenting events in our town, has taken a few pictures during my exhibition. You can see them here. A big thank you to him to have highlighted me on his Rixensart Facebook page.

Many of the visitors who were also photographers wanted to know where I had had my prints done. It was at Authentic. They produced excellent direct prints of my pictures on Dibond. All visitors found the result excellent, giving a kind of smooth grain to the image, probably due to the ink used, and allowing to hang the picture on a wall without further need for a frame.
For photographers that might me interested, I will soon publish a post about my experience with various print types at Authentic.

Now, I need to start working on producing a book with the pictures from the exhibition and many others that could not be shown due to lack of space.

The new WP Supersized (version 3.0.1) is here!

UPDATE: WP Supersized is now at version 3.0.2. It now allows the use of images from NextGEN Gallery, the WordPress Media Gallery, your own choice of directory within the wp-content folder, or a list of slides defined in an xml file (for advanced users). See the changelog.

The latest update of my plugin WP Supersized has the following main new features:

  • Added support for the use of images from NextGEN galleries.
  • Added a panel in post/page editor to allow the selection of the images source – no need to type your selection in a custom field anymore.
  • Redesigned the options panel, using tabs to reduce clutter.
  • Added a folder selector to the options page for easy selection of the default folder or NextGEN gallery.
  • Added the ability to have captions displayed even if the rest of the Supersized footer is off (allows displaying html from image caption even with the footer option off).
  • Added checks for the existence and read permissions for image folders and NextGEN or WP Media gallery images – displays an informative error image if an error is detected.
  • Updated with the latest versions of Supersized (3.2.7) and its Shutter theme (1.2).
  • Improved: the glob() function should now work better for users with some servers that do not support the BRACE option. Thanks to Jan for suggesting this.
  • Improved: replaced the url by the absolute path for reading xml files to avoid possible problems with some hosts. Thanks to Aaron Ware for suggesting this.
  • Improved: automatic removal of slashes in the default dir and custom dir paths.
  • Bug fix: archive, tag, category, or date pages should now correctly display the default images.
  • Bug fix: the plugin should now work correctly with xml files containing no images: default images are shown instead (as advertised!).
  • Bug fix: the plugin should now work correctly with IE when using WP Gallery images. Thanks to Simon for spotting this bug.
  • Removed the xmlLib library. The plugin now uses standard SimpleXML functions. IMPORTANT: if you use xml files for defining your images, two slides field names must be renamed: slide-link to slide_link and slide-thumb to slide_thumb in the xml files.

For more details, have a look at the plugin page in the WordPress plugins repository.

Preselected for the Collection RTBF/Canvas Collectie art competition!

This week-end, I participated to the preselection for the national art competition La Collection RTBF/Canvas Collectie, organized by RTBF and Canvas, two of the national televisions here in Belgium.
And I have had the pleasure (and surprise) of having one of my photographs from my Intrigantes series being selected!

Rêverie

The 160 preselected artworks (among about 1600 participating ones) from the province of Liège (where I entered the competition) are shown today during a one-day exhibition at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts de Liège. They will also be visible very soon on the competition website.
I entered the competition with three images from my Intrigantes series, Un autre monde commence ici, Rêverie, and Cuberdons. The image selected by the jury is Rêverie.
Will it be selected (26 among the 160 preselected from Liège) today by the national jury to go to the final selection that will be exhibited in Bozar in Brussels ? Wait and see!

Un autre monde commence iciCuberdons

Happy 2012!

For all of you who did not receive my paper postcard for the new year, here is the picture that I used.
Taken at the end of 2010 as I have not yet seen snow here in Belgium this winter…
You may have already seen a black and white version of this image in one of my previous posts.
I like the abstract shapes in this image. Before they notice the tree leaves at the bottom of the image, many people do not have any sense of scale and can only wonder what this could be. I hope you like it.

Natural patterns in the snow, just before sunset, close to La Hulpe, Belgium

Happy 2012 to you all !!!

WP Supersized 2.0 is available

My WordPress plugin WP Supersized 2.0 is now available.
It brings additional possibilities for choosing the images used by the plugin: you will be able to use images from the WordPress Media Gallery, your own choice of directory within the wp-content folder, or a list of slides defined in an xml file (for advanded users). The most important changes are the following:

  • Added the ability to use the WordPress Media Gallery images attached to pages/posts as source of images.
  • Added the ability to use an xml file to define all images, titles, links, and options for each post/page separately.
  • Added the ability to use HTML and links in the caption of the images (only when using the xml file).
  • Behaviour change: slight modification to allow an image to be displayed even when there is only one in the chosen folder and in slideshow mode.
  • Behaviour change: removed the option Only on posts/pages with custom field SupersizedDir. Any post/page that has a custom field SupersizedDir filled in will use Supersized.
  • Bug fix: the navigation controls are now working as expected in the Flickr mode.

    Check the WP Supersized page for more details.

A colourful grey morning

With the very mild rainy and grey weather that has been present for a few weeks here in Belgium, nature is mostly grey these days. Not even some snow or ice to bring some contrast. Not very attractive for landscape photography.
So I went back to my pictures taken at the very end of October to publish this colourful post. All these images were shot during a grey morning in the Solvay Domain, in La Hulpe. The sky was a flat white screen, ideal for details of the landscape without too much contrast. The tree leaves were also still wet from a recent shower and were at their best, especially when I used a polarizing filter to remove the highlights caused by reflections on the wet leaves.
Here is a selection of my images from that colourful grey morning 😉

Colourful trees reflection in one of the ponds of the Solvay Domain in La Hulpe, BelgiumColourful trees reflection in one of the ponds of the Solvay Domain in La Hulpe, BelgiumColourful trees reflection in one of the ponds of the Solvay Domain in La Hulpe, BelgiumColourful trees reflection in one of the ponds of the Solvay Domain in La Hulpe, BelgiumColourful contrast between the almost gone and the ever greenAutumn leaves detailsAutumn leaves detailsA colony of dark mushrooms thrives on the dead leavesColourful mess of shrubs and fernsLast remnant of summer, a wild strawberry seems to be ready to stay red and green for months to come

And I went back a few days later, this time with a little bit of sun and later with a ‘white sky’ that gave a nice even light for photographing in the forest.

With the sun at a low angle, this was the ideal moment to make these pine trees stand out from the backgroundPine trees in the quiet surroundings of a less-travelled path in the Solvay Domain, La Hulpe, BelgiumA magical stand of pine trees along a quiet path of the Solvay Domain, La Hulpe, Belgium

Autumn colours in the Hautes Fagnes

The superb colours of autumn have now almost completely disappeared here in Belgium. Mid-October, I visited one of my favourite places in the Hautes-Fagnes: the Fagne de Malchamp and the Hoëgne Valley, both not far away from Spa.
I arrived in the Fagne de Malchamp just in time for sunrise. As always on this plateau, it was very windy and cold. But the warm light of the rising sun made everything, even the frost, look warmer.

Windy sunrise in the Fagne de Malchamp, near Spa, Hautes Fagnes, BelgiumWindy sunrise in the Fagne de Malchamp, near Spa, Hautes Fagnes, BelgiumWindy sunrise in the Fagne de Malchamp, near Spa, Hautes Fagnes, BelgiumEarly light and trees in the Fagne de Malchamp, near Spa, Hautes Fagnes, BelgiumGrass and tree in the Fagne de Malchamp, near Spa, Hautes Fagnes, Belgium

I have been to this place many times so I only spent about an hour there, trying to make new images, and soon headed to another of my favourites places in the neighbourhood: the Hoëgne Valley. I particularly like the area around the Belheid Bridge, close to Solwaster. There is a sign above the path leaving the parking area that is saying that this is one of the most beautiful valleys of Belgium.
And I cannot say otherwise. You could spend hours there photographing the Hoëgne river and its valley. The river is characteristic for the region, with its very iron-rich waters, it is very dark, almost black with bits of white foam slowly moving on top of it but it can also become red when the sunlight hits it in a particular direction.
I spent several hours there, playing with slow shutter speeds and reflections of the autumn colours in the water. The results are shown in the following images.

Sunlight makes the Hoëgne river turn red, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumThe Hoëgne river, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumSpiral and moss, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumRocks and reflection, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumTrees colours reflect in the river, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumTrees colours reflect in the river, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumThe Hoëgne river, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, BelgiumThe Hoëgne river, Hoëgne Valley, Pont de Belheid, near Solwaster, Belgium

Washington – British Columbia – Alberta teaser

A few weeks ago, I spent two weeks around the state of Washington and visiting the South-West of Canada, British Columbia and Alberta. I am busy with sorting and selecting my pictures taken during this trip. When they will be ready, you will be able to see them in my galleries, of course.
In the meantime, as a teaser, here is a picture taken at sunrise in one of the most iconic places in Banff National Park: Moraine Lake.

Sunrise at Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada