Two “Highly Commended” images at the IGPOTY 14 competition

Two of my images recently received a “Highly Commended” award from the International Garden Photographer of the Year 14 competition. Both of them in the Trees, Woods & Forests category.

Quiet Autumn

A quiet morning on Fish Creek Road

The first one was taken in Belgium, close to the tiny village of Ortho, in the Ourthe valley. The other one was shot in Oregon, on a small side-road in the Clackamas valley, South-East of Portland.

You can also see them on the competition website, here and here.

The lost mailbox

This last Sunday, the morning looked grey and rather cool: perfect weather for a bit of mountain biking. I thought: “no need for a camera, the light is not good”. And so I went away, with nothing but my bike for a ride in the neighbourhood. After only a few km, I spotted a mailbox drowned in a group of flowers against the wall of an old farm in Rixensart. I hesitated a bit: continue with my bike ride or go back to get my camera. The light looked like it would soon change with clouds becoming thinner, so I rushed back home, hoping that the wind would not increase and that the cloud cover would not break too fast, to keep the even light that was perfect for the image that I had in mind. Back home, I picked up my equipment, jumped in my car (to get there quicker ;-)) and went back again to the old farm. Here is the result!

Mailbox lost in the flowers

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.

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 !!!

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