It's Alive!

Not much has moved on these pages ever since I first created the website, except for the Dutch language page on practical arrangements for a shooting day with Belgiumdigital I'd like to organize in October. The excuse is that I started a new job in April and that has kept me pertty busy ever since. Every once in a while however, I manage to get out with the camera and make a few pictures.... Incidentally, now and then the camera comes to work as well and when it does, I sometimes get rewarded with a reasonable picture, such as the cityview on this page: Paris La Défense, where the HQ of my new job resides, and which feels a little bit like an out-of-place Manhattan... Mostly however I prefer to go and wander in nature for my pics. Then, coming home, they get downloaded on the hard drive of my MacBook, where they sit until the filling percentage of the storage reaches an alarming level...

Selecting and deleting pictures has never been one of my strong points, but I am getting better. You just must rigorously plow through the gigabytes of digital photos and the crap must go... Then the maybe's and finally the "ok's". At least on my scale; the good ones are probably still just ok by many standards, but I'm learning. I really need to get a better handle of what images I really create in the context of my photography hobby, and when I have the camera with me at a family party, or for snaps at an outing with Mrs C or the family. Doing the selections and recognizing the categories of pictures taken is a very conscieus process, but also has very pragmatic implications: I can sort of remove the central heating from my study by now as I think even in winter the disk drives with the terrabytes of photographs will no doubt be sufficient to keep me warm... So I started to develop better methods, tougher selection, but then what about the snaps? Well, everybody wants them for memory but there is no need to keep the high-res RAW file, is there? There we are: I am keeping my favourite images, both final version, in RAW, processed and with a low-res version for online publication or mailing; from my snaps I just keep the low-res version... Phew, that saves a few TB's...

How did I end up talking about this? Oh yeah, nothing much happened on the site since a while.... So I need to catch up a bit here, and I'll try and use this page on a regular basis to let you know what I've been up to photographically. For this first pass we have to go back all the way to spring this year...

Spring... Finally

It looked like Spring just did not want to come this year... Beginning of April I had just started the new job and had not seen many signs of Spring yet, so in the early days I was eager to get some pictures before things were getting to hectic, but while the bluebells in the "Hallerbos" were in full bloom the first days of April last year, this year there was nothing.... Timing has to be right for photographing bluebells: you need to be there when all the flowers are but before the canopy closes and the woods get dark as a gigantic green roof is forming.... It wasn't until 3 weeks later that I could get some decent pics, just in time before "the light went out".

More Spring...

Hallerbos is not the only location to admire early flowers. In Haspengouw, the fruit trees' blossoms are a real joy for the eye. But again, they were late this year, and in this particular case, I certainly was not the only one to be disappointed. A television series had made the region and the fruit blossom very popular and all the small villages were swarming with people, some coming quite a distance to enjoy the beautiful trees while riding down the cycling network or strolling along country roads (yes, we do have those in Belgium).

Also in this case, I was there with the crowd but no blossom to be seen. I had to come back 3 weeks later but it definitely was worth it.

I have taken more photos this spring, but not so many looking like spring this year. Of course I just had to visit some of the - in the mean time - most photographed and very photogenic locations in Belgium: Lake Schulens (already found elsewhere on this site) and Vinne Lake in Zoutleeuw. I visited both sites in one day end of March, thr ground was not frozen anymore so it was very muddy at Lake Vinne; at the Schulens lake where I managed to arrive before dawn it was still very cold for the last day of March... Any way, both remain favourite locations and the photographic possibilities are endless.

All of these locations were a good warm-up for the photographic workshops we had planned mid May in Umbria, Italy. I had documented myself and had visions of an always sunny spring land, poppies in the fields, gorgeous light at dawn AND dusk, and basically all of nature coming to life. Despite the distance we decided to go by car so I would not have to leave a single piece of gear behind. We spent a few days in Rome before and there the weather was nice, but once we got to the country side we noticed it was still going to be weeks before the splashing colors would be around....

Schulens   Vinne

Waiting for the light...

Umbria is a lovely region and the perfect location for organizing photography workshops. If the hosts and tutors are people like David Noton and Jonathan Gooding all ingredients are there for a number of consecutive shooting sessions that, if you were not yet, get you truely addicted to the medium. We staid near Preci, at Il Collaccio; I am not here to promote any places to stay but Il Collaccio is top of my list in terms of true hospitality, friendliness and value for money. And talking about promotion: if you ever feel like attending a photography workshop and actually want to learn something check out what David and the crew are offering.

It must be said, mother Nature was not exactly cooperating. First dawn patrol really got us immediately in the mood: Piano Grande in the mist and a hint of the lights of Castelluchio in the distance. It seemed that the 3:45 am rise, the drive in David's Land Rover, being called "pedantic" for suggesting to try the right side of the road, all those things were going to be forgotten when the mist would part and the first rays of sunshine would light the village... We were all ready for it... I am not going to moan for long, but we had to pack and head back. Next morning, we did not even get out of the car.... Later, after the workshops were finished I stubbornly went back one morning and you know, "it" almosy happened and I even managed a few reasonable shots. David kept repeating it but scouting the same location time and time again until the circumstances are just right is really what needs to be done... (back to Norway next year David?)

Anyway, to be quite honest, I had the time of my life, and although the choice has not yet been made I am already looking forward to the next opportunity to join those "jolly good fellows" up the mountain for yet another sunrise.

Piano Grande
santino   Preci Mist
Castelluccio Pano
padre   Castelluccio
A bit lengthy, this first update, so I will try to get some info online as of now on a more regular basis and keep it somehow shorter. But first I have to process all the backlog and at least give an idea of what I have been up to. I will do that in a few weeks. Until then, whether you're an addict, an expert, an amateur or a snapper, doesn't matter, have fun! And if you just want to come and have a look every once in a while: you're welcome!


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