Winter Walk

So much blogging to catch up on! Here’s a little something to go on from our walk this afternoon.

There were tons of people out today soaking in the unexpected sunshine and Tervuren Park is a favorite outdoor destination for many living on this side of Brussels.

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Winter Walk in Tervuren Park – featuring sunshine between two hail storms traveling in opposite directions!

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Hidden History

My friend Elizabeth buys the coolest books. And she likes to explore. This combination is very awesome for me.

Her latest find is “Secret Brussels.” So one day in October she invited me on a walk from our neighborhood to some hidden gems in the Sonian Forest and the commune of Auderghem.

The first part of the trek took us through the grounds of the Red Cloister, a place I know well and have been to many times. I have yet to really get great shots of this place. But my husband enjoys going there, so I will have more chances to succeed in the future.

We made our way from the Red Cloister, under the 411 highway towards our first “secret” destination –  the Chateau/Prison de Trois Fontaines – or rather what is left of the estate. Today, only the lodge remains beyond the old gate (and modern fence). The more intrepid might have hopped the fence to check it out more closely, but I wasn’t feeling so brave that day! In its day the Chateau also served as a prison for those caught poaching in the forest or stealing firewood.

Our next destination was the far newer Chateau of Solitude. This chateau was built for the Princess Marie Ludmille Rose de Croy after becoming widowed, and was a place in the Sonian Forest near Auderghem that she could retreat to deal with her grief and commune with nature. Now it is home to an organization for sports.

A quick walk through the neighborhood, then ducking back under the 411 up the Chausee de Wavre brought more gems. A particularly interesting house we happened upon was the home of Belgian impressionist painter Auguste Oleffe. A dentist has set up shop in the house these days – the only indication that it was home to a painter a plaque upon the wall.

Further up the road, we mounted steps in search of two little streets that the book claimed to be picturesque. In earlier times the area was a rural village identified by the unflattering name of Loozenberg which translates to “Hill Lice.” Understandably the residents changed the village’s name to Bergoje – which basically refers to “houses on a hill.” The book’s author was correct and the streets (or at least the Rue de la Pente) did not disappoint. They are little more than alleyways, lined by old walls and quaint houses – some old, some newer.

On our way back towards home, we chose to continue our journey on the back roads. It’s amazing how much you can feel like you are miles from everything just a few streets in from the main thoroughfares here. We passed yet another chateau-turned-club before finding ourselves at the official entrance to the Val Duchess. I haven’t figured this place out yet, but you can see some amazing houses and buildings from the Boulevard de Souverain and I have been dying to get inside this fenced property and explore. That still hasn’t happened. Instead we continued on until we found a street that we were relatively sure took us in the direction of Elizabeth’s house. The road was a narrow alley (but car sized this time) and at the end I realized where we were and just how close to home we were.

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The fact that the forest is just resplendent this autumn only added to a most enjoyable walk and treasure hunt.

La Brocante – En Couleur et B&W

Black and White or Color – Which is your favorite?

Happenings in the Hallerbos

It’s almost that time of year again! It’s almost time for the wonder that is the Hallerbos (Bois de Halle or Halle Forest) in the spring, when the bluebells bloom and the forest floor is transformed into a carpet of gorgeous purple.  But although at this time last year the flowers were all abloom, and a few purple flowers have braved the cooler temperatures of this spring, we are still a week or two away from the big show. My husband and I took a stroll through the forest today to check the status of the flowers and were delighted to witness a sort of pre-show.

Hallerbos Pre-Show

Hallerbos Pre-Show

In the week or two preceding the bluebells, the forest floor is first carpeted with the blooms of the wood anemones. While it doesn’t have quite the same effect, it is still very beautiful. The forest itself is peaceful (usually!) and makes for a great day in the outdoors no matter what time of year you visit it.

More Belgian Photographs!

Hello!

Well I have finally emerged from my seeming hibernation and more of Belgium has been uploaded for your viewing (and purchasing!) pleasure on the “Belgium” page.  Eventually I have more photos to share – from the Art Nouveau photo outing with the Tri-Mission Photography club and our recent jaunt to Bastogne and Luxembourg.  I haven’t yet decided which photos, if any, are worthy, but hopefully we won’t have to wait until after the holiday season to find out!  Take Care and Happy Clicking!

 

October

Hello! It’s been awhile, but it’s been quite the busy month for me, with club activities, volunteering, learning French, yoga, and just trying to keep clean clothes in the closets.

The Tri-Mission Photography club had its first outing in Watermael-Boitsfort early in October. It was a rainy day, but following the advice of my more experienced peers in the Viewfinders Club (Brussels’ English speaking Photography Club) I decided not to cancel. And what a great day it turned out to be. Not only does the area offer a lot of variety in subject matter, with its architecture, historical sites, nature, and the Sunday farmers’ market, it was on the route for the Brussels Marathon that day!  Sadly for me, I was unable to really capture any great shots of the runners and the African drummers cheering them on, but it was a great lesson for me that I need to work with my shutter speed a little more, as well as relaxing and focusing on what I want to convey a little better (which is easier said than done with moving targets and oncoming buses…). On a coffee break (because the rain was just too much at one point), we talked a bit about our camera functions, locating the f-stop and shutter speed controls, and a little about white balance.

 

All in all it was a great day and a lot of fun. I’m hoping that even more club members will be able to join us for the next outing!

This month’s meeting of the Viewfinders was very inspiring for me.  Several of the club’s members presented their work and it was great to see so many different approaches to photography.  One of these days I’ll be confident enough to get up there and present my own work! Check out the Viewfinders here.

Another exciting development is the opportunity in early November to sell my work to our friends and colleagues at the Embassy.  I am so excited to be offered this opportunity and I’ve spent quite a number of days battling that demon of doubt and uncertainty.  But the more I stop, breathe, and open myself up to the opportunities coming my way and allow myself to appreciate my work while still being able to see the areas in which I can improve, the more the opportunities keep coming and the more I love what I am doing.  Here’s to chasing our dreams and not giving up the ghost!

Have a Happy Halloween and keep on clicking!

 

PS: I’ve added more pictures to the Belgium album, and I promise to work more on my New Zealand portfolio soon!

 

Photography Clubs and Community Info Fair

This is a very exciting week for me!  Not only have I finally launched my website and blog to showcase the fruits of my favorite hobby, but I will also have the chance to meet up with others in the Brussels region who are as into photography as I am (if not more so).

First is a meeting of the Viewfinders Club, an English-speaking photography club that meets near Merode.  I only learned of this club as their season was ending (and my house was full of guests) so I am very much looking forward to meeting with the other members, learning new skills and tricks of the trade, as well as new places to photograph.

On Thursday, I will be at the Tri-Mission Info Fair where I will be manning a booth for the Tri-Mission Photography Club (perhaps the first order of business should be to adopt a new name!).  Why two clubs?  Well, some in our community may not be ready for a full on commitment to the already established, local club.  There are some who are shy about their photography skills and a post community specific club may be just what they need to jumpstart their hobby and get them out and about.  If nothing else, it’s a great way to see this fabulous place we are posted to while meeting others who are in the same boat career-wise.

Of course I will also be displaying some of my prints at the Info Fair as well!  I won’t be able to sell there, but at least I’ll get some exposure for my work.

For those of you in the Tri-Mission and US mil community, I hope to see you all there.  Don’t forget to stop by and sign up for the club!