African Adventures – Photos from Zambia, South Africa and Namibia

Muli Bwanji?!

I have finally uploaded all the cards I have on hand from our lives in Zambia and New Zealand. My initial pass through the Zambian files have yielded quite a few gems and I took the time today to post some of them on my new page – African Adventures – Zambia, South Africa and Namibia. There are many more to come! Also, be on the lookout for the New Zealand page, coming soon. Please clicks through the photos and don’t hesitate to send me feedback and let me know what you think!

Zikomo! (Thank you in Nyanja)

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Expanding My Horizons

Graslei Reflections

Graslei Reflections

Stadshal at Night, Ghent

Stadshal at Night, Ghent

This week I showcased my work at the US Embassy in Brussels and I have really enjoyed talking to my peers about photography, travel and Belgium.  Going through my portfolio so many times has brought something to my attention though.  I MIGHT be a little obsessed with Ghent!  It seems that every other picture is of some building, some church, some alley – IN GHENT.

Winter Stroll in Oostende

Winter Stroll in Oostende

So I decided that this summer I will make more of an effort to branch out a little more and spend more time in other parts of Belgium.  There is so much to see that I should have no problem finding great subject matter.  There are war memorials and monuments, beautiful parks and forests, beaches, more churches than my children ever want to see again in their lifetimes, festivals, monasteries (and beer tours!), universities, and more chateaus than you can shake a stick at (stay tuned on Observations of an Okie for pics of Denver shaking a stick at a château…). I look forward to getting out there and really exploring more of this awesome country and I promise that I will be careful if I happen on to some haunted, deteriorating building that just begs me to explore it – ahem.  There is also that suburb of Antwerp, slowly being abandoned that is covered in graffiti/street art. The list is truly endless.

Unknown Soldier at Flanders Field

Unknown Soldier at Flanders Field

But dear Ghent, fear not!  I am unable to abandon you completely.  You are so close and I can pop up for a stroll through your beautiful streets, visit with your lovely citizens and do some great shopping any time I want (I might even bring you new visitors and take yet another picture of St. Nicolaus’ Church).

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!

 

What a week!

Last week was chock full and by the end of it, I was tired, but happy!

Wednesday night, a friend and I attended the first meeting of the season for Viewfinders  – Brussels’ club for English-speaking photographers.  It was great to be around so many others in the community that love doing what we do, and in so many different ways.  The first presentation by Trevor Waldron went over a few basic pointers about composition, light and technique – good reminders for those of us who haven’t been to a photo class in a while and have forgotten more than we learned in the first place.  The guest speaker was Bart Ramakers, a local photographer who specializes in telling stories with his photographs.  He shared with us his techniques, his vision, and his thought processes in coming up with his concepts.  Overall it was a very interesting evening and I can’t wait for the next meeting.  I also need to figure out what I am going to do for the December challenge – Music!  What would you photograph?

The highlight of the week was the Brussels American Community Info Fair and Bazaar.  I was invited by our Community Liaison Officers to take part, manning a table to show off some of my work.  I decided to take the opportunity to also promote a mission community photography club.

My Table at the 2014 Info Fair and Bazaar

My Table at the 2014 Info Fair and Bazaar

18 people signed up for the club!  Now I just need to develop a program for us. I am really looking forward to trading tips and exploring the area with my fellow photographers.

And many showed interest in my prints and asked about my willingness to do family portraits.  Time to improve upon those portraiture skills.  My daughter has graciously agreed to be my test model as I play with lighting and try out possible locations.

It’s an exciting new time for me.  It’s scary, but I feel that things are finally starting to move in a more positive direction and at a much great speed – no time for fear to put on the brakes!  Thanks to all for your support and encouragement!

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!