Photographing Bruges, Belgium
Exploring Bruges On Foot And On Water
Bruges (i.e., Brugge in Dutch) is a most beautiful and historically fascinating city in the north of Belgium. Situated in West Flanders, the Dutch speaking northwestern region of the country, Bruges was a great place for me to unwind towards the end of a fairly grueling six week photography trip. I particularly like exploring the city's backstreets and squares around the end of the day and into the evening.
Actually, together with St. Petersburg and Salzburg, Bruges is was one of the cities I'd most looked forward to visiting. And, just like those other two famous cities, I was most impressed with my visit to Bruges. While quite a large city, only around 20,000 people live within the historic old town centre.
Bruges | The Venice Of The North
Just like St. Petersburg, Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North. A major trading and commercial centre, in years gone by, I really enjoyed taking a small boat tour along some of the city's canals.
Photographing from the waterline provides an interesting perspective on much of the town's splendid architecture. I made sure I was first on the boat so as to secure a seat that offered the optimal position for photographing in a variety of directions.
The old city of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was designated as the European Capital of Culture in 2002. It's a credit to civic leaders and the general population that the authenticity of this unique city has been retained.
While there is local traffic trough parts of the old town, its possible to wander many of its narrow cobbled streets in relative calm. What's more, while the major museums and churches are well worth visiting, you really don't have to walk far to get away from the otherwise hectic and crowded tourist trail.
A Visit To The Church Of Our Lady, Bruges
The above image was made inside the Church Of Our Lady in Bruges. This is where you can see the Carrara marble Madonna and Child sculpture by Michelangelo.
Pipe organs produce a sound that is ideally suited to the cavernous interior of large church buildings. And this structure only accentuated the grandeur of the environment in which it was housed.
Compositionally the image is divided between warm and cool colors; textured and smooth surfaces; and luminous highlights shaped by deep shadows. The cylindrical shapes in the pipes themselves are visually supported by the shapes of the columns and beams that surround them.
I remember my time in Bruges with great fondness and eagerly look forward to by next visit when I plan to spend a week or more exploring as many little nooks and crannies as I can. There’s a lot to see in Bruges and not all of it is within those few highly touristed blocks where most folks spend their time.