Recently had a family trip to Bruges and knew it was going to be a great opportunity to develop my landscape and travel portfolio. With images literally appearing in front of you around every corner coupled with the first signs of autumn in the foliage Bruges is truly a photographer's dream.
To capture a beautiful location in its best light you need to practise pre-visualising an image so you know what you’re looking to capture before pressing the shutter. Learning that great photos don't just happen for professional photographers is one of the most important lessons to learn, realising that it takes multiple attempts at the same location and trying different angles before they get that image they have pre-visualised days or years before.
Pre-visualising an image greatly increases the chances of success as you know what you're trying to achieve and seen the mistakes others have made before. There are plenty of ways to pre-visualise an image but one of the easiest ways is using Google images to see the previous images taken of a particular location and checking the weather to see when the best light is going to be available.
This was one of the main images I pre-visualised and coupled with checking the forecast the day before I knew I only had one quality sunset of the weekend. The first attempt was during early sunset and with the clouds spanning across the sky that gives great colour contrast to the sky. It needed a little retouching of the shadows of the willow to try to bring out the greens it really finishes off the image.
Hand held at a shuttle speed 1/800th, f5, ISO 400
It always amazes me how much of a difference just an hour makes in photography. I wanted to capture the same images in a different light so after going back to the hotel to grab the tripod I set up again but this time during the blue hour which completely changed the sky and dragging the shutter to smooth out the water to give some great reflections.
Shot on a tripod at a shuttle speed 2seconds, f6.3, ISO 100
As well as pre-visualising images it's important to capture images that just present themselves to you. This image pretty much speaks for itself with the autumn red in the ivy leading the eye into the image to the setting sun over the bridge.
Hand held at a shuttle speed 1/500th, f6.3, ISO 1100
Bruges is full of unique houses with bay windows overhanging the canals coupled with the reflection in the water it really shows the city at its best.
Hand held at a shuttle speed 1/800, f5, ISO 1600
Saw this alleyway during the day but wasn't happy with the harsh light so I knew I wanted to come back once the ambient and artificial light started to balance each other out. The street lights really add to the dimension of the images.
Hand held at a shuttle speed 1/640th, f5, ISO 1600
Bruges has a real feel of Amsterdam about it including all the cyclists! So wanted to try and capture that motion against one of the endless labyrinth of back alleys. I didn't have time to set up the tripod for this shot so had to quickly set myself up compose the images just as this cyclist went passed.
Hand held at a shuttle speed 1/15th, f6.3, ISO 200
As well as cyclists there is the traditional horse drawn carriage going round the city which is a bit more predictable! Against the back drop of the Stadhuis it shows the traditional and modern side of the city.
Shot on a tripod at a shuttle speed 1/30th, f5.6, ISO 100