Brussels, Belgium – Speciaal Bier!! (HDR)

It is the weekend!!! Who is up for a beer…how about a speciaal bier?? When walking around the Grand Place in Brussels one afternoon I walked into a liquor store to check it out. So many options…check out the sizes of those bad boys!! European beer rocks! For those that have been around Europe, what is your favorite beer? Pub in London, local German beer, French Beer?? Hmmmm. I must say in my opinion, Czech Beer is pretty awesome! In a town called Bad Kreuznach in Germany, this one local beer I had was tough to beat as well! Now I was told once, that the meaning of “Bad” in front of a city name in Germany stands for “Bath or Spa”. A natural spring may be in the city…this natural water may lead to better tasting beer??? Enjoy the weekend! Cheers!!

Talke Photography Settings:
Lens: Nikon 12-14 f/4.0
Setting: Aperture Mode
Focal Length: 18.0 mm
ISO: 200
Exposure: HDR 5 Exposures (+2 to -2)
Aperture: f/4
Gear: Hand Held
Post Process: Adobe CS5, HDR Efex Pro, Coloro Efex Pro, OnOne Software Photo Tools 2.6

Brussels, Belgium – Grand Place (HDR)

A blue hour shot form the stunning Brussels, Belgium. What’s amazing was this was around 10:30 at nite…the sun sets late in Europe in the summer! Then rises early…around 5:30 AM! Tough for photographers. You might have to sleep all day to handle the combo sunset/sunrise! =) Then I had a little fun with this photo using Photo Tool 2.6 and a texture..

Brussels, Belgium – Grand Place (HDR)

Brussels Building HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

This photo is from the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.  While walking around this beautiful square, I looked up and saw these wonderful statues on this one building.  The gold color was perfect with the stone background.   I zoomed in and took this hand held with 5 exposures.  When I walked down after lunch, I didn’t carry my tripod and decided to shoot hand held.  This is one of my first hand held HDR’s in a while!  Sometimes you get lucky…as long as you can keep it steady!!!

Thes statues are located on the HOUSES OF THE DUKES OF BRABANT (This is actually a group of 7 houses, each with a different name. The ensemble is called “The Dukes of Brabant” because on the first floor, under the windows, the statues of the dukes can be seen. No duke or king actually lived here. The names of the houses are: The FAME – The HERMIT – The FORTUNE – The WINDMILL – The TIN POT – The HILL – The BEURS )

Houses - Belgium These are the houses on the picture to the left.   If you see the first house on the left…this is where you will see these wonderful statues…right next to that flag.   Have a Grand Day!

Brussels, Belgium – Petit Sablon Garden (HDR)

Brussels, Belgium, Garden HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

Here is a nice view of Brussels, Belgium.  It was a complete suprise to me!  I grabbed a city map from my hotel this day and had a 20 minute walk to the Grand Place.  I was told to walk down this street that would take me direct to the city center.   Halfway there, I walked down some steps and to my suprise…here was the view!  Just beyond the buildings on the far right is where the Grand Place is located…another 5-10 minute walk.  Brussels is lovely!!!

Here is some info on found on this location on the web:  Almost halfway between the Royal Park and the small garden of Petit Sablon, you find an extraordinary area.  It is also an ideal way to get from the lower city centre (Grote Markt) to the higher Part of Brussels (Coudenberg).  In this neighbourhood you find all kind of museums, concert halls, theatres and historical monuments.  Coming from the Albertina plein (Place de l’Albertine) you can walk up via the stairs in the small park, and like this you will reach the museum area.

I am eager to return to Brussels again…more sights to see.  I did not even get to visit my next goal…Atomium.  Click there to check out this amazing looking place.  I won’t waffle about visiting there next time! 

Brussels, Belgium – Town Hall (HDR)

Brussels, Belgium - Town Hall HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

Here is another photo of the Town Hall located at the Grande Place in Brussels, Belgium.   This is a close up with an extreme angle!   Standing next to this beautiful building its hard not to look upwards at the fantastic architecture.   After seeing this shot…I wondered about all the people on the facade…here is what I found on the web:  

After the destruction of Brussels in August 1695 by the French troops, only the tower and outside walls of the town hall had been saved.  Restoration works almost started immediately after the catastrophe.  In the 17th and 18th centuries the oringal decorative statues withered away or disappeared.  By 1840 a complete restoration was necessary.  It was then that the entire facade became decorated with a total of 203 little staues representing the Dukes and Duchesses of Brabant who ruled the dukedom between the year 580 and 1564.

I’d like to re-visit Brussels again one day.  The Grand Place is amazing!   Hope your day is as Grand!

Brussels, Belgium – Grand Place – HDR

Brussels Grand Place HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

This photo is from Brussels, Belgium at the Grand Place.   It was around 8 PM…dinner time for the Europeans and I was walking around taking lots of HDR’s.  I have processed a few from this day and I like the colors and the people sitting on the curb in this shot.  I am lucky though!   If the people were a little closer – zombieville!    A friend of mine Phil sent me a link a few weeks back of a photographer that used HDR for wedding portraits.  I thought that was an amazing idea.  I looked at the site.  Luckily the bride and groom are a good distance away from the camera, so they are not affected too much by the HDR effect.  Its an idea to try in the future.  A family portrait in HDR?  Maybe?  I’d have to try a few shots and see what is an acceptable the working distance betweeen the lens and person.  I think it will take practice!  Or a little photoshop help? 

I’d like to branch out my skills in HDR one day soon.  I am planning to rent the Nikon 10.5 Fisheye Lens on a trip soon.  I’ll post some shots hopefully by August 1st.  I’m also trying to think of different subjects…we have an old car show here in Texas in September – now that will be fun!  If the lens works out well…it would be fun to have then!   Enjoy!

Brussels, Belgium – Harley-Davidson – HDR

Brussels Harley HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 18-200 VR, HDR in Photomatix

Here is a cool shot from Brussels.  When I walked down to the Grand Place during the day that Saturday from my hotel (20 minute walk).  I passed this Harely parked next to a restaurant.  Perfectly positioned with the buildings in the background.   They are the Palace of Congress.  I had always wanted to take a Harley shot as an HDR.  Any chrome and shiny parts would reflect nicely!  I had my chance and kneeled down and waited for people to pass by.  I took this hand held with 5 exposures and post processed in Photomatix. 

Cars and bikes always look great in the HDR format.  After seeing this shot…I’d like to try more!   After I took it and looked at it on my camrera screen I noticed the lamp post in the rear view mirror.  Not planned and a nice added effect!   As they say on the Harley website….Let Freedom Rumble! !

Brussels, Belgium – Town Hall – HDR

Brussels, Belgium - Town Hall HDR

NIKON D300, Nikon 12-24, HDR in Photomatix

I was in Brussels, Belgium recently and only had 1 day…so a quick stop over.  It was my first visit to anywhewre in Belgium.  I’ll give you more details on Brussels in future posts.  But I must say it is very beautiful place!  Who am I kidding…most everywhere in Europe is amazing! 

My hotel was a 20 minute wlk to this lovely square.  It is called the Grand Place.   They say it is the most beautiful square in the world!  It was breathtaking!  I walked down during the day and took alot of daytime shots, then walked down at nite with my tripod and waited til sunset.  It was a Satruday nite…so anytime was ok for me.  The sun finally set at 10 PM!  So this shot was around 10:30 at nite!  Unreal!

Such a festive square!  Restuarants fill the corners of the square with outdoor dining.  Lots of people are walking around and taking pictures.   As I sat down and waited til sunset a small church choir started to sing inthe middle of the square.  A crowd gathered and they sang for about a half hour.  I was amazed that some songs were English!   It brought a smile to my face to see such enjoyment in the world.   I do not think I will ever forget this nite.  You know that feeling you get when you travel…how it seems so sureal. 

I’m sure I will have a few more posts from this square for you.  This trip is almost over and I think I took 90% of my shots in HDR!  This nice sun setting shot was my usual 5 exposures, tripod, cable release – post processed in Photomatix.  As the square was large…I brought out my 12-24 wide angle lens in order to get more in the photo.   

It was funny as soon as the sun set…I walked into the square with my tripod and some older lady came next to me with a tripod and she followed me around and copied my shots for about 10 minutes.  I’d move to a new location – look up after checking out my shot in the viewfinder and strangely there she was 5-10 feet away.  Hope she got some good pics!!  I think I did.  Photographers are funny people indeed!  Have fun!