This Brussels trip was something new for me. First, I had never been to Belgium before which is surprising because how close it is to France, and it was actually the first time I went abroad by myself, and couchsurfed.
Getting out of work I took my car, taking a few carpoolers with me, and 3 hours later here I am, in Brussels’ center.
I was hosted by a really nice guy named Tarek, who had never hosted any couchsurfer before. Luckily for me he had free time too and was willing to show me around the city, the most famous places as well as his own favorites. Tarek had just bought a fairly good DSLR, but didn’t really know how to use it, so I taught him some technical background and some photography tips as we visited the city 🙂
(it was a good occasion for me to get my hands on Canon gear as well, at the time I had only been shooting with Nikon)
We first headed towards the heart of the city and the most famous place in Brussels, the Grand Place, which is a very beautiful paved place surrounded by typical Belgian buildings.
It had been raining during the night, leaving pounds here and there under a bright summer sun. Trust me, with a setting such as this one you can work wonders 😉
For this shot I got close to the floor (almost kneeling into the pound), chose an intermediate aperture of f/8 and focused on the reflected building. This way the reflection itself is sharp but the pavement is out of focus and softer, bringing the eye to the main subject in the frame.
Then we went to see the famous Mankenpiss statue, which turns to be very tiny, with a perpetual crowd in front of it. For those of you who have been to the Louvre museum to see La Joconde -aka Mona lisa- it’s almost the same thing !
Visiting the city, I felt an overall great mood. Brussels is a mix of big city, quietness and beauty, kind of in between of Amsterdam and French cities. I didn’t take much pictures that day, and didn’t even think much about it, maybe I was too busy having a great time and discovering the city.
Our path led us all the way in the city center, to the European Parliament district, the Jubelpark (or Parc du Cinquentenaire) and finally up north to the Atomium. This 102m tall structure, representing a unit cell of crystal, is often used as a symbol for the Belgian Capital city.
A lot of of people take the same picture of that building, like you would expect them to do with any another famous monument, and I did too as can see above. Yet I wanted to have my own composition as well, so I moved around the Atomium until i found a pattern that suited me and still kept what makes the structure recognizable. I like the fisheye-like look those iron spheres give.
What I would recommend in Brussels :
- We all know some of the best things can’t be enjoyed only with your eyes : Belgium has some of the finest chocolate out there and their beers are outstanding. If you don’t know about those, my best advice for you would be : go there and give it a try !
- The area around the Grand Place, it’s gorgeous, and now completely traffic-free.
- At night, head towards Ixelles to find a good restaurant or to grab a beer.
As I said previously I didn’t take many pictures during this trip, but I sure got to see a lot.
Tot ziens/Au revoir Brussel !