Seeing With New Eyes ...

A different camera, an altered frame of mind, a short time-frame ... perhaps all of these things combine and allow me to see the city with new eyes. 

There is more curiousity in my gaze.  And more work involved in capturing the shots that I want. 

Then there's the naked, almost black, winter limbs on the trees and they have been challenging me too.  I have wanted to capture the familiar things I see beyond them.  They partially obscure, offering up a new way of seeing this castle, that clock ... and that is intriguing me too.

Street Scenes, Antwerpen.

I didn't sherpa my camera gear with me to Belgium this time.  There were Christmas gifts to bring and small things of mine I want to take back to England.  And I was trying to be realistic about my ability to carry everything back through London's Underground, most particularly when I hit all those stairs over at Green Park.

All that to write that I'm using an old DSLR while wandering here.  A small Canon EOS 400D.  It was packed in all my 'stuff' stored here, waiting for me.  And it's been fun.  I've had to work a bit harder to capture some scenes but the camera itself is so very much lighter than my Canon 5D MkII.  I simply slip it into my handbag and I'm off.

I spotted the following scene from the tram you see in the middle, above.  I hopped off and walked back to the side street, where the light was shining, just so ...

The Story of 3 Birds That Rescued Themselves ...

My favourite cafe was closed the other day and I ended up at a nearby restaurant, hoping the espresso would be drinkable, knowing I didn't want to wander too much further in my search for good coffee.

Sitting there I noticed a rooster totally owning the small garden beyond the hedge in the grounds of the restaurant.  It amused me.  This was centre-city Antwerp.

A few minutes later I watched him visit with the pigeon you see in the series of photographs.  And honestly, they seemed to be greeting each other. 

I asked Vitaliy, the waiter, about them when he returned with a second, spresso and he told me the loveliest story.

The restaurant is called De Markt and the Bird Market is held weekly in the square nearby. Christoph the Rooster arrived first, after escaping the market, and set up home in the garden.  They named him after the manager I was told.

Then Micheal the Pigeon arrived and he stayed too.  He's named after the restaurant's Italian chef.  Vitaliy told me, smiling a little, that Christoph the Rooster often 'shouts at' Micheal the Pigeon ...

And finally, I think that third bird is a Crow.  He's quite motley but he moved in too and I love that.  How did those birds know they could set up home in the garden of a restaurant in the city of Antwerp.

And they've stayed

I loved the story.  I'll go back soon, I'll take Miss 11 with me.  She's visiting this week.  We have plans.

Sweet Spring Rain, Antwerp

Today a storm passed through, reversed/returned or swirled back on itself and crashed  and over the city again ... a storm so powerful that, for now, the air is clean and sweet-smelling.  It's reminds me of New Zealand ... where I know almost all of the scents that you will find in the South Island air. 

The thyme-filled Central Otago air, the rainforest lake air of Te Anau, the merging of beech forest and ocean spray down at Tautuku - photographed at the end of this link to another rain post.  Then there's the glacial rock and ice scent, mixing with the huge forests on the wild west coast, and jasmine-scented harbour air on the verandah of my Broad Bay house back in Dunedin ...

And that's me, the woman sitting next to my open window here in Antwerp while Spring rain continues to splatter nosily down.  The rain is so juicy and sweet-smelling that I am compelled to stop and open the other side of the window occasionally, undoing all of the good that the insect screen does, just to lean out and inhale the delicious scent of wet vegetation ... created by a garden so lush that the smell of it reaches my first floor window here.

For years now, this song has been one of my favourite songs.  On Paul Kelly's cd version of Midnight Rain, he opens with the sound of heavy rain ...

A Taste of Photography Workshopping with Me ...

Made 2 years ago, this short video gives you a sense of how it is on one of my photography workshops for women ... here in Antwerp, Belgium.

I am happy to try and fit in with your travel plans in both Belgium and Italy.

Contact me to know more.