Bruges Offers A Spectacular Photo Adventure
Bruges is a most beautiful and historically fascinating city in the north of Belgium. One of the best places to visit in Belgium, you’ll find things to do in Bruges that will keep you busy and entertained for a week or more.
Situated in West Flanders, the Dutch speaking northwestern region of Belgium, Bruges was a great place for me to unwind towards the end of a fairly grueling six week European photography adventure.
I love Bruges, or Brugge as it’s called in Dutch. This beautiful, Flemish medieval city was once one of the world’s great trading centers.
Things To Do In Bruges
Today Bruges offers the traveller all manner of fascinating and culturally rich opportunities to explore and photograph.
I’d recommend you include the following tourist sites on your list of things to do in Bruges.
Basilica Of The Holy Blood
Church Of Our Lady Bruges
Tomb of Charles the Bold
Belfry Of Bruges
Bruges canal tour
The Basilica Of The Holy Blood
The photo at the top of this post features guilt statues and some of the unique windows on the facade of the Basilica Of The Holy Blood.
Dating back to the 12th century this minor basilica was built as a chapel for the Count of Flanders.
I wandered past the Basilica Of The Holy Blood, at dusk, and was immediately taken with the glow of the golden statues in the fading light.
I set up my tripod and photographed a series of details from the facade, including this one.
Church Of Our Lady Bruges
The above image was made inside the Church Of Our Lady Bruges. It’s probably the most famous of all the churches in Bruges.
The pipe organ pictured above produces a sound that is ideally suited to the cavernous interior of this spectacular church.
As you can see the pipe organ only accentuates the grandeur of the environment in which it’s been housed.
When making the photo I constructed it around the following elements of composition:
warm and cool colors
textured and smooth surfaces
luminous highlights shaped by deep shadows
Notice also how the cylindrical shapes in the pipes themselves are visually supported by the shapes of the columns and beams that surround them.
Madonna and Child
The Church Of Our Lady Bruges is a beautiful church and includes a variety of wonderful artworks including the Madonna and Child.
Also known as the Madonna Of Bruges this sculpture was carved by Michelangelo from Carrara marble around 1504.
For this particular rendering of the exquisite Madonna and Child sculpture I’ve opted for a sepia tone black and white version of the original color photo.
Charles The Bold
I photographed this statue lying atop the tomb of Charles the Bold in the Church of Our Lady Bruges.
To make the photo I lowered my camera so that it was parallel with the statue and then zoomed in to 73 mm to begin to isolate the statue from its surroundings.
I employed an aperture of f/5.6 to produce a relatively shallow depth of field which further separate the statue from it's surroundings.
Bruges Walking Tour
There are many ways to explore Bruges. It’s easy to undertake a self motivated walking tour and also to hop onto one of a number of Bruges canal tours by boat.
I particularly enjoyed 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 was one of the cities I'd most looked forward to visiting. And, just like those other famous cities, I was most impressed with my visit to Bruges.
While Bruges is quite a large city to explore, only around 20,000 people live within the historic old town centre.
Bruges is flat, safe and easy to explore on foot. And, with very little local traffic, it’s very easy to do so.
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 making photos in a variety of directions.
This means being organized, arriving early and being prepared to wait in line. But it’s this kind of diligence that can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing your opportunities to make really great photos.
Bruges Canal Tour
I made this image at days end, just before darkness descended, on one of Bruges lovely canals.
I like the calmness and quiet around this time of day and I feel this image evokes some of the history and a slice of the character of this beautiful city in northern Belgium.
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 alike that the authenticity of this unique city has been retained.
While there is local traffic trough parts of the old town, it’s 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.
With so many things to do in Bruges I certainly wish I’d had more than the few short days I had to explore the old town of Bruges.
I remember my time in Bruges with great fondness and eagerly look forward to my next visit when I plan to spend a week or more exploring as many little nooks and crannies as I can.