It’s about 6pm on a cloudy grey day in the stunning medieval city of Bruges. It’s my first evening out with the camera and things are not looking too promising. I’m standing in front of the most photographed view in Bruges and it’s easy to see why. A collection of pretty Flemish brick buildings surround the waters of the canal basin while the famous octagonal Belfry of Bruges towers over the scene. The clouds show no sign of clearing so I head to a nearby restaurant for a delicious pot of fresh mussels washed down with some delectable (and very potent) local beer called Steen Brugge.
What a difference an hour can make. On emerging from the restaurant with a slight wobble, I’m delighted to see that the majority of the thick brooding clouds have cleared and the evening’s photo session is back on track. I love blue hour photography and the shot above is one I’ve had in mind ever since my first visit to Bruges ten years previously. I feel lucky as the clear sky results in a gorgeous deep blue tones after sunset while the calm conditions make for some attractive reflections in the still waters of the canal. This is one of those times when everything really came together. Being lucky with weather conditions is often a major factor in getting that special shot.
Technical details: f14 | 20 secs | iso 100 | 12 mm
About the Location
The scene captured in this photo is at the juncture of the Groenerei and Dijver Canals. The quay I am shooting from is called Rozenhoedkaai or ‘Quay of the Rosary’. The Rozenhoedkaai area was a salt port during the middle ages. Ships laden with salt would moor here to deliver and load their merchandise. Salt was an important and expensive commodity in medieval times and no doubt contributed to the wealth of Bruges. Today, the merchant ships laden with salt have been replaced by small tour boats laden with tourists, Bruge’s modern source of wealth.