Wild Photography Holidays - Photographic Adventure Travel: Bruges, Belgium – A Medieval Romance

Bruges, Belgium

Bruges, Belgium – A Medieval Romance

Highlights include…

  • Impressive Renaissance and medieval architecture
  • Charming cobblestone alleys
  • Urban wildlife, the famous swans of Bruges
  • Iconic, chocolate box pretty location of world heritage Beguinage with carpets of daffodils
  • Plenty of street life (people, horse carriages, boats etc)
  • Early morning slow shutter speed and sunrise photography
  • Stunning reflections along the canals
  • Charming hotel in the heart of the historic centre
  • Easy access to all the locations
  • Gorgeous Belgium cuisine and beer!

Introduction

Bruges or ‘Brugge’ in Flemish, has often been dubbed the ‘Venice of the North’: it’s photogenic waterways and fairytale architecture make it one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Here is a city that will capture your heart. A well deserved Unesco World Heritage site retaining the mysteries of the Middle Ages and unashamedly exuberant, Bruges has been an international metropolis for centuries. The city of Bruges boasts impressive medieval architecture mixed with some marvellous 19th-century buildings. There is a wide range of photographic subjects: street photography, architectural details, amazing canal reflections and urban wildlife i.e. the famous swans of Bruges.

Early morning sunrise sessions will give us opportunity to photograph empty streets before they are filled with tourists. Wandering around cobblestone streets we will emerge ourselves in one of most beautifully preserved medieval treasures of Flanders. Bruges is often referred to as Venice of the North – you will appreciate the intricate web of city canals with stunning reflections early in the morning and busy boats traffic during the day. We will also have a chance to savour local cuisine – famous Flemish stew, mussels, waffles, chocolate and – last but not least – a great many types of Belgian beer.

Photographic Tutors

This workshop will be led by Polina Plotnikova, a talented and creative photographer who believes…
 

“They say that a photographer is either a picture taker or a picture maker… I am firmly in the picture makers’ club. While fully appreciating the what you see is what you get approach, I am much more interested in chasing an ever-elusive image that appears in my mind’s eye, an image that conveys my feelings and emotions, rather than remains a mere statement of fact.”
 

Polina is an ambassador for Lensbaby who have produced award-winning DSLR and mirrorless camera lenses that enable creative effects for inventive photographers. Polina will give a Lensbaby familiarisation tutorial for any interested guests.

Martin Sammtleben of WPH originally built his own business as a photographer and graphic designer, mainly for clients in the architecture and tourism sectors. His lovely and thoughtfully created images reflect this early background. Additionally he is an expert on post processing and image management.

Geraldine Westrupp co-owner of WPH will take care of the day to day organisation on this workshop.

Brief Itinerary

For full details please download the trip description PDF

Day 1: Arrival in Bruges

There are many different ways to travel to Bruges depending upon where you are travelling from. Our charming four star hotel is located right in the historic area of Bruges. Early evening we will gather together for introductions and a trip briefing followed by dinner at a local restaurant. No doubt we will take the opportunity to admire Rozenhoedkaai, the most photographed spot in Bruges. It is magical at night, with light reflections in the dark waters of canals.
Accommodation Hotel

Day 2: Medieval Architecture and Reflections

We will start the day early at the same spot we admired on the previous evening, the famous Rozenhoedkaai. Sunrise will light up the tips of the medieval buildings and will gradually reach the water. Moving along the canal will allow us to photograph eye catching reflections and all before the tourists are awake. Back at the hotel we will have time to catch our breath and have a delicious breakfast. The day will continue at the Burg, a place of great importance to this city. One of buildings The Palace of the Liberty of Bruges was the headquarters of local government from the Late Middle Ages up until 1795. There will be an opportunity to focus on wider angles including the impressive fourteenth century city hall and old Court of Justice, a rare example of Renaissance architecture in Bruges. There are lots of choices for close-up architectural details, and a chance to pop into the Basilica where a relic of the Holy Blood is kept. Moving on to the Markt – the heart of Bruges – we encounter many Medieval-style buildings with stepped gables. Proceeding along smaller streets we will taking in the atmosphere before enjoying lunch. The afternoon will focus on photographing horse carriages in narrow streets, boats on the canals around city centre and generally soaking up the ambience of this historic city.
Accommodation Hotel

Day 3: Lakes, Swans and Canals

We will start bright and early again with a pre-breakfast photo session at one of the rare wider spots on the Bruges canals, the Spinolarei Vista. Here are great opportunities for slow shutter speeds and canal reflections. Following a delicious breakfast back at the hotel we will proceed to Begijnhof a World Heritage site once home to the Beguines, emancipated lay-women who nevertheless led a pious and celibate life. Today it is inhabited by the Sisters of the St. Benedict Order. Photographically there will be lots of various options – wider angles to take in all the white houses and the trees, a carpet of daffodils that cover the inner court at this time of year. There will also be good opportunities for some in-camera creative techniques (ICM and multiple exposure.) Heading for the Begijnhof we will have an excellent opportunity to capture courting swans, one of the reasons that this time of year is such fun for photographers. Following lunch we will take a long walk around a small lake called ‘Minnewater’ or Lake of Love before proceeding to Godshuis De Meulenaere, a smaller Beguianage and one of the charitable dwellings that were built from the 14th century onwards. Here we will enjoy the small yet picturesque garden with it’s white-painted façades. Strolling back to the hotel we will have time to take a look at our images before heading out to the town for dinner.
Accommodation Hotel

Day 4: The Romantic City

We will take it easy this morning with a leisurely breakfast and a creative tutorial with Polina. Inspired we will head to Jan Van Eyck Square to photograph this picturesque spot that once was the old harbour of Bruges, where ships loaded and unloaded. Before lunch we will explore the streets and a few churches in the north-west part of the city including the beautiful St James’ Church. There are lots of less known romantic and photogenic spots in this part of the city. The small bridges providing excellent opportunity for water reflections. During lunch we will discuss which locations the group would like to return to for the afternoon photo-walk. Early evening we will enjoy an image presentation before heading out for a final celebratory dinner.
Accommodation Hotel

Day 5: Departures

Following breakfast we will say our goodbyes and depart take our various modes of homeward transport.

Travel to Bruges

Bruges is an easy city to travel to from all parts of Europe. There are plenty of options by either plane, train or coach. For details and suggestions please see our trip description PDF
You will need to arrive at the hotel by no later than 18:00 on the first day of this workshop/break.

What’s Included

  • 4 nights hotel with breakfast
  • 4 dinners
  • Tuition and tutorials
  • Guided photography walks

What’s not Included

  • Lunches
  • International flights, transfers, trains, taxis
  • Travel insurance
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Snacks and beverages except included meals

Accommodation

We will stay in a charming 4-star hotel offering good access to our chosen photo-locations.

Complete Itinerary and Full Details

This page is only a brief summary. A complete itinerary and more details can be found in our trip description PDF
It is important that you read this full day-to-day description and further information for this holiday before making your booking.