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vibrant

dwell on the beauty of life
watch the stars
and see yourself running with them’

― marcus aurelius, meditations


Each week, I look forward to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

Every now and then, like this week, my heart sinks when I see the challenge, and I think to myself ‘nope, this one just doesn’t work for me’. So, when I arrived home last night, cold and wet under a leaden Brussels sky, I almost gave up. In the end, over on my ‘personal’ blog, I found inspiration on my wrist.

This morning, on waking (very late, I blame the miserable weather), I resolved to make the best of it, and find something (anything) on the streets of Brussels that would fit the bill.

I set off to walk, thought better of it and took the bus.

Arrived in the centre of town, close to the Opera.

And – lo and behold – I found something vibrant, on the dullest day imaginable.

Hey, and why not sing along and dance, as many did, despite the rain and gloomy skies!

So, in the end, I found something vibrant on belgianstreets and even smiled a bit 😉


for wordpress weekly photo challenge – vibrant

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alphabet

The alphabet does not go ‘A B C D What? When? How?’ but it does go ‘V W X Why? Z
― Douglas Adams


This year, or more precisely, at the turn of the previous year (if that phrase is indeed correct, maybe it is not), I resolved not to make any resolutions. Among the resolutions that I did not make, were to read more, and, maybe, to take more care of my health. Bizarrely, as far as the latter is concerned, a small collection of electrical components wrapped in plastic and connected to my wrist by means of a rubberised tangerine strap (yes, really, it seems red to me, but Fitbit deem it to be tangerine) have been pressing me to address this resolution (that I did not make, of course). So, when I saw that this week’s photo challenge from WordPress was alphabet, I recharged my Surge, stiffened my sinews, or (girded my) loins, or whatever, and set out to both become fit(ter) and capture the alphabet on the streets of Brussels. The results, largely unedited (apart from a tiny bit of cropping and lens correction) are below. And, if you are still with me, you will find (way down below) a map of my route, as recorded by my tantalisingly tangerine timepiece.


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The tangerine thing tells me that the walk that I took is as recorded below. I have attempted, from memory, to indicate where each shot was taken. All positions are approximate and may even be wildly inaccurate.

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And, if you are still with me, for which thank you, the book that I am reading (as part of one of my other non-resolutions) is Submission, by Michel Houellebecq, a particularly challenging read in the light of recent events and geography.


for wordpress weekly photo challenge – alphabet

and for lucile’s photo 101 rehab

*shot with nikon d700 and nikkor f/1.4 50mm lens with minor cropping and lens calibration in lightroom cc*

see also qwerty / azerty | andytownend

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eye spy

‘I know the word that you long to hear
I know your deepest, secret fear’
– lyrics from The Spy, The Doors

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Shot on the streets of Brussels during the lockdown.

Where, then, indeed, were the spies when they were,

…most needed?

Keeping an eye on subversive selfie shooters perhaps?

The spy.


for WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Eye Spy

 

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transition

‘education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’
― nelson mandela

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This is my response to this week’s WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

As ‘constant readers’ may know, I try to respond to this challenge most weeks, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, inspiration and consequent success (or not).

I’d like to be a pro-photographer. My biggest challenge? My best shots come from the heart, from my emotion, my passion, my anger, my love, oh dear HID, how would I fare in a studio (we shall see, maybe).

Anyway, back to the task in hand.

The image above is a composite. Obviously. I made it using my iPad and the Adobe Photoshop Mix app. It’s not great, I’m not proud of it technically, I rushed it, it’s now late and I’m tired. But I’d like to make my point so I will continue.

The two photos are separated by a few weeks in time in terms of execution. In terms of publication less than 24 hours separates them.

The first, in chronological terms, was actually shot on 26 September, 2015. I took a walk in the woods in Tervuren, near Brussels, I had a lot on my mind. Made a decision, whether it was a little or large decision is (now) of no consequence. Things changed. Life changes. And will continue to change. This image, of three geese (I think, I am no bird expert), was first published here on the evening of Friday, 20 November 2015 in response to last weeks’ challenge which was entitled ‘trio’. When I awoke on the morning of Saturday, 21 November the world had not only gone through the transition from night to day, from one day to the next, it appeared to have spun upside down and inside out. The Brussels Lockdown had commenced.

So, the second shot, taken during the afternoon of Saturday, 21 November 2015 could not be more different.

Transitions can be very difficult. They can be well orchestrated, they can be planned with care, or they can rip apart the fabric of our lives in an instant.

Paris. London. Madrid. New York.

And many more. Every nation, every race, every creed. All have suffered brutalising change. No one has been spared.

What matters now is how WE manage the next transition.

Do we hit back, bomb and blast and scream and shout. Do we ‘change’ the life of others with righteous vengeance? Are our bombs that rain down from the sky, the silent instant deaths that we deal by drone, are they any harder to bear, to rationalise? Who is right? We teach our children to turn the other cheek, to avoid fights and disputes in the school yard. Then, we have to explain why those sleek and shiny, sexy, steel tubes send sudden death to families far away.

Is there another way?

We shall see what we shall see.

What would you do?


For WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – Transition

(and for Lucile’s Photo 101 Rehab as we approach one year of comradeship)

 

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trio

‘what i tell you three times is true’
― lewis carroll, the hunting of the snark

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ever met a snark?

even, in belgium?

didn’t think so

(for wordpress weekly photo challenge – trio and lucile’s photo101rehab)

(a trio from me

andytownend.com

belgianstreets.com

belgradestreets.com)

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boundaries

‘A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.”
― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

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(for breendonk, concentration camp, willebroek, belgië)

(for DP weekly photo challenge – boundaries and for lucile’s photo 101 rehab)

*shot with nikon d700 and nikkor 70-200mm f/4 lens at ISO5600, 1/125s at f/4, edited in lightroom cc and analog efex pro 2, reflection on boundaries that should never have been crossed*

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change

“stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing…”
― maya angelou

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(tram 44, montgomery)

(for daily post weekly photo challenge – change)

*shot with nikon d700 and nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens at ISO200, 1/125s and f/2.0, edited in lightroom cc with wet plate filter applied with analogue efex pro 2*

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from every (well three) angle(s)

“The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be.”
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt: Hitchhiking the Galaxy One Last Time

(scaffolding, city 2 shopping centre, nieuwstraat, brussel)

(for wordpress dp weekly photo challenge – from every angle)

(and for lucile’s photo 101 rehab)

*shot with nikon d700 and nikkor af-s 70-200mm f/4 lens at f/4 and ISO200, scaffolding supplied separately*