Limburg lakes

May 23 2014
Receiving a special request by a German newspaper to shoot the comeback of an injured horse worth 15 million € was already a special start to the day. A last minute call, just as I was packing up to leave the dressage competition meant I wasn't finished just yet.  Ending up in waders between sword flags, spotting a flying bittern a few hours later was to be an even more surreal sight few are privileged to behold.

In Limburg -arguably one of the prettiest parts of Belgium- recent efforts have brought back some more water and open, green space, 2 things migrating and nesting birds often thrive on. Such initiatives should be plentiful I believe. Unfortunately, people still spend 15 million on horses and governments believe a 20-something lane highway is a great idea.

On sunday we're having elections in Belgium. I've been assigned by the agency to follow the extreme rightwing party for 2 days. I feel a weekend of nausea coming up.


De Smet

May 16 2014
In a random street in Flanders, 3 brothers -living next to each other in 3 identical houses-  lead a monotonous, uninspired life. When a young woman moves into the house across the street, their quiet lives take an unexpected turn. 

Actors Sven De Ridder, Stefaan Degand and Tom Audenaert made the set of 'De Smet' an unforgettable one, cracking jokes between takes and making absurd remarks at moments nobody expected them. As we have grown accustomed to in Belgium, the weather wasn’t always on our side, confronting us with gale-force winds, flaring sun and torrential downpours, all in a days time. Not that I’m complaining, the range of colours and available light was a lot of fun. 

Using the 50mm prime on the first day (indoor) was nice as it gave me a great depth of field to work with. Since the room was pretty small and my movements somewhat limited by this, I decided to single out more details instead of overviews. As the set moved outside on the second day I was there, I opted to go for my trusted 24-70mm and was looking more at the movements of the guys as they joyfully worked their way to the wrap of another job well done.

Cinemarno

May 02 2014
A dirty old rocker with a raspy voice, an incomprehensible Flemish dialect, wrinkles and grey hair to match the image. If asked, that's how I would describe the Ostend-born Arno, who turns 65 this May. An expo has been set up to honor his contribution to the rock 'n roll-scene in Flanders for the past 40-something years, located in and old movie theatre that's currently under reconstruction. Filthy floors, dangerous stairs, hardly any lighting; a perfect metaphor for Arno's years in the music industry. Because even if it looks deteriorated and dodgy to a spectator, the whole thing has been thought over very carefully by people who know what they are doing. 

Commissioned work for De Standaard newspaper.

Cinemarno
Cinema Capitole
Langestraat 29 - 8400 Oostend
from 2-5-'14 until 1-6-'14
Entrance only €3!


Thursday, Trackday!

March 12 2014
Last thursday a friend of mine took his red and black Yamaha R6 motorbike to Zolder, a track in Limburg, Belgium, and suggested I come along. Fortune, however, was not smiling down upon us as a trail of oil at the end of the straight -left there by a broken bike- caused 3 riders to go down. As you can guess, out of the 70 riders who were driving at that moment, fate decided my friend would be one of those 3. Even more frustrating was that this happened after the second lap of the first session. And worst of all I didn't get a picture of it... :-) It turned out the damage was merely superficial and the next races could still be run, albeit with a bruised wrist, scratched bike and a dusty confidence. The next few sessions we got treated to some more high speed action, seeing the dusty confidence get blown clean again by speeds of up to 250 Km/h. I'm already looking forward to the next trackday! 

Forest surfing

January 14 2014
For my personal portrait project, I often ask friends if they can spare me half an hour or so, to pose for a picture. Most of the times it's me who does all the location hunting and coming up with the creative stuff. Not this time though... I've known this guy for more than 20 years and for a few years now, he's been into the surfboard repair business, mostly operating out of the shed in his back yard. His latest creation is a pitch black pintail surfboard and he wanted it to be in the picture. Fine by me! The forest is also very close to his house, so after making 1 and 1 into 2, we headed out. The light was wonderful, the motivation to make a fabulous shot was high. The results are setting the bar pretty high for my next models...

Some portraits

December 06 2013
In the past month or so, I have had the luck to shoot (with) a number of very interesting people. Some of them were fun because I personally admire how they do what they do, others were nice to work with because their trust in me led to some good results. Let's hope the future will put more of these interesting subjects in front of my lens.
Seen here are:
-Fernand Huts (CEO Katoennatie)
-Laurent Garnier (Techno godfather)
-Annick De Ridder (NV-A politician)
-Bas Bogaerts (Photographer at De Morgen newspaper)
-Kris & Koen Wauters (Flemish singer-songwriters)
-some screaming teens at a One Direction fan party
-Ronnie -the Rocket- O'Sullivan (legendary snooker player)
-Len Faki (Berlin based producer and DJ)

Belgian Asociality

August 28 2013
Beverse Feesten, zaterdag 24 augustus, Belgian Asociality. Flemish fun-punk band playing classics like 'Boerderie', 'Morregen', 'Jupiler Reggae' and 'Bompa Punk'. Lead singer Mark's facial expressions pretty much sum up the energy these guys put into their performances, even when only a handful of people are dancing in front of the stage. Rock 'n roll all the way. 

Archive revisit in LR5

August 13 2013
Buying a new external hard drive and making some backups, you might be surprised a what gems you come across. Back in the day I was using Lightroom 3. Having skipped a version, I recently purchased the new Lightroom 5 and truth be told: it's a machine unlike any other I've tried. The amount of colour detail you can regain from RAW-files is next level, and the way you are able to control light and dark areas makes editing a joy once again. 
It might seem as if I've been messing around with my colour-shifters a bit much, but I can honestly tell you this: it was a really special day with a lot of Sahara-sand in the air, all the colours were already there and the sun played it's part in the magic as well. I just upped the contrast and vibrance somewhat, adjusted sharpness, pull back some overexposure, et VOILA!

De Weg Van Alle Vlees

July 18 2013
After spending a delightfully fabulous week in a Moroccan town on holiday with my girlfriend, it was time to get back to work. Fortunately for me, I was asked some time ago if I had any interest in being the set photographer for a new short film by Deben Van Dam, a young man with enormous talents. Being surrounded by a group of motivated young people, all giving it their best was an experience I will cherish for a long time to come. But something that made this experience more intriguing than anything else was that everybody (bar the actors) was working on this project FOR FREE! Being a first hand witness to how current economic trends are affecting young creatives, it baffled me how much energy was put forward by everybody present to make it as great a movie as we possibly could. 

Apart from the not-so-everyday-setting (a home for dementing elderly people), I needed to keep my wits about me as lighting situations were far from comfortable. At times the crew was filming in pleasantly lit spaces with big windows and I felt comfortable shooting at ISO 200, f 5.6 and 1/500 sec. Other times, the lighting was tuned to an absolute minimum to get the right atmosphere (during our night shoot, from 18H until 7H in the morning) and I needed to push my settings towards a more grainy ISO 1600 with an f4 on 1/30 sec and still end up with more black in my shot than any colour. But I enjoyed it a lot, met some lovely folks and made some good, new friends. And isn't that why I got into this profession in the first place?

CPeX

July 01 2013
Rock and Roll is business. To some it's even very serious business. And to a very few it's just business as usual. Clement Peerens is one of those final few. As a songwriter he is without equal although perhaps Tenacious D might just have a shot at coming close. It is also clear God makes mistakes because when looking at his musical talent it is obvious Clement should have died at age 27. But he hasn't. And I'm very happy for that. Very very happy!
While preparing myself to head to Mechelen with a good friend to shoot some skateboarding footage, I received a text message with a few very clear words: "de Clement in Merksem, 8 o'clock. I'm expecting you there". In my job as a photojournalist I've learnt to change plans near instantly, so instead of getting into my car and head south for Mechelen, I got on tram 3, northbound towards the industrially picturesque dockers-town of Merksem.
Bringing their trusted fans a nice mix of old classics from the '99 debut album 'Vinde gij mijn gat' and most recent masterpiece 'Olraait!', I believe nobody left the venue with the same voice as the one they arrived with. For sure I left behind a bit of my voice (and a bucketload of sweat), but in return I was granted 2 minutes of private shooting time (somewhere backstage in a pitchdark props-room) with a band I love. Pretty fair deal if you ask me.