My Favorite Image of 2017

Brugge Belgium Cityscape Canal Reflection at Night During a Rain Storm
During an evening rainstorm, buildings including the Belfry in Brugge Belgium are illuminated by city lights and reflect in the canal in the foreground of the image.

Wow! When looking back through the galleries of 1-year worth of photographs, I have to say, it is nearly impossible to choose just one favorite! Yet, if I have to, I’d say that this shot of the Rozenhoedkaai in Brugge, Belgium is it.

It is here that the Groenerei and Dijver canals meet, creating this picturesque scene that is considered one of the most photographed scenes in all of Brugge. It’s believed that the Rozenhoedkaai was a mooring place for ships back in the late Middle Ages and that traders would gather here to unload their merchandise. But it is not for these reason’s that I chose this image as my favorite of 2017.

When I was in Brugge last April, of course I had seen photographs from other photographers taken of this location, but I wanted to make one my own as well. It was on my last night in Brugge that I was out walking the city streets with the camera when I arrived here just as it started to downpour with rain and blowing wind. I thought that there was no way that I was going to be able to take a long enough exposure to capture this scene in such weather conditions, and thus, the battle between the elements and wiping the lens dry of rain droplets began!

It took a few tries, a lot of wiping the lens glass clean, and a walk home in soaking wet clothes, but the end result was this gorgeous night photograph of the canals and the city lights.

A few things I that love about this photograph, which I feel make it an original of an often photographed location:

  • The orange lights of the city reflected in the rainwater as it fell from the sky, resulting in the city lights abruptly surrounding the Belfry even more than usual, drawing the viewer’s eye to a single point of interest.
  • The motion caused by the rain and blowing wind on the canals, as well as the combination with the extended exposure camera settings, resulted in the smoothing of the surface of the canals in more places than others. Because of this, the iron top to the brick wall along the water’s edge reflects almost as crosses in the center of the photograph, adding an eerily creepy tone to the image of these medieval buildings as a whole.

Would you say the above two points are the result of nothing but luck? Well… probably so! But they are both the reasons I chose this photograph as my favorite from 2017!

Happy New Year!