After the first week with rather stable light conditions, the weather is now more changeable, clouds and rain have arrived.
After making an interview with journalist Stijn van der Stockt on Friday morning, on Monday 27 I met Tom Linster, a freelance professional photographer working with the Belgian Agency for Nature Conservation. We met at dawn at the camping-ground where I stay, and soon after we headed towards the forest.
It was a pleasure to meet Tom and have a chat while he was taking pictures of me in action for the article about my Wild Wonders of Europe mission in Spoorzoecker, a free magazine edited by the Agentschap voor Natur en Bos. The main goal of this magazine is to make people aware of the natural treasures still existing in Belgium. The Agency gave me the permission to shoot in the Hallerbos forest and I want to thank them for this; they were also very interested to know that Wild Wonders of Europe chose Hallerbos as one of the nature jewels of our continent.
I spent the very early morning with Tom, then went to work in the heart of the forest; it is amazing to see how nature is ever-changing: when I arrived, the leaves on the beech trees were just tiny green dots on the branches, now they are full grown, and show their beautiful light green colour, the colour of the forest in spring. This year, almost one week earlier than in 2008.
The bluebells are still beautiful from a distance, but if you have a careful look at close quarters, you realize the blooming season is slowly going down, as some flowers are already developing into fruits.
The Allium Ursinum plants are in full bloom now and they are really amazing to me, with thousands of white, bold flowers creating thick carpets of green and white on the rolling slopes surrounding tiny streams in the forest.
I tried to take pictures with different lenses from extreme wide-angles to long telephotos. I do not want to lose any possibility to render the beauty of the blooming forest and its spirit, so I spend a lot of time slowly moving around the most appealing location thinking and trying out different positions for shooting.
Finally I decided to ask the Hallerbos rangers for help; they were very kind and I managed to get some shots from above, putting a ladder on a beech trunk, a perfect bird’s-eye perspective over the forest ground in bloom.
I love plants and was very pleased to find other beautiful species in the forest, for example Paris Quadrifolia, which I love for its delicate leaves and the strange flowers. It is a rare species in central Italy but here, in Hallerbos, it seems to be rather common, as I found several small populations in different locations.
My research is still ongoing; in the meantime I get up early and walk under the canopy of this mystic forest - to everyday try to render its magic and atmosphere in my images.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.