Announcing the Bear & Dragon Fall Adventures!

Bear and Dragon Adventure Walk through Time 2017
The air is getting crisper, days shorter and the fall harvest in coming in. Welcome to Autumn! Autumn is my favorite season and Brussels knows how to put on a show. This fall I am proud to offer two special Adventures  that show off the height of fall colors: 
 
A Walk through Time – October 21
 
My most recent favorite outdoor location for family sessions is the Rouge Cloitre which is a beautiful abbey located in the Sonian Forest just 10 minutes from the center of Brussels. Founded in 1367, it makes a very special backdrop for a fall session. Brilliant colors, large reflecting ponds and of course the abbey. 
 
A Walk Through Time
  • 9:00 – 9:30
  • 9:45 – 10:15
  • 13:00 – 13:30
  • 13:45 – 14:15
  • 14:30 – 15:00
  • 15:15 – 15:45
  • 16:45 – 17:15
Bear and Dragon Adventure Sea of Leaves 2017
The Sea of Leaves – November 4
It doesn’t get more lush, lovely and fallish than rolling around in
the enormous sea of leaves that carpets the iconic Parc du Cinquantinaire in early November. This setting is perfect to capture the changing season as well as showcasing one of the most beautiful parks in Brussels.
Sea of Leaves
  • 9:00 – 9:30
  • 13:45 – 14:15
  • 14:30 – 15:00
  • 15:15 – 15:45

 

We always hope for good weather but in case of rain, will reschedule for the adjacent weekend day or the following weekend. Space is limited and we tend to go to a waiting list quickly so please let me know very soon if you wish to reserve a place.

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Fall is coming – fa la la la la

Kristin Zinggeler proofs-6
Just us

Yes! I love fall. Really, really love it. All the yummy things to eat that come from a fruitful harvest, Halloween dress-up, cozy sweaters, brilliant leaves and acorns. Of course, photographically, it doesn’t get much better. Belgium knows how to show off big time in the Autumn season and everywhere you go you can’t help but appreciate the riot of color.

I am just getting organized for the two fall Adventures (mini sessions). This year I will be holding “A Walk through Time” at the gorgeous Rouge Cloitre and “Sea of Leaves” in the iconic Parc Cinquintenaire. Stay tuned for dates next week. In the meantime, some of my favorite fall images of the last few years. Yum. 🙂

Beams
Beams
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Tiny world
fall-3
Wreathe
Tessa Gonyea - sea of leaves - edited-30
Hanging out
Sarah Conners Sea of Leaves for websharing-9
The wonders of youth
Sarah Conners Sea of Leaves for websharing-4
Catch!
Sarah Conners Sea of Leaves for websharing
Imp
Roxana Laiu for websharing-19
Belle
Amy Harker 2015 for websharing-12
Float
Kristin Zinggeler for websharing-11
Coil
Heli Niit 2015 for websharing-7
Play
Anita Baldwin walk through time for websharing-14
Autumn’s frame
Anita Baldwin walk through time for websharing-9
Warm and cozy
Kristen Banks Card images-2
Tickle time!

First look: La Vie est Belle

A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-6
The way you wear your hat

La Vie est Belle, life is beautiful. Eight years ago, I began a beautiful adventure living and loving in Belgium. Though unexpected, I have fallen in love with Belgium and the air, the seasons and the flow of life have become a part of me, like it or not. 🙂 I can spend hours, walking the old streets and admiring the world famous art deco and art nouveau buildings. Elegant, extravagant and often whimsical, these works of art line the streets and provide endless eye candy. No one architect looms as large in this sphere as Victor Horta. Among his work, you will find four UNESCO world heritage sites, museums, private homes and public buildings. I have always wished to explore one and even dared to dream of one day photographing my children there.

This summer the dream came true as a friend offered to open her Horta House for a very special Bear & Dragon Adventure. A home not just one designed by Horta but one he lived in, his country house in La Hulpe set on a hill above Lake Genval. This incredible home is currently for sale and as it rests empty, an amazing location full of art nouveau treasures, murals and history.

Honoring my friend and her husband, one of the most highly regarded cellists in the world, I was inspired to build on a theme of beauty and music set in the heyday of Horta’s success, the 20’s and 30’s. Thus was born la Vie est Belle and I am so proud to invite you to join me in exploring this magical setting this October. Date to be announced this week.

In the meantime, I share a slice of my vision of the Beautiful Life. Salut!

A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog
La vie
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-2
Le Belle
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-3
Picture frame
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-4
Player
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-5
Dreaming
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-7
Bow
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-8
Explore
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-9
In dreams
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-10
Jig
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-11
Tangles
A Bear and Dragon Adventure_La Vie est Belle blog-12
Enrich

 

First look: A Splendid Harvest 2017

 

Apple Harvest Blog-14
A merry band

You can already feel it in the air. Autumn is coming. After a wonderful and relaxing summer, both the kids and I are ready to shake things up with new harvest, a return to school and all things warm and cozy. To mark this transition, we return again to my very favorite orchard in St Truiden to prepare for the upcoming Splendid Harvest Adventure (mini session).

Having a little (tiny) extra time on my hands, I decided that we were in need of some fun new props to play with for the Adventure. I have always dreamed of acquiring an elegant vintage ladder for photo sessions. Finally I found the perfect once second hand and packed the kids up to a seriously shady section of Charlesroi to collect my prize. Over 100 years old, this ladder was in need of some serious rehab but the glowing wood and lovely lines inspired me. Hours of sanding, cleaning and refinishing later, I am in love and can say it was well worth the effort when I see it in the photos. Even the Bear has stopped researching insane asylums.

Amazing to see how the little ones have great since the last harvest. And so without further adieu, I present our updated Splendid Harvest, now with a merry band of three. There are still a few morning openings for this session on August 26. Contact me at bearanddragonphotography@gmail.com for yours!

Apple Harvest Blog-9
All mine
Apple Harvest Blog-8
Catch me
Apple Harvest Blog-7
From a high place
Apple Harvest Blog-6
Glee
Apple Harvest Blog-11
The climb
Apple Harvest Blog-13
Taking a break
Apple Harvest Blog-5
Flyers
Apple Harvest Blog-12
Howdy
Apple Harvest Blog-10
Helping hands
Apple Harvest Blog-4
A full days work
Apple Harvest Blog-3
Lift
Apple Harvest Blog
Just one for me?
Apple Harvest Blog-2
On a roll

Its that time again! Announcing the 2017 Bear & Dragon Adventures (mini sessions) line up

bluebells blog-7
Wood Sprite

Oh la la, things are coming up daffodils, snowdrops, crocuses and of course, bluebells all over the place. Sometimes the winter seems to drag on but somehow this year it arrived right on time. Warm days ahead. 🙂

It has been a wonderful fall and winter for me, getting to enjoy our littlest guy and see him grow now into a sweet and clever little six month old. It feels equally wonderful to balance this time with getting back to work a bit now. Just in time for some of my favorite spring Bear & Dragon Adventures. Why the name change? I am planning some true mini sessions in the future but these will be mainly holiday (Valentines, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Christmas), studio-based sessions offered at a great discount. In contrast, if the sessions are held in a fabulous and special location designed to capture the seasons at their height then voila, the will be called Bear & Dragon Adventures. I digress!

You never know when inspiration may strike so this many not be a complete list but without further adieu, I am excited to announce:

2017 Bear & Dragon Adventures 

  • Amongst the Apple Blossoms: Spring brings the blossoming of millions of apple, pear and cherry blossoms in the Belgian Haspengouw region. Not to be missed! Mid April. Check out last couple of years here and here.
  • Bluebells are Ringing: Capture the magical bluebell forest in Hallerbos. Our most popular spring session. Late April. You can see some examples here and of course below.
  • A Splendid Harvest (new!): A return to the Apple Orchards to capture the ripeness of summer and transition to fall.  August 26. Here is our family album.
  • La Vie est Belle (new!): Similar feeling to the Royals session, La Vie est Belle is set in another iconic Belgian property, Horta’s own country house in La Hulpe.  Come dressed to the nines for this very special art deco adventure. Check out Royals here.  Early October.
  • A Walk through Time: Set in the 13th century Abbey, Rouge Cloitre, this adventure offers up the height of fall colors in a timeless and stunning location. Mid October.
  • Sea of Leaves: Autumn finds the lawns of Parc Cinquintenaire ankle deep in an amazing sea of fall leaves and colors. Our most popular fall session. Check it out here and here. Early November.
  • Merry and bright (new!): A trip to the Christmas Tree farm just outside of Liege is about as merry as it gets. A bit early in the season to help you prepare your epic holiday card. Mid November

If you are not already excited, here is a look back at the fun we had at the Bluebells adventure last year.

If you haven’t signed up for the advance notice on mini sessions and adventures, what are you waiting for?! Sign up on the Say Hello page of my NEW website. Adventure on.

bluebells blog
Let’s go!
Bluebells blog-2
Imagine
bluebells blog-3
Skip and hop
Bluebells blog-4
Glow
Bluebells blog-5
Peekabo
Bluebells blog-6
Adventurers
bluebells blog-8
Happy days
bluebells blog-9
Swing
bluebells blog-10
Pathway
bluebells blog-11
Growing up boy
bluebells blog-12
In a sea of blue
bluebells blog-14
Spring kisses
bluebells blog-15
Touch
bluebells blog-16
Anticipation
bluebells blog-17
On we go

 

The light in the forest: An autumn love letter

 

forest-blog
Feast

Its official. I am FREAKING OUT about this amazing fall light and colors. It is a gift to be home with our latest addition but part of me is already missing working with all my favorite families for gorgeous fall sessions. For sure my lovely little ones will soon tire of momma grabbing the camera and tracking them through the forest like mini photographic prey. I can’t help it!

Please get yourself out there for a autumn walk. The colors couldn’t be more beautiful. The air is crisp and the light soft and misty. Fabulous, fabulous fall.

forest-blog-2
Rainbow
forest-blog-3
Mushroom kingdom
forest-blog-4
Road less travelled
forest-blog-5
Glow
forest-blog-6
Dance, dance
forest-blog-7
Magic
forest-blog-8
Glory, glory
forest-blog-9
Reflection
forest-blog-10
So he grows
forest-blog-11
Pure heart
forest-blog-12
Silly face
forest-blog-13
These fall days

Dawn rides a golden horse

palomino
Dawn rides a golden horse

One thing we really love about moving out to the banlieue is being close to nature! Just on our 15 minute drive to school we pass eight horses and everyone has a favorite! For bababoo, it’s this lovely palomino. Today the combination of a gentle mist, golden light and golden pony were just too much for me. I raced home to grab my camera and to hope that this perfect moment stretched on and on.

During this little baby break, it is so nice to rediscovered my general love of beautiful scenes and light and to let my eye go wander where it may. I wish these images bring you peace and fill you with the warmth of the season. Amen.

palomino-3
Descend
palomino-5
Surrounded by light
palomino-6
Gazer
palomino-4
Sense
palomino-7
Angles
palomino-2
A bid adieu

A look back – Sea of Leaves 2015

sea of leaves-2
Sea storm

Its getting all springy and just in time, I am just barely hanging in there. Sun please!! But before we spring forward, I want to fall back (har, har) one last time with a quick revisit to the Sea of Leaves mini session. This was our second go around and once again. got super lucky with the weather, the deep fall leaves, and the beautiful families. And especially lucky as just a few days later, the magical Brussels leave vacuum visited the park and spirited all of our lovely friends away. Brussels efficiency strikes again. 🙂

Without further adieu, I present Sea of Leaves 2015

Sea of leaves blog-3
Row your boat
Sea of leaves blog-4
Little secrets
Sea of leaves blog-5
Little kisses
Sea of leaves blog-6
Fall revery
sea of leaves blog-7
Pile on!
sea of leaves blog-8
Heart and soul
sea of leaves blog-9
On wings of gold
sea of leaves
Wonder
sea of leaves-3
Three of a kind
sea of leaves-4
Discovery

Things to do with a toddler or kid in Brussels: Blow your train lover’s mind at Train World

Chugga, chugga, choo, choo!
Chugga, chugga, choo, choo!

It is a stunning fall day and with an special Momma and Babatwo morning ahead we decided to get ourselves down to the new Train World in Schaerbeek. If you have a major train lover on your hands then you might want to think carefully before taking them to this over-the-top mecca of traindom because it is very possible that their heads might actually explode. As a medium train appreciator myself, I was still blown away by the sheer volume of the collection and impressive attention to detail. It is truly is a captivating experience.

We arrived around opening time (10 – 17:00 everyday except Monday) and walked right into the ticket office. Very well organized entrance where you pay the fee (10 EUR for adults and FREE for children under six) and receive a map, ticket which you scan to get entry to the different buildings and a handheld devise which provides commentary in English, German, French and Dutch.

The entry takes you into the oldest remaining train station in Brussels built in 1887. Here you can catch a glimpse of the evolution of the ticket office including original tickets, train conductor uniforms and some neat model trains. I have to admit, I was already pretty satisfied that my 10 EUR was well spent but truly we have not even scratched the surface.

Exiting from the rear you walk a bit to the right into the modern building constructed for the museum. We scanned our ticket, opened the door and were immediately engulfed in a whole new world. The first space is dark. Really very dark and the music is tense, suggesting a scary but bold adventure ahead. Looming in the darkness were six large and fully restored engines dating back to the 1830’s. For me this was good fun. I loved the little spine tingle of this foreign environment. For the little guy, not so much. Poor thing was scared nearly out of his wits and to be honest, never fully recovered until we exited to the bright sunshine of the outside world.

So needless to say, we beat a fairly quick path through the rest but I was both seriously impressed and mentally book marking all the things I wanted to more fully explore when I come again. The museum traces the history of train engines, train lifestyle and travel, track development, and yes, even has a train simulation which was a hit based on the number of pushable buttons alone. Each exhibit is thoughtfully put together, creating a fascinating and immersive environment. It really shows off the best of the best of modern museum experiences that can blow us away even when coming from a high tech and high information lifestyle.

Although it was a little scary for my almost two year old (he’s a little afraid of the dark to begin with), I would still recommend this experience for the toddler and kid set. It is beautiful, interesting and just enough hands-on to keep them going to the end. With friendly opening hours and excellent value for money, this is a spot you can visit again and again, each time finding new surprises. And how do you get there? By train of course. Choo, choo!

Where: Train World, Prinses Elisabethplein 5, 1030 Schaarbeek

When: 10:00 – 17:00 everyday except Monday. Be warned last tickets are sold before 15:45 so that you have time to enjoy the full experience.

How much: 10 EUR for adults and FREE for under six. 7.50 EUR for 7-26 and older than 65.

Ticket please
Ticket please
Plenty of running around and pointing in the old train station :)
Plenty of running around and pointing in the old train station 🙂
Me train!
Me train!
Handsome traveller
Handsome traveller
Silly boy!
Silly boy!
Open, open, open
Open, open, open
An intrepid adventure
An intrepid adventure
All aboard!
All aboard!
Glimpse the inner workings
Glimpse the inner workings
Now don't be late!
Now don’t be late
The simulator was a hit!
The simulator was a hit!
Passengers
Passengers