Newborns these days

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I simply love working with new babies and new families. Whether you are welcoming your first or fourth baby, there is something so lovely about these first days as your heart grows and you learn to love each other and each other’s presence.

Although they are often called newborn sessions, I prefer to call them new family sessions because there is so much richness and beauty beyond just the sweet babe. We always involve the whole family. Mother, father, siblings, grandparents. I have even hosted dogs and cats in the studio. 🙂

When you arrive for your newborn session, we take time to pick from the many lovely knits and fabrics, simple but elegant props I have on hand on the studio. I love it when parents bring in a meaningful blanket or soft toy that we can incorporate. We follow the mood of the baby, stopping when feeding or cuddles are needed.

Over the course of a newborn session we usually work in 5 – 6 settings for the baby and then move into family pictures. I hope to capture the sweetness of your family and the sense of coming adventure together.

Continuing my “these days” series, I am happy to share Newborns these days with the lovely Emma who joined her mom, dad, grand mother and big brother for this relaxed and joyful session.

Wrapped up in you
Wrapped up in you
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Buds
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Rest
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A little color
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And some smiles
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Here to watch over you
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Eyes wide open
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For some sweet kisses
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Some love from Dad
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Happy days
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Here we are
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Three generations
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Wisdom
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Quiet
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And a vistor. 🙂
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Bed cuddles
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Proud
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Joy
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Simple and sweet
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Curley que
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Precious pieces
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Grounded
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Love grows here

 

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Babies these days

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Joy

Its hard to believe that I have been in the “new” studio space for seven months already and have seen two seasons come and go. Welcome to summer! It really has turned out to be everything I could wish for. Full of light, joy and sweetness. The sessions I have held there really show these qualities. I realize it has been a while since I shared a more comprehensive view of what sessions are like these days. As a photographer my style is always evolving and in a new space, double so. Thus I am now starting a “these days” series to give you a fuller view of  what one session can entail.

This lovely family contacted me to capture the one year milestone for their sweet baby. They wanted to really capture her personality, joyful spirit and themselves together. I love this age and we jumped right in with a game of throwing balloons off the bed. Something that all one years olds excel at. 🙂 After a while we moved into the studio room for some sweet moments playing with momma and papa and more fun and games. We tired her out for sure but all in the name of good fun.

Happy birthday baby girl. You have the most beautiful smile. ♥

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Giggles
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The sweetest smile
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Play
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Peekaboo
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Kiss!
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Spirit
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Float
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These wonderful days
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Wonder
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Duo
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Whee!
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The star
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And laugh and laugh

The best places of all: The Coloma Rose Garden

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Gazing

New favorite location alert! I do love summer, ripe peaches, warm days, lazy afternoons and bright evenings. But photographically speaking, in Belgium, it can be a bit…green. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice green forest but if you really want some color, it is necessary to go far afield to find some.

That is until the Coloma Rose Garden in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw popped up on my radar. Located just south of Brussels, this sprawling park has all the Brussels classics; long waterways, a beautiful 16th century manor home, extensive gardens and quirky features like a straight out of a fairytale wishing well. Home to more than 3,000 rose varieties from 26 countries. We spent the whole morning discovering one garden after the next.

You can cruise around, explore, and play. There is an interactive museum which was closed when we were there but I have read is very intereting. If you get tired or hungry there is a sweet looking Bistro called de Koetsier in the middle of the grounds. If you prefer something sweet then check out the Cremerie at Gaasbeek. Only 10 minutes further and hands down best ice cream in the greater Brussels region. Yum!

But I digress (sugar distracted much?)…this is a gorgeous photo location if you crave some summer colors, classic landscapes and romantic nooks to play and cuddle in. Perfect for engagement, maternity and family sessions.

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Facets
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Come on mom!
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Rosethorn
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Framed
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My little heart
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Magic
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I’m wishing…
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I’m wishing, for the one I love
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Wishing well
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Onlookers
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Leap
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Sweet
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Future flower lover
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Onward march!

First look: A Splendid Harvest 2017

 

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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!

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All mine
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Catch me
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From a high place
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Glee
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The climb
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Taking a break
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Flyers
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Howdy
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Helping hands
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A full days work
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Lift
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Just one for me?
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On a roll

Things to do with kids in Brussels: Gaze at the stars at the Planetarium

 

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Echo

Its space fever over here at Life of Bear & Dragon. Talk of planets, stars and trips to the moon have taken over dinner conversation and evening story time. Somehow, the fact that there is an actual Planetarium in the greater Atomium complex had escaped me, until now!

Though small, the Brussels Planetarium (aka the Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium) packs a fun punch for the 3+ set. The big draw is of course the large projection dome where you can watch a number of beautiful shows projected across the metaphorical heavens. Narrated through headphones in French, English and Flemish, it was both fascinating and impressive to watch. The kids loved it though if you go with an approximately 10 month old baby, he will try to crawl back inside you to safety. Best left with a second parent if possible. There is a schedule of shows on the website.  Check when your favorite will start before you go.

Apart from the projection, there were a surprising number of interactive activities such as a rotating globe delving into a range of topics from ocean currents, facts and visuals of the different planets and even climate change related topics. We also rode a “space bike” between the planets and drove the Mars Rover.

Overall it was a really fun outing. I can see us heading there a couple of times per year and the kids getting something new out of it each time. If you have a fellow space head on your hands, it is for sure worth the trip! And with the highly realistic summer heat, a nice place to cool down and learn something new. Bon voyage space invaders!

Where: Avenue de Bouchout 10, 1020 Bruxelles. Right in the shadow of the Atomium but with its own parking.

When:
– Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm
– Weekends, public holidays and school holidays from 10 am to 5 pm

How much: For individuals:
-Adult: 8 €
-Child, student, senior: 7 €

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Voyager
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Global
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Just a little space cruide
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War of the worlds
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Hmm, about as interesting as my right foot
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Its criminal what those space helmets do it your hair.
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The heavenly dome
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Space

A day in the life: Wild and Free

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Pathway

I used to not like the wind. Restless making and loud. It was a strong cue to make tea, hop in bed and wait it out. Now, wind means more. It means movement and freshening. A whipping sea of summer stems, raw and elemental. Inspiration. And I let this inspiration take me to the swaying fields just a few minutes away for a little fun with my crew of adventureers.

Just this week, my long awaited new camera arrived! I have already been blown away by the power of the the newest member of the canon family, the 5D Mark IV. I can’t wait for this weekend’s sessions to keep on playing!

Do you love this location? Looking for something a little out of the ordinary, a little wild and free? I am looking forward to holding some sessions here this summer. Gorgeous setting for family, maternity or a love session. Especially to catch the lovely evening light. Contact me at bearanddragonphotography@gmail.com to book your Wild and Free session.

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Lead
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Strong
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Filous
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The mighty
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Stride
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Boys
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Breezy
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Escape
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Open
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Hide and seek
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Float

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Apple of our eye
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Possibilities
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Bounce
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Earnest

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

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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.

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Let’s go!
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Imagine
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Skip and hop
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Glow
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Peekabo
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Adventurers
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Happy days
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Swing
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Pathway
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Growing up boy
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In a sea of blue
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Spring kisses
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Touch
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Anticipation
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On we go

 

Annoucing Bear & Dragon Adventures: How to Catch a Star

A beautiful adventure
A beautiful adventure

Sunday mornings are for late wakings, slow sipping coffee, trips to the market and storytelling. I hope you have the first three checked off because here comes the  last.

This summer in Sweden, I thought I would pack away my camera and not touch it for the full three weeks. Separation makes the heart fonder and all. Well I was WRONG. Sweden in the summer, and all through the Nordics for that matter, are a wonderland of forest, wildflowers, long sunrises (waaay too early) and even longer sunsets (just perfect). The gentle sweeping of barley fields made for an irresistible setting. A trip to a local lopis (rummage shop) reviewed two bug catching nets and a story was born.

How to Catch a Star is the debut of a new Bear & Dragon offering, Bear & Dragon Adventures. This is a more stylized type of session where we develop a fantasy, style it with a special look and props and create a wonderland for play and adventure. The editing approach is equally fantastical. Your child as art. The first event will be announced early next year and set in one of the lush rooms inside the Chateau at Domaine Solvay. The theme will be Royals. If you have a little princess or prince who’s dream is sweeping into their own castle this is the one for you. 🙂

As the weather has taken a turn for the frigid, I hope this sweet tale warms you all the way through. Happy Sunday.

First make a wish
First make a wish
A partner is a must
A partner is a must
Set out with determination and love in your heart
Set out with determination and love in your heart
Search high and low
Search high and low
Close your eyes and feel
Close your eyes and feel
Never give up
Never give up
Follow the last rays of the sun
Follow the last rays of the sun
Fill your heart with joy and they will come to you!
Fill your heart with joy and they will come to you!
There they are!
There they are!
Give chase, soar
Give chase, soar
Almost got them!
Almost got them!
Now slow down and wait
Now slow down and wait
A beautiful dance begins
A beautiful dance begins

A Swedish midsummer eve

On the road
On the road

These days are precious. So precious and wonderful and special as we spend time, love and energy just enjoying each other. In some ways, time goes slow and in some ways it goes so so fast and even whole periods of your life can seem to fly by in a heartbeat.

Despite occasional protests from the Bear, my camera is the tool that I use to grab these moments in time and store them away. I imagine pulling these out when I am 80 and marveling at all the beauty. All the love and all the moments bursting with the vibrant life we have. Exhausting, busy and at time past trying but I would not trade even one second. As you enjoy your holiday, I hope you also look around and take a more distant view for once. Imagine yourself in 40 years looking at this moment. Let your heart fill up and then jump in and enjoy every second of it.

Here we are in big sky Sweden with our beloved Farfar and Farmor. I am so glad to have had a chance to organize a little mini session to capture the loving relationship that is growing across these generations. This pond is just a short walk from the family home and we have spent many an afternoon throwing rocks and shivering in the cold Nordic waters and evenings enjoying a cold beer and getting eaten alive by mosquitos. Its a special place and I hope you enjoy it!

Trailblazer
Trailblazer
These are the moments
These are the moments
Generations
Generations
Vibrant life
Vibrant life
Touch
Touch
Cool water
Cool water
Love and laughter
Love and laughter
Little big man
Little big man
Flower girl
Flower girl
Before you know it
Before you know it
Jump!
Jump!
For you
For you
Golden
Golden
Our place
Our place