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Distant flicker

As I was looking over some images from a few weeks ago searching for one to share, I came upon this shot of a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) that really highlights its beautiful colors and patterns, even from a distance.

Northern Flicker

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Transition

A few colored lights still stretch across some of the streets here in Brussels, but the signs of Christmas have gradually disappeared during my short stay here. The massive Christmas tree has disappeared from the Grand-Place—all that is left to remind us of the impressively beautiful tree is a hole in the ground and several sections of the tree’s trunk.
 
Seasons change and life quickly moves on, no matter how much we want to slow it down to better savor its special moments.

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Here’s a photo of another wall mural that I came across here in Brussels. This one I recognizes as a scene from The Adventures of Tintin, a comic book series by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé. This scene shoes Tintin, his dog Snowy (Milou), and Captain Haddock, his best friend, a seafaring Merchant Marine Captain.

It’s a little sad to see the ugly graffiti that has defaced the bottom part of this beautiful mural, but that is the unfortunate reality in many parts of this city.

Tin-TIn mural

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Looking up in Brussels

Every time that I walk through the Grand-Place in Brussels I end up with a sore neck. The ornate architecture of the buildings that surround the square is so amazing that I can’t help but spend an extended period of time with my neck outstretched as I take in the beautiful architectural details. This image shows the view that I had earlier this week as I approached the square from one of the side streets and suddenly was treated to the sight of an overwhelming number of spires and statues on one of the buildings.

Grand-Place

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Mural in Brussels

One of the cool things about wandering through the narrow winding streets in the center of Brussels is that I will occasionally come upon wall murals that cover the entire side of a narrow building. They most often appear to depict scenes from comic book series like Tin-Tin, but most of them are unfamiliar to me.

This past weekend I stumbled upon this funny little scene on the side of a building. I am clueless about its context, but it made me smile as I stopped to examine it.

UPDATE:  I did a little research and think this may be a depiction of Nero, the title character of a Belgian comic book series The Adventure of Nero.

Brussels mural

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Under any circumstances it is a challenge to remove the ornaments and lights from a Christmas tree, but when the tree is several stories tall, a simple step ladder is not enough. Yesterday, when I arrived at the Grand-Place in the center of Brussels, workers had already removed the large red and gold ornaments from the tree and were working to take off the lights using a “cherry-picker.” They worked methodically to remove strand after strand of lights, carefully coiling them as they went along.

As I watched them work, I noticed the beautiful reflections of the square on the shiny surfaces of the spherical ornaments that reminded me of the images you would get with a fisheye lens. No matter which way I moved, my figure was always in the frame, so I decided to embrace the opportunity and create a kind of self portrait. The other images in this set feature the efforts of the workers from different angles.

It was a lot of fun trying to frame shots with my little Canon A620 point-and-shoot camera. As a result of its limited zoom range, I was forced to move about a lot, causing me realize that a big zoom lens tends to make me a little lazy in considering options for framing shots.

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

I was happy yesterday to see that the big Christmas tree was still up at the Grand-Place, the historic center of Brussels. It lent some light and color to an otherwise cold, wet day.

I am always disappointed when I see Christmas trees cast aside immediately after Christmas. When I was growing up, it was traditional to wait at least until Epiphany, the celebration of the arrival of the Magi, though I seem to recall some of my neighbors keeping their Christmas tree and lights going for an even longer period of time.

The Grand-Place is always so much fun to visit. The buildings on each side of the square are all different and different elements attract my attention each time that I visit. In the first photo below, you can see the tall town hall in the background. The second image shows the building directly opposite the square from the town hall.

Brussels Christmas tree

Brussels Christmas tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.