Just in a couple of weeks the whole FB wall will be purple from the photos taken in Hallerbos. It seems that all the people from the Netherlands, Belgium and the countries around that have a camera feel obligated to visit this forest and post a photos afterwards (haha, me too!).
I also visited Hallerbos last year. It was rather a spontaneous and a bit crazy trip. I saw lots of beautiful photos with bluebells and dreamed to visit the forest for a couple of years. And I really hoped to do it in April 2015. But, as I didn't have a car, I would need to travel with the train and then spend 1-2 nights at the hotel near the forest. Spring -2015 appeared to be extremely busy for me. And I sadly realized, that no Hallerbos for me that year. I wrote to one my friend, Lena, to share my sorrow. And I got a reply - 'but we could go together by car! Wait, I need to ask my husband". And in a couple of days she wrote - we plan to drive to Hallerbos tonight, are you in? Holy squirrels, what a question? I packed my gear, took a train and went to Assen to meet Lena with her husband. Around 2 a.m. started our trip to Belgium. And I'm so deeply grateful for the great opportunity they gave to me!
It was a usual week day and we were so silly thinking that we are going to be almost alone in the forest, since other people tend to visit this location in the weekend. We arrived to the forest when it was completely dark. And other cars, one by one, arrived and arrived too... I had a feeling we came to some festival, not to the forest.
What can I say about my first impression from a Hallerbos?... We stepped on the path when it was still dark. No flowers were visible yet, but the smell! This is what you can feel right away, lovely floral smell. When the time ran closer to the sunrise we all spread in the forest to find spot for photography. And then I faced a problem. Yes, it was so beautiful around, yes, many bluebells, anemones etc. But...I saw so many photos taken here, so many different compositions, techniques. I definitely didn't want to repeat or copy any of them. I walked and walked, tried and tried, played with my fish-eye lens. And finally I think I succeeded in something what was different and indeed 'mine'.
What can I say to conclude this story... Hallerbos is indeed an amazing place! Many beautiful flowers in the beech forest look really impressive. But it's a way too busy and popular location to my taste. When we started to walk back to the parking place the huge flow of people flooded all the paths in the forest. And it was just about 9-10 a.m. and a usual working day. Don't even want to imagine what's going on here on weekends! I still need some silence and intimacy in the landscape photography. But everything depends of course.