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May 8, 2014

Around the world in 80 Lumias: Belgium

Belgium might be one of the world’s most densely populated countries, but that doesn’t mean it’s packed to the rafters with people.

In fact, as our latest Around the World in 80 Lumias shows, parts of Belgium are beautifully rural and beautifully chilled out. This is great news for us because it gives imaging maestro, Olivier Noirhomme, fantastic subjects to shoot on his Lumia 1020. To see for yourself, check out some of his wonderful photos below. But before you do that, sit back and read what this long time friend of Connects has to say about his passion for photography, his home country and Lumia smartphones.

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So, Olivier, how did you get into photography ?

It all really started with my Nokia N8 in 2010. Before that, I had several other Nokia devices like the N95 and the 5800 XpressMusic which took, at the time, good quality pictures for smartphones but wasn’t really thinking about photography. With the Nokia N8, I discovered the basics in mobile photography. There weren’t many options back then and it was perfect for an beginner like me.

Then came the 808 Pureview which I still have and still use for the camera. I bought it at the release in July 2012 and learned so much on it. At first, I didn’t understand everything but thanks to a lot of reading, all the Nokia and Pureview websites and blogs and the Nokia community on Twitter, I made great progress months after months and learned how to use the different settings. I tested Rich Recording by recording electric guitar and made my first time lapses. Again, I learned a lot from that.

Next came all the Lumia devices and I had the opportunity to use the 900, the 920, the 925, the 1520 and, of course, the 1020. It’s the one I like the most thanks to its camera. With the additional settings (exposure time, more ISO values and the Nokia Camera app), I learned new things and it revived my interest in photography. Not that I was tired of it but I wasn’t discovering new things with the 808 Pureview after so much time with it.

I love photography now. It has become a real hobby and I enjoy doing and sharing my things and looking at what others come up with. There’s always something surprising to look at and there are insanely talented people doing amazing photographs/videos with “just” mobile phones.


What do you like best about your Lumia?

What I like the most in the Lumia phones is, if I had to choose one feature, the camera, but, simply put, it is the Nokia experience and apps. By experience, I mean what each and every Nokia fan feels when using a Nokia. It’s simply great, the overall quality is phenomenal, we know what to expect and we know we’ll love it. I also mean that Nokia listen to its consumers.

For instance, there are several employees on social networks (wink at Juha Alakarhu) and they’re always helpful and listening to users feedback. The Black update, RAW support and other updates are a great example of that. I’m not sure people who buy other companies devices feels the same way. I can’t think of one Nokia app I don’t like. Nokia Camera, Refocus, Cinemagraph, Creative Studio, Panorama, etc. All amazing apps with clever ideas everywhere (reframing, dual capture, etc.) and great creativity tools. Plus, there are also Here, Storyteller, Play to, City Lens and so on. I’m really eager to see what’s next!

Where in Belgium do you like to shoots photo most and why ?

Belgium is a small country and there aren’t a lot of different sceneries to see. Basically, there’s the countryside, the cities and the sea coast. Not mountains, no oceans, no canyons, no desert, … But each type of scenery here is beautiful. There are cities like Brugge or Brussels (with its “Grand Place”) well known for their architecture. Like you’ll see on some of my pictures, the countryside can be flat in some places (north and center of the country) or hilly (south) with gorgeous nature, fields, forests and lakes.

I live in Brussels but I often go to the countryside because I have family there and it has become my favourite place to photograph. I love nature, walks, being outside and it’s the perfect place to capture animals, insects, flowers, reflections, great colours, gorgeous skies and clouds. I wish I had more time to capture the rest of the country though.

What are your 3 top tips for shooting awesome Lumia photos ?

1) Try to look at things differently than your human perspective, even common and usual things. It can be from above, from below, closer, from unexpected points of view… Don’t hesitate to use a tripod. There are strict photography rules but try sometimes to go against them to see if it can produce something interesting. Try to maximize the shallow depth of field when capturing something close. Time is fun to play with too. Time lapses are an awesome example, as is pictures stacking.

2) Don’t stay on Auto mode and play with the settings. The Nokia Camera is designed to make everything available right way and you’d be surprised to see what kind of results you can have with the same scene by changing values like ISO, exposure compensation, white balance and/or shutter speed.

3) Remember you’re on a digital camera so you’re almost not limited in pictures number. Don’t hesitate to capture the same scene several times and from different points of view, sometimes very similar. One never knows what you could capture with a slight change. You’ll see later which one is the best. Try to share only your best photos and not the whole series of a same scene. It looks more professional. Over time, I’ve learned that not showing the failed or acceptable shots is what creates the amazed reactions when people sees the best pictures.


Sun breaking through the clouds. Taken in Brussels during the winter, which was “hot” this year so now snow and nice weather.


A 68MP, 17267*3981 countryside panorama made from four pictures. It’s the full view (around 170°) of the landscape seen from the village I go in the countryside. Here’s a ZoomReinvented example to show some details.


This lantern is the first low light picture I made with the 1020. It’s simple but it was handheld and obviously shows the OIS works perfectly. By zooming, one can see the details on the wall are very sharp. Another example of looking at things from a different point of view. Instead of just capturing the sky or the water, I though it would be great to have both. In this case, I think it works great to have the blurry reflection and the beautiful sky in the background in focus


Water reflection on a terrace . After it rained, there were several puddles on that terrace. I thought it would produce a great effect to focus on the reflection and have everything else blurry. It’s almost like looking into a window.


The sun shining on the rock, creating small shadows and sunny colours with a tree and the sky blurry in the background. It’s an example of how the winter looked like this year in Belgium. Very sunny day with beautiful colours everywhere.


In the panorama above, it’s the hilly countryside but here’s a flat area Belgium is known for. Long fields with a village on the right and a walkpath on the left.


Depending of the weather and the season, the sky can look very different and I really like to capture it from the most beautiful blue to the most stormy clouds. In this one, I like the dark trees with the sun behind them and the intense colour of the sky.

We love all of Olivier’s atmospheric shots, but which give you the most pleasure? Let us know in the comments below. And if you want to see more his work be sure to follow him on Twitter and Flickr.