Cantillon Brewery For Beer Lovers

Attention all Beer Lovers

If in your travels you find yourselves in Brussels, Belgium, you must take the time to visit Cantillon Brewery.  It is the home of the traditional 'Lambic Fermentation Style' beer.  The final product is called 'Gueuze' (More about this amazing beer in a moment).  This post is a continuation of my family adventure to Europe in May.  My son Dave voted for a visit to Cantillon Brewery in Brussels.  I was luke warm on it since I am gluten free as beer and I do not get along very well, or so I thought.  But, we all had a say so Cantillon Brewery was on the agenda and it was fascinating and delicious.
Kim Bova Photography, Cantillon Brewery

My favorite beers from Cantillon

Cantillon Brewery

This Brewery is a working museum of beer and for a small entry free you get a great experience.  There is a self guided tour, a tasting of various flavors of beers in their delightful tasting room and time to hangout and chat with the owner/creators about their delicious beer and their process.  It was a fantastic experience.  The owners shared their passion, pride and dedication to keeping this craft alive for the world to continue to experience.  This beer is still the beer that people were actually drinking in Belgium for hundreds of years! 'Lambic' Style Beer.   No one can make a beer that tastes just like this Lambic Style beer - it is dependent on the environment as it is air fermented.  To taste the real thing you have to go there. Gueuze (or Geuze) is a type of lambic a Belgian beer, a little bubbly like champagne and simply delicious.  Because of its carbonation, Gueuze is sometimes called "Brussels Champagne".  Like Champagne - if it's not made in France it is not real Champagne.
Kim Bova Photography, Cantillon Brewery

Since the beginning of the 20th century, brewers have added regional fruits - sour cherries, raspberries and grapes to their lambics during the summer. To make these fruit-flavored beers, empty casks are filled with various fruits and macerated for three months to dissolve the fruits; then young lambic is added to supply sugar for fermentation.

Open Fermentation, Cantillon Brewery, Brussels, Belgium, Kim Bova Photography, Beer Brewing

Then the mash is fermented in this open topped copper attic mounted vat. This is a coppersmiths masterpiece, not a single weld to be found! You can see the open air vents in the attic room here with screens to keep bad bugs out. They never kill spiders in the brewery as they keep the insect population at bay during the summer months. It is said that this kind of fermentation is only possible in the Brussels area and specifically the Senne River Valley where it flows through Brussels.

Kim Bova Photography, Oak Barrels Beer Fermentation, Cantillon Brewery

Then it goes into the oak barrels where slow fermentation happens 3-4 weeks later. This is where the lambic is born. They wait 3 years. Sometimes after 3 year the original liquid amounts may evaporate and only have 80 % of the original left. The lambic may be drunk at this stage, but for a more refined beer like Gueuze and Kriek, we have to wait another year. This is why Annheiser Busch does not make this kind of beer! You see why this is quite distinct from all other beers? The brewer now blends 1, 2, and 3 yr old Lambic for secondary fermentation in the bottle, but first goes into the stainless steel barrels to test for taste and selection for the blend. for the Cantillon gueuze.

Bottles of Lambic Beer, bottle fermentation, Cantillon Brewery, Kim Bova Photography

There are many more steps and details depending not the type of beer here, but to simplify, the beer is put into bottles where they are corked and on their sides in the cellar for another several months.

Cantillon is in the middle of Brussels and easy to get to on foot or by taxi.  You probably don't want to drive there as the parking looked a bit tough and if you sit in the comfy tasting room for too long you may not want to drive.  I hope you get to visit this fascinating brewery at some point.  I highly recommend it.  I apparently can tolerate this beer even being Gluten free. Not sure why.  I can truly call myself a beer love now.  Too bad bottles sold in the US are $30 a piece!  But it is still cheaper than traveling to Brussels... so maybe I will treat myself once in a while! Click here to see more photos of my adventures in France. For more information about Cantillon go here. Bon voyage!      

Senior Portrait Photography in Connecticut

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  It is a great time for Senior Portrait Photography in Connecticut.  This year has been both a pleasure and a challenge.  The weather for the most part has been wonderful, even with so little rain and unusually warm conditions.  Unfortunately, the colors never really popped.  The only 'reds' I had here were the poison ivy vines!  When the rain and wind did come all the leaves came down except for the mighty oaks which were pretty ravaged in my neck of the woods by caterpillars.  Ah, the challenges of outdoor portraits!  Besides all this, I managed to arrange and rearrange schedules to make it all work this October. Senior Portrait Photography does not have to be limited to High School Seniors.  This year I did a number of College Senior Portraits for graduating UCONN students, both last spring and this fall. Meet Tara, a senior from UConn who called me about senior portraits as a gift for her parents after putting her through college.  What a wonderful idea and I am sure her parents will be thrilled.  Tara is a bright and intelligent young lady from Texas.  She fell in love with New England and wanted an opportunity to be photographed in the beautiful fall colors.

To plan for our senior portrait photography session we did 3 important things:

  • We connected by phone, determined a date for the session.
  • Then we met in person to get to know each other a bit, and I learned about what she loved about New England so I could incorporate those things in the photos to remember her best times here at UCONN.
  • We discussed what she would wear, the colors that she looks good in, and what colors would look good in the environment.
After postponing and rescheduling due to the weather, I think we created some wonderful portraits together.  Here are a few favorites:
Senior Portrait Photography in Connecticut, Fall Portrait Photography, Kim Bova Photography, Best Photographers in CT

Love the soft back light in this lovely grass field.  Her maroon textured dress looks great against the green and straw color of the dry grasses.

Best Photographers in CT, Senior Portrait Photography in Connecticut, Fall Portraits in Connecticut, Kim Bova Photography

Tara rocking her cowboy boots in New England!  The grey weathered barn is a nice combo of color with her outfit.

Senior Portrait Photography in Connecticut, Best Photographers in CT, Fall Portraits in Connecticut, Kim Bova Photography

And the golden back light also looks great with maroon.  Thanks, Tara, for such a fun session!

Let me know if you have any questions about Senior Portrait photography in Connecticut or about my Family Sessions.  I am happy to see if we can squeeze you in before Thanksgiving! Kim    

Wickham Park Wedding CT: Andrea & Jim

A Wickham Park Wedding

I had the honor of photographing Andrea and Jim's Wickham Park Wedding at the Log Cabin in September.  It was a bright sunny day with big puffy clouds so they could not have asked for weather.  Joined by their family and friends, their vows were exchanged high on a hill overlooking the spectacular view of downtown Hartford.

Great reasons to choose a Wickham Park Wedding.

The Log Cabin at Wickham Park is one of my favorite places at the park to photograph a wedding.  This location has a spectacular view of the city and sunsets.  There is a resident Moosehead over the stone fireplace in the cabin for those who care!  The white tent attached to the Log Cabin helps with larger events, rain, or hot days so this is a definite added advantage.  The Guests and newly weds are able to enjoy the gardens for lovely photo opportunities or simply the ability to relax outside on the benches.  On top of all this, the formal flower garden and outdoor ceremony patio (yes with a spectacular view) is a wonderful place for ceremonies. Andrea and Jim planned a day that was totally reflective of their interests and personalities resulting in a great time for everyone.  Here are some photos from the day.  We started photographing Andrea getting ready at the Charles Cheney Inn.
Wickham Park Wedding CT, Charles Cheney Inn CT, Kim Bova Photography, CT Wedding Photographers

Andrea's dress and shoes, including her red petticoat, were fun and dynamic. Just like Andrea!

Wickham Park Wedding CT, Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings
Wickham Park Wedding CT, Charles Cheney Inn, Manchester, CT, Kim Bova Photography, CT Wedding Photographers

Matching hairpiece.

Wickham Park Wedding CT, Charles Cheney Inn, Kim Bova Photography, CT Wedding Photographers

Found light in the pretty hallways of the Charles Cheney Inn in Manchester, CT was great for a bridal portrait, as were the grounds outside the Inn.

Wickham Park Wedding CT, Charles Cheney Inn, CT Wedding Photographer, Kim Bova Photography CT
Wickham Park Wedding CT, CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography, fun wedding dresses

I love capturing unexpected or  impromptu moments!  As a result, I got this one of Andrea and her mom grabbing a selfie.

Wickham Park Wedding CT, CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography

Jim was waiting for his bride at the Log Cabin.  He looked great!

Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings

Here is the ceremony on the patio with the Hartford skyline in the background.

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Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Wedding CT, Garden Weddings

Living gifts for each guest to take home.

Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings

Now it was time for creating photos in front of the Log Cabin and on the grounds.

Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings

A quiet moment in the garden.

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Hamming it up with friends looking on!

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Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings

Oh, did I mention that Andrea and Jim are camera buff's and photography lovers?

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They built this Photobooth from scratch out of various camera parts and a monitor. Brilliant!  Everyone enjoyed it.

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And a group shot as the sun sets!

Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Wedding CT, Garden Weddings
Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings

In the white tent attached to the Log Cabin.

Hartford CT Wedding Photographers, Kim Bova Photography CT, Wickham Park Weddings, Garden Weddings

The Cake.

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An ingenious and crafty friend created this unique gift for the couple.  It's made from old camera parts bottle caps and other assorted goodies!

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....and with the Moose inside the Log Cabin where they finished off the night eating ice cream and dancing!

Here are the links to the Charles Cheney Inn and Wickham Park Weddings if you want to look into it. Thank you for reading my blog. Kim  

Seeing Value in Professional Family Portraits

Seeing value in professional family portraits is something I think everyone realizes, but can't aways make time for.  I have fully documented my family in photographs since our children were born.  There have been times that I've thought twice about investing the time and energy into this ritual.  We all feel too busy, a little camera shy or perhaps we have had unhappy experiences being photographed at one time or another.  I hear these stories from my clients.  Creating family portraits for my clients is one of my passions and a very rewarding part of my work.

Seeing Value in Professional Family Portraits On Your Walls.

Professionals know how to photograph all kinds of body types and we study the best way to compliment everyone.  We understand light and composition and how to handle kids who just want to have fun and not stand still, or who don't want to smile right now.  My clients come to me because they see the value and the difference between the photos I can create for them and snapshots they make themselves.  They hang them on their walls so they can get the most enjoyment out of them. Seeing Value In Professional Family Portraits, CTPortraitPhotographers, Kim Bova Photography,

My goals as a professional photographer:

  • To create a family portrait or a series of portraits that show who my clients are as a family.
  • Show the connections and love for each other while creating images that preserve a moment in time for for years to come.
  • Plan the portrait session before hand in order to get to know the family I am photographing to capture their personalities.
  • Make it a fun experience.

Where do I like to photograph families?

Your portraits can be created almost anywhere.
  • In natural environments.
  • Urban settings.
  • In your back yard or home.
  • In my studio.
Locations that best represent your family is what I prefer.I can also suggest plenty of wonderful locations with great light and backgrounds for my clients.  Not every backyard is good for portraits. Seeing Value In Professional Family Portraits, CTPortraitPhotographers, Kim Bova Photography,

Client Feedback:

I asked Monica, the mother of this family highlighted here, for a testimonial about her experience with me after her portraits were delivered and hanging on her walls at home.  Here is what she wrote:

"Our eldest child was leaving the house to go to college. This felt like a moment to be marked with a family photograph. My biggest fear was being nudged into a style of photo that did not match our sense of who we are as a family. I was already reassured that this was unlikely to happen when I saw Kim's photos on her website. I was further reassured when I met Kim in person. Kim took the time to ask us questions to learn about what we wanted and why. She took many different kinds of shots, suggested different set ups, and ensured that we had a lot to choose from. When we sat down to look at which ones we liked the most, she did not rush us and offered helpful insights. While in some ways a professional family portrait felt like a splurge, we enjoy Kim's photos every day and I'm very glad we did it."

  Seeing Value In Professional Family Portraits, CTPortraitPhotographers, Kim Bova Photography, Seeing value in professional family portraits directly link to the printed image.  Preserving images of our loved ones is so important for our kids and grandchildren.  "Who were my great grandparents?"  Family Portraits and the stories that go along with them help answer that question. Interested in a professional family portrait?  Please reach out via my contact page or just give me a call at: 860-230-8828.  I would love to plan your session with you! Kim

Fall Portrait Sessions – Booking Now.

Fall Portrait Sessions are a favorite of mine.  Autumn seems to be arriving early this year so I would like to encourage you to get a jump on scheduling a portrait session time for yourself, significant other, family, pets, or all of the above!  The days are warm and the evenings cool - perfect weather for portraits here in Connecticut!

Fall Portrait Session, Kim Bova Photography, Family Portraits, Best CT Photographers

There are limited weekend days so hurry and call me if that is your only time to schedule your Fall Portrait Sessions, or I am available on weekday afternoons after school or work as well.

Things to think about:

1-Portraits make create holiday gifts for family.  Why not get a jump of the holiday shopping?  Portrait gifts make it easy to create a personal gift that can be shared with many family members.  Family portraits are priceless, especially to parents and grandparents.  Whether they are far away or living close by, grandparents love having your beautiful faces and smiles on their wall or mantle all year round.   2- Children grow up fast. (Although I realize, sometimes it feels really slow) Time flies and before you know it you may realize that you do not have a professional quality family portrait that is up to date.  Right NOW is a great time to do it!   3- What to wear?  This is one of the things that my clients worry about the most.  PLEASE don't.  I have helped many families through this at my portrait consultations.  Believe me, it is not as hard as you think.  Just keep it simple and wear the clothes you feel comfortable in (therefore you will feel  like yourselves)  and pick two main complimentary colors like in this example below (blues and maroons with with black pants, or it could have been with jeans) and it usually works out great!  I can give you my Clothing Ideas for Family Portraits when you call or meet with me.

So call today and schedule your fall portrait session.  You will be happy you did.

  Thank you for stopping by my blog!

Le Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, France

As many of you know, I am passionate about capturing ‘moments' with my camera.  Weddings, portraits, and headshots to name a few.  I also feel this way about Landscape and Travel Photography.  Today, I am sharing this short travelog of my visit to Normandy, France.  In particular,  a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Le Mont Saint-Michel (Saint Micheal’s Mount) in Normandy, France.  It is an incredible historical living monument.  This was one of my 'bucket list' places to see.  It is an island located 0.6 miles off the NW coast of Normandy and still is the seat of the monastery that it is named after.  This small Island has held strategic fortifications since the 8th century AD and still has a town that hosts 5-6 families plus the Monks who inhabit the monastery.  It had been only accessible at low tide until the recent addition of a causeway which makes visits more convenient so that no one will be stranded when the famous tides come in - which happen VERY FAST.  That is another story!Le Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France, Kim Bova Photography, View of Mont Saint-Michel at night
The short story behind this first photo is that my family and I rented an AirB&B in a small town called Vains which is directly across the bay and the closest to Mont Saint-Michel across the the water.  To my surprise, when we arrived at our rooms in the evening, we put our bags upstairs and I saw a window up high which was in the direction of the Bay.  I had to climb on a window seat to look out and go on tip toe and really stretch!
There are no words for the sight I saw.  Le Mont was lit up and glowing in the middle of the Bay.  It was other worldly, magical and maybe even mystical.  I quickly grabbed my camera and took this shot on tippy toes while my husband spotted and steadied me.  It was hard and I had to use a slower shutter speed than I wanted without a tripod, held my breathe as I raised the camera over my head and took a bunch of photos looking only at the digital viewer of my Lumix mirrorless camera.  (Still kicking myself for not wanting to carry my heavy Nikon gear to europe, but could be another post to explain why I made that decision!)
I never got a clearer of view of Le Mont  from this vantage point during our stay because of mist and fog the rest of our days there in the evenings, so I am so happy I took the time and energy to at least grab this shot!  Our visit to the island the next day made us understand why the attraction to this site has become a place of pilgrimage and historical significance.
I made this photograph at about 10:30 pm at night.  The sun sets there at 10 pm in May so that is why the glow of sunset is still in the photo.  Our AirB&B hosts told us it was best to visit the site in the evening but before sunset because parking is free after 7, there are less people and the light is spectacular.  They were absolutely right!  This photo will not win any awards, but this experience and the photos of my experience at this place is why I believe photos are so valuable to us.  An image of a place, a person and/or of a particular time in our lives that we want to remember is often the only physical representation we have to jog those memories.  Memory is funny, isn’t it?  It can change through time, but a photo can bring back feelings, scents and sometimes echoes of the sounds that we had actually experienced.  This is why I am passionate about photography and enjoy sharing it and helping others to remember their lives and their people.  
Thanks for stopping by the blog! Next time I will be writing about family portraits... fall is a great time for that!

Professional Headshots: Standout In Your Field.

As a photographer who mainly specializes in Wedding and Portraits, I do plenty of professional headshots as well.  I love doing them because I know this service is extremely helpful to business people of all kinds, but I also get to meet some of the most interesting people who are creating cool things! One of those people is Matthew P. Winkler.  He is an author and speaker regarding issues in mentoring kids and teenagers.  Matthew has taught and mentored teenagers at middle schools, high schools, and colleges in New York, New England, China, and Japan.  He currently serves as the Visiting Writer at South Kent School in Connecticut.  He conducts presentations and workshops related to his book, 'Mentoring Teenage Heroes: The Hero's Journey of Adolescence', and his video "What Makes a Hero?" a TED-ED lesson with over 3 million views. Matthew called me because his DIY headshot attempt did not work well plus, the competition in the writer/speaker arena is steep and he needed to stand out.  Matthew is a dynamic speaker and writer with a vision so he needed something that reflected who he was.  He asked me for an indoor studio look and outdoor look for his professional headshots.  We worked together to make it happen and here is what we created. Professional Headshots, Headshot Crew, Kim Bova Photography, CT Headshots, Headshots for Business Professional Headshots, Kim Bova Photography, Headshot Crew, CT Headshots, Headshots for Business Professional Headshots, Headshots for business, Kim Bova Photography, Headshot Crew, CT Headshots Headshot photography, Kim Bova Photography, Headshots for Business, CT Headshots, Headshot Crew Kim Bova Photography, Professional Headshots, Headshot Crew, CT Headshots, Headshot for Business So, it speaks to your professionalism to have take the time to have a great headshots created for your marketing.  Call me to schedule a free consultation today.  Here is a link to pricing and some information about my headshot program. Matthew's work is really worth checking out so please follow these links below.  If you know someone who works with teens or has teenagers in their lives, do share. Author of,  'Mentoring Teenage Heros: The Hero's Journey of Adolescence', and narrator of 'What Makes a Hero?'.   See his new headshots on his website, plus a photo Matthew took of both of us creating his headshots! Thank you for reading my blog!