L'Abbaye de Villers (ruins), Villers-la-Ville, Belgium by Jan Clarke

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L'Abbaye de Villers (ruins), Villers-la-Ville, Belgium by 

21.07.2012: 111 views.

This is for a Challenge but . . .

Story time first!

I recently took a much needed holiday and one of the places I went to was the ruins of L’Abbaye de Villers in Belgium. Lol, it was a 1½ to 2 hour train journey from the centre of Brussels to get there, but it was worth every minute of the ride.

Even though the abbey is in an advanced state of collapse, it doesn’t take much imagination to see that it was truly magnificent in centuries gone past. As I walked down into the grounds from the entry gate, I could feel the peace which is intrinsic to the place. I felt welcomed.

Even though it is so ruined, it is a beautiful place to visit, one where you can absorb the peace and take it away with you when you leave. I was heading for one partiular spot but to get there, I had to do a “bit” of walking. Along the way, I turned my head and saw this passage/gallery leading to a room, perhaps a large grotto (although that’s not really the word I want) and I was drawn to go there.

As I walked down the passage, I felt welcomed, comfortable. I could see groups of monks in there, quiet but happy, perhaps eating, perhaps simply together. The light had a slight greenish tinge but it was beautiful; somehow, it suited this spot. (And my camera actually captured the light reasonably accurately!)

There is restoration work being done to the abbey and you can see equpment and materials in various places. This was one of them but I decided to photograph it anyway. I’d worry about trying to remove the materials later.

(I finally got to the spot I’d been headed for but that belongs to another photo/image later . . . maybe.)

Now the mundane . . .

The base of this image is my original photo, shot on a Pentax K100D and a Sigma 28 – 80 mm lens, hand-held. Photo taken on 03.04.2012, 1/60 th second exposure time; f/8.0; ISO 400; and 53.0 mm focal length.

The challenge requires that you use two textures which are provided:

One texture is provided by Jan Pudney, of RB fame, and the second one is from Clive Sax, from Fickr.

There are a few Blending Mode changes, some Cloning, some Hue/Saturation work. There is a very light Colour Overlay, and a few other little things. All in all, I suppose there is about 5 – 6 hours work involved, all done in PS CS3.

Many thanks for looking, I hope you like it. I hope to go back in a few years time to see what’s been done but only time will tell if I get there.


abbey, church, ruins, belgium, villers la ville, restoration, walking, train, photographs, textures, challenge


  • billyboy
    billyboyabout 2 years ago

    Jan, I gotta say you def got a bit of mood goin’ on here…
    Best of luck in the challenge !!

  • Thank you so much, Bill. As soon as I saw this galley/grotto, I felt welcomed, comfortable; it was beautiful in it’s state of collapse. I could picture the monks here, in a quiet but happy group, perhaps eating, just together. I had to photograph it and hope that, even though I had no tripod, I would get what I felt. The light was a bit odd but it seemed so beautiful – it had a slight green tinge! I’ve been sitting on this image for about a week now, wondering what to do with it. There was a fair bit of restoration stuff in it and I was finding it almost impossible to remove – some of it is still visible without the textures!!!!! Then I found this Challenge . . .I was rescued, lol! Thank you for your wishes, they’re much appreciated.

    – Jan Clarke

  • Rhoufi
    Rhoufiabout 2 years ago

    It has the feel od some kind of portal to the past, and it looks like a painting. Very cool effect. Good luck in the Challenge.

  • Thank you very much, Rhoufi. Strange that you should say portal as that’s sort of what I felt when I saw it. The feeling of welcome I felt as I walked down the passage was wonderful. I would have liked to spend more time in there but I didn’t know how long I would have to wait for a train when I got back to the station after a walk of over 1 kilometre. And I didn’t know how much walking I would do in the abbey itself – turned out to be a lot. Lol, I’d already walked a squillion miles in London a few days before and, the day before I went to the abbey, I’d walked another squillion. I loathe walking! I appreciate your wishes for my success in the challenge, I need them!

    – Jan Clarke

  • Lou Wilson
    Lou Wilsonabout 2 years ago

    Love this!!

  • Hi and welcome to my little cxorner of RB, Lou. I’m glad it appealed to you. It was a beautiful, peaceful place to be. I would love to go back in a few years time but I doubt that I’ll get there!

    – Jan Clarke

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