John Muir Wood was a Scottish pioneer in amateur photography. In the summer of 1847, Wood travelled to Belgium and Germany where he photographed the picturesque townscapes of several medieval cities. This photograph of a canal in Bruges was taken on 29 July, or very early on the following day as Wood was in Ghent by lunchtime on the 30th. The stillness of the water and the clear reflections would suggest that the photograph was taken at a quiet time of day. The composition balances the solid shapes on the left with the more fragmented shapes on the right, and the light and empty sky with the dark and busy townscape. The tree to the left of the bridge was strengthened, or possibly even added, to echo the spires and chimneys on the other side of the water.