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On the receiving end

Aviodrome - Maeryn cameragenicMost of the time I am behind the camera, trying to get everything on it the way I would like it to be. Of course that is what this site is about. Well, recently I (and my son Maeryn) were on the receiving end of some camera’s. While on holiday near the Veluwe National Park, we (my wife Sharon, our son Maeryn, daughter Jules and myself) went for a day-trip to the airplane museum “Aviodrome”. I had been there a long, long time ago, when I was a kid myself. So it was a nice to be back again and let my own son experience this collection of old airplanes. Having more than his share of in-flight experience he completely enjoyed having a look outside the airplanes, and actually taking place in the cockpit. You can image the unpleasant surprise when we were interviewed by national radio and learned that the park had gone bankrupt! Next came several camera crews from national television and several photographers for national and local news papers. I don’t know what we had written on the back of our head, but one way or another, they all found our way to us. Well, not being camera shy, Maeryn just played on, actually acting in front the camera. Although the reason was not so positive, it was quite an experience for him, and we got to buy next day’s newspaper as a reminder date-stamped. Well, the picture here was my version of the publicity. How often does your kid get interviewed (or video-taped) for national television?

Krant - Maeryn en WouterHave a look at the National Broadcast from SBS6 Hart van Nederland – Evening Program featuring Aviodrome story. Click on the thumbnail for the article in the Volkskrant.

Explosion of purple and green

Marsh GentianThis morning I went out to try my best at getting some marsh gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe, klokjesgentiaan) in the picture. I set out to get the early morning swirly combination of purple and green with some added dew droplets. Well there was dew, and yes it did look good, but I did not get it quite the way I wanted. Despite using whatever I could find in my goodies bag (extension tubes, macro lens, teleconvertors) it was a bit so so. Being wet and all I stood there drying myself in the morning sun.

Looking down I found two marsh gentians cosy together. This proved to be a good find. Working my way with the subject I found a great composition, not focussing on the usual stems, or the tops of the leafs. Rather, I put the sharp bit on some small droplets of dew that were visible on the edge of the flowers. Doing so made the shape of the flower stand out. Combined with the lush green mos. Wow the purple was now embedded in a sea of radiating green. It doesn’t really show the plant anymore, instead it just shows an explosion of colour.

Nikon D700, Tamron 90mm/2.8, f13, 1/30s, ISO800, extension tubes, tripod

Dandelion of old

PaardenbloemOne of the topics I had wanted to get into this spring was dandelions (Taraxacum officinale, paardenbloem). Often when on my bike getting to work I saw these common flowers glistening in the early morning. Mornings came, mornings went. With our daughter almost entering our lives I however never came to get out.

So rather than making a new picture I searched trough my files of old (this image was taken back in 2004! ) for a picture of a dandelion, only to do some more post-processing on. Wow, the change was dramatic, from the yeah, ok, kind of dull picture of the dandelion came this picture that has strength and sparkle that attracted me all these mornings. What a bit of searching in one’s archives can bring a pleasure.

Nikon D70, Tamron 90/2.8, f5.6, 1/250s, ISO200, B&W in pp

Miniature landscape (best when enlarged)

Miniature landscapeNot quite winter, not spring yet either. This time of year is always a difficult time to find interesting subjects, and the macro-lens is my best friend in these days. Mostly in spring I am out at night hoping for some luck with amphibians, but this time I was out during daylight. I was inspired by the ‘top view’-post of Marijn Heuts image of february 27th. I am a fan of odd vantage points, and I liked the top view idea for a macro image. I am also often intrigued by photo’s that make the scale hard to get.

Most of the morning I was wrestling the tripod at making extreme close-ups of cup-lichen (Cladonia moss) using the most magnification I could find in my bag. Having worked the subject I found myself staring down, being surprised by the shadows cast by other moss.

Combining several ideas in this image I have tried to capture a miniature landscape as if from the sky. Using my not so macro 24-70 lens I decided to take the image from the top. I did not clean up the scene, but left some clues as to the scale. I think this makes the scene just real enough without detracting from the scalability (or lack thereof) of the photo.

Nikon D200, 24-70/2.8@24, f10, 1/100s, ISO200, handheld.

Wide FX again!

Purple Moor Grass and Golden SunIt was a pleasure after too long, back to FX and the accompanying anti-crop feeling. Having used the DX format for years I still was not really happy with the cropping, on wide-angle shots that is. For telephoto sure it works a treat, but for anything a bit wide I felt ‘forced’ to use too short a lens with trees toppling over, and perspective too extreme in situation I did not want that. On the beautiful ‘cold gold morning’ I was first using my newly acquired D700 and felt freed again. It just feels better.

I might even go as far as that I fell a bit in love with this picture. I just looked at it with a big smile on my face. Everything seems to fit, the warm sun surrounded by the golden hue, the fog obscuring the horizon adding some mystique, and the crispness of the Purple Moor Grass (Molinia caerulea, Pijpenstro) in the front. They all came together in a good feeling of the morning. Maybe what could be added is a bit of the underwater world… Well, we always have something to wish for don’t we.

Nikon D700, 24-70/2.8, f16, 1/400s, ISO400, handheld

Gold, Cold, Morning!

Gold Morning over Foggy HeathlandWow, that was a good morning. For the last weeks I had been biking to work seeing all the gorgeousness that comes with this season. The cold nights and relatively high temperatures during day breeds morning fog and dew. Lovely mornings in the making. Getting up early (yawn) I wanted to beat the sun to the morning and get the usual heathland in a hopefully not so standard way. When I arrived there was lots of fog over patches of water spilling into the heathland.

While nice before the sun awoke it became almost golden after sunrise! All the fog radiated with this golden hue. After stepping just a bit too far into the water I got wet feet. Well, if its worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. Stepping into the water up to my knees into the (really) cold water I reached a spot with a pleasing visual composition. This provided both wide landscape shots and tight crops of pure color. Carefully composing the scene including the sun, it’s reflection and the fog provided an image showing the gold essence of the morning. I still have a smile on my face!

Nikon D700, 70-200/2.8, f11, 1/3200s, ISO400, handheld

Wild Cup-Lichen

Cup-LichenSince you can get close to cup-lichen very easily, and they tend not to be moved by the wind, they make for an ideal type of macro subject. Doing something creative with them is quite something else, and sometimes others have good ideas (thanks Dik Hermes) like trying to create the feeling of spying on the cup-lichen as if they were some type of wildlife!

After some time searching I found just the group of cup-lichen to make this work. Making sure the lines of two groups of cup lichen, and grass in front crossed made for an interesting composition. I also wanted to make sure to include the blue sky. Adding the sky, I think, gives the color contras setting of the cup-lichen and adds variation to the usual earth background for this type of subject. To keep out the hard sunlight from the cup-lichen I used a foldable diffuser.

Nikon D200, 90/2.8, f10 1/15s, ISO200, extension tubes, foldable diffusor.

Urban Bat

Urban batThis little fellow I found when commuting on bike to work. Most other bikers were completely unaware of this little bat hanging from the ceiling of the tunnel above their heads, and it seemed like the bat didn’t care either. Using my compact camera I took this picture with some effort. Having parked my bike as a bit of insurance that people would notice me I used al my length to reach the ceiling of the tunnel. Making sure the bat was viewed from the front and those on bike from behind it created the atmosphere of mutual ignorance that struck me. Again it shows that with a little attention to our urban environment we can surely see nature finding it’s place there as well.

Canon IXUS 50, 5.8mm, f2.8