Somewhere in Venice

Somewhere in Venice

A lovely canal view in Venice, Italy and a little musing about how beautiful the city is...

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A view in Amsterdam

A view in Amsterdam

An afternoon stroll in Amsterdam produces this photo, which I converted to monochrome for a change.

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A sunny day in Amsterdam

A sunny day in Amsterdam

While everyone loves a sunset shot, it's well worth getting out and shooting in the afternoon too - especially if you happen to be in Amsterdam!  Here's 3 photos to help convince you.  :-)

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Sunset at Bloemenmarkt

Sunset at Bloemenmarkt

Sometimes you get lucky and the sunset gets all awesome for you!  And you happen to be in Amsterdam!

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Sunset in Amsterdam

Sunset in Amsterdam

It's hard to beat a great sky, a big canal, and some fabulous architecture...

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Some random bits of Amsterdam

I really enjoy visiting Amsterdam - it's a beautiful city!

Have you been to Amsterdam?  I definitely put it on the list of great cities in Europe.  Obviously, I have not been to all of them across Europe (still waiting to get to Budapest and Dubrovik, for instance) but I have seen quite a few, so I have some basis for comparison.

Just looking down one of the many lovely canals...

Now, most people think of Amsterdam as a place to go for a party, and that is certainly an option.  But I'm not there for that - I actually find the city very photogenic.  There are so many canals, you might think you are in Venice.  And there are so many bicycles!  Be sure and look twice before you step into the street - I have nearly been run over several times.

See all those bikes? They have so many they have to park them on barges!

One of my favorite things to do is just wander the streets there, looking up and down the canals and taking photos of all the interesting architecture.  But I also tend to do a bit of random shots here and there.  I find it's not only fun, but helps me remember a trip better, and I hope that by sharing some of these here, you can get a good sense of how interesting a city Amsterdam really is.  

See? More bikes!

I have been there twice in the last few years, and hope to return again - with my camera gear in tow, of course.  Like I have said before, this photo thing is quite the addiction.

One other great thing about Amsterdam, which I believe is not as well known as the party scene, is the museums there.  There are quite a few and the ones I have visited are pretty amazing.  Below is the back of the Rijksmuseum, and nearby is the Van Gogh Museum - both worth a visit, assuming you are interested in that sort of thing.

See the big "I amsterdam" sign?  Sort of a town motto at this point, methinks.

And of course, don't forget to get out the camera (mounted on a tripod, of course) when it starts to get dark.  I am a sucker for reflections, and with so many canals at virtually every turn, there is no shortage of cool things to point the camera at!

Blue hour - a perfect time for reflections!

Well, that's a quick tour of a lovely city, mostly shown in random bits and pieces.  I have hundreds of Amsterdam shots still to share, so keep coming back for more if you enjoy seeing this sort of thing!

Shooting the canals

I really love Amsterdam, but not for those reasons.  :-)

It's a great town in my opinion, and great for photography.  I suppose if you were into street photography, that you would find Amsterdam to be rather colorful and fun for that sort of thing. But as you know from coming here before (if this is your first visit, WELCOME!), street photography ain't my thing.

I don't shoot portraits, weddings, or what is typically known as street photography.  I do shoot a lot of street scenes though.  I love that stuff.  And no, I am not trying to confuse the matter.  

Anyways, in Amsterdam as you know there are a LOT of canals.  The city's identity rests primarily with the canals.  It's defined by water.  So being a guy who loves HDR and reflections, well...that's what draws me in.  I could shoot that stuff all day.

So on my last visit there, I spent one evening out shooting with my friend Michiel Buijse, who is relatively local and a great photographer.  You should go see his work.  He's good.  So we spent a great deal of time shooting things like this, partly because it's awesome and partly because you see this stuff at every turn.  Not a bad way to spend an evening, actually!

Light trails in Amsterdam

Blue hour, canals, and light trails in Amsterdam - a great combo!   Thank goodness for boat tours!

*** Shot at the intersection of Keizersgracht and Leidsegracht ***

If you have ever been to Amsterdam, you are probably well aware that there are lots of boat tours through the canals, and they are fun to do.  But when I was there a few weeks back, I found myself waiting several times for a boat to pass, as I was shooting a canal reflection and wanted still water.   That's no big deal - it's a typical situation when out shooting.  I am always waiting on something.

But in this case, it was blue hour and the light was fading fast, and I had been standing here shooting for a bit already - I was just waiting for it to get a little darker, as the sunset ended up being a bore.  At some point during this shooting, I saw a boat coming and could see a couple of lights on the boat. 

I thought I would try a set of brackets while the boat passed, in hopes of getting a nice long light trail from it.  As the boat approached and I started my brackets, there were also two cars that passed by on the intersecting roads.  Luckily my timing was great, and I got all three light trails!  Sometimes, things work out well! 

By the way, at the top I listed the location of this shot - the intersection of two canals.  I had seen shots from this location online prior to my trip, but NO ONE listed the location. What the hell?  I literally could not find it ANYWHERE.  Trying to visually locate a particular canal view in Amsterdam is the typical search for a needle in a haystack.  So I resigned myself to wandering and wandering, which I actually enjoy anyways.

A bit earlier that day I passed a souvenir shop, and out front was a postcard stand with a shot from here on it.  I picked it up, flipped it over, and sure enough it gave the name of the canals.  I wasn't actually that far away, so it was a huge win for me! 

Amsterdam impressions

I really enjoyed Amsterdam, though it was a pretty quick stop for me.  I think I was there about 48 hours total.  Not nearly enough to really experience it, but enough to make a decision on whether it's a place that I like.  Verdict: I like it!  It had been over 10 years since my last visit, so my memory was getting a little thin. 

There really is a lot to enjoy there, and I am not referring to the stuff it is known for.  Sure some folks go there to party, but outside of the well-known and crowded areas there are some beautiful canals, quiet streets, and people going on about their lives.  In other words, it's like any other place.  Get away from the crowds, explore a little, go down some alleys, and you will get a richer experience.

Having said all that, this photo is actually from a well-known and crowded area of Amsterdam - the floating flower market.  It is probably one of the best-known areas of Amsterdam.  All these houseboats are tied up (that is the backs of the houseboats you see on the right of the canal), and they face a pedestrian street, with open fronts that sell all sorts of flowers and bulbs.  It's very busy, but interesting and as you can imagine it attracts folks from all walks of life.  Be sure and bring your camera!