A Magnificent Sunset at the Beach of Texel

Sunset at the beach of Texel

September last year I visited Texel for the first time. It was for business reasons: Visiting NIOZ, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. I stayed overnight at Hotel Lindeboom in Den Burg. After visiting Vlieland, Ameland and Terschelling, I was a bit disappointed: the sea was too far away to walk from my hotel to the beach. So, I visited the Oudheidkamer Den Burg, Texel. It makes you realise that even basic healthcare is not trivial on an island.

After discussing my disappointment with friends they suggested us to go to De Koog and to rent a bike. So, in October we took the train to Den Helder (there is really no need to take a car to Texel). From the railway station there a direct bus to the boat and from there another bus to our hotel: Hotel Greenside.

We arrived late in the afternoon. The first thing we did was pick up our bikes and go to the beach. We were just in time for a magnificent sunset (see on top and below). It was a perfect gift after a day traveling.

Sunset at the beach of Texel
Lighthouse of Texel

The next day we visited several places on the island by electric bike. The red lighthouse up north on the island (see on the right), a small village called De Cocksdorp on the Waddenzee-side of the island, for an excellent lunch, and De Slufter, a natural hole in the dunes (see below).

De Slufter is a salt marsh, which is the result of an opening in the dunes. The lower parts get flooded every high tide, only with strong western wind and high tide, also the higher parts get flooded. Below you see the opening in the dunes and the higher and lower parts of the marsh.

De Slufter

After my initial disappointment, I really fell in love with Texel. It is the largest island of the Waddenzee, so please rent an e-bike.

End of WW II: 75 years ago

C.T. Stork square in Tuindorp, Hengelo – Historical Place in Hengelo

This year, 2020, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. For example, on January 27th 1945 the extermination Camp Auschwitz was liberated by the Russians; April 3rd 1945 Hengelo was liberated. All of us have family members or friends that vividly remember what happend in WW II. Everybody agrees that what happened in this war should never happen again.

Kindergarten: green doors on the right

Last year I was contacted by Johanna Lemke about some of my pictures of buildings around the C.T. Stork square. She told me that she went to kindergarten in Tuindorp (Hengelo); this kindergarten is now part of Hotel ‘t Lansink. Shortly after WW II, she, together with the rest of her family, migrated to Canada. Recently she decided to write her memories of that period: an innocent, pre-school child noticing the characteristics of a war and experiencing the behaviour of soldiers.

The book is called: Enemy Under Our Roof written by Johanna M.W.F. Lemke. Below you find the back cover description of the novel:

The novel will be available as of April in Boekhandel Broekhuis in Hengelo, and there is a chance that Johanna Lemke will come to Hengelo to participate in the celebration of liberation of Hengelo (April 3rd, 1945).

Two of my pictures of the C.T. Stork square are included in the novel. It was quite an honour to have email conversations with Johanna Lemke about her upcoming book and to be able to contribute a little bit to the book. As of April I would like to invite you to Boekhandel Broekhuis to get a copy of the novel yourself. It can also be purchased on line at Friesen Press Online Bookstore, Amazon.com (with look inside submission), Apple iTunes/iBooks, and a number of bookstores as well as libraries in Canada.

Reading this book will be a way to remember things that should never happen again.

Computational Photography

Roughly mid 1986 digital photography was ready for the professional market. I still remember, the digital cameras had a small sensor (smaller than the analog equivalence of 35mm), they were very expensive, and their resolution was poor compared to film.

iPhone 11 Pro: three cameras on the rear side

Nowadays, everybody has at least one digital camera in their smartphone. Sometimes, even three or more. It means that they are affordable, and, furthermore, the resolution is very good. Digital photography is all around us (just look at the social media). Also, the serious-hobbyist market for full frame cameras with 35 mm sensors is growing substantially.

With the start of digital photography a lot of software tools were developed to take over the dark room activities. With tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop one can manipulate images as a whole or even individual pixels. It is really amazing what these software tools can do nowadays.

Most of these software tools run on a desktop computer, although more limited versions are already available on smartphones or tablets. Some of the image processing operations, however, really need substantial compute power, that is why they need desktop computers.

Small depth-of-field: vague background

With a camera where you can adjust the aperture of the lens it is possible to create a vague background (and foreground). This is especially nice when you want to focus attention on a subject like a person in portrait photography (on the right). The optical features of the lens create a small in focus zone (depth-of-field), and the rest is out of focus (vague). This effect is strongest with a light-intensive telelens. The picture of the right was taken with a Nikkor 135mm lens with aperture f/2.8

With a smartphone this vague background cannot be achieved optically. Lenses in smartphones are basically wide-angle lenses (in focus zone is large). This is where computational photography comes in. The idea is as follows. The software detects the contour of the subject that should be in focus (image processing). The rest, the background, is made vague by the software. So, the essential part is detecting the contour. And it should be done very fast and with the limited compute power of a smartphone.

Beak of the bird has been wrongly made vague

As you can see the image processing software has a hard time detecting the contour of the bird made of glass. The software cannot detect the beak and makes it vague. Also, parts of the bird on the left are sharp and other parts vague. Although the shortcomings of the current software are obvious, I expect substantial improvements in the near future. Look at the achievements with High-Dynamic-Range images and panorama images. My expectation is that in five years time smartphones are able to make as good a picture as some of the more advanced DSLR cameras.

Bern: the Old City

In the previous posts about our holiday in Grindelwald, I discussed Jungfraujoch and hiking. This blog is about our visit to Bern.

Because our chalet in Grindelwald was next to a railway station we decided to go to Bern by train. It took us via Interlaken to Bern Main Station, right next to the Old City (Alstadt). From there we walked to the Building of Parliament (Bundeshaus). On the right a picture taken from the Kirchenfeldbrücke across the river Aare (see map below), which almost completely curves around the Old City. The river is amazingly green.

While crossing the Kirchenfeldbrücke, looking into the other direction, we had a spectacular view of the cathedral of Bern (Bern Minster) and the houses along the Aare. Its construction started in 1421 and it was built in Gothic style. It is the tallest Cathedral in Switzerland (100m).

After paying a visit to the cathedral we walked on to the Nydeggbrücke, where I took some more pictures. On the way, there were many small shops and restaurants. Like the rest of Switzerland, everything is clean and orderly. Via the northern part of the Old City, alone the Aare, we returned to the railway station. It was an enjoyable day.



Below the pictures of Bern that are accepted by Dreamstime:

Selling pictures via Werk aan de Muur

Via Werk aan de Muur customers can select a picture and print it on, for example, canvas. What is special about Werk aan de Muur is that the pictures come from various artists that have their own shop within the shop of Werk aan de Muur. It is a one-stop shop where you can select the picture you like and put it on material you fancy. In Germany and France the website is called OhMyPrints.

Pictures can be printed on canvas, aluminium dibond, Xposer, wood, steel etc and in various sizes. It is also possible to get the picture on (seamless) wallpaper. Can you imagine! The quality is very high, one of the reasons is also because the pictures should be at least 12Mp.

Each artist has his/her own shop, with its own URL (the URL of my shop is). After uploading a picture, tags can be added to improve the visibility of the picture. It can be added to one of the artist’s own album (for example, my Album of Cities). To further improve the visibility there is a WordPress plugin, to present individual pictures, albums, list etc. In this post I use this plugin for showing the pictures. Finally, the artist can determine his/her own profit of a sale by setting his/her profit higher or lower.

Currently, 19 of my pictures have been sold on various materials. The most popular ones are the Dom Tower in Utrecht (9 times) and Machu Picchu (5 times). The one on top of this post, De Pier at Scheveningen, has just been sold for seamless wallpaper for an office!

I am very positive about Werk aan de Muur. As an artist it gives me ample opportunity to make my own choices what to sell against what price. Furthermore it gives me excellent possibility to advertise my pictures via social media. Hope you will find interesting pictures for your walls!

Hiking near Grindelwald

The previous post mentioned our stay in Grindelwald and the visit to Jungfraujoch. This post focuses on hiking near Grindelwald.

One of our first hikes was an easy one. We took Bus 128 from the railway station of Grindelwald to Alpenvogelpark (on the map below, on the right). Our hike on the slope of Schwarzhorn started with a magnificent view of the mountain Mittelhorn. From there we walked almost 5 km to Bort, a ski lift station in between Grindelwald and First. It was small climb from 1405 to 1630 meters. After that we took the ski lift back to Grindelwald and had dinner at CundM, upstairs (excellent meals).

From Alpenvogelpark to Bort

The second hike was also on the slope of the Schwarzhorn only a bit higher. Now we took the bus all the way to Grosse Scheidegg (on the map below, on the right, 1960m). After 6km we reached the highest point at First, a large ski lift station at 2180m. On the way and also at First we had the most amazing views. All pictures were taken with my iPhone X (I did not want to carry my Nikon D800). From there we took the ski lift down to Grindelwald.

From Grosse Scheidegg to First

The last hike took us to Berghaus Bäregg (1770m). First we took Luftseilbahn Grindelwald Pfingstegg to our starting point at the slope of the Mättenberg at 1400m (in the map below, halfway on the right). We followed the head waters of the river Lütschine (deep down). Looking back we had a splendid view of Grindelwald spread out in the valley.

The last climb to Berghaus Bäregg was quite steep and the sun was burning. We really needed a refreshment to recover from that. From the balcony of the restaurant we could see the Unterer Grindelwaldgletscher. Later on we heard that in the early 20th century the glacier would come down all the way to the village. On the way back we were too late to take the Luftseilbahn, so we had to walk back all the way to the valley (1000m). In total we walked almost 10km.

Via Pfingstegg to Bäregg and back to Grindelwald

We really enjoyed the various hikes, and there are still many to be discovered by us. Although the area is expensive it is high on our list for a second visit.

Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch

About a year ago I watched a TV-program about trains in Switzerland. They mentioned Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch, the highest European railway station. It attracted my attention and searching on the web I found many hiking trails around Grindelwald. So, we decided to go there. We stayed in a chalet near the railway station Schwendi bei Grindelwald, one stop away from the center of Grindelwald.

Eiger

On arrival we were impressed by mountain Eiger, one of the 4K-mountains near Grindelwald. On the right a view from our chalet. As a matter of fact, Grindelwald is surrounded by quite a few other mountains. Just to name a few: Wetterhorn, Faulhorn, Mönch, and Jungfrau.

After a couple of days we decided to go to Jungfraujoch. You can go there by train via Kleine Scheidegg, where you have to change trains. We were definitely not the only ones. We never thought about seat reservations. A consequence was that we had to stand in line for a long time before making the final track from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch.

Jungfraujoch

Upon arrival at Jungfraujoch you see this magnificent view of eternal snow (in the middle of summer). Jungfraujoch is like a saddle connecting the mountains Jungfraujoch and Mönch at an elevation of 3466 meters. To be part of this we went outside. The view from Jungfraujoch is fantastic.

Here are some of the pictures I took that were accepted by Dreamstime.

To get an impression of my gear: Peak Design Everyday Backpack with Capture to carry my camera: Nikon D800 with Nikkor 28-300mm lens. As you can see, it was cold, sunny, and slippery. However, it was very much worthwhile to take these pictures. I really enjoyed it.

Below you see the map around Jungfraujoch (indicated by the camera marker) in between the mountains Jungfrau (4158m) and Mönch (4107m). In the upper part you can still see the Eiger.


All pictures of Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch are available at Dreamstime:

Foto van de Week: De Pier bij Scheveningen

Regelmatig vertel ik het verhaal achter een foto uit mijn collectie. Als je belangstelling voor een van deze foto’s hebt, mail mij dan even.

Deze keer gaat het over de iconische Pier bij Scheveningen. Het is een toeristische attractie en er zijn al veel foto’s van De Pier gemaakt. Elke keer wanneer ik in Den Haag ben ga ik naar Scheveningen om foto’s van die pier te maken, bij voorkeur bij zonsondergang. Hiernaast een foto genomen van de zuidkant. Iemand heeft deze foto als behang besteld bij Werk aan de Muur voor zijn of haar kantoor.

Wat speciaal aan deze foto is, is de reflectie van de wolken in het rustige water en de zachte kleuren van zonsondergang. Door de reflectie in het water en de meeuwen gaan de ogen van de kijker van dichtbij naar de verder gelegen pier en terug. De lege ruimte in het onderste deel van de foto geeft ook veel vrijheid aan de ogen. Daardoor verveelt de foto niet gauw.

De foto is in 2013 genomen met een Nikon D700 met de 16-35mm zoomlens: brandpunt 35mm en diafragma f/8; sluitertijd 1/320 en ISO 200. De snelle sluitertijd had ik nodig ivm de meeuwen en de golven. Inmiddels is het Reuzenrad erbij gebouwd (een Instagram-volger wees me daarop; was ik vergeten, is er al sinds 2016).

Hier een meer recentere foto genomen van de noordkant van De Pier met een mooie, rode, oranje zonsondergang. Deze foto is in 2019 genomen met een Nikon D800 met de 28-300mm zoomlens: brandpunt 78mm en diafragma f/6.3; sluitertijd 1/160 en ISO 100. De diepte is heel beperkt dus kon ik een groter diafragma gebruiken zodat de sensor voldoende licht zou krijgen. Ondanks het gebrek aan diepte ten opzichte van de eerste foto is het kleurenspel met De Pier en het Reuzenrad als silhouet boeiend voor het oog.

Misschien vind je het leuk om naar de vorige Foto’s van de Week te kijken. Je kunt onderstaande foto ook bij Werk aan de Muur kopen.

Short visit to Finland

Our short short visit Finland started of course in Helsinki. It was late May and we had wonderful weather, although it was a bit chilly. From the main railway station in Helsinki we walked to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Cathedral, the White Cathedral. The building is really impressive, especially when viewed from the lower stairs. When we were there, a group was rehearsing for a music concert for the evening. A big stage right in front of the building made it a bit challenging to take pictures.

White Cathedral

As you can see the white building against a blue sky gives a really nice picture. By the way, this picture has been sold via Dreamstime. After that we continued our walk to the Uspenski Cathedral, the Red Cathedral.

Red Cathedral

Helsinki is a very nice place to visit: impressive buildings, the harbour, a lot of green. Not an average capital of a large country.

Time to explore nature. In Finland they have a lot: an enormous number of lakes and many woods. Nuuksio National Park is a nice example of the wonderful nature of Finland. However, it is close to Helsinki, which means that is also attracts many tourists.

Lake in Nuuksio National Park north of Helsinki

Our next stop was the cottage of friends in the neighbourhood of Lappeenranta at the largest lake of Finland: Saimaa Lake. The Finnish really enjoy nature and silence. Below the view from the cottage during sunset.

Sunset at Saimaa, largest lake of Finland, near Lappeenranta

Our short visit to Finland was wonderful. We really enjoyed being part of the beautiful nature.

All pictures in this blog were accepted by Dreamstime.

Two cities in one weekend: Frankfurt and Wiesbaden

Frankfurt am Main


 
On Saturday I visited Frankfurt. I took the regional train from Wiesbaden, where we stayed overnight, to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof I walked via the Willy Brandt Platz to the famous Eiserner Steg, an iron bridge for pedestrians, crossing the river Main. From there you can see on the one side the Church of the Three Kings and on the other side the mixture of high-rise office buildings next to the old city center. 

Church of Three Kings

View from Eiserner Steg

Then I walked to Römerberg (Roman Mountain), the Town Hall square. Here you see all the old buildings. This square being the center dates back to the Middle Ages. The place was crowded, so it was not easy to take nice pictures. Below some impressions.

The next stop, before going back to the train station, was the Alte Oper, the former opera building, which is now used as music hall. As you can see, people were really enjoying the perfect weather.

Alter Oper

Here you can see all the pictures of Frankfurt accepted by Dreamstime.

Wiesbaden


 
On Sunday I made a tour through Wiesbaden. Via a park with a small pond in the river Salzbach I went to the Marktkirche and the Neue Rathaus. 

New Town Hall and Market Church

Kochbrunnenplatz

From there I walked, via Kochbrunnenplatz (above Cafe del Sol with the nice tree), all the way up to the Russian-Orthodox Church on the Neroberg. This was quite a climb. It is one of the oldest Russian-Orthodox churches in West-Europe with its typical architecture with golden onion-shaped domes.

Russian-Orthodox Church

On the way back I passed the Saint Bonifatius church at the Luisenplatz. 

Saint Bonifatius Church

Walking through Wiesbaden was quite enjoyable, all the nice houses, churches, buildings. You can see the richness of the city everywhere.

In most cases I used my 16-35mm lens and used the correction perspective Upright of Lightroom to avoid “diagonal buildings”. 

Here you can see all the pictures of Wiesbaden accepted by Dreamstime.

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