Walking through the streets of Zwolle

Several boats in city canal in Zwolle
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

My interest in taking pictures of cities is growing. Architecture of various cities, of various buildings is fascinating. Zwolle has medieval roots and some of the buildings go back a long time. The centre is surrounded by a kind of city canal and the larger Zwolle area is surrounded by four rivers. So, this gives a nice setting with old buildings, water, and boats. Some of the characteristic buildings like the Sassenpoort (one of the old city gates) and the church tower Pepperbox (Peperbus) are charateristic for the skyline of Zwolle.
For this occassion I took my general-purpose lens, 28-300mm, which is very convenient for architectural shots. Only for the Pepperbox I needed my wide-angle zoon lens. To make sure I would see everything, I downloaded a city tour which took me along all the old buildings.
Although Zwolle may not be on the list of most tourists it is really worthwhile a visit. Even more if you enjoy excellent food. De Librije, a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars, is definitely worthwhile a visit. During my tour I took a picture of the former location of this famous restaurant (Broerenkerk). Keep in mind that you have to make reservations far ahead.
Here you will find some of my pictures of Zwolle. I submitted almost all of them to Dreamstime, one has already been accepted (editorials have priority), the others are still pending.

Carrying my camera in the Alps

When my family and I are in the Alps, we hike trails that last 6 to 7 hours. My main challenge is how to carry my camera during these hikes. I normally take my camera and my 16-35mm lens. Together this weights something like 1.6kg. Preferrably, I like to carry my camera in a backpack, however, around “every corner” there is another beautiful scene. This means that I have to take out my camera almost continuously. So, in the end I was carrying my camera with a strap around my neck, which is not a good idea. It is too heavy around the neck and the camera continuously bumps against my body while walking. So, I started to look for another solution.
First I found a strap that firmly presses the rear of the camera against my belly. For regular hikes and a lighter camera this works fine. For me it did not work. Recently I found the B-grip. It allows me to carry the camera pointing down around my waist. It is very comfortable to walk with and the camera is always ready to shoot with. I still take my backpack for another type of lens, food, water, and, if necessary, warm clothes. Sometimes, when it is foggy, it gets pretty cold.
IMG_0860After becoming a fan of the B-grip I also bought the handstrap. The release plate of the handstrap can be used both on the belt holster and on a regular tripod. So, it is very convenient for shorter and longer hikes. Only during portrait photo shoots with the battery grip attached, which is very convenient for vertical shots, it would be nice if the handstrap could be removed from the camera quickly.
Here are some nice pictures of the Alps I took during my hikes.

Maastricht by night with a monopod

Some years ago I visited Maastricht with my family. It is the most southern city of the Netherlands. It is a wonderful city along the river the Maas (Meuse), which goes back all the way to the period that the Romans occupied the southern part of the Netherlands. In the basement of quite a few buildings you can see the remains of Roman buildings.
The houses along the river are very nicely lit when it is dark. The picture above was taken with a Shutter Speed of 5sec, Aperture of 9, and an ISO of 200. So, this is way too long for a handheld shot.
Although I am not a great fan of carrying a tripod with me, for this occasion I had put my monopod in my car. It is a Manfrotto Self Standing Monopod. It is small, however, not leight, and you have to keep in mind that it is not very stable if it is windy. Keeping this in mind it does a good job.
That evening I took of course several pictures, experimenting with the Aperture and the Shutter Speed. When the Shutter Speed is getting long you have to take moving objects into account. Although persons are far away on the other side of the river, I had to take into account boats passing by. Despite, it was late in the evening quite a few boats were passing by.
Here you will find my Dreamstime pictures of Maastricht. These are my first four pictures of Dreamstime, of which for the first two licenses have been sold.
Stock Images

How to safe your pictures during a long trip?

IMG_0833Normally when I take pictures I return home after a day of shooting, so I can transfer my pictures from my CompactFlash card to my computer. With the 32 GB card I can take 400 pictures (RAW). In most cases this is more than enough, just in case I have a (smaller) spare card as well.
During regular holidays I take my MacBook to off load my pictures in the evening. However, this year I am going to Peru. This holiday will include some lightweight trips, so I won’t take my MacBook with me.
You can imagine that my 32 GB card won’t be enough for all these trips combined. Therefore, I bought a HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA2 of 1 TB. It is just a hard disk with a box around it. It allows me to off load a whole range of cards, to view my JPEG and RAW pictures in color, and to share them with my iPhone or iPad via WIFI.
I started using it during one of my recent trips. It just takes a few minutes to off load my pictures from my 32 GB CompactFlash card and at home I just connected it to my iMac to ingest the pictures using Photo Mechanics. Before leaving I charged the batteries, so no need to take a charger. It works perfectly.
Ready for my next lightweight trip.

A wide-angle view of Paris

Cathedral Notre-Dame in Paris
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

This week I was in Paris with my family. We went to the obvious places. It was nice to see them after so many years. It is also good to see that France is maintaining its cultural heritage quite well. Some of the buildings looked much better than before.
The places we visited were: L’église de la Madeleine (near our hotel), Place de la Concorde with the Obélisque de Louxor, Av des Champs-Élysées, Jardin des Tuileries, area around the Louvre Museum, Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Panthéon, Jardin de Luxembourg, Tour Eiffel, Montmartre with the Sacré Cœur, and of course Château de Versailles and its gardens.
I decided to limit myself to my 16-35mm zoom lens. It has the “advantage” that everything fits which is nice with all these large buildings.  At the same that it is quite a challenge to keep the pictures interesting. Wide-angle lenses tend to put everything far away to make it fit, so:

    • try to get closer,
    • try to get an interesting object close-by,
    • try to include clouds (they get more dramatic with a wide-angle lens),
    • try to include a bit of the surroundings to get a storytelling picture, etc.

Please experiment a bit with it.
Here are some of my pictures of Paris, and here the ones that are accepted by Dreamstime.