Doorwerth Castle

Doorwerth Castle
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Last week my family and I had a hike in the Estate Duno nearby the Doorwerth Castle. So, we decided to pay a visit to the castle. The origin of the castle goes back to 1260. The last restoration —to restore the 18th century state—lasted until 1983.
As most of the time I was carrying my general-purpose lens Nikkor 28-300mm. It was a partly cloudy day with the sun going down. There was already some warmth in the light as you can see in the two pictures. To make sure that most of the relevant parts of the castle were sharp I decided to us an aperture of f/11 and a shutter speed of 1/80th of a second. To get sufficient light my D800 decided to use an ISO of 110 for the picture at the bottom and 160 for the one at the top. Resulting in excellent pictures.
Both pictures were accepted by Dreamstime. Here you can see some more pictures I took on the real estate of the castle.
Doorwerth Castle
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Madonna del Sasso, Locarno

Madonna del Sasso and Locarno
Madonna del Sasso and Locarno

Madonna del Sasso is a sanctuary above Locarno. To go there, you need to take a very old, however, well maintained funicular from the city center to the pilgrimage site of Madonna del Sasso. In a short while it takes you a little less than 200 meters higher. From there it is an easy walk to the church.
The church Madonna del Sasso was founded in 1502 on the site where brother Bartolomeo d’Ivrea had a vision of the Virgin Mary in 1480. Because of that it is regarded a pilgrimage site. The church is a nice and quite place to visit. It has some nice spaces at different levels. Also the view of Locarno and of Lago Maggiore is magnificent.

View of Locarno
View of Locarno

I had taken only my general-purpose Nikkor 28-300 mm lens. It gives me the flexibility I need in unexpected situations. Most of the time if I go somewhere where I haven’t been before, and I want to travel light, and I also know there is enough light, I take this lens. Maybe it is not the best lens, however, in combination with my D800 it never let me down. For example, the picture in the church was taken with ISO 5600 and it still looks good.
Here are some of the pictures I have taken. Some of them are also on Dreamstime. Hope you enjoy.
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End of globalization? Pictures of my garden!

Flower in my garden
Flower in my garden

The discussion about Brexit made me realize that there might be an end to the globalization trend. People tend to give more weight to fear and threats and have nostalgic feelings about village-type of feelings of the midst of the previous century. It brings back the feeling of protection and privacy.
This inspired me to take some pictures of my own, secluded garden. More local is hardly possible. They were taken during a rainy day in June. On some of the leaves you can still see the rain drops. Here you will find the pictures of my garden. Please enjoy.
Globalization has brought us many things amongst which the Internet. Without this you would not be able to read this blog and see my picture. It makes sharing of knowledge and experience possible. In my opinion we are just at the start of further digitization of society, where location and time play a lesser role than communicating. Sharing my knowledge and experience both as a CS professor and as a photographer is on the top of my list. That is why I have my photography website.
I hope that the next generation can build further on the results we have obtained and the experiences we have gained and not based on nostalgic feelings about things that do not come back.

London through a wide-angle lens

Hatchhards Bookstore
Hatchhards Bookstore

A couple of months ago I visited London for business reasons. I had to go to the Academy of Engineering. Walking through Regent Street I realized I had not been to London since ages. So, my family decided it was time to visit London for a long weekend. I had taken only one lens: my wide-angle lens (16-35mm).
The first day we spent in Westminster: London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament, and via St Jam’s Park to Buckingham Palace. Here are the pictures of the first day.
The second day we past the area of the Horse Guards Parade on to Travalgar Square. From there via Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus. There we visited many nice shops, among which Hatchards Bookstore. This was a real treat. Although I am a man of digital gadgets it was really nice to visit a real bookstore.  After that we had high tea in Fortnum & Mason. In the evening we strolled along the Thames. Here are the pictures of the second day.
The third day started at the Tower of London. We crossed the Tower Bridge and went through the area where the old warehouses for tea for example are renovated into apartments. From there we walked along the Thames all the way to Tate Modern. After paying it a visit we ended at St Paul’s Cathedral. Here are the pictures of the third day.
The whole weekend we had perfect weather. Actually, the last day was a bit warm so we visited Hyde Park.
I submitted seven pictures to Dreamstime, all were accepted.
High Tea at Fortnum & Mason
High Tea at Fortnum & Mason

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My photo book project: Blurb

Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu
Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu

As a computer scientist I have published quite a bit in journals and conference proceedings, however, I never published a book that was completely written by myself, except for my PhD thesis, of course.  Probably unconsciously I am still looking for a way to publish a book.
Looking back at the trip to Peru, I realize that there is a lot of material waiting for an audience. Out of the more than 600 pictures I took, I selected 50 to submit to Dreamstime, all of which were accepted. By now, quite a few were sold.
Also, I wrote 10+ photoblogs about the places we visited in Peru and about the photographical aspects. On the whole, there is a lot of material available. So, the question is what are the steps to create a photo book.
The first step is to find out what I want to achieve. I would like:

  • to share the things that make me enthusiastic about Peru
  • to share my creativity and the techniques I use for making pictures
  • to reach both an audience that likes traditional photo books as well as an audience that prefers digital versions
  • to gain experience in making both a real photo book and an ebook for an iPad

Because I already have the raw material, pictures and photoblogs, my first step is to find the right platform to produce the photo book. After looking for some time on the internet I found this interesting website; it describes eight of these platforms: Artifact Uprising, Shutterfly, Blurb, Lulu, Mpix, Photobucket, Picaboo, and Snapfish.
Although not based on serious research I choose Blurb because it allows me to make both a hardcopy and a digital version of the book, it has a bookstore based on on-demand printing, and Blurb software is integrated in Adobe Lightroom (see this YouTube tutorial). Furthermore, a friend of mine has positive experiences with Blurb.
In the upcoming blogs I keep you informed about the progession of my photo book projects and the experiences I have with Blurb.
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Flowers, flowers, flowers

Tulips
Tulips

It must have been more than 30 years ago that I visited the Keukenhof. It is called the garden of Europe and it is open from mid March to mid May. In the past, when we lived near Amsterdam, we went there with my colleagues from abroad. Nowadays it is a bit far away for just a short visit.
As it happened we were in Hilversum having diner with friends so we decided to stay overnight near the Keukenhof. Today we visited it. The weather was perfect: nice temperature, sunny, and no rain. We were not the only one that decided to visit the Keukenhof today. However, the garden is pretty large and with the nice flowers everybody had a good mood.
Most of the flowers are (tulip) bulbs. I was not aware of the amazing number of variations: different colors, different color combinations, different shapes, different sizes etc. Really impressive. In some of the buildings there are a couple of indoor exhibitions to show the huge variety of tulip bulbs. Besides the bulbs the cherry trees were also blossoming. It looked like Japan.
It is called the garden of Europe, however, people from all over the world visit the Keukenhof. During our visit today we heard more than 20 different languages. It is really impressive to realize that so many people form all over the world visit the Keukenhof in just a period of 2 months.
Here you will find some of the pictures I have taken today. Enjoy!

Berlin: from Reichstag to Museumsinsel

Dom Church
Dom Church

Last week I spent with my family a weekend in Berlin. The first time I went there was somewhere around 1985. In those days West Berlin was still an enclave in East Germany. Of course, nowadays East and West Germany are united, as is Berlin. Although you can still see the remains of the Wall.
I have taken some pictures along our walk with the only lens I had taken: Nikon 16-35mm. Please open them in a separate window, so you can read the blog and see the pictures at the same time.
We started our walk near the Reichstag, the German Parliament (2). From there, you can also see where the Bundeskanzler resides (1). A nice modern building. Right next to the Reichstag is the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma (3).
From there on we went to the Brandenburger Tor (4-6), a well-known landmark in Germany. It is meant to be a sign of peace. It was situated right next to the Wall, and was prominently visible while the wall was teared down.
The next stop was the Memorial to the Jews murdered in Europe (7-9). The site is covered with 2711 concrete slabs of varying height.
On the way to Potsdamer Platz we saw this interesting building (10). Potsdamer Platz is nowadays a very modern center (11-12). To contrast this there are still remains of the original Wall (13).
On the way to Checkpoint Charlie (17-18; the former pass through between East and West Berlin) we passed the indoor and outdoor exhibition called the Topography of Terror (14-16).
Then we went on to the Gendarmenmarkt with two almost identical churches and the Concert Hall in the middle (19-22).
Via Unter den Linden we walked to the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) with the Lustgarten in front of it (23-26). After a walk around the Museumsinsel we ended up at the Alte Nationalgalerie (27-30).
Berlin is certainly worthwhile a visit.
Here are the six pictures I submitted to Dreamstime and that were accepted.
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A peaceful Huascarán during sunset

Snow-capped Huascaran during sunset
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

At the end of the day, while making a tour north of Huaraz (Peru), we visited Yungay. In 1970 a major earthquake took place there. It is know as the Great Peruvian earthquake. It caused an enormous landslide with roughly 70000 casualties.  The people were trapped and did not know where to go: the noise of the landslide reflected against the surrounding mountains giving the impression that the landslide was coming from everywhere.
While trying to grasp the size of the landslide, the Huascarán, one of the highest mountains of Peru, started to glow. Due to the sunset the light was getting warmer, making the snow-capped mountain glow.
Huscarán during sunset
Huscarán during sunset

As a photographer this immediately attracted my attention. Also knowing that the sunset in Peru lasts less than in the Netherlands. Every minute the light and the clouds were different. So, I continued making pictures with different compositions with the warm glowing Huascarán in the background.
Church built on top of landslide
Church built on top of remains of landslide

Then suddenly, like somebody switched off the light, all the warm colors were gone. The only thing that remains is a harsh looking, grayish mountain from where the landslide came. Suddenly, I realized the enormous impact the landslide had.
Here you can see more pictures of the Huascarán. One of my colleague-contributor of Dreamstime added me as his/her favorite photographer based on the top picture.
Huascaran after sunset
Huascarán after sunset

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Season's Greetings

While writing this blog the temperature in the Netherlands is close to 15 degrees Celsius. It looks we are heading for an all-time high average temperature in December, no frost at all.

Japanese pagoda in snow
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Because most of us have a short-term memory, here are some pictures of January this year in my garden. As you can see there was quite a bit of snow, and it was pretty cold. Maybe the beginning of next year will bring us the same. Who knows?
The picture on the left is a Japanese pagoda. Below you see a Japanese lantern (sometimes also called light basket or light tower) surrounded by the snow-topped remains of some plants.
Snow-topped Japanese lantern
Snow-topped Japanese lantern

The last one shows that our future may go in many different directions, like the branches of a tree.
Branches covered with snow
Branches covered with snow

This is the last blog of this year: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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Dreamstime: 25 sales in one month

Yellow Mountain - Huangshan, China
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

On the average I sell 6 licenses per month via Dreamstime. Last month something spectaluar happened. One buyer bought 14 licenses of pictures of Peru and, probably, another one bought 8 licenses of Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) in China. In total 25 licenses were sold in November. I never sold so many before.
I celebrated this via two blogs on Dreamstime and got many positive reactions from colleague-contributors. Four of them decided to follow me. I regard that as a big compliment.
My trip to Yellow Mountain was actually the start of this photoblog in which I want to share my knowledge of photography and to show the pictures I take. Here are the pictures of Yellow Mountain. Dreamstime accepted 13  pictures.
The trip to Peru was more recent. I wrote quite a few blogs on it, starting with the preparation and ending with processing them. Here are the pictures of Peru. Of these 50 were accepted by Dreamstime.
For me the common theme between these two big sales is that they are about places you really have to put some effort in to reach them in combination with a small number of pictures available. I noticed that especially about Peru. The buyer did not buy Machu Picchu, however, he did buy pictures of Chavin de Huantar (first 8 hours by bus from Lima to Huaraz and then another 3 hours to Chavin de Huantar). The same is true for Yellow Mountain, first you have to fly to Hefei, China (via Beijing or Shanghai), flooded by 4 hours by bus, and then the final climb starts.
Enjoy the pictures and realize the effort that was required to take them  🙂
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