Hiking around Tubbergen

Tubbergen

Last week I decided to hike in the neighbourhood of Tubbergen, a small village in the eastern part of the Netherlands. On this hiking website for the region Twente I found a nice hike, called Schultenwolde; a little bit more than 10 kilometers.

Before leaving home I downloaded the GPX file and uploaded it to my Komoot website. I always use the Komoot app to get directions, to record my GPS track, and to match the pictures I take with my iPhone with my hike. The Komoot app on my iPhone gives me spoken directions in English and the directions are also visible on my Apple Watch. So, it is next to impossible to get lost.

 

The first part of the hike took me along a small creek, called Markgraven.

Markgraven

The weather was perfect, not too hot, a bit windy, and nice big white clouds posted against a deep blue sky. The nice thing about the hike is that the part along the creek is not on paved roads, the Komoot app calls it off grid.

On the way back I walked through the fields around Tubbergen. As you can see it has been an extremely dry summer. On the horizon you can see a small part of the tower of the Saint Pancratius Basilica in Tubbergen.

Fields around Tubbergen, the Netherlands,
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

While entering the village I took the picture at the top of this post. Being back in the village I decided to take some pictures of the basilica. The upper part of the tower of the Saint Pancratius Basilica was renovated about 40 years ago (the bricks are a bit lighter). 

Saint Pancratius Basilica in Tubbergen, the Netherlands
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Here two more pictures of the church at Dreamstime: Pancratius from the front left and Pancratius from the front right.

Thumbs up for this hike and this village.

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Sailing trip Waddenzee

31 foot sailboat

With a group of 4 we left the Noorderhaven in Harlingen a quarter past 6 in the morning heading for Terschelling. Actually we had to leave two hours after high tide to take full advantage of the pulling effect of the water when the water leaves the Waddenzee. Above you see the 31 footer and a short video of the beautiful colours of the sunrise: Sunrise Noorderhaven

The Waddenzee is a unique part of the North Sea. During high tide it just looks like a regular sea, during low tide many sandbanks pop up. The Dutch part is surrounded by the northern mainland of the Netherlands and a number of smaller islands. During this trip we visited Terschelling and Vlieland. With a sailboat with a keel of 1.5 meters we had to stick to the groove from Harlingen to the islands. Below you see that we could not go directly form Harlingen to Terschelling. We used an app of Navionics on our iPhones to see where the sandbanks are.

Tracks of three days: Harlingen to Terschelling red; Terschelling to Vlieland white; Vlieland to Harlingen yellow

During the first two days there was sometimes insufficient wind to sail against the tide. So we had to use the engine. You can actually see that during cross sailing the tide pushed us back to where we had been before. It took us 10 hours to reach Terschelling.

The next day we went to Vlieland. To enter the harbour of Vlieland we had to go further north to the North Sea which starts between the two islands. We could immediately feel the slow swell of the waves, in contrast to the shorter waves of the Waddenzee. On the way we saw many seals. 

The third day we had a nice northern wind which took us all the way to Harlingen. Again we had to cross the groove a couple of times. As you can see in the pictures we had to be aware of ferry boats going back and forth between the mainland and the island. They go very fast so we continuously had to check our speed and course.

Although I have been to Vlieland by ferry boat several times, making the trip by sailboat made me aware of the uniqueness of the Waddenzee. 

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Visiting Elx and discovering palm trees

 

During our stay in Alicante we visited some surrounding cities, one of them was Elx or Elche. Via Santa Pola we took the bus to Elx.

Municipal Park Elx

Without a specific plan we walked to a major park close by. It turned out to be the Municipal Park, where I found the amphitheater, and in the rear a pigeon tower.

Amphitheater and Pigeon Tower in Elx
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

After that we took a tour through the city by tourism miniature train. During this tour we found out what Elx is famous for: palm trees. During the Arabic reign of Spain these palm trees were imported. It is estimated that currently there are 200,000 to 300,000 palm trees in the area of Elx. It is really unique in Europe to have so many palm trees together. In November 2000, Elx was elected the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site.

Botanic garden Huerto del Cura in Elx
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Then we decided to continue our discovery of Elx by going to the botanic garden called Huerto del Cura (garden of the priest), located in the older parts of Elx. It is a relative small orchard, however, packed with many exclusive palm trees, cactus, and other plants. I took quite a few pictures there, which you can find below and here. Some of these pictures were taken in Manual mode, like the one below, because there was not enough light to work with Aperture mode, resulting in a slightly higher ISO.

Cactus in Huerto del Cura

During a break I also managed to take a picture of the Basilica of Elx. Although it was not the right time of the day because of the very bright sun coming from the right. I wanted to take a picture standing more on the left of the church, however, this was impossible because  of the overwhelming sun behind the tower. So, I had to settle for this one.

Basilica Saint Mary in Elx
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Late in the afternoon we had an excellent lunch in an Italian restaurant called Ristorante Gourmet. Looking back, Elx gave us a lot more than we expected. It is definitely worthwhile to visit.

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Sunset at Noordwijk aan Zee

The colourful sky is one of the most fascinating scenes to take a picture of. Quite often people start to shoot too early, resulting in a very dominating orange ball called the sun. I prefer to start when the sun is almost disappearing behind the horizon. Then the sky and the sun are in balance and the clouds in the sky get an orange backlight.

Sunset North Sea, the Netherlands
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The above picture was taken at roughly 22:00 hours at the end of May along the coast of Noordwijk aan Zee, the Netherlands. Right at the time of the sunset. Just a few minutes later the sun had completely disappeared. 
What makes this picture special is of course the shape of the clouds and the way they are lighted. Some are dark and others are orange backlighted. Also the texture of the clouds adds to the special atmosphere of the evening. Furthermore, there is a subtle orange glow on the water. 
The picture was taken with the zoomlens set at 28mm, shutter speed 1/80th of a second, aperture f/5, and ISO 100. Below you see the unprocessed NEF version. It is not very appealing.
NEF version of sunset

In Adobe Lightroom 6 I did the following:

  • Lightroom automatically set the  temperature to 4900 (I did not change it)
  • set the correction profile for the lens I used (Nikkor 28-300mm)
  • set liveliness to +68
  • set saturation to +2
  • set the horizon straight
  • decreased locally the highlight caused by the sun.

The rest remained the same. This makes the picture much more appealing without overdoing is. It is important to only make subtle changes.
Here you will find more of my photo albums. If you are interested in having this picture on canvas, please click here.
The picture got accepted by Dreamstime within 2 days. 
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Sunset at Domburg

Domburg is a tiny village along the coast in the province Zeeland in the Netherlands. I had been there when I was young. My family decided to pay this touristic village a visit again. It was very nice weather. So, we had ample opportunity to have long hikes on the beach. 
To make sure that the sand of the beach does not disappear they have built breakers.  These are two rows of wooden poles from the coast into the sea, covering the area between high and low tide. These are fascinating objects to take pictures of, because of the water curling around the poles and the seagulls taking a rest.

Breakers at Domburg
Breakers at Domburg

Breakers at Domburg
Breakers at Domburg

Around 7 pm it was high tide; around the same time we also enjoyed a beautiful sunset. The interaction between the remaining light of the sun, its reflection on the water,  and the incoming waves of the upcoming tide were really magnificent.
Sunset at Domburg
Sunset at Domburg

 I had taken my regular lens: Nikkor 28 – 300mm lens. To make sure that I had full control over the exposure I shot in manual mode: shutter speed 1/320th of a second (to avoid a tripod and fix the waves) and aperture f/9. The under-exposure was compensated by an automatic increase of the ISO. Looking back now an aperture of f/11 would have been better (larger depth of field).
Here are some more pictures of the beautiful sunset in Domburg. Enjoy!
 

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.

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!

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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Water reservoir Griessee: how well will it sell?

Water reservoir
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The above picture was taken during a hike in the Alps. In this blog I wrote about the hike through the Nufenenpass before. I really enjoyed it and I hope you will also enjoy it.
Half way the hike I saw this water reservoir. It is called the Griessee. Compared to other pictures I took during my many hikes in the Alps it is not spectacular. However, I decided to see how well it would sell on Dreamstime (of course, if it would be accepted).
As you can see it was accepted by Dreamstime and it is selling reasonably well. It has been sold 5 times, the last time was yesterday. The question is: who is interested in a picture like that?
This question is difficult to answer. On microstock websites the buyer is anonymous for the seller. A consequence is that as sellers we do not know what type of buyers make use of these websites and what they are looking for.. Would it not be nice if, possibly at an aggregated level, we would know the type of buyers and what type of pictures they are looking for. Knowing more about the characteristics of the buyers would give the sellers a better opportunity to contribute pictures that match the need of buyers. Which is also beneficial for the microstock websites.
It would be nice if websites that bring sellers and buyers together would start “Webservice 2.0” by sharing information about buyers with the sellers: what they are looking for, and searches that did not result in sales etc. This would be very informative for the sellers and creates a win-win situation for the sellers, the buyers, and these websites. Based on all the searches it is relatively easy with data mining algorithms that are developed for Big Data to extract that kind of information.
Dreamstime has recently started with mailing the sellers Trending Searches. This a good start.
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Large canvas

Laguna Querococha
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Some time ago a colleague of mine asked me why I did not display my pictures in my office. Good question. So, I decided to print a large canvas of Laguna Querococha (near Huaraz in Peru). Normally I print 60 by 90 cm², now I went for 80 by 120 cm². With the 36,3 megapixels of the D800 this is no problem. All the details are visible and the colors are very vivid.
A couple of years ago I started to print a canvas at Profotonet in the Netherlands. They do an excellent job: very high quality print and material, and the logistics is also very good. They deliver in 1 or 2 days. Once my daughter was not satisfied with the colors, they had a look at it, and a new canvas was sent to her right away. For free, of course.
Below you see the picture in my office. Please do not look at the mess on my desk. I get a lot of compliments of people visiting my office on the scenery, the composition, the sharpness, and the quality of the canvas. Most of them start to realize that I also have a life after office hours. Together with my secretary I am looking for another picture to balance this one.

Please have a look at my albums. Let me know if you are interested in buying one for a canvas.
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