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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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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Ansel Adams: environmental activist and photographer

IMG_0775
Books of Ansel Adams

Recently I stepped down as chairman of a national research funding organization. As a farewell present I got books of Ansel Adams. So, now I have  An Autobiography, The Making of 40 Photographs, and 400 Photographs. He was both an environmental activist and a photographer. He made beautiful black and white pictures of Yosemite National Park over a long period of time, so you could see the environmental changes. The picture that made him famous is Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.
In the seventies and eighties I spend in total one and a half year in California working for UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University. During these days I visited Yosemite National Park several times, hiked a lot in the valley and the upper park. It is a very beautiful area.
Imagine in the days of Ansel Adems he had to carry all the heavy stuff up the mountains. He could only take a limted number of photographic plates (pictures), so, he really had to make sure the picture would work out. Because of that he invented the zone-system to match the dynamic range of the subject he wanted to photograph and the limitations of the camera. The zone-system goes in 10 steps from pure black via different shades of gray to pure white. Nowadays the digital camera and the software handle the dynamic range quite well, although in some cases certain parts are completely white without any detail (or black). In that case the dynamic range of the camera is not sufficient for that particular situation. Again Ansel Adams could see that even before taking the picture.
Yosemite Park is still waiting for me 🙂