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

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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 🙂

First snow in winter 2014/2015 in my hometown

Sneeuw in Hengelo januari 2015In January we got our first snow of the winter 2014/2105 in my hometown. Always a pleasure to take pictures, especially if you are the first to walk through the snow.
Taking snow pictures is not easy. The camera tries to turn all the white in the picture into gray. Although our brains try to see it as white (because we know that snow is supposed to be white) it still does not look nice. So, OVEREXPOSE. How much, depends on the scene. So, experiment! If you overexpose too much, you will loose detail.
Below you see two pictures, on the left no exposure compensation and on the right one-stop  over compensation. As you can see, the right picture the snow looks whiter.
Sneeuw in Hengelo januari 2015 Sneeuw in Hengelo januari 2015
Here are some pictures I took this morning in my garden.

Hike near Oosterbeek and White Balance

Oosterbeek januari 2015
Last Sunday I hiked near Oosterbeek (see map below). It is a really beautiful area, a mix of woods and open areas, just north of the river Nederrijn. This particular morning you could see the frost and the sun was still pretty low with warm colors. Here you can see some of the pictures I took.

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/wandelroute.gpx” mtype=OSM5 download=no]

This track comes from www.wandeleninoosterbeek.nl
I always shoot RAW, this allows me to change some of the settings, for example, the White Balance. I set White Balance always to Auto White Balance, AWB. When I am back home I set it to an appropriate value.
Changing the White Balance can have a substantial impact on the way the picture looks: if a picture is taken during normal daylight and we set the White Balance to Shade it will start adding red colors (to compensate the bluish colors in the shade), making the picture warmer. The same happens, however, to a lesser extent when setting the White Balance to Cloudy.
Looking at my RAW pictures I noticed that the pictures looked cooler than I remembered and intended, so during processing I set the White Balance to Cloudy, giving the pictures a warmer expression and also making the effect of the backlight of the sun more visible. Setting it to Shade was a bit overdone. It is just a matter of experimenting.
Keep in mind that we do not have to make an identical copy of reality, we want to make a picture that expresses what we felt when we took the picture.

My photoblog, a passion for photography

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This mo20130224_6294nth I started with my photoblog. Taking pictures and processing them has become a passion. Every now and then I want to share albums with you; just telling the story behind taking and processing the pictures. Hope you will enjoy them.
This is my last blog this year. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. These pictures, taken in my garden a couple of years ago, are just to remind you that sometimes we have a White Christmas in the Netherlands. Now it is 12 degrees Celsius during the day and pretty stormy 🙁
Taking pictures of snow is not easy. The camera wants to turn the white snow into gray, and your eyes (or should I say brains) translate snow into white (because we know it should be white) although it is (dark) gray. So, overexpose!
Wishing you all health and happiness in 2015! And an excellent photography year.

The Alps, beautiful views

Beautiful view in the Alps, Switzerland
The Alps are a mountain range in the middle of Europe. The peaks range from 3000 to 4000 meters. The Mont Blanc, which goes all the way up to 4811 meters, is really an exception.  We often hike on the southern side of the Alps, on the Italian side (Ticino).
There are two regions where we hike: Blenio District (several places) and on the border between Wallis and Ticino (Nufenenpass).  Most often we take the car to around 2000 meter and hike further on up to 2600 meter. These hikes last a whole day (6-7 hours). Below the map of the Nufenenpass.

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/Nufenenpas_2010.GPX” mtype=OSM5 download=no]

The area is really beautiful: rocks, some green, sometimes snow (in the middle of summer). Most of the time perfect sunny weather, although sometimes it is a bit foggy and then it can be pretty cold.
In the beginning I took all my lenses with me. At the end of the day they became a bit too heavy. Now I only take my camera (D800) plus a Nikkor 16-35 mm with me. Perfect for taking landscape pictures. On sunny days there is enough light to close the aperture opening a little more (f/20) to obtain a sufficiently large Depth of Field (DoF) without using a tripod.
Here are beautiful views of the Alps accepted by Dreamstime  for on canvas; both horizontal and vertical pictures.

Beautiful view of mountains and clouds
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

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Yellow Mountain (China) is like a fairy tale

Yellow Mountain, ChinaFirst, four hours by bus from Hefei to Zhaixicun, then by cable car through a thick layer of fog. Fifty meter before arriving at the terminal station of the cable car the fog disappeared and suddenly it was a sunny day.  Yellow Mountain, Huangshan in Chinese, is, if it is sunny, a beautiful fairy tale landscape. In the evening, however, the fog actually enters the hotel and it becomes pretty cold.
Together with tens of Chinese tourists we got up very early to see the sun rise (6:22 am). The only thing we saw was just fog.
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The second day was pretty windy. The landscape continuously changed, one moment there was a clear view all the way down to the valley and the next moment the peaks of the mountains almost completely disappeared in the fog. An amazing landscape definitely worth visiting.
Below the track we followed.

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In Zhaixicon we heard that we could not take our luggage up the mountain. So I just took my camera backpack and my pyjamas with me. Somebody else carried my wash bag 🙂 
All pictures were taken with my Nikon D800 with a Nikkor 16-35 mm, a perfect lens. Here you will find my pictures of Yellow Mountain accepted by Dreamstime. Update: more than 35 pictures of Yellow Mountain have been already sold.

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

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