Discovering Almelo beyond my bias

Although we have lived for more than 30 years in Twente we never visited the center of Almelo, besides of course the theater. Recently we shared our lack of interest in the city Almelo with friends, and realized that we actually never visited the center of Almelo (besides the theater of course). Pure coincidental, the next day it was a perfect day for a city tour, so we decided to go to Almelo.

Using the app WandeleninOverijssel we took the cultural heritage tour and walked from the railway station to the City Hall of Almelo, the Court of Justice, and the harbour. Mainly modern buildings.  A bluish area, a lot of blue buildings. 

City Hall Almelo

From there to the city center, which is really a cultural heritage area. Some of the buildings date back more than 3 centuries. And there is quite a variety: huge churches, tiny houses, and extravagant houses.

Grote Kerk seen from the Herengracht

Very special is Huize Almelo, which is a Havezathe. It is still inhabited.

House Almelo

It was a quite enjoyable walk through the history of Almelo, resulting in a very positive image of Almelo. Although we realised that quite a few shops were vacant. We will definitely return. On Komoot I share our route and the pictures I took with both my iPhone X and my full frame camera. Here you can see all the pictures of Almelo accepted by Dreamstime. All pictures were taken with a 16-35mm lens. Below you see the route we took.


 

Halfway we stopped at De Zoete Bezigheid to have coffee and something special. A nice place to visit!

Stock Images

Stormy weather on Dutch coast

Waves during storm at Scheveningen

For business reasons I had to go to a meeting early in the morning in The Hague. So, I decided to go the day before. As it turned out, a heavy western storm was expected for that day. A reason the more to leave for Scheveningen earlier than originally planned.

When I arrived at the boulevard in Scheveningen near the pier, I realized how strong the storm was (8+ Bft). There were just a few people on the beach and I could not see any boats.  The waves were impressive for Dutch standards. 

Pier at Scheveningen

First I took some shots of the pier, with the waves splashing against the supporting pillars. It turns out that there was a lot of foam, so in seconds my camera and my lens were covered with the remains of foam. So, I decided to go to the upperdeck of the pier. 

Waves splashing against supporting pillars

Looking at my pictures I noticed a couple of things. The power of the sea, the wind pushing me away all the time, the sounds was lacking in my pictures. Therefore, I made a couple of videos with my iPhone. Below you see one of them.

They look much better, however, it still looks like a storm in a glass of water, in a confined, shallow frame. Also, zooming in both with the camera and the iPhone compresses the whole scene, making it very shallow. So, it does not give the feeling of being part of it.

Waves during stormy weather

To experiment, I went to the front of the pier to take a picture where the water below me and the horizon were sharp (wide angle and large depth-of-field). Here it was really stormy and the wind was really unpredictable, my camera was shaking in all directions (fast shutter speed). Because of all this I chose for zoomlens at 28mm, aperture f/9, shutter speed 1/640sec, and ISO 320. It gives you a better feeling of being part of it. 

Wide-angle view of the incoming waves

At home, I was a bit disappointed in the raw pictures: too white, no contrast, and too flat. So, I did quite a bit of processing: added a bit of light, added a lot of contrast, lowered the highlights a bit, added a lot of black, and added some blue, and sharpened the image. You can see the result in the one above. 

Reflecting on trip to Andalusia

Nasrid Palaces and Palace Charles V during sunset, Alhambra, Granada

Being back from Andalusía, having processed all my pictures (750+), having 100+ pictures accepted at Dreamstime, and having already 4 sales, it is time to reflect on the trip and on the decisions I took about what to take with me.

First of all, it was a wonderful trip, for several reasons: it was the first major trip with my wife after my retirement, it was slightly off season (so, reasonable temperatures), plenty of time to visit various tourist attractions, and last but not least the mystic mixture of Christianity and Islam expressed in the architecture, the food, and the way of living. Secondly, my wife had made this trip before, so she had already made up her mind which attractions to visit to take pictures. It made life much easier for me.

Below my packing list before I left together with my comments:

  • Nikon D800 and iPhone I was pretty happy that next to the D800 I had taken my iPhone X. It was nice to put some pictures immediately, without extensive processing, on for example Instagram. Also, in the caves near Nerja the iPhone X did much better than the D800 by automatically taking several pictures at once and combining them into one perfectly exposed picture.
  • Nikon 28-300 mm lens  and Nikon 16-35 mm lens The combination of the two lenses was perfect, I used both of them  intensively. 
  • Small tripod In Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada I used the small tripod to take pictures in the evening. The pictures on Plaza de España in Sevilla and the Roman Bridge together with Mezquita (see below) look very good. The ones of Alhambra in Granada show a slight tremble. This may have been caused by the crowd surrounding me at Mirador San Nicolás or by the long exposures (10 seconds). On my next trip I will definitely take my small tripod with me. 
    Mezquita and Roman bridge in Cordoba by night
    © Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos
  • Colorspace UDMA 2 The external storage to off load the pictures from the storage cards in my camera was very helpful. It remains on my packing list for longer trips.
  • Peak Design Capture I carried the D800 on the shoulder strap of my backpack quite often. I could grap the camera quite fast. However, putting it back was slightly more difficult. I will certainly continue using it during my hikes.
  • Peak Design Field pouch It is easy to carry smaller stuff like a polaroid filter in my backpack.
  • Peak Design Range pouch On the website of Alhambra it mentioned that we were not allowed to take large backpack into Nasrid Palace. So, I decided not take my backpack and only take my general-purpose zoom lens. So, I used the Range pouch for carrying a water bottle.
  • Peak Design straps During our visit to the Nasrid Palace I used the straps to carry my camera.
  • Arsenal I got frustrated with Arsenal, the smart camera assistant. I was going to use it for the night shots at Plaza de España. When I turned it on I was confronted with a firmware update in a 3G environment and I could not skip it. So, I put it back in my backpack again. Next time it stays home.
  • Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L I am very pleased with my Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L. I used it every day. It wears very comfortably and gives easy access to all the equipment. The shoulder straps are fixed to the backpack in a rotating way. Because I am not broadly shouldered the straps tend to fall off my shoulders. Therefore, I always used the sternum strap to hold the shoulder straps tight. Also, if the backpack is fully loaded it tends to tilt. Therefore, I recommend to use the waist straps as well. I am also happy with the 20L version. For a bigger load I use the 45L Travel Backpack.

Below are the first sales at Dreamstime:



Here are all the pictures of Andalusía accepted by Dreamstime.

Stock Images

Admiring Sevilla

Plaza de España in Sevilla

Our next stop during our trip through Andalusia is Sevilla. While arriving there we could immediately feel the respectability of an important city, a center of government, a center of power. Also, the taxi driver, showing his proudness for his city, showed us the pavilions of the various South America countries participating in the World Exhibition of 1929. During our stay we visited the pavilion of Peru which is now a Museum of Science. Here are some unprocessed (iPhone) pictures of the city.

Plaza de España
The Plaza de España was also built for the World Exhibition of 1929. With its large, half circle architecture with the two towers at both ends, the canal with rowing tourists, with the colourful bridges, and the enormous square with the fountain in the middle, it is a very attractive place to be, both during the day and in the evening. We visited it several times to take pictures with different lighting and also in the evening when the buildings are nicely lit. Here are some (iPhone) pictures of Plaza de España.

Plaza de España, Sevilla

Alcazar
The Royal Alcazar is a palace. It was built by Christians on the location of a Muslim fortress and is a nice example of Mudéjar architecture, influenced by Moorish taste and workmanship. It is really beautiful. And the gardens are really overwhelming. Here are some (iPhone) pictures of Alcazar.

Patio Royal Alcazar of Sevilla

Cathedral and La Giralda
The Sevilla Cathedral is one of the largest churches in Europe. It is a very impressive Gothic church. I took a lot of pictures of the ceiling. Next to the cathedral is the bell tower, La Giralda. The amazing thing is that it has no stairs. The idea was that you could climb the tower by horse! However,when we were there, there was no horse. Here are some (iPhone) pictures of the Cathedral.

La Geralda in Sevilla

Besides the three attractions mentioned above we went to a flamenco performance in the Flamenco Museum (very nice), we strolled through the Park of Maria Luisa, and we visited the Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions (very interesting). The days in Sevilla were really enjoyable.

Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Sevilla

We really admired Sevilla because of its beautiful attractions. However, although it was late September, the temperature was around 37 degrees Celsius. So, we frequently used the swimming pool of the hotel. Sevilla is definitely a city we will visit again.

Photographic tips:

  • for daytime I use my camera and the general-purpose lens (28-300mm)
  • in the evening I add to this my tripod (Plaza de España)
  • indoors I use my camera and the wide-angle lens (16-35mm)
  • for street photography, panoramic and live pictures, and when I travel light, I use my iPhone X, the pictures are of amazing quality, even when it is dark
  • in the evening at Plaza de España I tried to use Arsenal, however, I could only use it after first performing a firmware update over 3G; so, back in the bag again.

Here you can see the pictures of Sevilla accepted by Dreamstime.

Stock Images

Malaga: more than Costa del Sol

Malaga: Alcazaba, Cathedral, and Museum of Malaga

Before reading about the region in preparation for our trip to Andalusia, I thought that Malaga was mainly known for its beaches (Costa del Sol). I realize now that Malaga has to offer quite a bit more than that, like the Cathedral, Alcazaba, and Gibralfaro. Also, just wandering through the streets of Malaga is a real treat. Around every corner there is a church, a square, a park, an alley that needs exploring. Here some pictures of parks and plants. In the area around the Alcazaba Roman, Arabic, and Renaissance architecture meet each other. Very inspirational. Furthermore, the early darkness of the warm evenings invites for late dining outside. The food is excellent.

Roman Theatre
Discovered only in 1951 the Roman Theatre is now one of the important tourist attractions of Malaga. It was built in the 1st century and is still used for special types of shows. On the square in front of the Roman Theatre there is always live music attracting a lot of people. Very nice atmosphere.

Roman Theatre by night

Alcazaba
The Alcazaba fortress palace was built in the 11th century by the Moors, partly with material from the Roman Theatre right next to it. It is situated against the Gibralfaro mountain and was later surrounded by the defence walls of Gibralfaro Castle.

Alcazaba and Roman Theatre

Gibralfaro Castle
The Gibralfaro Castle is named after the mountain it is built on. It dates back as far as the 14th century. From the walls you have spectacular views over the city, the harbour, and the sea. It was quite a climb to take this picture.

Malaga from Gibralfaro

Here some pictures of the Roman Theatre, Alcazaba, and Gibralfaro.

Cathedral of Malaga
The Malaga Cathedral was built in Renaissance style within the limits of old Moorish walls. It was suppose to have two towers. However, after the first tower was finished there was no money left to build the second tower. Here some pictures of the cathedral on the outside accepted by Dreamstime.

 

Here some pictures of other churches as well.

We really enjoyed Malaga. Of course we went to one of the beaches (El Palo) to take a swim. However, most of the time we spent on exploring the city beyond the obvious tourist attractions. What struck us most, was that around every corner there is a church and that every hour of the day somebody gets married. Malaga is definitely more than just Costa del Sol.

Photographic tips:

  • for daytime I use my camera and the general-purpose lens (28-300mm)
  • in the evening I normally add to this my tripod (for Roman Theatre, however, I used ISO 64000 and hand held, good quality, already sold at Dreamstime)
  • indoors I use my camera and the wide-angle lens (16-35mm)
  • for street photography, panoramic and live pictures, and when I travel light, I use my iPhone X.

Here you can see all the pictures of Malaga accepted by Dreamstime.

Stock Images

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 the upper 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.

Stock Images

Fallas in Valencia

Fallas Valencia 2018
© Peter Apers | Dreamstime Stock Photos

My wife told me to put Fallas in Valencia on my bucket list. So, this year we decided to participate in this festivity. The origin of the Fallas is the commemoration of Saint Joseph. The word Fallas both refers to the event and to the structures they build. The event  is really a community festivity for the whole family. 
Every day during Fallas at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento there is La Mascletà (video of La Mascletà). For five minutes there is an explosion of very loud sound; you can physically feel the vibrations going through  your body. To be close to the fireworks you have to be on time (at least one and a half hour in advance). 
Every neighbourhood builds it own Falla. So, walking through the city you will find many Fallas, which mostly consist of one main “doll” surrounded by many smaller ones, often expressing national or international political issues, for example, sources of fake news.

Sources of fake news

At the top of this post the Falla that had a very prominent position at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Below one that received a lot of prizes. 

Prize winning Falla

Another activity is the parade of Valencians dressed in folkloric costumes to take flowers to the Virgin Mary (video L’Ofrena de flors) at Plaza de la Reina. On the way going there we met this beautifully dressed lady being very proud to wear her folkloric costume.

Fallera

After sunset the streets near the Fallas are beautifully lighted, often with live music, places to have a drink or take a bite. 

Lights in the evening

After midnight the day ends with a spectacular fireworks. Fallas in Valencia is another check on my bucket list. 
Many more pictures and videos were taken with my iPhone X, except for the top one, this was taken with my Nikon D800.

Stock Images