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Impressions of Holland with Charlotte Bellamy, by Peter Jones

4th June 2024

"You’re doing what? Tulips! You! Flowers! Why?”

That’s the gist of responses from family and friends and with good reason. My normal role in the garden is one of supervised destruction, including mowing the lawn. So,what exactly did attract me to this tour? Surely there would have been flowers in great profusion. Firstly, while having worked with many Dutch people over the course of my career and lived for several years in southern Germany, I had only occasionally visited the Netherlands, and only then as I drove through. I suppose this left me with some curiosity. After all, it’s quite close and rather small. Secondly, a brief look at the Light and Land webpage suggested that Charlotte has more than a passing interest in ICM’s and multiple exposures, as have I, but realistically, I’m just dipping my toes into that field, and I was intrigued. Of course, the Netherlands has other things to offer in the shape of cycles, windmills, canals, quaint buildings, towns and villages but also, lots of tulips, so many tulips.

While the usual landscape photography trips I’ve been on feature plenty of hills and indeed, often, mountains, here there was none of that, the land being pretty much dead flat. Having spent a good chunk of my working life on the edge of the fens, it was something I was very familiar with. What it did have was vast swathes of brightly coloured tulips. This presented both a challenge and opportunity to record it in different ways.

We met at Schiphol. I already knew one member of the group from a Romania tour with Astrid, and quickly found that I had mutual acquaintances with another. It’s a small world after all.

We met Charlotte who then took us on our voyage of discovery starting with amazing architecture and windmills. It was a cold and blustery day.

The following day was calmer weather and was spent in the tulip fields and presented some interesting opportunities to have fun and play.

A low shot showing a survivor, the red tulip in a sea of yellow. (500mm, 1/320, f14,ISO125). These interlopers get removed by people walking up and down the rows of tulips. This shot required a low-angle, and many such shots were beyond my ability to get low enough. In this case the excellent 100-500mm lens came to my rescue. A knee problem interfered but is now being sorted by an upgrade.

Holland Photography Tour

Next came a day enjoying villages and towns and the architecture and canals. The weather was most kind to us witha mixture of sunshine and clouds.

In DeRijp where the quaint houses reflected beautifully in the canals (iPhone 15 ProMax 6.76mm, 1/5800, f1.8, ISO 100).

On day 4 we started early by visiting Keukenhof, when it opened at 8:30. A quite remarkable place. We’d parked close to the entrance and queued to get in giving us time to play with ICMs and multiple exposures as well as some macro shots.

It became obvious that an early start was essential as the number of people in the park steadily rose to a point that it was becoming harder to find scenes uncontaminated by people, lots of people. There had been tulips, lots of tulips

Impressions of Holland Photography Tour
Impressions of Holland Photography Tour

A vertical ICM of long-stemmed tulips in Keukenhof (100mm, 1/5, f11, ISO50).

Impressions of Holland Photography Tour

iPhone 15 ProMax Multiple exposure taken with AvgCamPro, also at Keukenhof.

We forged our way to the exit through the masses of humanity who had now descended on Keukenhof, after a Dutch apple cake and cream plus coffee, obviously, and then headed into Amsterdam.

Here we parked up and took the tram into the centre. Wandering around the city presented a host of street scenes with the weather kindly aiding us.

Holland Photography Tour

Amsterdam presented many interesting scenes including this reflection of the cabin area of a boat. I love the way the water looks like liquid metal (50mm, 1/60, f11, ISO400).

We finished off by taking long exposures of the canals, bridges and boats, capturing the navigation lights and street lights. We all had more play with ICMs and multiple exposures aswell.

Holland Photography Tour

Here a white van had parked in the middle of the bridge above and refused Charlottes enticement to go away. It was possible to get shots without it but limiting none the less. This is a 2 second exposure at 45mm f/11 and ISO50.

As our flights were all later in the day, we check out and took the tram back into the centre in the morning for even more fun. As I boarded my flight that evening, a gale had swept into the region and the flight back was remarkably fast if a little bumpy.

It had been a very enjoyable trip. The accommodation was excellent, company great. Charlotte was inspirational with her knowledge and enthusiasm and I’m not at all ashamed to say, I stole some of her ideas. I came away having explored some of the less visited pages of the camera menus and learned a great deal about the camera and myself. The Netherland is delightfully civilized. I can’t think what more I could have asked for.

Highly recommended

By Peter Jones.

Light and Land

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