~ Sunrise over a field covered in hoarfrost - the Netherlands.
~ Howling winds and a lone tree; testament to the benefits of flexibility in life.
It's been a while since I've shared a mono with you. There's a confession I need to make. I've grown out of fashion with the saturated colours I've recently shared. Sure, they grab your attention, but after repeatedly looking at them, I'm struggling to keep enoying them.
Maybe it's time for a change. Maybe there's something to learn from the flexibility of that lone tree. Or maybe I'm delusional...
30s | f/6.3 | ISO100
~ Exploding sky in the Stokksnes Dunes, Iceland.
Hanging out with a supercell in the Netherlands.
~ This is the same night as "Outflow", just moments after sundown. The purple cloud is actually lit by the last rays of the sun, setting to the right of this image, while the front moved slowly away from here.
Thanks for taking the time with this one.
This magical morning was captured almost exactly one year ago. I was reminded of capturing this shot when I walked there yesterday, scouting the area for new compositions. It came to my attention that the flowers you see here in the foreground aren't there this year. While I think this has everything to do with the changing weather patterns, due to climate change, I'm still hopeful they'll make a return later this year.
This is also my first attempt at using luminosity masks. Right of the bat I can say that the end result is of much higher quality than can be achieved today by using HDR software. For one, there is less noise in sky and fine details. Plus you have total control over where you want the first exposure to start and the next one to begin: It's dodging and burning in overdrive.
'Effervescent Dawn' was captured in the dunes near Den Helder, the Netherlands, with the D600 at 14mm.
1,6s | f/13 | ISO200
~ Long exposure image, somewhere in the Netherlands.
Personally, I'm growing really fond of the blue hour. One of its powers is the reduction in ambient light, so I forget all about my awkwardly shaped front element that doesn't take screw-in filters. With the wind in the proper direction and a good juxtaposition in relation to the subject, the blue hour can work wonders for creative imagery.
Achieving proper focus at last light; that's tricky. It's better to use the hyper focal techniques than to try and make sense of dancing pixels while digitally enhancing the live-view image...
14mm | 10s | f/9 | ISO100
I pulled up at the nearest parkinglot after driving and musing about the shots I was about to take this wintery afternoon. It was colder than the past few days and the sky looked definitely more interesting than the weeks before that. Sure enough, the plummeting temperatures brought some hail, and was now at the foothills of the 'Schoorlse Duinen', just before sunset.
While the walk up to this barren patch of sand was uneventfull, I was wandering through heathers and some shrubbery in search of a mushroom or two. There wasn't much foreground interest in the landscape, but the sky was ablaze with golden colours. Perfect for some natural lighting macro work. I was about to call it a day, when I saw this impending cloud of wintery doom headed my way from the north. I figured I'd climb up the tallest dune in the area to catch a glimpse of the setting sun - foreground interest or not. As I pulled myself up from the sandy ridge of the dune, I got sandblasted right away and the cloud started to fall from the sky.
The wind picked up, blasting sand, hail, rain and snow all at once against the right side of my rainjacket hood. The sound of it flapping in the northerly gusts was absolutely deafening and I had to hunker down while the camera was out there taking five frames of this gorgeous sunset, exposed against the elements.
This is a composite of that moment. One frame for the sky, and one for the foreground. Another one for the bright hailstones there, and a fourth for brightening up the surrounding forest. And a fifth frame for reducing the highlights in the distant clouds. The five frames I then merged using luminosity masking and with some creative editing with Color Efex and more luminosity masking, I got this end result, thinking I'd share this with you.
I captured 'Hail the Sunset' in 'de Schoorlse Duinen', the Netherlands with the D750 at 14mm.
~ The first days of winter are often the most beautiful. Here's a bit of hoarfrost clinging to a patch of marram.
~ One of the many small lakes near Tilburg, the Netherlands at a chilling sunrise.
This is a reprocessed version of an image I captured 5 years ago. With a distinct nip in the air, the light scattered just marvelously on this small lake in the south of my home country. Those crepuscular rays (or god rays as they're often called), are the result of light bouncing off particulate in the air. As the days grow darker and the nights colder (in the north), now is the time to get up early and head for the woodlands for amazing shows of light.
~ That's no moon...!
Oh wait, it is. But not where you would expect it. The crescent shape is actually the sun during the 2015 solar eclipse. Although viewing this eclipse from the Netherlands was challenging, the clouds surrounding the sun and moon did add to the mysterioius and ominous feel of this spectacular and rare celestial event. I'm extremely grateful to have witnessed this.
This is a handheld shot with the Canon 70D; my wife's camera. That's why it's captured at ISO 400 and a little more noisy than I like it to be. The main camera was on a tripod capturing a timelapse of the event.
~ Dark skies opening up momentarily to reveal the setting sun. North sea shore, the Netherlands
~ Windswept sand pointing towards a blazing sunset over the North Sea, the Netherlands.
'The Journey' was captured at de Schoorlse Duinen, the Netherlands with the D600 at 85mm.
1/125s | f/14 | ISO100
Let's get philosophical for a bit.
It's part of human nature to go looking for something we don't see every day. It's one of those processes that took at least millions of years to evolve; to go looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
This helped us as a people to spread around the world, to build rockets and discover new worlds outside our own... But what I'm truly getting at here, is being able to spot that process: To observe it, to accept it and to finally embrace it.
This evolutionary process has profound implications in our modern day creativity as well. It's the driving force behind us getting bored with the area we are most familiar with.
While I dream of glorious, neverending wilderness and mountain ranges with peaks that stretch vertically for miles. I deeply recognise that the area I live in (the Netherlands) does not have what I look for. But that doesn't mean that someone who lives in such a remote or mountainous area is entirely happy there.
My point is, that we should look at the same area with a different mindset. It is only then that we discover new creativity within ourselves.
I now try to find mountains where they are definitely not to be found. At least, when I see clouds like the ones I see in this image here, I don't see clouds at all. I see a vast, neverending wilderness, with peaks that stretch vertically for miles.
'The Last Billowing Before Sunset' was captured near Huisduinen, the Netherlands, with the D600 at 24mm.
1/15s | f/16 | ISO250
I found this location to be perfect for a sunset shot because of the natural leading lines in the picture. But this was in the afternoon, while the sun would not set for another three hours. I marked this location, and left in search for more future locations in the area while being very careful not to destroy the foreground.
When the sun eventually did drop close to the horizon though, it's another story entirely. Instead of a leisurely stroll along the beach, there are many factors that make up a picture like this. The place I had marked before, didn't work in this new light, so you'll lose valuable time recomposing the image. I noticed that the dynamic range was far too high to take all the details in, so I decided to bracket 3 exposures. But the light faded quickly. Soon there was no sunset to capture at all...
Some of the whispy clouds moved in the frame at the very last moment before sunset. They seemed to be aiding the composition by introducing another set of leading lines. All the waiting paid off in the end for this picture. Sometimes it really does all come together.
'Towards the Essence' was captured at the edge of the dunes towards the North Sea (near Julianadorp, the Netherlands) with the D600 at 14mm.
f/11 | 3 shot HDR | ISO100
~ There are some subjects in landscape photography that never again can be photographed. Those fleeting, temporary and windswept foregrounds are the ones that truly stick with me. Some are like great, likeminded people you meet on holiday but forgot to exchange ways to contact eachother.
It's uncommon to see the sands of the dunes this untouched. The trick is to wait for a rainstorm to pass and rush towards the place you want to photograph. Be aware of your own footsteps when you do...! 'Where the Dunes are Born Anew' was captured at de Schoorlse Duinen, the Netherlands with the D600 at 85mm.
1/250s | f/14 | ISO400
~ Winter has no firm grip on this young birch. The sapling tree will endure through even the harshest snowfall.