April 2020. What a photographers disaster, to be born on such a flat piece of pancake !! The Netherlands is absolutely too bluntly. How I love the mountains and valleys in Spain, Norway, Switzerland and that wonderful country on the other side of the North Sea. Such a waste of time, energy and organic fuels to travel so many times to find the landscape and the relief I like. Only by taking close-ups I can fulfill a part of my needs in my homeland.

Maasvlakte / Zuid-Holland

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Februari 2020. On our way from Irkutsk to lake Baikal we stopped in Bugul’deyka, a peculiar abandoned marble quarry where nature has slowly begun to cover up the signs of human intervention

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Januari 2020. This is so incredible ! I just received a message that I am among the Top 101 landscape photos of the prestigious International Landscape Photographer of the Year 2019, with this image from the Giant’s Causeway, from my last journey to Northern Ireland. There is hardly any greater honor for an amateur who regrets the lack of time. When you click on the next link you will find the book with the winning images in the middle of the page. Really nice to browse through. Some captures are the cream of the crop. I still can’t believe my photo is in between.

https://www.internationallandscapephotographer.com

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November 2019. Le Mont Saint-Michel, off season. As it was spring tide Saint-Michel became an island. For several hours one couldn’t leave. I tried to spend the day in a fairly contemplative way, not forgetting to meditate, as I do at home regularly. Maybe because of that, to some extent, the Mount and Abbey seemed quite reverential. Selection in album Black & White.

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October 2019 October is the month my wife Anna and I love to travel to the UK. This year we stayed in Oldshoremore for a week and another one in the wonderful whisky estate of Glenlivet and surroundings. Sutherland is one of the most remote areas of Scotland and just about my favourite destination. There is so much scenic beauty over there. In addition the colours of the northern part of the Cairngorms National Park keep reminding me of a 14 years Balvenie Caribbean Cask. So tasteful !

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September 2019. This was the first time I visited Northern Ireland. Because I knew how busy it could be at the Giant’s Causeway I rented an appartment in Portballintrae, drove to the visitors centre near sunset two consecutive evenings and walked down to the beach, passing all the late guests who were on the way back from this famous spot. Once it was dark I was glad I came with full moon, if only to estimate the height differences between the hexagonal basalt stones in the dark and to judge the movements of the waves.. It was so wonderful to be there in the middle of the night, that I couldn’t believe I was really on my own.

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From the ongoing series “Pylon Portraits”:

Strolling through the heart of Amsterdam. Past many strangers. Shoulder to shoulder. Masses. I wonder if they are foreigners, locals, or maybe even people from my own town, or region? People with their own personal life stories, with fascinating social and cultural backgrounds. Are they affected by domestic or even political turmoil? Have they fled from something or someone to get here? Are they catching their breath, for a brief moment experiencing the pleasures of democracy and peace, looking for love and understanding?
I feel the need to speak with some of these strangers and get a taste of their personalities and histories. But what would we gain from a quick exchange of words, or even a couple of brief conversations? There is so much to tell. So much to be said. Where do you start? I have decided to leave the words for what they are. Instead, I ask people if I can take their portrait. I am always looking for striking personalities, people who stand out to me in a remarkable way, making me wonder who they are. Intriguing and perhaps even a bit mystical. This is an ongoing and personal project where I am attempting to capture glimpses of unique character and beauty. The people I portray don’t have to be “pretty” according to Western standards, and I don’t ask them to pose either. Their beauty is in their vitality, their personality, and in the look in their eye. Their age, gender, and origin don’t matter. The strangers I portray receive their picture by email. Even though I often get to know their names and ethnical backgrounds, I don’t feel the need to mention these things. Taiwan or China, Peru or Luxemburg, what does it really matter when it comes to their vitality and spirit? The place I ask them to stand when I take their picture, the step in front of the Pylon of the National Monument on Dam Square, is our porous symbol of resistance, liberation, peace, and new life.

 

She was demonstrating in Dam Square with a small group of compatriots. Fighting for democracy in her homeland. A small-scale protest, but passionate nevertheless. Their handwritten protest signs were equally modest. The low late afternoon sun had just broken through the clouds and a yellow umbrella was brought out to filter the bright light. When I asked her if I could take her portrait, she promptly agreed and immediately began to pose and flash her most attractive smiles for the camera. Luckily, she was just as photogenic when she did not smile.

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It was as if they were making a final sprint, starting at the Rokin, going past Madame Tussauds. Suddenly, there they were, laughing, in the center of Dam Square with their bright red Public Bikes. She was a gorgeous young woman, her hair in complete disarray, with an indescribably beautiful, captivating look in her eye. He had a triumphant grin on his face, as if they had just experienced the greatest sensation of the century.
Sometimes you just know right away.
I walked over to them and almost intuitively asked her if I could take his picture. This way, he simply could not refuse, if he had wanted to. She beamed even more radiantly.
Earlier that evening I nearly fell, slipping on the wilted flowers still covering the ground more than a week after Remembrance Day. The same thing nearly happened to this limber man as he approached the Pylon. A bit later he told me where he was from. The southern island that was literally being flooded with boat refugees, the land of Godfathers who had, until very recently, determined for themselves who was welcome and who was not…
And now, this Amsterdam…
Today, it was impossible not to smile.
From a distance, his wife gave a friendly wave as he caught up with her.