Unfortunately I’m not a regular blogger and since my last blog it has been a while. It’s partly due to the busy spring with lots of trips to different areas of spring flowers interest. Also, I’ve been busy to make work of extra exposure for my work. Since last week I’m represented by the photo stock agency KINA. I’m very excited about that.
On the many trips I made with my fellow photographer Jan, we also did go to the Haller forest in Belgium. The forest is known for the bluebells during a couple of weeks in spring. Actually, it was my second visit this year. The second visit was absolutely fabulous. We drove from home that morning at 3:45 am to get there in time for the sunrise. On our way we noticed that patches of mist was rolling over the landscape and we told each other that it would be nice to have some in the forest. Well we did have mist and what a mood it generated! We were not the only ones in the forest that Saturday; it was like a busy mall. Countless photographers were enjoying the scene displayed in front of them. The main area of attraction is around the valley of tears, or ”Tranendal”. We worked the area two times and each round we experienced different moods. It started with dense fog, making way for a watery sunlight during the morning. It was a challenge to capture the mood but I think we managed it well. After some time we decided to leave the crowds and find a quieter area for some macro work. The day was well spent and halfway in the afternoon we decided to call it a day. By then the locals entered the forest to enjoy. No place for a quiet photo session.
It is definitely a location to revisit each year but the mood we had this year will be hard to beat.
It is just a week before we set of to Glencoe, Scotland. This will be our second visit to the area. Our last visit was in November 2012, just before the winter. The decision to go in the wintertime was made because it resembles for me the ultimate desolate landscape, hostile and difficult to endure. The more hostile, the better it is for me. It will show in the images. That was the idea anyway but so far winter is not bringing the wintery conditions I prefer. There is no hope for deepfreeze conditions either in the coming two weeks or so.
The flight to Glasgow is booked, as well as the car and cottage. The location of our cottage is closer to where the action should take place. It is just less than a half hours’ drive from Rannoch Moor, Glen Etive and Glencoe River. I’ve set some goals for photographing scenes. Most importantly: details, details, details! I tend to go for the bigger picture and ignoring the intimate landscape. This trip should correct this. Details of rocks, flowing water, snow, etc. The total portfolio should be more interesting when these details are added. This is the easy part of the quest I believe. But there are more items on my wish list, as there are: night shots with stars or star trails included, time lapse sequences, short movies and long exposure times with the big stopper. A larger variety of images, to make it all more interesting to combine into a slide show.
In recent days I’ve seen a lot of images from the area from Facebook friends and on 500PX. It is a popular place to be these days. It gave me a lot of inspiration and I will make the best of it, for sure. Thank you all for this inspirational display.
These are my plans and hopefully with wintery conditions to come. This blog post should be the reminder of my plans. Anyway, I will keep you posted during my trip and the results will show up in the gallery, that’s for sure.
It's been 12 years ago that I've been in Kalmthout on the Kalmthoutse Heide. In preparation to a hiking tour on Iceland we did a large part of the long distance path GR5, Bergen Op Zoom to Nice in France. The first stretch did bring us on the Kalmthoutse Heide. I don't remember much of the route but knew it was a very impressive and beautiful area. Years gone by and knees that are not willing to walk intensively, I still had the notion to come back to this beautiful area of moor land and lakes. It is a bit of a risk to go there when weather is unstable since it is two hours of driving. With the promising weather forecast we gave it a shot. Frost and wind still weather would be perfect but almost cloudless and a light wind was the second best choice.
We arrived an three quarters before sunrise, enough time to find us a good vantage point. At lakeside would be best but this was hard to find since the area at the shores of the lake were wild resting areas. But still we could find a very nice location. We did some moon shots and later some sunrise shots. The sky was not totally clear, as we like it for the texture in the sky. We could hear the sounds of many little swans, very impressive. Later we could see them on the lake.
With the whole day at our disposal we made an hike through the area and it came all back to me, twelve years ago. I recognized the paths and the remembrance of the heat that day. It was all simmering in my sub consciousness. Today the weather was perfect with soft light to capture nice scenes during the day. Great vistas and wonderful details. All in all we hiked about 18 kilometers in a slow pace with regular stops to photograph.
Two hours before sunset we came back to the car. The sky was overcast by that time so we decided to go home and don't wait for something uncertain. An excellent day out photographing and certainly an area to come back to. When wintery conditions are expected we will give it another try.
The autumn is in full swing at the moment with lots of mushrooms. The autumn colors are not at its optimum jet. In our region, in the west of the Netherlands, the woods are not very big. For large areas of woods we have to go to the center of the Netherlands, an area called “de Veluwe”. This area has some contour due to the glacial activity from the last ice age. A fast area of woods was created at the end of the ice age, mainly beech and pine. The woods are well accessible and once you have walked for some miles you are on your own.
The forest is littered with mushrooms and it is easy to find nice backdrops for a creative photograph. But the main attraction of the forest is the oddly shaped beech. The forest is therefor called the forest of the dancing trees. The straight trees were cut for building purposes and the others were saved for future generations, hence the dancing trees. Under the right conditions the forest is just magical. You need misty or rainy weather for the best results. Not the conditions we found this weekend thou. It was fairly bright and sunny weather, ideal for a nice walk and a lot of mushroom photography. I’ve the area high on my priority list for the weeks to come. I just have to wait for the optimum weather conditions.
A new season has arrived, autumn. Photographing mushrooms and other seasonal items is now the thing to go forward. For me it is one of the most favorite or maybe THE most favorite season. At least you can be very creative with colors and mushrooms.
The secret of a good macro is to stay low and to peek through the foliage to create a mood and draw your eyes into the scene. Now, this is a problem for me. I always use a tripod as you may have notices. On the tripod I have a ball head and on top of that also a macro slider. The camera is at least 20cm above ground level and that is too high for a good macro. I need to adapt to another approach, no tripod for me now. I place the camera direct on the ground and level the lens with an wooden stick. To get the subject in focus I just slide the camera towards or from the subject. Being so low to the ground, focusing is difficult and therefor I use an angled viewfinder with magnification. Correct focusing is most important in macro.
For macro work I use the 100mm, f/2.8, macro lens. I just love this lens after been working with it intensively for the past three months. It has a fantastic bokeh and is extremely sharp. Even working with it out of the hand it produces sharp images when photographing insects due to its image stabilizer and fast autofocus. I almost never miss a shot.
So, the next month I will almost entirely shoot autumn moods until my trip to Scotland in November.
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