September 7, 2015

Due to the mix of rain and sunshine we have frequently seen dramatic skies around sunset lately. Last Thursday all signs indicated it would be another great evening. I decided to capture the sunset in “De Onlanden”, a wet nature area just southwest of the city of Groningen and adjacent to the Leekstermeer.

Door het wisselvallige weer hebben we de afgelopen tijd regelmatig dramatische luchten rond zonsondergang. Zo ook afgelopen donderdag. Ik besloot de zonsondergang vast te leggen in De Onlanden, een nat natuurgebied net ten zuidwesten van de stad Groningen en grenzend aan het Leekstermeer.

August 17, 2015

Technical details:

  • Canon 5D Mark III with Canon EF 16-35 F2.8
  • 16mm, f/16, iso 100, 2.5s
  • Lee 0.9 ND hard grad

It’s Saturday evening, 19:45, when I quickly get into the car for a fifteen minute drive to a location called Harssensbosch. Once I’ve left the city and thus have a clear view on the sky I immediately get excited. It’s that kind of excitement I haven’t experienced for a while: I’m on my for a sunset photography session and conditions look very promising!

After the quick drive I park the car, put on my sturdy walking shoes, put my camera bag on my back and start walking towards that single farm in the open fields: Harssensbosch. With several sheep sheepishly looking at me I quickly walk on; colours are already starting to appear in the sky while serious clouds add a lot of drama to the scene.

As usual, I did quite a bit of preparation so I had a couple of compositions in mind beforehand. There’s no time for coffee, I immediately setup my tripod and camera and start exposing. The light is changing quickly, asking quite a bit of flexibility from me. There’s that short moment the sun sinks below the clouds, just above the horizon. Wow! I expose a couple of times and get a great smile on my face while looking at my camera’s display. Then I quickly move on to the small bridge just a little further along the path. I precisely position the tripod and determine my composition. Then a series of exposures again. There’s great light and great drama going on in the sky!

After a couple of shots I stop for a while and stand straight up. While enjoying the scene I realise how quiet it is around me. Really quiet. And I’m only some 6km (as the crow flies) away from the heart of the city of Groningen. I’m lucky enough to live in and enjoy this fabulous province in The Netherlands. Then a couple of exposures and different compositions again.

Wow, that was very exciting. Let’s relax and enjoy the moment and the feeling of having a couple of promising images on my memory card. Now is the perfect time for a cup of coffee…

Sunset at Harssensbosch II, Groningen, NL

Technical details:

  • Canon 5D Mark III with Canon EF 16-35 F2.8
  • 16mm, f/16, iso 100, 1.3s
  • Lee 0.9 ND hard grad

Harssensbosch is a very small patch of nature managed by Stichting Het Groninger Landschap (Dutch).

In The Netherlands the best period for enjoying autumn colours would typically be the last two weeks of October and the first week of November. So when a fellow photographer suggested to go capture some autumn colours on the first of November, I thought his timing was perfect! Agreements made, photo equipment all packed and alarm clocks set to silly o’clock.

Only then I realised autumn was very early this year. My excitement on the perfect timing declined a bit. Nature just does not exactly follow any calendars. Then again, it is always fun to be out there on early mornings. We found a nice location near “De Slotplaats”, Bakkeveen, Frisia, NL. So we went there and found our way through the dark forest to a small basin.

As always we started looking around and making up our minds on possible compositions, then slowly but surely we setup our equipment and started experimenting and exposing. It was a very clear morning which helped us to pretty quickly being able to see more of our surroundings and its colours. And that first little bit of light got the excitement fully started again. There were still beautiful autumn colours around us….

October 12, 2014

Alarm bells ring at 5:15. Time to get up. Yes, finally had the opportunity to go on a dawn patrol again!
Together with a couple of fellow photographers I visited the heath area around Havelte, located in the Dutch province of Drenthe. More specific, we visited the dolmens built there over 5000 years ago.

While discussing our plan for dawn patrol the day before, we figured it would be great if a little bit of mist would create a nice atmosphere. Not sure what went wrong, but there was not just a little bit of mist, there was a huge amount of mist completely hiding the sun all morning. This encouraged us to get creative to try and make the best of it.

It was great being out there again on an early morning!

Interested in learning a bit more about these unique piles of huge stones we call “hunebedden” in Dutch? Check this website.

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