Leiden, sunset

Design around Amstelpark

amstelpark

The old “don’t leave valuables in your car” sign was a cartoon of a fat man with a stubly face, a mask and a crowbar. It had a caption: “nothing in, nothing out“.

The new sign is an artsier affair. Not only does it depict a broken window, it also suggests the designer cracked that whole signing thing. The way it’s executed though makes it look as if a lot of little fingers are pointing at the letter P.

The miniature parking spots are for cargo bikes.

Bicycle manufacturer Fietsfabriek went bankrupt last year. Rumour has it they wanted to get rid of those pesky creditors. The new Fietsfabriek sells scooters too. The box on the back of this scooter is theirs. I am not sure it was sold with the scooter—the paint is slightly different for starters. The box immediately makes me think of the scooters of delivery boys, but it’s too small to carry pizzas. The owner presumably put it there for groceries, or because she thought it looked cool.

Do paviours like to be bested by street sign makers? Probably not. The white bricks here warn oncoming car drivers of the speed bump, but what are those black bricks doing there? Did the paviours have a couple left, did they think “waste not, want not”? Or were they trying to go for all black and white, until they ran out of black?

But more importantly, why did they choose this pattern? It’s too random to be unintentional.

If you’re thinking that I am unusually wordy around my photos today, you’re right. I read Ik zie ik zie last weekend, Hans Aarsmans collection of photo essays. (He’s wordier.) I think he broke me.

More things

Snowy saddles

This is old stuff (about two weeks old). We no longer live the life of the Blizzard People.

[photo of snowy bikes]

(Amsterdam at Station Zuid/WTC, the rest is in Zoetermeer.)

[photo of snowy trees]

[photo of snowy cars]

[photo of a red light in the snow]

Zoetermeer train station

A.k.a. “learning to lie”.

I am slowly getting to the point where I can see the good picture before I take it.

The problem is I still prefer to tell the truth. And Zoetermeer train station is very ugly—a dreary place where the wind tries to get under your clothes and the grime manages. I hope to be able to show you the truth about the place one day, but for now I am happy I can sort of make it look good.

Polo

I had never seen polo being played live, and there was a tournament in the Amsterdamse Bos, so I went and watched the finals. I guess you can learn to like the sport if you start to understand it more, but I got bored and left early.

The website had mentioned a dress code: smart casual. Either smart casual includes jeans these days, or this was really a case of not being able to tell an Amsterdammer anything.

Afterwards I went into the forest to see if I could find mushrooms. Did not get any (pictures that is), but I did manage to shoot this weathered leaf or whatever it was.

Samples from the new pocket camera (Canon IXUS 300 HS)

ixus_300_hsLast month I mentioned that I bought a new pocket camera, the Canon IXUS 300 HS (or Canon Powershot SD4000 as it is known elsewhere), but have so far failed to tell you much about it.

In Europe Canon has two ranges of pocket cameras, IXUS and Powershot, where the former is aimed at those who just want a simple camera for holiday pictures.

As you can see below, the camera completely botches up night shots by overexposing the hell out of it, but I figure it was intended to do that. Lots of holidayers take pictures in the evening and may wish to do away with the flatness produced by flash. This is what you get in return, but at least you get something in return. (And if that is not good enough, buy a much, much more expensive camera. As long as you are the best photographer in your circle of friends, hauling all that DSLR equipment around won’t necessarily lead to you being shunned outright from parties.)

It’s much better than my old camera at close ups (macros). I can get as close as 1 centimetre with this one, whereas my previous pocket camera stopped at about 5 centimetre. I have been getting complaints that my photos don’t show the single life that I lead because my house looks so clean in them, but I assure you—and you can verify this with the answering machine close-up below—that was just because of the quality of the photo equipment!

My previous pocket camera was much better in pretty much anything else. The 300 HS has a very nasty tendency to blur towards the corners. It also seems to have a barrel distortion throughout most of its zoom. The screen is much better, but it cannot be tilted, so that I’d need to carry a mirror with me at all times for those ‘over the crowd’ shots (not going to happen).

One more nice thing about this camera is that its predominant type of noise is luminant rather than chromatic. I understand that chromatic noise is good for sharp pictures, but it is also the sort of thing you cannot ‘unsee’ once you have started noticing it.

I would assume that the intended audience for this camera would tend to buy one of them newfangled superzooms, so I really wonder why Canon would bring out such an expensive camera in its low-end pocket range.

Did I make the right trade? I think it about evens out. Keeping in mind that my primary aim with this camera is making simple product shots for web sites, and that my secondary goal is making HD videos, I think I did OK. The better camera for me would have been the Canon Powershot S95, but that one wasn’t out yet when I bought this one.

kid_on_a_statue

answering-machine

olympiaweg

noorder-amstelkanaal-vanaf-lyceumbrug

The photo below of Zydeco Fever performing at De Nieuwe Anita was the only sharp shot of the bunch, but it was taken under circumstances where even my SDLR would have struggled.

zydeco_fever

Bicycle with basket against semi-frosted window

Hush, I’ll let the work speak for itself:

WRT yesterday’s photos

There is by the way a real chance, when taking street photos of static objects, that the Google Street View camera outdoes you. (And I ain’t just talking quantity.)

The reasons I am OK with that, yet:

  • The Google Street View camera does not make selections of the photos it likes best, whereas I do.
  • Just because the Street View robot took a snapshot does not mean it is a bad photo.

That Heineken brewery picture came mighty close though. (Close to something. To something that makes me feel perhaps I should be able to outshoot that damn robot.)

Amsterdam

It is true that even after all these years, the city and I don’t get along that well. But I am glad to be back, even if for only a few days a week. Zoetermeer is never more than a destination. Here I get to bike to work, maybe stopping at Simon Meijsen’s to buy a cinnamon bun, and I lunch at Cantarell where I eat their famous spicy chicken rolls.


Huddestraat.


The weather gods installed a new, temporary canal in this Amsterdam of the North, on the Sarphatistraat.


The entrance to the Pijp neighbourhood as shot from the Weteringcircuit is a favourite destination of British tourists.


A house on the Beethovenstraat.