Heron

This fellow let me get as close as two metres. No idea what had drawn him there.

Third camera and braai

It was time to get a new phone. Since I only make 40 euros worth of mobile phone calls each year (and not much more over the landline), getting a 240+ euro minimum plan made no sense. And the way mobile phones are financed (get a phone free with a plan) meant that I had to buy a phone rather than get one free.

I went for the cheapie Samsung Star S5230 which has a cheapie 3 MP on-board camera, which is just the ticket for me. If the photos fail it’s the camera’s fault, and if they succeed it’s due my craftsmanship. That is an arrangement I can get behind.

(Braai is Afrikaans for barbecue.)

Baarlo

Yesterday I took a long train ride to the South to visit relatives.

On my way back I walked through the village of Baarlo. One of its four (!) castles is Castle d’Erp which was for sale in 1972 for 1 guilder. I know this because at the time, my parents were considering buying it. While the (obviously symbolic) price was low, the snag was that necessary roof repairs were estimated to cost over a million guilders (somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 US dollar at the time, I guess). Since my parents did not have that kind of cash lying around, they tried to move other families to buy it with them, a scheme that ultimately failed. The castle was then bought by the municipality.

Line trail, Abcoude

Today I went for a short hike along a small bit of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. As Wikipedia notes, this line, built between 1880 and 1920, became obsolete as soon as it was finished thanks to the inventions of the plane and the tank.

I got off at Abcoude station and walked 5 kilometres along the river Gein towards the Fort at Nigtevecht, and the same distance back.

Willow has suffered:

A fortification just outside the main fort:

Amsterdam-Rijnkanaal:

Winter 2009-2010

Taken at the Louis Braillelaan in Zoetermeer, the World Trade Center in Amsterdam, and on the Amstelveenseweg in Amsterdam respectively.

Zoetermeer railway station

A law should be passed that prohibits people from entering Dutch cities through their main railway stations, because more often than not your first impression will be of a barren wasteland where horrid things go to die. (Which, by the way, really fantastic! if you are into that sort of thing.)

This, for instance, is Zoetermeer, a name that translates to Sweeter Lake.

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(“Kantoor te huur” means “office for rent.”)

Naarden – Muiden

A 20 kilometre hike today from Naarden, a town known better for the way it looks from the air than from the ground, to Muiden, where count Floris V had a castle built, only to see it used as a prison for himself by his enemies. The finish line was in Weesp, an unassuming town known to historians for the quality of its drinking water, and to me for having a railway station.

In case you are wondering, I did take photos of the fortifications of Naarden but, as I said, from the ground… And I also took pictures of Floris V’s castle, but those just did not make the cut. Here are the ones that did:

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What you see in the last picture is the entrance to the harbour of Muiden.

Buildings in Buitenveldert

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Buitenveldert is a neighbourhood in the South of Amsterdam, and it is there where I photographed these buildings, except for the last one which is across from the RAI, right next to where the last two buildings in this set used to stand.

Oud Zuid

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I tried to experiment with lines and shapes, but that did not work out as much as I had hoped. Nevertheless there were a couple of photos I liked.

Amsterdamse Bos with a new old lens

I unscrewed the lens from my Praktika L, screwed it on top of my EOS 1000D’s body, and took the contraption to the Amsterdamse Bos to practice. First thing I noticed that in full sunlight and with a wide open aperture, I had to set the exposure time to the fastest setting, 1/4000th second, to avoid large areas of pure white in the photo. Another thing, which I had noticed in tests before, is that everything that is out of focus gets a very dirty sheen about it, as if I had smeared grease on the lens. Great kit for wedding photos I guess, :-) but does anybody know if this is normal for fast lenses?

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A wide-angle shot of the water under the bridge effect can be seen here, taken two years ago during the Summer.