Unfortunately, recently there has been a problem with the server which hosts this site, which has resulted in part of my posts disappearing in internet space. All my updates since June 2014 have disappeared, including all the photos of the month since that time until now (December 2014).
I have decided to stop my photo of the month posts as of January 2015, so this will be the last post as photo of the month. I will try to post regular updates on my photography or research.
Last month I organized a field excursion for the Youth group of the Dutch Association for Nature Photographers (NVN). With a group of about seven youngsters we got up really early to make the most of the beautiful light before sunrise. I had chosen the Kootwijkerveen as a location for the excursion, as it will provide plenty of photographic opportunities, also in winter. We had a lot of fun photographing the landscape and birds on the water. The most outstanding bird was definitely the little grebe. We saw multiple fights, a lot of calling, and all kinds of other spring behaviour. Just before sunrise, I took my favourite picture of the day of a little grebe on the water. I really like the juxtaposition of the blue and orange tones, together with the small grebe in its surroundings.
This year started for me in Norway, and therefore, I chose another Norwegian landscape as my Photo of the Month. This picture is part of a series I will post on the website somewhere this month. On my way to Norway I read a book by Freeman Patterson entitled “Photography and the Art of Seeing“, which made me think about photography, and the road I want to take to become a better photographer. I have always believed that making pictures is something personal, and therefore, a picture should, in part, reflect something of the photographer. I think that intuition, and feeling are just as important when deciding what to photograph, as composition, visual design and the story. Therefore, in Norway, I went on a different tour. I took pictures of everything that caught my eye, taking the pictures quickly and without thinking (consciously) about composition. What I ended up with is a series of photographs which I would never have made if I had not decided to enter this road, as most of them are taken at moments which are not most suitable for photography, during a walk, without a tripod, in the middle of the day (if you could call 3 hours of daylight a day anyway).
This picture was taken during a hike, leaning against the wind (there was a strong wind that day) and being a little bit frustrated that we could not reach the fjell we wanted to go to, because of the high amount of snow on the road. It was a dark cloudy day, which resulted in a dark, noisy picture, which beautifully portraits my feeling at the moment.
During the Christmas Holidays I went to Norway to visit my girlfriend who is doing voluntary work at a research institute in Trondheim. Lucky for me, because the weather in the Netherlands is far from winter like, so I had a white Christmas and some snow to photograph. The only down point was the little amount of sunshine at that latitude, the sun rose above the hills around 11am and went behind the hills around 2pm. So little light for photography.
This picture was taken at 2.30pm near the National Park Forollhogna during a snow drift. It was the most beautiful day of the trip, although it was very cold with a very hard wind. As the sun coloured some of the clouds red, I could not believe my luck and took the picture.
The autumn went by in no time this year for me, as I had very little time to go out and take pictures during the weeks with the most intense autumn colours. Fortunately, I did bring my new G15 (see previous post) with me during my last week of field work for the year, and I was able to take some pictures in between work.
The above picture shows exactly that feeling, that the autumn has already left before I could really enjoy it. Fortunately, next year there will be another autumn with new opportunities! And for now, I have to do with the memory I still have of some beautiful patches of forest I visited during fieldwork, some of which (such as this birch forest) were beautifully coloured and lit by the sun.
Canon Powershot G15, 27.8mm, 1/500 @ f/2.8, iso 80
Photographers are sometimes more concerned about the material with which a photo is made, instead of looking at the picture as it is. I think this is ridiculous. I don’t care if a picture is made with an Iphone, or with a full frame DSLR. It’s the product that counts. Google on anything, and I bet that some of the pictures that will pop-up are made with a smart-phone, and some of these will be really nice pictures. Therefore, I would argue, that the best camera is the one you carry with you.
I actually noticed this last summer, when I was doing fieldwork for my PhD research. I did have my DSLR and some lenses with me in the car, but carrying around all this equipment while catching rodents is not very handy. Therefore, my camera mostly stayed inside the car, and when walking in the field and presented with beautiful light, I could do nothing more than enjoy the light, without taking any pictures (although I did take some pictures with my phone). When looking back at the pictures, I kept on wondering about what I could do with these pictures, had they been taken in a RAW file format on a camera with a better sensor, so I made the decision to buy a compact camera with the option to shoot in RAW, so I can always carry a decent camera with me.
I don’t have a special fondness for Canon, but I really liked the specs of the Canon Powershot G15, so I bought one. Next time when the light is beautiful, I will be prepared!
Yesterday, while doing fieldwork, I took the picture above, showing the sun shining through the autumn forest.
It has been rather silent on my website lately, which is mainly because I have been very busy with all kinds of stuff, but not with my website or photography. At the moment I am assisting in a course at the University, I am working on my first publication and I am very busy with giving a new impuls to the Dutch Small Marten Working Group (see www.kleinemarters.nl). Fortunately, I did go to Terschelling during the first weekend of October to enjoy some good company, birds, sea and wind. The picture above was taken just after sunrise on the Sunday at the Wadden sea coast. The only thing that pierced the silence were the many birds feeding on the mudflat.
I have some ideas to increase the amount of updates on my site, and the amount of posts on research and photography, so watch this space the coming months!
As I wrote last month, I have been working in the field for my PhD research during the summer, which meant that I did not have a lot of time for photography. By know I have just finished, and the grant result is that we caught 179 rodents in 10 areas. These 179 rodents carried a total of 3966 ticks (both nymphs and larvae), which gives us a mean tick burden of a bit more than 22 ticks per rodent. Luckily, this gives me enough data to spend the next couple of months analysing the dataset and writing my first publication on ticks!
Last week we caught very few rodents, leaving me time to start taking some pictures of the species that I study. I had one picture in mind, a wide-angle view of a rodent (either a wood mouse or a bank vole) in the forest, to show where and how these animals live. This is easier said than done, and after some attempts I got the picture that is shown above. It is still a work in progress, as I would like to have some different elements in the picture which are not there yet (and I would like to have the animal a little bit bigger in the frame), but for now I like this picture a lot, so I selected it to be this months ‘Picture of the Month’.
Last month was totally dedicated to field work (as will be the next months). It was a very busy period with lots of blanket dragging to catch ticks for my research, and a lot of planning for the field work this summer. Fortunately, I had one day in which I had to select some new plots for a field experiment that we started, and as I wanted to have some pictures of the plots, I took my camera with me. This is a picture of one of the control plots for the experiment.
Spring time fully hit the Netherlands, everything is green again, but the weather has been changing a lot, from full rain to sunshine and back again. On this day, it was rather wet, with a lot of showers, which meant white skies on all of my pictures. In this one, I overexposed a few stops, to make the sky really white, and to show the many colours of green that were visible in the forest on that particular day.
Initially I intended to show some of my pictures taken during my holiday in Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise on my website, but in the end I opted for Facebook as my platform to show the pictures for the first time. Now I have finished processing the whole series, I also added it to my website. You can find it in the Portfolio section under photography: Start of Spring – Abruzzo
The picture above is part of the series and was taken in the gorge of the Fiume Sangro in between the villages of Opi and Villetta Barrea.