I have been working in the field a lot in the last month, but fortunately I had planned a one week trip to Runde, Norway, together with my father. This week was totally dedicated to photography, and we wanted to portray the island in all its forms. This meant that we did not want to focus solely on the sea-birds, for which Runde is famous. However, I did choose a picture of a puffin as my photo of the month. We spend almost every evening on the cliffs waiting for the puffins to arrive from their foraging bouts on the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast to some other puffin colonies, the puffins at Runde are not present around their burrows during the day, and they only come in, in the beginning of the evening. On this particular day, I was sitting in a small gorge in the cliff side, hoping for some shots of flying puffins. I had waited for a long time, but even just before sunset there were hardly any puffins present, so I started photographing the cliffs against the blue sky. I really liked the abstract feeling of the cliffs against the sky, but something was missing. So as soon as I saw a puffin flying near the cliff, I knew which shot I wanted to make. I waited for it to pass the cliff face I had photographed before and made this shot. I was the only puffin that evening that flew in the right place, so I was happy I made a quick decision.
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.
Last month I went on a holiday to one of Italy’s oldest National Parks, Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. We went there on a ‘family’ holiday, so it was mainly walking in the mountains and through the villages, and taking it easy. On the other hand, we heard that seeing bears in this national park is relatively easy, so we spend a bit more than half of our evenings in places where there would be a chance to see bears. Unfortunately, we never saw a bear, but we did see some of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever witnessed. This months Picture of the Month was taken on our last evening on a look-out point in Gioia Vecchio, which was actually the parking lot of an old church, overlooking a valley. The combination of the setting sun, the dark clouds, and the many hills, made the picture, all I had to do was press the shutter button.
The coming days I will show a series of photos taken during my Holiday in Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. When we arrived on 10 April it was still winter in the region, but when we left no 22 April it was spring! With this series I hope to show the transition from winter to spring.
This first picture is taken at Lago Vivo, the only natural lake in the area. When walking up to the lake you are greeted with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains (Monte Capraro, M. Petroso, M. Tartaro & M. Meta)
Due to a performance with my band, and preparations for my field work, I did not go out to take pictures a lot during the last month. Fortunately, I did go on a photography trip with my father to Flevoland, of which I already showed some pictures. This picture is my favourite from the trip. It depicts a group of greater white-fronted geese flying over the Markermeer in the early morning light. They are flying from the area in which they have slept, to the area where they are going to forage.
The combination of the soft light and the pattern made by the geese, makes this picture stand out from the rest. I hope you enjoy it!
Another picture from last weekend. This one is from Sunday morning. After photographing the sunrise, we (my father and I) went to the Oostvaardersdijk in search for some waterfowl to photograph. We saw a reasonable group of tufted ducks, but in the end I decided to focus mainly on the overflying geese, which contrasted nicely against the soft early morning sky caused by the sun shining through the clouds.
Last weekend I went out towards Flevoland on both days to photograph whatever I would encounter. The first day was very cloudy and rainy, which resulted in some pictures of tufted ducks in a seemingly endless area of water. As can be seen above, the water seamlessly dissolved into the air (or vice versa).
On Sunday, I went out together with my father, and the day started much better with a very nice sunrise and a beautiful sky until around 9am. We used the light and sky to photograph mainly waterfowl (tufted ducks, great-crested grebes, and several species of geese) which spend the winter in and around Flevoland in huge numbers. I was especially overwhelmed by the sheer amount of geese flying past us. We drove a little bit further, but the sky had turned grey and we didn’t have much good opportunities for photography. Around 1pm the sun was coming through the clouds again, giving us wonderful opportunities to photograph the sleeping tufted ducks, which we encountered along the dike.
All in all, two great days (photography wise), so I hope to share some of the pictures in the coming week(s).
This month a slightly different picture. We had another period with snow in the Netherlands, during which I went out several times to take some pictures. Previously I always tried to avoid any signs of human elements in my landscape photography. I wanted to show a pristine landscape away from human society, sometimes even cloning away small elements like the cables of electricity pylons cleverly hidden behind trees. The problem is, however, that everywhere there are signs of humans in the landscape, especially in the very crowded Dutch landscape. Therefore, I decided to change my thinking and I made it a New Year’s resolution to focus this year on showing the landscape as it is, with all the human elements, while still conveying the beauty of the natural world.
I have already passed these electricity pylons many times, always trying to keep them out of my pictures, irritated when they were in between me and a beautiful sunset. However, this time I tried to use the fact that they dominate the landscape by including them as the main element in my picture.
Today, most of the snow melted in the ongoing rain (at least here in Wageningen), ending the second period of snow this winter in the Netherlands. Fortunately, I took some time yesterday to take pictures while it was actually snowing again. I was looking for patterns and abstract forms in the snow, when I came across a large group of greater white-fronted geese. The geese were happily foraging in a meadow, and luckily they didn’t take too much notice of the strange photographer on his bike. I positioned myself in such a way that the geese made a nice line through the landscape and took some shots, of which one is shown above.
The nice thing about greater white-fronted geese, is that one of my colleagues (Mikhail Grishchenko) is studying them, which increased my interest in the species. They stay in the Netherlands during the winter, after which they migrate north. It is this spring migration that Mikhail studies, and especially the relation between the change in land-use in Russia during the last few decades, and the effect this has had on the migration routes and patterns of the geese.