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January 21st, 2023
My job requires me to travel a lot. In fact, you could say that traveling is my job. Working for an airline for almost 25 years and spending more than 15,000 hours in the air has allowed me to discover the world and its beauty.
Since 2015, I have been combining my job with my passion, photography, and if you look at my passion, it is also a journey in itself. From the moment I got hooked to now in the present. Discovering new landscapes and cities, improving my skills with the camera, but also in post-processing. A never-ending journey that gives me great pleasure! My work allows me to visit beautiful places and capture them with my camera. So I feel privileged to have the perfect combination of work and hobby!
For this photo, my work took me to Salt Lake City. From there, I took a car and drove to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. I have to admit that this is one of the most beautiful places I've visited in my life! I love mountains, maybe because we don't have them here in the Netherlands where I live.
Besides some very interesting landscape photos with the mountains, which can be found in my shop, I took this photo of a birch forest. It was autumn and the colours were amazing. The pattern of the trees and the colours of the leaves caught my attention. I knew it could be an interesting composition.
At home, I edit 99% of my photos because I use a big screen, a fast desktop and a Wacom tablet to control my photos more precisely and turn them into wall art that would look beautiful on your wall. For this photo, I used some special tools in Photoshop to get a much more colourful and abstract image. I was so pleased with the result that I've had it framed in my own home and given a large matte aluminium frame to a good friend.
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January 16th, 2023
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley, a beautiful piece of nature in California that had been on my list to get a nice good photo of for a while. For work, I got to head back to Los Angeles and had a few days to get out there. Of course, never without camera and tripod, which are standard in my suitcase. After a few hours' sleep after the flight from Amsterdam, I left in the middle of the night to make sure I arrived here before sunrise. Since I had been here once before, I knew where I needed to be. When I arrived, it was pitch dark and the temperature was just above freezing. It was December and a perfect time for me to go out here to photograph. You can dress for the cold and I was prepared for that and another advantage around this time is that there are not too many people around. I still had my GPS points from last time and with a little sense of direction I got to where I needed to be. Then I relaxed and waited under the starry sky for what was to come. When the sun slowly rises and shines its light on the sand dunes, the desert turns into a beautiful spectacle of shadow and light which, in my eyes, this picture does justice in black and white.
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January 16th, 2023
Chicago Illinois, alley capital of the USA, It’s my favorite city in the world to photograph alleys. Whenever I’m in Chicago, I always bring my gear, a Sony A7r3 camera + 3 legged thing tripod and at least 2 lenses with me. One wide angle for mainly alleys and a zoom lens for some street stuff. Chicago is an urban heaven for photographers. Great architecture, best skyline in the world and not to forget the Chicago Loop.
As soon as I leave the hotel and start exploring the city, I get a big smile on my face. I don’t have to do anything for it, it’s just there. The smaller the streets, the bigger the smile. Old buildings, lot’s of bricks and of course not to forget, the metal fire stairs hanging against the walls in the Chicago alleys.
Sometimes I have a plan were to go and what to shoot in the city but sometimes I just follow my feet and see were it goes. From that moment I fully trust my senses. The advantages about not having a plan is that you are very flexible and you can adapt to the circumstances like, weather, light and other situations which occur spontaneously.
Normally it won’t take long before I find my self in an alley. At this moment, while I’m writing this, I ask myself why I’m always attracted to them? I guess there are a few things which make me wanna go there. First of all, we don’t have them were I come from (The Netherlands). Sure, we have some small backstreets but it doesn’t come close to what you find here in Chicago (and other big cities in the USA). 2nd…well it’s random order but you always find lines everywhere which are great to get some perspective in your shots. Another thing which I really like about exploring alleys is the quietness, especially late at night or early in the morning. No rush, no hectic. It’s like stepping into another world. The only people you’ll find here are delivery employees, homeless people, people who work in the stores / shop / restaurants with a backdoor and early in the morning the people who keep the city clean and tidy and me of course with my camera. The metal fire stairs on the walls give the alleys another dimension and look great on the image together with the brick walls and garbage / waste containers. One more reason for me to enter the “other” world is the tension, especially in the dark hours.
At daytime, the tension isn’t there but early in the morning, when I’m awake because of the jet lag, I start exploring the city and it’s alleys around 3 or 4 AM. Well yes, there’s a lot of tension entering dark alleys in Chicago (and other big cities in the USA) at this time but it doesn’t stop me to do my thing. Many times after entering an alley, I see rats running away, trying to hide for me. Oh yes, my heart rate goes up when I see them and also when I see people sheltering in dark corners of the alley…. but until now nothing has happened to me. I just love the atmosphere inside the alleys at night. Just a small light, a waste container or even better: some smoke coming out of the ground or pipes from the wall. It’s like a movie set and I’m in it! Catching this atmosphere in one frame is my goal as a photographer and it is so nice to show it to other people. The first reaction is always: “Wow! I never saw this when I was passing an alley”, followed by : “Is this safe to do?” Well I don’t know if I can conclude that dark alleys at night are safe (night or day) or that I am just lucky all the time.
So next time when you’re walking in downtown Chicago, “try an alley” and you won’t be disappointed!