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Rotterdam in black and white

One year ago - when this blog did not yet exist - I created a video compilation of some of my favourite Rotterdam photos by then. I guess it's never too late to share the video ... so here it is! Let me know what yout favourites shots are, then I'll post the stills in a follow up article.



 Don't forget to set the video to 1080p ... and oh, enjoy Xmas :)

De Hef

Close to my house there's an old railroad bridge named De Hef. In the 1920s it received a lof of international coverage as it was a technical masterpiece at the time. Unfortunately it has not been in function since 1993, the trains now pass through a tunnel underneath the river. Nevertheless it has always remained a stunning landmark in Rotterdam.

Some weeks ago they removed the 'center-piece' of the bridge for maintenance. It's the part that moves up and down to either let a train or boat pass. I love it how the city treats it as a monument. Anyway, let me share some of my favourite photos featuring De Hef.

Port of Rotterdam

Last night Thijs Wesselink and I went on a mission to take night shots in the Port of Rotterdam. It turned out to be quite the mission. The Industrial area starts around the corner of my home, but we ended up driving over 60 kilometers to the other end of the harbour before finally taking some photos. The city's harbour is extremely huge!

Vatican Twirl

This photo was taken last summer in Rome. When posting the article Rome captured in five photos, I didn't realise to have this shot. Otherwise it would definitely have been in! These stairs are part of the Vatican Museum, an amazing place that's a must to visit when in Rome.


Honestly, the composition is not quite original. The Internet is full with this kind of 'twirling stairs' images. I personally enjoy the shot most because it was taken handheld with a slow shutter speed of 1/3s. It doesn't happen very often that I hold the camera that steady. The slow shutter speed created the motion blur of the people walking down the stairs.  Would it suck without this dynamic? Most likely.

Rotterdam Streets

Some time ago Willem Jonkers approached me thru Twitter to join a photographers' collective: Rotterdam Streets. Its mission is to document the cities' people by means of street photography. I decided to give it a go and joined this summer. Check out my profile here.

Photos are only published after a review and ranking session by the other members. This system has its pros and cons, but it certainly filters out most of the low quality shots. Unfortunately this also blocked some of my personal favourites ;) With this article I'll share two street photos: one that's being ranked right now and another that was waived off.


Visit to De Rotterdam by Rem Koolhaas

Today I visited De Rotterdam, a new and very spectacular building in my hometown Rotterdam... Yeah, they could have chosen a more original name. Rotterdam does like The Smurfs do, everything is named equally. Only we don't live in mushrooms but in fantastic architecture. Anyway, I was lucky enough to get free tickets through National Geographic (give-away to readers). The tour was organised by - surprise surprise - De Rotterdam Tours and was actually very interesting. Make sure to book a guide when you're in town.

In this post I will share some of today's pictures (inside). But first a photo from my archives to show the exterior. This building is huge. In fact, it's the biggest building in Europe!


It consists of three towers: a hotel (left), offices for the municipally (middle) and private apartments (right). Now let's go straight to the top floor of the left tower. As you can see it's still quite empty up there.

Photography is five dimensional

A picture usually doesn't tell the truth. Just as any writer, the photographer is hugely subjective. Even if he/she tries not to be. Why subjective? In primis by pinpointing space and time. You decide to point your camera in a certain direction, don't you? And do you press the shutter randomly? I guessed so! Next by selecting a frame, focal length, aperture, shutter time, etc ... And don't forget the influence of your presence as a photographer. Hence I would say that photography is five dimensional:
space (counts as one dimension);time;camera setup (aperture, shutter time, etc);influence of the photographer to its environment;and post processing. Of course the above comes all in handy to create the picture you aim for. There are enough possibilities to influence the result. In fact, a studio photographer meticulously influences the above-mentioned properties. But same counts for a war or street photographer. Pure objective registration doesn't exist in my opinion.


Time-lapse from Rotterdam to Rome

It's been a while since I posted on my photography blog. And for a good reason! I needed some time to edit a time-lapse: 1,831 kilometers from Rotterdam to Rome (by car). The video is composed of almost 9,000 photos. I'll never beat that again with another post...  Enough words, here's the video:



Poortgebouw Lady

Today I asked my girlfriend what photo to post on my blog. She made an excellent choice as this is also one of my favourites. The photo was taken in Rotterdam underneath the Poortgebouw, a building with a long and rural history. Early in the 80s the building was being squatted and is now legally occupied by a community of creative people.


The Poortgebouw is very close to my house and I have walked past it many times. It doesn't happen very often that the doors are open. Except for this day! This lady was standing in the doorway and in a reflex I asked if I could take her portrait. She didn't mind at all.

The couple that went to Paris

I present you the couple that went to Paris. For me they represent any couple that ever went on a city trip. The situation is very recognisable: she takes her time to skim through the abundance of useless souvenirs and he really doesn't care ...


Franco, the Italian sandwich man

After a 'dark' article on poverty in Rome, it's now time for a happier note from my last trip to Italy. Meet Franco, the Italian sandwich man. Me and my girlfriend met Franco during a day trip to Roccaporena, the birth place of Saint Rita. As you can see, he has a nice little food shop going on.


The poor in Rome

Earlier this week I posted the article Rome captured in five photos where I described several characteristics of this magnificent city. From friends and family I received feedback that the article had a somewhat dark and sad touch to it. Well ... keep that thought as there is more to come. From the previous article:
"Every big city in the world deals with poverty, with homlesness as its ultimate expression. From all European cities I have visited, I've never seen as many people living in the streets as in Rome." Let me add some photos to emphasise this statement. The following shot was taken in front of the Pantheon in Rome. As we arrived late at the site, we found the door closed and the square in front quite abandoned. One of the people still present was this woman, sleeping I presume. She found shelter in a dark corner next to the entrance of the building.


Is she really homeless? Open the image and take a closer look. Although a shower couldn't hurt her, she still…

Rome captured in five photos

Rome is a city full of history and enormous wealth. Then again, its also a city that displays decay and poverty. I spent three days in Rome and was unfortunately not able to fully capture this contrast. Nevertheless, in this article I share five photos that each portray a very different characteristic of Rome.

1. Religion
Rome is filled with churches and naturally hosts the Vatican City, home to the pope. Or 'il Papa' as the Italians say. The following photo was taken in Chiesa Nuova. It's not as new as the name does believe since its construction was finished in 1606. It's a place easily overlooked and not visited by many tourists. Good for me as I could frame this nun without any interference from other people.



Unfortunately the shot is a little out of focus, but that doesnt' take away the power of the scene: an intimate moment between the nun, the painting and maybe even God. This scene could have taken place 400 years ago without any difference. Hence, a timele…

Landscape photography

Until now I've only been writing about street photography, but I want this blog to be more versatile. For example about landscape photography, a genre that I don't enjoy at all...  The most stunning images are usually the result of good planning (perfect light and weather conditions), lots of patience (it could take days to get the shot you want) and waking up very early (sunrise!). I prefer the following method: bring your camera along and exploit any opportunity that presents itself.




This shot was taken during a short stay in  Engelberg / Switzerland, a beautiful and overpiced place. Most people would have considered the weather really bad that day. I mean, in July it shouldn't be raining. From a photography point of view I didn't mind this at all. Strange weather can make a photo very interesting or impressive. This photo would be hard to plan upfront as clouds and visibility were changing every minute.

The girl with her eyes closed.

Last article I wrote about setting up a trap and wait until a 'victim' shows up in the frame of your picture. The following photo was composed in almost a similar way. This time without setting up tripod, but by choosing a location where people pass regularly. In this case by bicycle.



This shot was taken on the Erasmusbrug, on the side where people descend from the bridge. This feels kind of comfortable as it allows to take photos of people while they pass you in a high speed. Furthermore, the location is a tourist hotspot. Walking around with a camera doesn't make you a freak. After some attempts I decided to keep this one:

Trap your victim in the frame

Earlier this year I spent an evening in The Hague, a city famous for its stylish trams and hosting our government. Taking street shots at night is not straight forward. You either have to pump up ISO to unbearable values, scare people by using a flash ... or simply bring a tripod. For this shot I did the latter.


To be honest, this evening's goal was to get boring architecture shots. I ended up deleted all of those and keeping just this one, turning my back to this famous scenery. After spotting this frame, I imaged how the passing trams would result in a nice 'swoosh' effect when using a long exposure. After setting up my tripod and camera, I took a test shot when the first tram passed: assumption confirmed.

After optimising the frame and focusing on the rail (manual), it was a matter of time for a victim to show up. A lady walked into the 'trap' and luckily she didn't move much during the exposure (for a good contrast in sharpness with the passing tram). E voi…

The man with his lunch box

Last Sunday I went for a stroll in the city, the best way to get your mind clear after a busy week. I am lucky to live in Rotterdam, a very photo-friendly place: modern architecture, multicultural, lots of people in the streets and the city hosts the biggest port of Europe. I recommend visiting the city, and so does the NY Times. There's always something to spot with you camera.

After walking around a bit, I stumbled upon this guy. As you can see from the shadows, he was facing the sun directly. I guess he decided to enjoy the weather and didn't mind to position himself like a Rastafari in the middle of the street.



Honestly, it was tough to get this shot. As a photographer you constantly scan the space around you, trying to notice everything that's going on. I felt he was more aware of my presence than I was of his. I bet he even knew what was going on behind him. Unfortunately I needed to get closer to him as I was shooting with a wide-angle lens (this beauty). And since …

Power of black and white

As you will notice over time, most of my shots are converted to black-and-white. Some critics state that a photo should be as unprocessed as possible, a raw documentation of reality. But as noble as that sounds, I don't give a shit. I don't work for a news paper and I prefer to make images that I like. And I like black and white photos with strong contrast. Furthermore, I think each and every photo is biased anyway. The photographer's view is always subjective.


This picture was featured as 'photo of the week' by the Dutch magazine Digifoto Pro, click here to read the article. They stated that black and white in combination with strong lines has always been a strong combination. I can only recon that.

I remember going to the supermarket and bringing my camera along because of the low sun. As you can see, this resulted in lovely shadows. Below another shot that I took on the same location, a lucky shot from the hip.


To not clutter these articles with information abo…

Starting a blog again

Hi there, my name is Vincent and I am an amateur photographer from The Netherlands. With this blog I will share a selection of my photos, just as my vision on the subject. As most amateurs I have a 500px account, recently opened a 1X account and have been experimenting with Pixoto. Somehow I never ended up creating a Flickr account. It just never appealed to me. While skimming through some photo books I concluded that a picture is nice, but a picture with a story is much nicer.

With this first post I will not go into great lengths to introduce myself. I guess it's better to just keep posting regularly to create  something like a 'blog portfolio'. Let's start with a shot that boosted my enthusiasm for photography. I bought a Pentax K-5 in 2011 ( a great camera that I've never replaced). Me and some colleagues - like Camiel - decided to take our cameras out after work. Time to explore the city! The following shot was almost taken accidental. We entered the tunnel an…