Review Saal-Digitaal Nederland wanddecoratie

Via Instagram kwam ik in aanraking met de aanbieding van Saal-Digitaal om een wanddecoratie te testen. Ik had net een mooie foto van de Posbank gemaakt dus de keuze was snel gemaakt. Net als vele andere websites heeft Saal-Digitaal een ruim aanbod aan producten variërend van kaarten, (foto)boeken tot aan prints en wandecoratie. Ook binnen de wanddecoratie is er veel keuze aan materialen en eindafwerking. Mijn keuze was al snel gevallen op de standaard Alu-Dibond. Ik zat nog te twijfelen aan de GalleryPrint uitvoering maar de flink hogere prijs zou het mij niet waard zijn geweest.

 

Bestelprocedure

Bij Saal-Digitaal kan je op twee verschillende manieren je producten bestellen, via de website of via een programma dat je kan downloaden. Ik heb voor de laatste optie gekozen, maar zodra ik het wilde installeren bleef hij hangen in het installatieproces. Een nieuwe download en het opnieuw opstarten van de laptop kon het probleem niet verhelpen. Een dag later ging het wel goed en kon ik het zonder problemen installeren en gebruiken. Tijdens het schrijven van dit review probeer ik het nogmaals en weer loop ik tegen hetzelfde probleem aan en dat ik vind best wel een groot probleem. Eenmaal opgestart loopt alles soepel en heb ik makkelijk en snel het product gekozen (Alu-Dibond, 60x40cm) en de foto ingeladen. Daarna kan je kiezen tussen drie verschillende ophangsystemen waarbij je ook kan zien hoe het eruit ziet, erg handig. Ik heb uiteindelijk voor het standaard ophangsysteem gekozen. Het betalen kan niet via iDeal, maar gelukkig wel via Paypal wat net zo makkelijk gaat.

Levering

Na de maximale levertijd van 7 werkdagen werd product geleverd. Het geheel was zeer goed verpakt met (antikras)folie, plastic en dik karton waardoor het geheel tegen een stootje kan (zie deukje in karton op de foto). Eenmaal uitgepakt was er een simpele maar duidelijke beschrijving over het bevestigen van het ophangsysteem.

 

Kwaliteit

Over de kwaliteit kan ik kort zijn, want die vind ik zeer goed. Het geheel is erg stevig (3mm dik) en de foto is in de matte uitvoering echt mooi afgewerkt.

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De matte uitvoering zorgt ervoor dat er geen spiegelingen optreedt in tegenlicht, maar dat kan soms weleens ten koste gaan van de details en scherpte. Maar nu niet, want de details (zie uitvergroting boom en heide) zijn nog gewoon heel goed te zien zonder scherpteverlies.

Geen vervelende spiegeling
Geen vervelende spiegeling

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Goede details en scherpte (alle bovenstaande foto’s zijn gemaakt met de Huawei P9)

 

Conclusie

Afgezien van de bestelprocedure ben ik zeer tevreden over levering, verpakking en kwaliteit van dit product van Saal-Digitaal!

Ingnoring the Obvious?

To make a long story short, no! But this doesn’t mean that you should stop reading 😊. This year was my fourth time I visited the Posbank during the heather season. The conditions in the first year were perfect with mist and beautiful skies. A year later I was already thinking on what I could do differently, so I decided to create a time-lapse. In 2016, I timed perfectly wrong and visited the area without any mist. So what would I do this year. Would I go for the obvious landscapes or try something different? When Dave Zuuring (see his blog here: http://nldazuu.com/heidekoorts/) texted me if I would join him to scout the area again I did not hesitate and grabbed my gear. This evening we scouted the area, first at the Posbank lookout and then the “obvious” Zijpenberg. The sky was amazing and soon we decided that this tree will be the subject of this year.

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The predictions for the next morning were promising so I decided to go and when I saw the dewdrops on my car my heartrate increased instantly… mist??? Soon I arrived at the first lookout and YES.. mist!! I decided to make a first overview picture and then zoom into the landscape before going to the spotted tree.

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Unfortunately, while I was busy I felt the wind and saw the mist disappearing from the area where the spotted tree was located. So, I followed the mist and light until I reached another great spot. Here the sun would appear nicely for a sunburst, while I was enjoying the deer, coffee and atmosphere.

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Via WhatsApp, I discussed with Dave the weather forecast for the next day and we gave it a go. Unfortunately, there was too much wind and the mist was absent. But even without it this place remains amazing. The golden light of the morning sun gave the hills of the Posbank a nice atmosphere.

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Sometimes the weather forecast is completely wrong and based on that you make the decision not to go. But then you drive to work and the first thing you see when leaving the village is… MIST?! #@%$#%^… Probably you know how I felt that moment. When arriving at work it appears that I was not the only one as Peter Bijsterveld (see his blog: http://www.peterbijsterveldphotography.com/landscapes/the-posbank-clique/) decided (last minute) not to go. Luckily mist was predicted for the next day so the three of us would visit the Posbank for one more time. And man, what a morning! I already woke up at 3.30 hrs. and my excitement kept me awake the whole time before I decided to get out of bed (4.40hrs). At 5.00 hrs. we met each other at the parking spot and walked to the spotted tree. Of course, we stopped now and then and enjoyed what nature had to offer and took some nice pictures (again of the dead tree :-)), but the goal was (for me) the tree. The mist was exactly thick enough to isolate the tree in a way as I wanted. My excitement reached boiling point when the light of the morning sun was also strong enough to enlighten parts of the landscape and if you are ready and see the results on the back of your camera, then yes!!

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After that the mist became too thick, but now some tree tops pierced through it in a way you normally see in the real mountains. So in the end I did not get only the obvious, but also something different.

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I end my visit to the Posbank during the heather season by taking a long exposure shot of the famous dead tree! See you next year (and in autumn… and winter.. and… )

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Terschelling

Beep, beep, beep.. yes, time to get up, time to go to the unknown, to Terschelling. Some time ago Dave Zuuring (http://nldazuu.com/), a photobuddy, asked me to join him for a weekend of photography at Terschelling. Of course I said yes as I have never been to this small Wadden island, but that made me also a bit nervous because I did not had a clue of what I could expect and what I could do to create nice photo’s. To prepare ourselves we did a bit of searching on the internet, google maps and defined one specific mission: The “Drenkelingenhuis”. At first the weather forecast was good and we were dreaming of fantastic sunrises and sunsets, but the good predictions disappeared day by day.

Upon arrival the weather was still very nice with a bit of sun, but there was a terrible wind. So we hurried to the B&B to drop our stuff and started with…. a good lunch :-). Inspired by the good lunch and the pictures in this restaurant we took our gear an went to the harbor. Here we still had some sun, and a long exposure would have been nice, but this damned wind (it almost tilted my tripod).

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Next we decided to just walk along the beach to the west towards the sea… AND against the wind. While walking I became nervous again as I really had no clue of what I wanted to do and the grey and boring sky made it even more difficult for me. But then the sandblasting started and this gave me (and Dave) the opportunity to play for some time. But man, it was working hard and this sand… it gets everywhere and after some time we took shelter behind a small dune to relax and have a small hot cup of tea. We also realized that due to the low tide it was still a lot of walking before reaching the sea and the idea of a beer and some food was very strong so we called it a day and walked back (with a few stops for some details) to the restaurant for some nice beers, nacho’s and other food.

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Dave being sandblasted

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But still.. during the night when I woke up (many) times I still had that strange conflicting feeling of enthusiasm about being here and disappointment of not having an idea and turning it into photo’s. As the weather was not improving I decided this night to go for minimalistic pictures and fell asleep. Well one advantage of grey skies is the fact that we didn’t had to get up for the early sunrise. After a good shower and even better breakfast (and lunch in one) we rented electrical bikes and explored the southside of the island. The light was really nice, it was white and serene, but also showed some strange colors. Thanks to Dave I could test some ND filters of Benro.. wow… what a quality. There my photographic moment also came; very minimalistic pictures. In one picture I exposed to the right (extremely) but of course I also used gradual filters to get more details and drama in the sky.

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Next stop were some birds who flew off while trying to approach them and some poles. At the poles Dave regretted not bringing his tripod so I offered him to use mine, that’s where photobuddies are for. While he was playing around I had time to look around, enjoy and tried some compositions (handheld with some gradual filters) before doing some long exposure shots with the Benro filters and tripod. But actually the one without I liked best.

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Although we only stopped at three spots it was already time to go back for some delayed lunch and to get ready for our real mission, the “drenkelinghuis”. A landrover picked us up and the nice chauffeur drove us onto the beach. When I mentioned I was living in Rheden his reaction was; “Ah, the village with that really nice pancake house”… what a small world ;-).

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With a detour over the beach and nice stories about the island he dropped us off at the “Drenkelingenhuis” with some homemade biscuits, hot chocolate milk and the local drink “Terschellinger Syltjsje”. This place is great AND completely for ourselves! To boost our creativity we first took a Syltjsje of course and then started to work and enjoy. Although we were together it is always nice to see that most of the time we still create different photo’s. The light was again really strange with blue, red, purple and green colors. And while darkness came in we enjoyed more hot chocolate, biscuits, and Syltjsje before the big headlights of the landrover reached us and drove us back to the B&B. Completely satisfied I had a good night of sleep, have new ideas and energy for the next time. Thanks Dave for inviting me!

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The arteries of the Posbank

The first weekend of 2017 starts with snow and glaced ice, perfect! Luckily I live only ‘a 10 minute walk’ from the Posbank so I don’t need a car or bike in these slippery times (and it was slippery with a lot of accidents in the Netherlands). One big advantage is that I was the ONLY one (and a dog ;-))!  Moreover, it gave me the opportunity the test my buff scarf, new thermos, and Icelandic outfit in winter and cold is not an issue anymore!! Anyway, a walk is nice to clear my head, but I also wanted to do some photography and I had no idea of what to do. I realized that not a lot of snow was fallen to cover the Posbank. So first I had a look at the viewing point near the ‘schaapskooi’ and an idea was born. Although the heath was not covered with snow, the walking paths became clearly visible in the landscape as arteries (or veins) transporting the animals, tourist, and this morning me throughout this wonderful landscape! This morning I gave myself one limitation… ONLY use the tamron 70-300! The conditions were not perfect; grey, misty, and glaced ice which made it quite difficult to work with a tele, but below I want to give you an impression of how the walking paths come alive at the Posbank during winter!

Cheers Sander

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The 10 best photographic moments of 2016

January 1st, the first day of the year and a good moment to reflect on the photographic moments of 2016. One of the things that I wanted to work on is to think more about a scenery/picture and therefore being a bit more original. To achieve this I also followed a course “the art of looking” to train myself. Since landscape photography is my passion I created a top 10 of landscapes that reflect my best photographic moments. For 2017 I want to improve my landscape photography even more by following the same path as 2016. However, I also want to go out of my comfort zone with some ideas I have with portraits of athletes. But what I really aim is to get to know more about my photo’s; do I have a certain signature, what makes my pictures unique and how can I use this to improve myself even more. But for now enjoy the top 10 of 2016!

 

Number 10: Zwarte Schaar.

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I have seen some beautiful pictures of this area from Peter Bijsterveld and I decided on a misty morning to explore it. It was very misty giving me the opportunity to create a minimalistic picture. After a short walk I found these trees so it was actually an easy morning.

 

Number 9: Winter at Ginkelse Heide.

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My aim was to capture the frozen fragile grass with a beautiful colored sky, but I was happy with this blue/white sky as this gives a better impression on how cold it was this morning. Is it an original picture? I don’t know, but this was the first time that I went out with an idea. I hope to find time again this winter to fulfil the other idea.

 

Number 8: Green waves at Vestrahorn.

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Iceland, the best photo-trip so far, so you will find many more in this overview. I start with Vestrahorn and I have many beautiful pictures of these mountains. It was a difficult choice, but I chose this one as here you can nicely see the big and weird contrast between the black beach and green grass. The clouds/mist at the mountain give it an extra mysterious atmospheres. I put it at number 8 as I still have the feeling that I could get more out of it if I gave myself more time to explore.

 

Number 7: Milky way at the Posbank.

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Of course the Posbank should be in my top 10 and this one is special as it is the first time (to the best of my knowledge) that shows the Milky way above the Posbank. I went to this spot together with Dave Zuuring, which we scouted the days before. We were able to enjoy this beautiful moment without getting caught by the rangers who were trying to find us with their big searching lights :-).

 

Number 6: Northern lights at Skogafoss.

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Wow, just wow… The night started with a small chance spotting the northern lights, but we just took the time as it might be our last chance. We were chasing it for 2 hours and if you then finally find the composition and after 5 minutes the northern lights start dancing.. well that’s just magic!! Dancing, cheering, enjoying! One of the best and special moments of 2016.

 

Number 5: Mystical Hatertse Vennen.

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Together with Dave Zuuring I went to this area just above Nijmegen. It was my first trip after coming back from Iceland and with all these adventures in my mind I was super relaxed and could maximally enjoy this beautiful  morning. Luckily Dave knew where to go so that also helps (tip for 2017, go for a trip with an expert that knows the area). The conditions were also perfect, no wind for nice reflections (although not used in this picture) and mist, and my only autumn colors of 2016.

 

Number 4: Gatweway to lightspeed.

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Yes… finally it happened, this is what I wanted to achieve in 2016; to create a photo that I have in my mind. Sometimes all elements come together and on this morning it happened. Due to heavy rain during the days before the Weir was up, I knew that the position of the sun was perfect, and a good chance for a nice sunrise. On site I discovered that the direction of the wind was good and that the river Rhine was calm for a nice reflection, Sometimes you probably just deserve that little bit of luck! 🙂

 

Number 3: Landscape details at Kirkjufell

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Kirkjufell, an iconic and beautiful mountain on Snaefellsness. However, it is also quite difficult to be original especially when I saw how many photographers were standing at the top of the cascades at the end of the “golden hour”. So the second morning I crawled into some kind of small cave underneath the second cascade that I found the other day. Here I was able to go a bit more into the details of this amazing place. It was not a fantastic sunrise with colors, but it was raw and dramatic and fitted completely with how I felt that morning.

 

Number 2: Photographer in Iceland

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This picture, which is taken on the beach at Jokulsarlon, is the best picture that shows the purpose of our trip to Iceland. For me it also shows the emotions that I experienced; going into the details, cold, mysterious and a dedicated photographer creating the best picture. Big thanks for Julien Beyrath for being my model. More importantly, without you I was not able to get up every morning and to push myself to the limit with only 3-4 hours of sleep for 8 days. I am looking forward to our next trip!

 

Number 1: Majestic cliffs of Dyrholaey

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My ultimate shot and one my favorite spots of the trip. Every weather condition gives these cliffs a certain atmosphere and provides you several options to make nice shots. During the sunset I was grabbed by the way how the golden light and spray of the sea gave these cliffs a more mystical atmosphere. I immediately knew that I had to go more into the details and while I was setting up for the best composition it was also clear that I needed some people to emphasize the magnitude of the cliffs. So I waited patiently and observed the interplay between the waves and the people who didn’t wanted to get wet, but then I saw this group of people coming who wanted to make a picture and then… oh well, I don’t need to tell what happened next… 🙂

 

Iceland Vestrahorn and Jökulsárlón

The fast pace of the first two parts of the trip is now paying its toll, but luckily the coming 2 days will be more relaxing. Of course we still get up very early, but the idea of having a full day at Vestrahorn/Stokksnes and then at Jökulsárlón brings down the pace and gives us the opportunity to sleep a bit more than the “normal’” 3-4 hours. Still I got some moments of stress :-).

So the first day at Vestrahorn, man what an area…. Black beach with strange green grass coming out of the black sand, the sea, and these impressive mountains in the background, I LOVE IT. Unfortunately it was cloudy. First we went to the sea to do some long exposures, but I did not get the results I wanted and decided to go find a nice composition with the green grass. That was also quite difficult as I wanted all the mountains in frame so I should not get too close. I had to search very hard, which also means that you look very closely at the scenery and try to see it all. So actually photography can also help you to experience a place even better than when you just go for a quick look when traveling around J. After a while I found a nice composition, but still these clouds…. nice, but not good enough. Then I found a second good composition, and still it was just not what I had hoped for. So I decided to leave the black beach as the sun was already up for almost an hour and would give it a try in the evening and next morning. Then I saw a small opening in the clouds and it was clear that the sun would shine a little bit soon. So I ran back to my last spot and just when I was ready for it, that little moment came giving the landscape just a little bit of extra that I wanted, YES!!

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So now it was time to relax and scout the area at the other side where we needed to do some rock climbing. First stop was the lighthouse. It was low tide and I wanted to go to a certain spot, but I hesitated again because it was below the line of the high tide. While sitting on a rock making some long exposure pictures the water suddenly came in, and in, and in… is it going to stop… what…. pfffew… nothing to worry about (except when I did go to that certain spot). Then I joined Julien who found some seals and we quietly observed these animals after which we enjoyed the sea banging into the rocks. While going back to the car we found another nice composition with Vestrahorn and decided to call it a day and go back to the Viking Café for a nice chocolate cake with some coffee. Then it was time to relax and we drove a bit, found a nice area where we ran up a steep hill for fun, and enjoyed the scenery without the camera… life’s good!! During sunset we went to Vestrahorn again but the conditions were not good enough to make good pictures. We did had fun when 2 Japanese guys with a normal car got stuck. In total panic they let us do the job and as a reward we got some nice beers which we happily accepted, CHEERS!! The idea was to go to the lighthouse again but a nasty fall on the rocks and rain at the spot made the evening a complete failure (except for the beer).

The next day we started again at Vestrahorn hoping for a nice sunrise, but it was again cloudy. Even the mountains were not visible, so I just walked around again to scout a different part of the area. I liked the nice contrast between the black sand and the white clouds hiding the mountains. I also found an interesting composition but just like the day before it wasn’t what I had hoped for. Going back I decided to create just one final picture with the funny hills covered in green grass. Next stop was Jökulsárlón… wait… sun? Yes… “Julien please drive faster to that spot where I was earlier in the morning”. I jumped out of the car and ran to the spot. With a filter attached, but without a tripod I was able to capture the moment I wanted. Not the green grass, but a grey rock with the warm lights of the sun, just like the little part of Vestrahorn in the background. Happy with the result we drove off to the ice lake.

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Jökulsárlón, what a fantastic place with all the ice rocks going from the lake to the ocean. Man, the way the ocean moves these big icerocks in and out of the icelake during high or low tide is just unbelievable! This place is also very touristic, but if you do your best you can find more quiet spots. Here it proved to be quite difficult to find a good composition. I found one, but while setting up, one big ice rock just flipped over and my composition was gone. The other moment all the icerocks kept on moving so I had to move while I was waiting for a bird to be at the right spot in my composition. It proved to be easier to go into the details and that’s what I did most of the time.

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Then it was time to go to the beach where many icerocks are washed ashore. Because it became darker I played around with some long exposures again, but that was harder than expected. The water either moved the ice rock or the tripod, meaning that you needed to stand next to the camera and get wet in order to prevent it from falling. Or you just pick up the camera and run for the incoming water what I did most of the time J. Either way, it was fun, but after being outside in the wind playing with ice for a while I got quite cold and decided to stop. Then I saw one small ice rock and wanted to get the details of it and I was amazed when I saw it together with Julien in the background… wow… definitively the picture of the day…. YES! Satisfied by the results and amazed by the power of nature we went to bed knowing that it would rain the next day and we could sleep for a long time.

 

_dsc6662_6664_final_1The final phase of the trip started. It was raining so we didn’t mind to do a long drive from Höfn to Keflavik with a stop at the black beach of Vik. A wonderful place (it also stopped raining when we arrived here), but also quite touristic. Nothing wrong with that and I don’t mind, but it triggers me to do something different than what others are doing. So when I found some rocks I decided to crawl behind it and try to find an interesting composition and waited for the bird again. Of course I also did a nice long exposure while getting wet by the ocean again.

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With a short stop at the Seltun Geothermal Area, we went for the sunset at the lighthouse Reykjanesviti, but unfortunately the sunset was disappointing. Determined as we are we went to the same lighthouse for the sunrise, but unprepared it was quite hard to find a nice composition. Eventually, I took my last three shots here, one with the lighthouse, geothermal area in the background and (finally) the sun, one zoomed into geothermal area and to finish one of the same lighthouse but now with the moon. Back at the hotel we had time to relax, have a proper breakfast and think about all the things we experienced the last 8 days. Then it was time to pack and go home back to my family!!

Now while writing the blogs, processing the pictures I experienced the trip again and sometimes got goosebumps when I realized what we had experienced. What a trip, what a country… I’ll be back!

Curious about my personal top 10? Then have a look at my portfolio of Iceland!

Cheers Sander

Iceland Skógafoss, Dyrholaéy, and rivers

Beep, beep, beep…. damn… It is getting difficult to get up and go on in this pace. Luckily we are able to keep each other going and day 3 of our trip in Iceland started again at 5.00hrs. The mission of today is Landmannalaugar. First stop was the rocks at Dyrholaéy. It was grey and rainy, but that actually was a good thing. It made the rocks and sand even more black and it gave a nice dramatic atmosphere. We climbed onto the rocks and heard and felt the big waves crashing onto the rocks. I saw a certain spot that would provide us with a good composition, but I hesitated a bit, because it was wet. One minute later when a big wave hit the rocks it was clear that it was a good idea not to stand there J. In the end this was a very nice spot and we managed to get some nice moody and dramatic pictures of this area. Although I played a lot with long exposures and the magic cloth technique, I like the ones with a normal exposure a little bit more. As we wanted to witness the sunset at this place as well, we also scouted the area around the lighthouse. Although the lighthouse was not special I did see one nice composition by getting the lighthouse as well as the famous and characteristic rocks at the beach near Vik in one frame.

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Then we got into the car for the long and exciting drive to Landmannalaugar. After a while on normal and F-roads we suddenly approached a river?! We knew that we had to cross some streams, but this one was bigger than expected. As it was lunch time we decided to eat some yum yum noodles first and in the meantime observe how others passed this river. It was funny to see how different the approach was between all the different cars, but we also got nervous. Although we had a 4×4 Suzuki Vitara, it was a relatively low car, and the cars that passed the river were bigger but still went quite deep into the river. So what to do… go back?? No.. Ok let’s scout. So I put my diving shoes on and walked into the river exploring a promising route to cross it. Hmmm, it is quite deep (the doors will be under water for a bit), but the big rocks were not a good sign.

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Then finally, after a German couple arrived with a similar car to ours and a second scouting by Julien with his diving shoes, I started the car. With a heartbeat of 180 I drove into the river…. wow… its deep, am I going to make it?? Yes.. yes… woow that was cool! And we waited 1.5 hours for this?? The German couple soon followed us and we decided to stick together and that was a good thing, because it was not the only one. All these river crossings took a lot time, but more importantly the landscape changed drastically and we actually stopped more than once because the scenery was too good to just pass by without enjoying it. A down side of this kind of landscape is to get the magnitude, so I decided to also go more into the (abstract) details.

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Then after being more than 5 hours on the road we realized that we were not going to make it if we wanted to witness the sunset at Dyrholaéy as well. After some hesitation we turned the car and went back again. Well, it’s not a punishment to see the same landscape twice. What we also noticed is that if you drive the F-roads you are quite careful for all the little rocks and holes in the beginning, but after a while you just pass them with 40-50 km/h. Also the river crossings became easy as we now know how to pass them (Crossing the river). We soon arrived at the rocks at Dyrholaéy, but with a completely different atmosphere. In the morning it was rainy and cold emphasizing the black rocks, cliffs and sand, but now I was grabbed by the way the golden light and spray of the sea gave these cliffs a more mystical atmosphere. I immediately knew that I had to go more into the details and while I was setting up for the best composition it was also clear that I needed some people to emphasize the magnitude of the cliffs. So I waited patiently and observed the interplay between the waves and the people who didn’t want to get wet, but then I saw this group of people coming who wanted to make a picture and then… oh well, I don’t need to tell what happened next… :-). Then we went to the lighthouse and again I knew where I wanted to go. After setting up the camera at the edge of the cliff it was finally time to relax, reflect on what we experienced this day, and enjoy how the landscape was drenched in the golden light of the sun.

ijsland_dyrholaey_dsc5494But how wrong was I to think the day was over. After having the Icelandic lamb soup and lamb leg it was time to go for a star trail. The skies were clear and you never know… northern lights? We started at the bottom of Skógafoss, but the spray was too much, so we climbed to the top again. Hmmm.. also not fantastic… what to do, go back and have a decent night of sleep?? Yes let’s go, no wait… do you see what I see?? YES.. green lights at the horizon… will we be lucky again and see the northern lights?? Well after 1.5 hours of little activity and not being successful at finding a good spot we went back again, but at the cascades it started to get stronger again and just 5 minutes after being ready the magic happened. First a bit at the horizon behind the mountain, then suddenly it started dancing towards us!! Wow, what a sight, what a color, what a feeling; completely on our own, in the nature, witnessing one of the most beautiful things nature (landscape) has to offer.. MAGIC!! Although I made my best picture during the sunset at the cliffs, this was definitively the best moment of the trip!! We were cheering, shouting, and dancing like little kids… amazing! Completely happy we went back and once down, nature gave us another treat with the northern lights above Skógafoss, what a perfect ending of once again an amazing day.

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Before going to sleep we decided not to go for the sunrise as the sky would be clear. Instead we wanted to catch the peak of the mountain enlightened by the sun at the cascades. Well, that was a bad choice as the first glimpse through the window showed us a completely red sky, probably the best sunrise we have seen so far. Also our idea was not successful, oh well, you can’t have it all. We soon continued our trip to Höfn, a long drive with some fantastic sceneries. First stop was Fjadrargljufur, a canyon at which you see the effect of the increased tourism in Iceland: the best paths were closed with fences to preserve nature. It also started to rain so it was a short visit. Then we stopped at Lomagnupur, a beautiful mountain that deserves more exploration than we did. The road to the glaciers of Vatnajokul was impressive and very long.

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We decided not to go to Svartifoss due to insufficient time, but we did visit one of the glaciers where we went into the details again. Once in Höfn it was raining and we were not able to explore the area at the mountains of Vestrahorn for the sunrise tomorrow. Oh well, it is nice to finally relax a bit and go to bed earlier to catch up on some sleep again. The next two days we stayed in this area and went to Jökulsárlón, a lake with big icebergs, but this you will read in the next and final blog!

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Cheers,

Sander

 

Iceland Sneafellsnes

Finally, after waiting for 1.5 years we (me and Julien Beyrath; http://www.julienbeyrath.com) visited Iceland for a photography trip of 8 full days. We carefully planned to which locations we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. We stayed in 3 different area’s (Snaefellsnes, Skogafoss/Vik, and Höfn/Jokulsarlon) and in the next series of three blogs I want to take you to each of these places and share our excitement and experience with stories about and pictures of this amazing country.

So it’s Friday, everything is packed and the camera equipment is cleaned. I tried to relax and to get some sleep, but the excitement took over and Saturday morning we took off with just some minor sleep. Luckily the adrenaline had the upper hand and we arrived awake and safely at the airport of Keflavik. Here we picked up our car, a Suzuki Vitara with which we were allowed to go off-road J. It was a long drive to Grundjarfordur, a town nearby our first spot with the mountain Kirkjufell and the waterfalls (Kirkjufellsfoss). Luckily we managed to get some gas for the jet boiler to make warm coffee (and yum yum noodles) during the trip, because man…. it was cold! In fact it was so cold that the layers that I took to be able to change clothes were all put on for the entire weak (3 thermo-shirts, 1 fleece jacket, 1 normal jacket, 1 rain jacket for the wind). Anyway it was already late, but we just needed to see the spot first and after a few clicks we called it a day to get some sleep before the sunrise. Surprisingly we were not the first one at Kirkjufellsfoss around 5:30hrs and that with a shitty sky (completely filled with clouds). Nevertheless, it feels good to finally see it all in real life and to be able to photograph this beautiful site. However, it is quite difficult to be original especially when we saw how many photographers were here at the end of the “golden hour”. On the other hand we were quite happy to start with the overview picture of the area and with a tiny bit of colours in the sky. Tonight we will be back to explore it again trying to find different view of this mountain. But now first some warm coffee and nice sandwiches._dsc4400

Luckily we found out that this car has the option of heated seats and with that turned to maximal power we headed off to the first off-road track we found on the map J. It is strange how abandoned you feel when driving these roads between the lava-rocks. It is difficult to express it in words, but it is amazing (THE word that was said 100x or more that day). With every kilometre that passes the landscape changes and you want to stop again to enjoy it all and that’s what we did (that’s the advantage of getting up early so you have time to do it).  naamloos_panorama2

Eventually we reached the north site and went to Arnarstapi and walked to Hellnar through the lava-fields along the rough coast with nice rock-formations. Although the light was not the best, we managed to get some nice shots of the area. And these skies… unbelievable how fast it can turn from boring to dramatic from time to time.

Time flies when you are having fun and it was time to go back for some dinner and to get ready for the sunset. While passing Kirkjufellsfoss we saw many photographers standing next to each other and decided to go a different spot where nobody was standing. This area was also fantastic but it was also difficult to find something that really works and we were searching quite some time for a nice composition. We had hope for a perfect sunset but the opening in the sky was just not good enough to get the sky we wanted. At one point the mountain did get some of the golden light and that was the best moment. We also learned that such a moment is gone in a split second and we became aware that in Iceland it is even more important to be ready for that moment when the light is just right.

But then the fun really started… we checked the aurora forecast (http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/) and there was a chance of seeing some northern lights. While we were the first ones on the spot, soon other photographers also joined and talked about the northern lights as well. After having some hesitation (already 2 nights of only 3-4 hours’ sleep) we decided to go to the south side of Snaefellsnes to the church of Budir. After having some coffee and a little nap I looked outside and saw something strange in the sky. By making a test photo I discovered it was the northern lights, but it was not so strong and green as I expected. Nevertheless we took our gear and tried to get some nice shots with the church. But then we saw a bright green glow behind the mountains at the north side of Snaefellsnes…. so we jumped into the car and raced to the north side. Halfway we saw it coming towards us and decided to stop at a small stream, because it changes so fast that we might be too late if we drive further to Kirkjufell. In our excitement we just jumped into the river to get the shot we wanted and after a few shots we saw that clouds were coming in from the north. So back into the car to reach Kirkjufell in time and luckily we did. The area was filled with other photographers and we were just in time before the clouds completely covered the sky. So unfortunately we didn’t had the time to get the best composition, but seeing and capturing this amazing sight of green lights above the mountain was already amazing. Finally, at 2:30 hrs we called it a day.

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Beep… beep…. Beep…. What?? Huh?? O yes… Iceland, northern lights, sunrise… come on let’s go back again. I had one final shot of Kirkjufell at the waterfalls in mind: we found some kind of small cave in which we were able to go a bit more into the details of this amazing place. It was not a fantastic sunrise with colours, but it was raw and dramatic and fitted completely with how I felt that morning. We were finished pretty soon and went back for a good breakfast before we had to leave this place._dsc4854_2

Next stop was Skogafoss and it was a long drive…. Especially when I got the idea not to take the main road but a short cut with 2 different F-roads. Regarding time it was not a good idea, but it was the best drive I had in my life up till now. It started with a “rocky” landscape covered with little grey gravel/stones/volcano ash? I did not take any pictures of it because I did not wanted to sandblast my camera, what a strong wind. And then suddenly after some few hills the landscape changed into black lava sand with green moss. Then we took a turn heading for a mountain/volcano with big black/green lava rocks, which have been lying around there since the last eruption (I think?). And between these rocks we had a fantastic curved road.. Yes!!! Start your engines…… READY….  first gear, mud/snow mode… SET…. the tunes of Thunderstruck of AC/DC filled the car……. GO!!! What a ride, what a landscape… it just get better with the minute and it is only the second day!

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Our plan was to stop at different waterfalls, but we only had time for one and we decided to go to Bruarfoss, a small wide waterfall with nice blue water.

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After leaving this waterfall we decided to have just a quick look at Seljalandfoss to be able to be in time for the sunset at the impressive Skogafoss. We started at the bottom but after getting wet of the water spray we decided to go up. As I was pretty tired I decided to go for an easy “selfie” and then just relax and enjoy the scenery. After having the best meal of the trip (Icelandic Lamb soup and spareribs) it was time to go to sleep as the next day will be full of adventures again with crossing rivers, but this…. you will read in my next blog!_dsc5061

Cheers Sander

Posbank 2016

The Posbank, it attracts many people especially photographers during the blooming period of the heath (August-September). Every year I am looking forward to go and witness magical moments just like in 2014 when all conditions were perfect.

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But if you go every year, don’t you take the same picture every time, but with a different sky and with no, less, or more mist? And what about the increasing numbers of photographers coming to the Posbank wanting to see this beautiful Dutch landscape with their own eyes, but also complaining that it is getting so crowded. Personally I think it is not that bad, because you can learn new people and even then it is possible to enjoy quietly and all by yourself.

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But still, how to be original if everybody is taking the same picture. Or… is it needed to be original and take different pictures?? Aren’t you going to the same spot more often taking similar pictures every time? More importantly, isn’t the purpose of photography to get out and enjoy what nature has to offer? For me, YES, but on the other hand you want to develop yourself and try different things. So with that in mind I had a few ideas for this year; one of the characteristics of the Posbank are the hills, which creates nice lines and layers and therefore my purpose was to mainly use my 70-300mm tele to zoom a bit into some of the details of the Posbank to emphasize this.

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While these pictures were all taken from the Zijpenberg, which is still the best spot for the sunrise, I also wanted to find new spots. Together with Dave Zuuring and Peter Bijsterveld, I hiked different routes and found other parts of the Posbank showing its different lines and layers, even with the wide angle using the walking pathways as guide lines through your image.

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If you zoom in even more you can create more abstract images which still show the lines and layers of the Posbank!

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Unfortunately, due to the early blooming season the conditions were not good for developing mist and next to that I got ill. So I was not able to try most of my ideas and go to the different spots. Oh well… the best thing of landscape photography is that you will always get another chance either next year or maybe during autumn.

The best moment I had this year was not on the Zijpenberg and not during the sunrise, no… unexpectedly my first trip to the Posbank delivered me the best picture and I now realize that the golden evening light can also emphasize the beauty of the Posbank. Maybe I will use this beautiful evening light in the future to show the layers and lines of the Posbank from the Zijpenberg.

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One of the other things that I wanted this year was to capture the Milky way above the blooming heather of the Posbank. The best spot for doing this is around the two trees at the top, which you always see from wherever you are on the Posbank.

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This year we had many clear skies and together with Dave Zuuring, I finally went one evening and dared to go into the wild in the dark. It was fun, amazing, but most of all exciting when the rangers were using big lights looking for….. us? Unfortunately, you will always have light pollution in the Netherlands, and therefore processing takes a lot of time and becomes very personal at some point. I processed it in such a way that it expresses my feelings and shows that my mission was accomplished: The milky way at the Posbank!

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My next blog will be more about night photography and star trails, which requires a bit more processing than expected. But first…. My photography trip of the year: Iceland!

Cheers!

The Art of Looking

Last month I more or less left my comfort zone of regular landscape photography. I decided to follow the course “The Art of Looking” to train myself into observing the details of landscapes. As the season is between winter and spring it is more difficult to find interesting compositions, so optimal conditions to train the eye! J

The practical sessions were in Deelerwoud and during the first session the first assignment was to optimize a composition of 3 (parts of) trees without disturbing elements. I decided to introduce the element of space, which was pretty hard to find in the forest J. So with an empty 35 mm slide, which I always have in my pocket now, I was searching for such a spot. I finally managed to find it and optimize it with the 50mm prime objective. I think I succeeded in my assignment.

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One other assignment was to find a mini (abstract) landscape and for this I used my macro 105mm. It took some time and hard work to optimize the composition, but wow… exactly what I had in my mind. I did not do any macro for a long time, but this triggered me again to do it more often. More importantly, it triggered me to try more (nature) abstract photography, which is absolutely out of my comfort zone. But this is good training to really learn how to find details and definitively helps me to improve my landscape photography.

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Between the practical sessions we also had some homework in which we had to photograph commons things in a creative way. Triggered by my macro results I decided again to try my luck with abstract photography. So do you know what the following is?

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In the second practical session we again needed to optimize the composition of a landscape without disturbing the elements, but with the extra dimension of reflections. Of course you can go for the reflection of a tree, but I decided to go for a mini landscape. This was already more difficult than expected as the reflection was at its best if there was a cloud as well to get a white background because only then the details under water would disappear. To get all the elements in focus I also used the focus stack technique for the first time, which we had learned during a theoretical session.

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During this session I also learned more about multiple exposures and finally was able to use a long exposure to create an abstract-like picture of a tree. The difficulty here is not the technique itself, but finding the right tree. Finally I practiced focus stacking once more with more (nature) abstract photography, which I absolutely fell in love with.

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So all in all, I realized that I am on the right track with being more critical by taking more time to optimize the composition. I am also triggered to look more at the details of a landscape to get more out of it. But to my surprise I absolutely fell in love with nature abstract (macro) photography. I am now really looking forward to practice it even more to be optimally prepared for my Iceland photography trip! J