A quick evening visit to Oxford turned out to be intriguing! A city so well known for its' Harry Potter-esque quality of historical buildings, with so many students and even more tourists can actually feel deserted! Imagine starting your city centre visit at 5pm, on a fairly grim and cold day in early March. You would expect the streets to be filled with tourists, cars honking their horns to get through. Bicycles passing by left right and centre. However, the moment you turn into a side street, there's no one there! Is it because they're all done with shopping and sight seeing and have retreated to the comfort of an English Pub? Are they hiding in some hidden backstreet beer garden? (more...)
The HMS Victory is one of the few - if not the only - remaining historic ship of the real old days (1765). Admiral Lord Nelson defeated the French and the Spanish with it in the Battle of Trafalgar. It is a scary thought knowing that this massive wooden box has sailed the world's seas with over 800 people on board and survived it all. The timber floor boards crack under foot and the beams and supports are hundreds of years old. Visiting Nelson's Great Cabin is surreal. He was in charge of 27 ships of the fleet from this room. You can imagine how he would have stood over a large table with hand drawn nautical charts, plotting his next move. You can feel his spirit is still alive! (more...)
Don’t worry, I’m not planning to post weekly updates! However, this weekend we’ve done some more bits and bobs in the nursery. Some finishing touches that you know you need to do, but never really find the energy to just go and do. This morning’s sunlight was brilliant, and I decided to take some pictures of the baby room. At this time I can take my time to take some shots, but soon the focus will be on our baby girl…! (more)
...but that’s just what they say. Someone has to pick a date in order for HR at work to know when to expect it and get maternity and paternity stuff sorted. In reality, only 5% of babies are born on the official due date. As my colleagues told me: the due date is definitely NOT the day you need to book off work! (more)
On 8 June 1972, war photographer Nick Út saw a naked girl running towards him. It turned out to be the 9 year old Kim Phúc, fleeing from a napalm bombing during the Vietnam war. Nick won a Pulitzer Prize with the famous photograph he took of her.
David Stephens and his colleagues brought Nick and Kim together at the official opening of his new Leica Store in Manchester. They both talked about their personal experience of that particular moment in time, frozen on black & white film by pressing a shutter button. (more)
...a student again! We're all confronted with student life at some point in our daily lives. Whether it's on the bus that passes Uni, or enjoying a pint at your once so famous local. I look back at Uni with great pleasure. It's quite strange how our perspective on life changes over the years. When I was a student I couldn't wait to get out there in the real world and grow up and become a professional. Looking back at it now, I feel that these days could have gone on for a lot longer than they have. I had time to study, do research in my interests and read loads of books. Somehow I always found time to do things and find inspiration! (more)
A great dance performance by 'Romano Jilo' at One Sheffield Many Cultures event on Saturday 16 May. There's never enough pink! (more)
Some travels are a long time in the making, some only take 12 minutes. Having spent a nice day in Bath, strolling along the river Avon, visiting the usual historic highlights as the Royal Crescent, the Circus, and Bath’s best curry house Rajpoot, we decided to jump in the car and travel further down to Bournemouth and book a hotel for that night (all done in 12 minutes). (more)
Even though this travel was over a year ago, I never got around posting anything about this fantastic journey yet. The Grand Canyon is 446km in length, up to 29km wide, 1.6km deep and is about 17 million years old. That is impressive!
It’s quite difficult to get the amazing spatial experience across through photography, as anything that could give away the scale (for instance people) are so tiny, you can't even see them. But look at the photographs, and thou shall find!
My personal moment of camera trauma happened when we were on a hike inside the canyon. I’ve set up my camera on a tripod, and with the self-timer on the way, I could see the camera tipping over, very slowly. Not slow enough for me to catch it before it actually hit the deck – and took the trauma selfie! Luckily the camera hit the rocks on its back, so the lens was fine. Not too much damage, the lens needed to be calibrated to the camera body again, and the evidence is an Epic Fail Selfie! (more)
Learning is a journey of discovery that never ends. Whilst developing my photography skills and approach, I have come across many books, papers, essays, websites, forums, blogs, interviews and videos. Hungry for improvement as I am, I read and study a lot. Reading and absorbing a lot of information doesn’t necessarily make me a better photographer. I feel that I need to seriously reflect on what I read, and review whether it inspires me, or improves my skills, which will enhance my photography.
I’ve gone through many books, and after some time, finding myself starting to paging through the content, instead of actually reading everything. The information starts to bore, or turns out to be inapplicable to me. Some well-known photographers claim to have the ‘answer to the ultimate question of photography, the universe and everything’ (and I can tell you the answer is not 42!), and are not holding back in explaining what everyone ‘should be doing’. Some are more humble, stating that it works for them (although strongly recommending you do the same). It might work for them, although I don’t find there is one clear truth. (more)
The world famous Farnborough Airshow is held every other year, hosting two events, a trade fair for the global aerospace industry, and a public air show. Hundreds of aircraft are on the static ground display, and many take part in the demonstrations.
Being a Dutchman living in the UK, I almost feel the Red Arrows are mine too. They use my national flag’s colours (it's not different to the Union Jack's as it happens), and have a magnificent display. Massive cheers when they crossed the crowds. The show is visited by young and very old, and all share a certain geeky-ness towards aircraft. (more)
‘No results for Nottingham’, is what English Heritage’s online search engine shows. Even though Nottingham Castle and the legend of Robin Hood is probably second to Stone Henge the best worldwide known ‘product’ of England. Nottingham Castle is council owned, hence not being listed on the English Heritage website. It is definitely worth a visit. The current ‘castle’ is more a mansion on top of where once the original castle would have stood. It’s the third building in this place, and is home to a fine art gallery.
The original tunnels underneath the mansion remain, supposedly used by Robin Hood to escape from the castle! (more)
“Bloody architects!” What do you do when you design a book rotunda in a library and the librarians can’t reach the top shelves? Even though these are solely designed to showcase books from the archives, somehow the books need to be put on the shelves.
All that's required: a ladder, a scaffold, a health & safety guy, and a few architects to do it themselves! (more)
One of the best traditions in The Netherlands must be the New Year's Eve Bon Fire night. Especially in my hometown The Hague's fishermen's borough called Scheveningen!
Originally, each neighbourhood would build their own bon fire, competing for the tallest stack and the highest fire. After years, this got completely out of hand, where teams were spying on other teams to find out where they hide their stash, and raid it overnight... (more)
After visiting the south of England many times, we have been invited to visit family in Winchester and the Hat Fair. This traditional street theatre festival attracts thousands of people every year.
One of the best acts were the Lords of Strut. Two Irish lads performed some silly stunts. Their show took probably an hour or so, and in the end they didn't do much, however, the comedy value was brilliant! (more)
The south coast of England could easily be mistaken for an exotic coast! The Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations, near Bournemouth and Poole and mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It once used to be connected to what is now known as the Isle of Wight, but erosion over many years has left its traces. Around the corner is Durdle Door, a chalk arch. With a speedboat captain who looks exactly like David Hasselhoff when 65 years old, you can’t go wrong! (more)
One of English Heritage’s great country houses, Brodsworth Hall is located in Yorkshire. This series of photographs shows a fun packed sun packed full weekend of World War II re-enactments.
It’s strange to see loads of grown up men ‘play soldier’, very much like the BBC’s ‘Dad’s Army’. Being completely taken back in time with their perfect uniforms and excellent haircuts and even old-English, their attitude was bang on. Always staying in character, for instance not understanding what a visitor’s mobile phone is. (more)
On Boxing Day, the central green square of Great Bowden (Leicestershire) is filled with horses and hounds. The traditional Fernie Hunt is an off-shoot formed in 1856, when the Quorn Hunt (est. 1696) divided, and meets there every boxing day at 11am, regardless of the weather conditions.
Since the Hunting Act 2004, foxes are no longer to be hunted, so nowadays they use a scent trail for the hounds to chase. The horse master leads the horses and hounds, and the riders are linked through modern technology, some look like secret agents of some kind (yeshh mish Moneypenny…!). (more)
As I've been living in the centre of the UK for about five years, it was about time to go and visit this specific UNESCO World Heritage site. Especially as it's close to Telford, which is only a 40 minute train ride from Birmingham. I've been basically living around the corner for a long time! (more)
(Series of photographs taken in 2012. Check July 2014 for the Red Arrows and further narrative). (more)
In Derbyshire, between Glossop and Sheffield, a magnificent piece of engineering shapes the countryside. Three large reservoirs are separated by the Howden Dam at the north and the Derwent Dam at the south. (more)