I am honoured to have the above photo featured in this issue of N-Photo Magazine.

N-Photo is the independent photography magazine for Nikon users. Every issue is packed with Nikon-specific advice for taking better photos and in-depth reviews of Nikon-compatible gear. Each issue comes with video lessons for mastering camera and photo editing techniques.

The following image was chosen.

No Service Tonight
The sunset looked promising. I had little time, so I rushed to a familiar spot close to home. I’ve spent a lot of time in and around this water when I was a kid. In the old days we went windsurfing here and if the wind was not blowing hard enough we would just take a swim and hang out.
I was waiting for the sunset and shooting until a couple of boats came by and rippled the water… the dynamics of the waves made this otherwise static image really stand out for me…

Equipment used: Nikon D90, Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 ED VR II, at 18 mm 0.4 sec, f18, ISO 100 & a tripod.

 

I’ve been an Apple Aperture fan since I’ve started out in digital photography a couple of years ago. But since Apple has stopped developing Aperture I knew a change was gonna come… Now I’ve been experimenting with Lightroom for a little while and am very impressed with some of the functionalities. I’m starting to get familiar with the methods of developing and I must say there are some features that I absolutely Love! Lense correction for starters is fantastic to have right from the start without having to go through photoshop. I also love how Lightroom handles the highlights and how much of them you can recover from a single RAW file. And because I have an somewhat older generation sensor noise reduction is an awesome feature to have as well and Lighroom really does an amazing job here!

So times are changing, time to switch… Or I’ve already switched. When I go back to Aperture to look up some of the old files for a client it feels sluggish and dated. I must say that I have that with every bit of new software that I get, the new features are getting me excited and i say out with the old and in with the new!

For me this is a new and exciting change, it opens up new possibilities and will change the way I shoot and process images. So my style will change a bit I guess.

At the same time I am in the process of changing the design of this website so hopefully more to come… times they are a changin’

Anyway here are some of the first results.

 

A Leap of Faith Hooigracht

Like last year I decided to create an slideshow of my favorite images of 2014. Always fun to look back and see how things developed. It’s been a busy, but a good year. This year I have more commissioned work in my favorite images, just because I had more photography assignments. Who knows what next year will bring?

And if you are curious, here are my personal top 5 images of 2014

Enjoy!

Answering to the call of Jim Goldsteins blog to go and post your top images of the year I participate again like last year.

I also made a video post with a lot more of my favorites but here are my top 5 favorite photographs of 2014 with my comments…

In no particular order:

This one was taken on an assignment. My company makes an annual report for an organization that promotes cargo transportation via rail. I had just been on a little ride with one of the loc’s and when we got out this was what I saw… Click!

_DSC4100

Another Image taken on assignment. My company did the corporate identity for a company that makes adjuvants for agrochemicals. I set out to complement my design with some publicity photographs all based on the same concept as the logo design; water-drop-leaf. This image just stood out from the rest for me._DSC6730

Fall ForestThis is a spot I visit every year, but this year I decided to not just go for the image I was coming for but to try something different here’s the best result from that decision… Personally I really like the lines caused by the play of shadow and light in-between the trees and the detail in the big fat trunk on the right.Fall Forest

 

A Passage Across; My old windsurf spot at the Zijl. Now there is a small ferry to get cyclists across. Also a spot I have visited a couple of times before but this time the conditions were awesome! Love the color and the sky in this one!Passage Across

The Celebration; I just like the sky and the lines… And the color of the image. want the full story on this one? you can read it here!The CelebrationWell that’s it for me. I hope you enjoyed. I wasn’t very productive this year or maybe I’m getting more picky about my images. So please tell me which one you like? Have I forgotten one? Let me Know!

 

If you want to see more you can check out my blogpost Looking back at 2014 with an awesome slideshow of my images from 2014.

 

It’s that time of the year again. As a landscape photographer I have a bucket list of stuff to photograph in certain seasons. I mean, some things just look way better in winter and some things in springtime but in autumn… almost everything looks great! Because the sun is lower in the sky the light is simply better. Add that with the amazing warm tones of the fall foliage and you almost cannot go wrong!

Somehow last monday I had our car available, my wife wasn’t using it for work so I could use it and it significantly increased my radius on my monday morning photography trips. Because it was fall I looked at my bucket list and saw it was a great opportunity to try to improve my earlier shot of Castle Oud Poelgeest in Oegstgeest, the Netherlands. When I arrived at the location I could not help but start shooting away. I started ‘working the scene’ Moving closer to the castle and trying different compositions, angles and lenses. Somehow I always get into a kind of forensic state where I don’t want to miss anything… After slowing down I suddenly start to see other options… I had a shot in mind, one I had done before but wanted to try to improve. And I worked my way to that position keeping a keen eye out for other opportunities.

The play of light and shadow between the tree trunks and over the red colored leaves on the ground attracted my attention. Positioned myself so that the sun was partially hidden behind a tree trunk. This way you get two advantages, you can make an amazing sunstar by stopping down your f-stop and the intensity of the sun is reduced so your camera is less likely to underexpose. I bracketed my shots, experimented with different compositions, f-stops and orientations.

After this shot I moved in for ‘the shot’ did I nail it? Not yet to my opinion but is is still a lot better than last year. the atmosphere of the mist in-between the trees and in front of the castle add a nice touch to this image and all in all I am happy with it. Having done the shot I decided to walk around the castle and try to find other things to photograph and just enjoy the walk and the scenery. My youngest daughter of seven months old (who is always with me on these small monday morning excursions) just woke up from her nap and me and the stroller went for a little walk. Every now and then I stopped to take a shot.

I worked with a tripod and a remote release for maximum sharpness and some shots are HDR merged from several different exposures. Using a tripod will ensure you the same frame over and over again.

Anyway hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

Autumn Woods Fall Forest Coloration Stick Together Castle Oudt Poelgeest

 

Monday morning the 2nd of november 2014, the kids are in school and our youngest did not yet wanted to go on her beauty nap. As in my previous post, Macro Monday Morning so I thought it was time for me to go out on a little errand, and while I’m at it, take a little detour through the Park and bring the camera! On our little sunday stroll trough the park I noticed a nice group of mushrooms in a clear spot. So that was my mission to go out and capture some macro shots of mushrooms.

For this I use my trusty 50 mm 1.8 D Nikkor lens and a couple of extension tubes. The extension tubes are just hollow tubes with an approximate diameter of your everyday standard lens. There is a special front and back connector that lets you connect the tube to your camera and your lens to the tube. Just like a normal lens. The idea behind this is that if your lens element is further away from the sensor you get a different (bigger) magnification. There are three units that can be screwed in-between the front and back elements and they vary in length so you get different magnification with each different element. And you can stack them as well! Best part is; there are no glass elements involved other than your own lens so no loss in quality! Another good point is that they are a relatively cheap option for the beginning macro-enthousiast. Top brands make them, third party brands make em, but I got mine for €10,- from a budget website. I mean it’s just a hollow tube with screw-thread!
Here’s a small video on extension tubes by Matt Granger https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbcrrd9eLgY
A little downside of this all is that you lose autofocus and aperture control via the camera. That is one of the reasons why I use my ‘old’ 50 mm, it lets me set the aperture manually… The more modern lenses don’s let you do these kind of things. The other reason is that it’s 1.8 ;) and I love bokeh!
Now I must say that none of these images are shot at f 1.8 that is because at its widest aperture most lenses just aren’t the sharpest so I usually stop down to f 2.8 or f 4 if the light will let me.
So lets’ cut to the chase. what are the results? Focus manually, expose manually Shoot handheld, focussed with live view, getting dirty hands and knees…
Here are the results, click on them for a bigger view and please let me know what you think in the comments!

_DSC6216 _DSC6222 _DSC6224 Proud _DSC6231

Monday is the day that I have the care of the kids and our household. One monday morning after bringing the two oldest to school the youngest did not yet wanted to sleep (she is about half a year old). I decided to go out for some shopping and put her in the stroller. This might be a chance to bring my camera and maybe take a small detour through the park before shopping? Sounded like a great idea, I decided to go and travel light and only bring the camera a 50 mm prime and my macro extension tubes.

In the park there is a small botanical garden that is a great location for practicing my macro skills. It has an amazing variety in plants herbs and trees and is very well kept.
The goal here for me was to improve on my macro skills, after looking at other people’s macro shot’s I noticed that they all had something in common; a great background. Allthough it is not so difficult to find something macro-worthy in the botanical garden in the fall I found it more difficult to get some of those backgrounds.
Anyway practice makes perfect they say so I started shooting. There was some difficulty because there was just a little to much wind, which made manual focusing and keeping your moving subject in focus a daunting task. Patience is key here… In the mean time my youngest in the stroller found my fascination with the small world of macro so boring she fell asleep. :)
Here are some of the results I am OK with to show you guys. Not all of them have great backgrounds so I think I need to practice more…  Now I gan go and vacuum the house and clean the bathroom and stuff… ;)
Have a Nice day!
_DSC4713 _DSC4714 _DSC4722 _DSC4751 _DSC4754 _DSC4771 _DSC4781 _DSC4786 _DSC4811

Even though It’s my opinion to ‘get it right in camera’ I do use more post processing than you would expect. Sometimes the RAW image coming from the camera just does not live up to the scene I was witnessing while capturing the shot. And sometimes my search for dramatic images just makes me play with the sliders in the software just a little more until I’m happy.

I don’t know about you but I can spend between an hour or two to edit and post process an image. Usually I have about 30 images from one landscape subject and editing and selecting the best ones is rather easy but then the finetuning and tweaking of that one final image can take some time. (Come to think of it, maybe my old hardware is not helping in speeding up the processing.) Sometimes investing in new hard or software can really help you make a BIG step forward in the quality of your images.

My usual workflow was: RAW conversion, editing & selecting in Apple Aperture 3 and then lense correction and minor tweaks in Adobe Photoshop and back to Aperture for keywords, geotagging and organising. Pretty straightforward right? Nothing fancy.

Then I aquired Perfect Effects 8 from On One Software And it changed my game. Now this is not a sales pitch for Perfect Effects but adding something extra to my workflow added something extra to my images too… Not all of my images go through Perfect Effects but when Aperture and Photoshop don’t cut it I use PE8 and most of the time it helps me get the image I was looking for! It just adds that little extra bit to my images.

Lets take for example the following image. Taken over a year ago, it didn’t make my final selection of that shoot. I had totally forgotten about it until some days ago when I was cleaning up the photo’s on my phone. Usually I take a shot of my setup and tweet about it and this time had been no different. So when I was about to delete my iPhone shot of the setup of that day I could not help but see the back of my camera and the image on it. I had forgotten about that shot since it did not make the final edits. But I loved the composition and light even on the small preview of the back of the camera. So I decided to dig up the image and give it a try.

Dejavu Situatie

Here’s the original image straight out of the Camera.

_DSC2883 - Version 2
Now more than a year later, armed with more experience and more software I set out to work on it.
So here’s the final result, tell me what you think? To much? Would love to hear your comments!

The Rise and Fall

Martijn

 

p.s. after posting this post I read an article of Brian Matiash on almost the same thing… (he only describes it better) make sure you read his post as well!

I was on my way to a birthday party. Keeping my eye on the sky. I had anticipated that the sunset might become interesting that evening and on the way to the party there would be some nice locations I had never been before. After driving only 10 minutes the sunset was allready about to go into overdrive so I spotted a location, parked the car and boom!!! the party had allready begun! I experimented with a lot of different compositions and in the first edits these ones stood out… maybe there will be more to follow soon..

Personally I love how the sky is looking in these images and am happy with the yellow rapeseed flowers in the left corner… the row of trees however could be better. There’s just not enough detail in the trees (or should I say no detail) and the trees were not nicely spread out… But in this image the sun was showing and I am proud of my tiny little sunstar… So all in all, happy with the results… now lets have a look at the other images I took that evening…

Taken at a Rijpwetering, the Netherlands.
ISO200, 10 mm, f22, 0,4 seconds, 0.6 hard grad ND.

Country Road

Added another edit of this batch. I love how the sky is looking and this has a more cropped composition cause it’s shot at 20 mm (35 at fx) The trees have a little bit more detail but the sun had disappeared already so no sunstar.. But all in all a typical dutch country road with a spectacular sky.

ISO200, 20 mm, f11, 1/4 seconds, 0.6 hard grad ND.

The Celebration

Just got back from my first holiday in a long time. After some deliberate thought we finally decided to go at last. With our four months old baby girl we decided to not go to far away from home and eventually settled on Bretange, France as our destination. We rented this mobile home on a camping and off we went. The camping was small but great for our other two kids who loved the climbing castle and the water slides in the swimming pool.

Right behind our Mobile home was some kind of field which was used for jeu de boules tournaments, archery contests and bbq. One evening the kids were running around on this field kicking a ball around when they asked me if I cared to join them. I walked up to the field and saw an amazing light fall on the grasses and the tree in the field. I turned around walked back to the caravan and got my camera. I shot about three or four frames of the scene before the sun sunk behind a mobile home and we lost the amazing light. Glad I had captured in time we went on with our little soccer match.

Now I’m home and am writing this because I still can feel the joy and relaxed atmosphere from our holiday whenI look at this image. The memories of it just make me feel happy!

As the Bretons say: A l’aise Breizh (Mimicking “A l’aise Blaise”, a French expression meaning “Keep cool, Relax Blaise” with a rhyme. Breizh being the name for Britanny in the local language.)

For the purists; ISO 200, 11 mm, -0,67 EV, f8, 1/200th, handheld

bigger is better so make sure you click on the image…

A l'aise Breizh