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For this photo shoot the idea was to use some color gels for the strobe lights. Not the first time I used them, because actually I like to shoot with colored light a lot. We were able to get some real nice shots using a beautiful piece of cloth with metallic look. Later at the end of the shoot I decided to remove some of the color gels to have some close up beauty shots. I wanted the beautiful make up (by: Alana van den Berg) to be clearly visible.  This is were the model Saina also came up with her best poses. Really amazing!

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composition-Leaf herstel-websize

Here some insight on how I was able to get the most appealing capture (for me) of this leaf in the sunlight.
Later I stepped to the right side of the leaf and took some shots which seemed to be the best angle for photographing this leaf. You can also see what the effect of sharpness depth is in this series. All shots are unedited Jpegs from Raw files. Only some extra sharpening was done.

Last Saturday the streets of the city of Rotterdam filled up with color, music, dance and exuberantly dressed up man and sexy, scarcely clad women.

It was the parade of ‘Zomercarnaval 2012’ that moved itself forward, zigzagging through the city like a serpent. The starts off at a location nearby the Erasmusbrug every year. Also this year this was not different. The parade goes through the streets, surprising and reviving all spectators with their colorful outfits, smooth dancing participants and rhythmic drums that make you start jumping up and down. At the Coolsingel the parade is passing by the Municipal hall and will finally end at the location where it started off.


Filling the frame with color. Here I focused at the girl at the right and used the rest of the parade as a colorful blurred background.
Lens: Sigma 50mm F1.4 at ISO 100 – 1/3200sec – F2.8. Use of wireless flash.

My favorite location to see the parade pass by is at the ‘Witte de Withstraat’. But this year, together with some friends and my wife who were with me, we decided to try a location a bit further on at ‘Museumpark’. There I stood prepared for the front of the parade to arrive, my camera steady in my hands, my Sigma 50mm F1.4 attached to its body. It makes it all a bit difficult using a fixed focal length during such an event, but at least it makes you end up with a good background blur. The trick is to be patient enough to let people come quite close to you and then shoot their profile. I like to use a very large diaphragm, but I rather do not choose the lowest (F1.4) possible because that makes the chance of a back focus a lot larger. Especially with this people that are moving towards you. I tried the continuous focus mode for a short time again with this Sony A580 but I noticed that it gives some shutter delay. It makes me uncertain at what exact split of a second I am freezing my framing. And off course that is not something that I want. So that made me switch back to single focus in my menu.


Waiting to have this beautiful lady’s profile framed and then shoot at the right moment. Lens: Sigma 50mm F1.4 at ISO 100 -1/4000sec – F2.0 – with wireless flash.

After the parade had passed by we would move to the location of ‘Westblaak’ to meet the parade there once again. I switched lenses there, from then I started shooting with my 18-250dt. This made it possible to try to zoom in to faces that were a bit too far away. Also I  was able to compress the depth of field. The 18-250dt also makes it possible to give a larger overview of a scene with its wide angle mode. Quality of the images remain average and are not top of the box like with the Sigma 50mmf1.4.


Zooming in on the hats creates a compressed and shallow depth of field which results in an attractive background blur (bokeh). Lens: Sony 18-250dt. ISO 100 – 1/160sec – 150mm F5.6. Flash (HVL58AM) on camera.

Sometimes it happens that I go out to shoot some pictures of an event, exhibition or randomly, and that the result is left imported on my computer. Only with some basic (Lightroom) editing or no editing at all.

Then much later I find the time to browse through those files in order to see what can be done with them. ‘Are they still interesting enough to show them to the public or have they become obsolete?’ is one of the questions that I would ask myself at that time.

Last year, it was in June that I went out to see the Chinese art exhibit ‘Den Haag onder de hemel’. There at the location of ‘Lange Voorhout’ I did shoot some of the artworks as well as inside the ‘Kloosterkerk’ which is located at ‘Lange Voorhout’.

This is one of the shots I made inside the ‘Kloosterkerk’. The nice thing about it is that it seems to combine two parts of the world and two cultures as well. It shows the western Christian tradition and the eastern Chinese tradition and philosophy. Here they are combined in one image as if they’re a representation of Yin and Yang. ‘We are all fortunate animals’ is the title of this artwork by Wenda Gu. Maybe this title brings these two back together as one. We are all part of a bigger whole. We all consist of the same energy within the Universe.Image

Artist: Wenda Gu (1955) Material: human hair and paper.

Spicing it up!

Does a good photograph need some extra decoration e.g. border or framing or extra effects?

Normally I would say that a photograph has to be able to stand all by itself.

A good photo does not need some extras to stand out or to be made more interesting by adding something like a framing, border or other any other beautification. But then again I think this is a general idea and even in some occasions extra editing of a photo can increase the impact it will have towards your public.

Also It might be interesting to add some effects to your photos in order to obtain some more Photoshop skills. It could be a good practice to become more professionally skilled. Some effects can also draw a closer focus towards the subject in your photos.

Here are some samples of my latest editing in Photoshop. All Photoshop tricks were taken from the book of Scott Kelby ‘Photoshop Down and Dirty Tricks’.




One evening you are on a location shooting some architecture and the other week you are
suddenly doing some model photography at that same location.

What’s the difference between these two disciplines?

I’m not going to try to make an exact description and comparison of these two disciplines in photography, but I’ll give the information based on my own experience and knowledge about these two location shoots that I did.

When I was at Rotterdam NAI to shoot the colored lights at this passage I used my tripod. Of course because I don’t want to cut down on image quality by raising my ISO high enough to get the right shutter speed. Also when doing architecture photography you probably want a large depth of field. So setting your aperture at F1.4 is not really a good idea. Normally a wide angle works well and preferably one with little lens distortion. But in this case at NAI my 50mm (Sigma f1.4) was a better option. I needed a compressed perspective to block out the view on the street and this gave me a nice composition too. I did shoot at the lowest ISO, and for my Sony that’s ISO 100. The aperture was set to F16 that’s high enough to get a good depth of field at 50mm and that is as high as it goes with this lens. I attached my remote control so that I would have no camera movement, the steady shot was set off in the menu. A good exposure would lead to a shutter speed from about 10 secs or more.

Then after this architecture shoot I got connected with this model via Model Mayhem.
Because of my latest experience I suggested to do a model location shoot at this same location at Rotterdam NAI again. It’s quite late that the sun is going down at this time of the year. We did meet at 10:00 pm at the location.

My idea was to light the model from one side but also maintaining some shadow and contrast. So I did set up my HVL58AM flash at the right on a stand and used an umbrella to shoot through. I made some test shots and noticed that the automatic (TTL) mode of the flash was giving to much light. Resulting in too much light on ceiling and ground. I only wanted light going towards the model. So I did set the flash on 1/8 power. My ISO was set to 400, shutter speed 1/50, and aperture F4.5. In this case I needed the lower aperture, the slower shutter speed and higher ISO to get as much as possible of the ambient light. Still I keep the ISO as low as possible in order to get the lowest noise and thus finest quality as possible. Because I used this slow shutter speed I placed my camera on tripod again and also did I put the steady shot to off in the menu. The camera was set off with the remote control, this gives me the possibility of even holding a reflector screen in one hand and releasing the shutter with the other hand.


Adding a model to a location can spice up the whole setting. Things can become more challenging and maybe even a bit tricky because you’ll have to make a good light set up and the question is do you have the right equipment and experience for this to get this right? For me, I work low budget so “No”. I do not have the equipment that I want and need to do things near perfect. I am a experienced, but I only do digital photography seriously since the beginning of 2009.
So others will surely say I am a beginner.

Light Show!

Light Show!

If you thought Rotterdam is just a boring, unattractive, industrial city at daytime… you might be surprised when you roam around in this city at night.

This is a shot I made inside the passage at the Netherlands Architecture Institute.
If you are the center of architecture you better make sure to present yourself in a spectacular way.

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