Sunday, April 22, 2007

Not so foggy pictures

I still had to post the rest of the selected pics as a sequel to the "Foggy Pictures"-post. The pics that I'm going to post now were made during the same bicycletrip that I made on Easter Sunday. These pics were taken a little bit later on the day when most of the fog was gone and sometimes the sun was getting through. It's a bit of a mix of animals (birds), still life scenes and houses (mainly country estates, originally built in the 17th and 18th century by merchants from Amsterdam) which I saw cycling down the river Vecht.

Most of the pictures speak for themselves, I guess.

These two windmills which you can see on the back between this tree view through are the biggest and the smallest windmills of the Utrecht province.
This is castle Nyenrode and is the home nowadays of the Nyenrode Business University
I assume this swan had a nearby nest, because the swan was behaving very aggressive. I was standing on the footpath about one and a half meter from the waterfront and every time I moved away from my parked bicycle a little bit closer to the waterfront the swan was hissing and swimming towards the waterfront and threatening to come ashore. When I stepped back behind my bicycle it was okay for the swan. But I manage to shoot some nice pics (I think). I didn't push the swan to the edge. Taking pictures of wildlife is okay, but you shouldn't bother the animals too much with your annoying presence.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yamato - Impressive Drumgroup from Japan

Basically this is a photoweblog. So besides some short announcements most of the time I post pictures with some backgroundinformation. But occasionaly I'll make an exeption. Once I wrote about the Egyptian weblogger Alaa and several others who were detained by the police while demonstrating peacefully in support of the independence of the judiciary in Egypt (see here). And I wrote e few times about the International Film Festifal (IFFR) in Rotterdam (see here).

Tonight I want to write something about a show that a friend and I visited Sundayafternoon in our hometown Utrecht from Yamato, a Japanese percussion/drumgroup from Nara. Unfortunately my girlfriend couldn't join because she had to work.

Nara was one of the former capitals of Japan before Kyoto, Kamakura and current Tokyo, although stricly speaking Kamakura was officially not a capital city, but the chief city during the Heian period of one of the shogunates. BTW Heian in Japanese means peace or tranquility. But don't let's go to deep into that.

I was talking about Yamato. I've seen them twice before during a previous worldtour about 6 years ago. I was very much impressed then as I was again this Sundayafternoon. It's a combination of a visual spectacle, with good use of light and a very energetic and impressive performance of musical skills. They are now in the middle of their European Tour. You can check Yamato's schedule. If you have the chance to visit I would highly recommend to go.

Judging by the number of performances in Holland (41), I guess Yamato has a special relationship with Holland. Maybe it has to do with the long relationshp between Japan and Holland which started 407 years ago on 19 April 1600 with the Dutch ship "De Liefde" (Love) which was the first Dutch ship that reached Japan and marked a long intensive trade relationship. For more than 200 Years the Dutch were the only Westerners allowed in Japan. During that time they were staying at Dejima, a small artificial island in the bay of Nagasaki.

Anyway, enough history lessons. I have embedded a video I found on YouTube from Yamato where they are performing on German television. If you have a subwoofer connected to your PC, I would recommend to turn it on. Be prepared that you could end up in an argument with your neighbours. It gives you a bit of an impression. But nothing beats a live performance by Yamato. If you want to feel the air move and experience goose bumps as a chemical respond on the moving air I would suggest that you visit a concert of Yamato. Enjoy!

Here you can check some more videos of Yamato.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vote for me

Just a short request to my regular visitors and to the visitors who get here by coincidence. If you visit here and if, for some odd reason, you like what you see, please hit the "Vote for me"-button in the right sidebar. It looks like this:
Top Blogs
It will give this weblog a higher ranking and I've notice on my webstatistics it will draw some more visitors.

Other buttons that involve blogdirectories are:
Top Photo blog blogs
Photo Blog Blogs - Blog Flare
You'll find these buttons also on the right sidebar a little below the "Vote for me"-button. Clicking on these buttons also will give me a higher ranking and possibly more visitors.

There is no pricewinning involved. It only will make me a happier weblogger.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Foggy pictures (some of them)

I went cycling again last Sundaymorning. It was an impulsive decision. I was awake early, watched outside, I saw it was foggy and thought maybe this could give me some nice photo opportunities. And because of Easter it probably wouldn't be very crowded on the road early in the morning. So I got up prepared some of my photogear, took a shower, packed some fruits and drinks for during the trip, got my cycling outfit on and off I went.

It was quite waterkoud as we say in Dutch or clammy in English, so I was glad I took some gloves with me. I took almost the same route as one week earlier. So I cycled from my hometown Utrecht again through Oud-Zuilen, Maarssen and Breukelen and then through Loenen and then to Nieuwersluis.

Short after about 4 kilometres I spotted the grebe-couple again with their three youngsters from last week. I guess it was the same couple again, because it was exactly at the same spot I saw them a week before. It's amazing how quick the youngsters grow. If you look at a single yougster maybe you won't see the difference, but if you look at their size a week ago compared to their mother, than you can spot the difference quite easily, I think.

Because of the fog the grebe-pictures aren't so colourful as last week. But as you can see in some of the other pictures fog creates another atmosphere with it's own dynamic.
One of the youngsters tries to climb in the mother's back.
Despite the upcoming sun the mist was quite persistent.
The foggy outlines you see are belonging to "Slot Zuylen" and the place of birth of the female novelist and poet "Belle van Zuylen" (pseudonym of Isabelle de Charrière) (1740-1805) who had quite (for those days) a liberal upbringing.
When I took this picture the sun was slowly getting through and it was getting less foggy. This male swan kept a close eye on me while I took pictures of his nesting partner.
I have some more swan-pictures laterAlthough the AF-S VR 70-300 mm f 4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens is not suitable for macro photography I think these two pictures came out quite okay. The rest of the selection of pictures I will post later this week.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It's been a while

It's been a while since my last post. Been pretty busy both with work and private. I cycled a lot, but I didn't took much pictures lately. Until last weekend. Last Saturday I went out on the bike early. the weather was looking good. It was a bit chilly in the early morning, but the light in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening is the most gorgeous for photography I think.

I'm still in the middle of getting to know my new camera, the Nikon D200. This semi professional camera has, let's say, a little more steep learning curve than the point and shoot compact digital camera's. But finally it's worth the whole learning process, because it will reward you with much better pictures. But I'm still at the beginning of this learning process. But I must say that I was not unhappy with the first results of my first serious photo cycling trip from last Saturday.

I cycled from my hometown Utrecht through Oud-Zuilen, Maarssen and Breukelen and then through Loenen (aan de Vecht), Nieuwersluis and Vreeland and then back. Most of the pictures I shot near Oud-Zuilen and Maarssen. After that I mainly cycled. When I came back around noon I had cycled almost 60 kilometres.

Here is a first selection of the pics I shot. I hope you like them.

Although the coot is not so detailed I liked the light and the reflection in the calm unruffled water
I always found the great blue heron an impressive bird. They were quite rare for some time, but are more common in Holland right now.
I spend about one hour on the waterfront of the river observing this grebe-couple and their youngsters. First I thought they had two youngsters, but later I discovered a third one on the back of the mother between her feathers. It was fascinating to watch them. While the mother looked after the youngsters the male grebe went out for food. I can't help they are operating in such stereotype sex-roles. Women's liberation hasn't made it through the birdsworld obviously. Anyway, they are excellent divers and the male grebe came back with little fish quite often, which caused great enthusiasm among the youngsters judging by the exiting sounds they made.
Typical cat behavior, completely ignoring me
Geese on the run for a tractor.
I liked this one because of the early morning sun shining on the back of the head of the goose.