Yearly Archives: 2016
Frankly I did not realize it was already so long ago that I took decent photos of the Orange Tips. My latest serious attempt dates back from 2011. While in the last 4 years I already was satisfied with one or two mediocre pictures of these spring butterflies, this year I felt the strong urge to handle them as a kind of ‘project’. It seems that the years of distance now gave me new energy and ideas to go for this subject again.
I am blessed with a nature area nearby where the Orange Tips live. The best way to find these tiny butterflies is to look for them in the early morning while they are still sleeping on one of their most important host plants, the Cuckoo Flower. The Cuckoo Flower and the Orange Tips obviously go hand in hand form April til June. Still to find them both well and alive is not that easy. It depends among others on the weather conditions. Now it seems that this year unfortunately is a bad butterfly year over here in the Netherlands. Due to the past warm winter and highly fluctuating temperatures in spring the numbers of many species have declined strongly in comparison with 2015 and 2014. This makes me a little sad.
Besides the weather conditions there are other difficulties to conquer in the search for Orange Tips. Did I ever tell you photography is like practicing top sport, is like really suffering? Well, it is… I went into the field for 4 mornings. During my first visit there was this magic sunrise with purple colors everywhere. But… I am a slow starter and as this was my first macro shoot since months, I just could not utilize this moment and nothing good came out. The best thing of the second shoot was the hot shower afterwards. Man… it was so cold! It had frozen the night before and there was no interesting light at all during sunrise. This, in combination with my frozen feet made me want to cry and go home. Instead I stayed and managed to make a high key picture of two tips I could only find after a very long search. The third attempt was marked by failing technique. My tripod did not meet my expectations because of a non adjustable horizontal center column. Furthermore I discovered that my AF of my beloved macro lens was defect. Most of the pictures taken during sunrise were not sharp. And then there was the last visit which can be summarized with only one word: KNUTJES! Now in case you don’t understand Dutch, this is the scientific name: ‘Ceratopogonidae’. Believe me, you don’t want to encounter these mini insects during a photo shoot. Man… there were millions of them and they did not stop stinging. Research afterwards showed they are familiar to the more well known mosquitoes. They are very small, about 1 till 4 millimeter, and they love moisture areas. Their stings can cause severe itching. And so I have experienced…. It is now 4 days later and I am still suffering. They have particularly stung me in the face. I am not exaggerating when I tell you my face is now covered with hundreds of itching red spots. Unless you are a sensationalism person you do not want to see me right now.
Then there are the positive sides. To experience and enjoy nature during these early mornings in spring is just fantastic. The (most probably) Tawney Owl that flies past our car when we arrive in our beloved area makes us awake and alert. The overwhelming wake up call of the singing birds when we get out of the car is just unforgettable and accompanies us during the rest of the photo shoot. The singing courtship flight of the Tree Pipit is just one of them but breathtakingly beautiful. The Common Cuckoo who is welcoming us in the morning twilight by calling ‘koekoek… koekoek’ while flying just a few meters above us. A little bit later the White Stork flying straight above us with majestic calmness.
And last but not least there are the pictures. The tangible remain of four exciting mornings…
It is time to say goodbye to my website on www.pbase.com. Normally I find it quite unpleasant to say goodbye, but luckily it’s less difficult when something new comes instead…
Since I have focused more and more on macro photography over the past years, I thought it would be a suitable thing to set up a new website that is entirely dedicated to my specialism, macro photography.
Also I decided to quit my monthly picture. But.. no worries, I’ll keep you informed on a regular basis with new pictures and all kind of novelties in my brand new ‘news’ page.
Many thanks go to René van Dam (RvDam) who built the website for me in such a short time. I am pretty sure I can speak for the both of us when I say we worked like crazy to have the website finished before my solo exposition in Germany (more about this in the coming news section).
Surely my ‘eye for detail’, which is of such a good use during photo shooting, must have driven René desperately from time to time… Nevertheless we can look back on a successful co-operation and I hereby proudly announce my new website to be online!
Nowadays, when you talk about a photographic portfolio, people automatically think about a digital portfolio. Your best selected pictures on a screen, on your computer or on social media platforms. That’s all fine of course, but today I’m talking about the real thing, about a printed portfolio.
I come from the analogue era. When I started with photography ( some 22 years ago…) I mostly shot with black and white films. I developed these films myself and I printed my own pictures. I learned among others about contrast and density. I knew the films, the grains, and the papers. I knew the effects of a thin or heavily exposed negative upon the final photo. And no, I for sure did not like the smelly and unhealthy chemicals nor did I like the dark. But I was in touch with my photos from the beginning till the end and that felt good.
Of course I also did some color shooting back in these days. The processing of color negatives and the printing of color photos was however too expensive and complicated to do by myself, so I had to outsource these handlings. The print results often were disappointing though. The negative was something you couldn’t edit so it was kind of limited. The photo lab often used corrections you had no control about. Therefore I was relieved when finally the digital cameras showed up. Especially since in the meanwhile my preference for color photography had grown. Now I could shoot and edit my own color pictures. The thing is that the processing of the images was often limited to the digital editing of my files. The need for prints became less important because with the digital cameras there came the computer and the internet instead to show my pictures. The photos therefore only seldom were printed on paper. In other words, in the end the process was not complete and I had lost touch with my final prints.
And then there was this colleague at work who frightened me with terrible stories about our digital photographic future. Now I don’t want to scare you but there could be a possibility that somewhere in the future we can not open our precious and well preserved digital files anymore, for all kind of reasons. Gone are all your photos. Unless of course…. you have decent prints of them. The traditional prints could therefore be a very important form of back-up or rescue. I slightly panicked there. OK, this was it. Now there was no escape anymore. I had to print my own portfolio. And so I did…
The first thing, the selection of my pictures, was great fun. How nice is it to sit behind your pc and see all your favorite pictures of the last 13 years or so pass by. In addition to the selection there was also some re-editing to do. Also very much fun. Then there was the printing. I figured I wanted the best possible print so I made some tests with different photo labs including the one where I work. Now as you might know my photos contain a lot of ‘blurry’ parts. These ‘blurry’ parts turned out to be really difficult to print. The test results showed that the well-known Durst Lambda print on Fuji Christal Archive paper gave the best results. Unfortunately it took me some time (three months) to receive all prints from the extern photo lab without stripes in the print or scratches on the surface of the paper. When it comes down to the final prints, they have to be good of course. I already knew I am a very precise person, now the photo lab knows too… 😉 And last but not least there is the portfolio presentation album. I had almost given up hope to find a real good looking one till the same colleague as before showed me the albums of Pina Zangaro. No more old-fashioned black canvas but modern light design. I chose for the semi transparent Vista Mist version in A3 portrait format, which is made of acryl and aluminium material.
I am very happy with my portfolio now. I can only recommend every serious photographer to print one as well. It takes you some time, effort and money but it pays off so well.
All pictures were taken by Edwin Giesbers.
Winter time. I have this love-hate affair with it. I hate the cold. Also my favorite photo subjects are gone. There are these rare moments in the morning when there has been frost during the past night and sunrise is colored with a beautiful orange purple haze. Then I get this fidgety feeling. I should be out there right now with my macro lens. I should finally be making this long desired atmospheric winter picture. But it hasn’t happened till now.
Luckily there is also the positive side of winter. It is the perfect time to edit my pictures. With so many subjects and trips/holidays behind me lots of pictures still were unedited. This is of course a shame. What’s the use of shooting when there is no editing afterwards. So… I have started catching up with it, and it has payed off. I have edited four holidays: Madeira, Fuerteventura, Costa Rica, and La Palma. I feel at ease now and also I have relived my holidays which was great fun.
La Palma was the destination the longest ago, it dates back from May 2012. Maybe therefore I now was most surprised by its images. It was my second visit to this beautiful Canary island. My first visit was back in 2005, it was still in the analog era. It is striking how the subjects and pictures differ from each other. I am convinced that when I go back there in say 10 years the result will again be totally different. It is of course not the country that changes, it is me. And that’s one of the things that so intriguing about photography.
I would like to show you some (for me) typical La Palma images. You’ll notice they are not all macro pictures. Although I shot macros, I was also very impressed by the ‘big’ nature and volcanic landscape of La Palma. See for yourself.