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A world map like a dolphin would make it: a network of oceans en seas with some terra incognita in between

A Dolphin’s World Map

Once again I have tried to imagine the point of view of one of the other species we humans share this planet with. After the penguins and the moles this time it’s the turn of the dolphins. How does a dolphin mapmaker see the world? Sympathetic and intelligent Dolphins are known as friendly animals. Are they really as sympathetic as they look or are we somewhat misled because their mouths are permanently in the smiley position? I would not dare to make any firm statements about that. Dolphins are also known as intelligent beings. But how intelligent are they exactly?...

Collage of the numbers 1 through 12, photographed on house numbers, traffic signs and other found footage

Found Footage: the Numbers Challenge

It was on a bicycle path near the fortified town of Hellevoetsluis that I got a brilliant idea. Or let me rephrase that: just a good idea. At regular distances, I estimate about a hundred meters, nummers were written on the asphalt with yellow paint. As I got closer to the ramparts, the numbers counted down, until I arrived at 1. I took the following picture of the peeling paint on the rough tarmac, with some clover and withered grass by the side of the path. Photo project That was the beginning of a new photo project, which I refer...

A World Block Map, in colors that are realistic, albeit somewhat exagerated

The Block World Map Is Here At Last

Yes, my name, Blok, means Block. In fact, the family name was Block until one of my ancestors moved to Rotterdam in the late 18th century and a lazy municipality official dropped the c. In that light it’s amazing that it took so long for me to do something with the block theme. But here it finally is: a Block World Map. Grid The map consists of three grids, which are placed on top of each other. The largest blocks form a grid of 72 by 36; the attentive reader realizes immediately that each block corresponds to five degrees latitude...

Wall with 35 ceramic tiles with kaleidoscopic patterns in spring colors

Springtime in Kaleidoscopia: Mandalas and Milky Ways

Half a year ago I wrote about my first visit to Kaleidoscopia, that magic kingdom where ordinary photographs are transformed into colorful abstract patterns. A few weeks ago I returned to Kaleidoscopia. But while I first used photos of fallen leaves and other autumn scenes, I now submitted pictures of blossom, young leaves and similar springtime scenes to my kaleidoscopic Photoshop actions. The result: 35 new kaleidoscopies, collected below on a tiled wall (and if you think it’s a quilt: be my guest). The question is of course: do these springtime patterns have an essentially different atmosphere than the autumn...

Image made with a telephoto lens showing one of the pylons of willems Bridge in Rotterdam with in the background a residential tower and a large crane in the harbour

The Rooftop Days of 2018: aerial views of Rotterdam

June 2 and 3, those were this year’s Rotterdam Rooftop Days, the annual opportunity to see, and photograph, the city from different perspectives. Unlike last year, a Rooftop Pass did not give access to all Open Roofs on both days. One had to choose for either Saturday or Sunday. Or for both days, but in that case two passes had to be purchased. Hazy So what do you choose? Without any clear reason I had picked Sunday, weeks in advance. And that choice worked out remarkably well. On Saturday the weather was extremely un-photographic: overcast, gloomy and hazy. That’s evident...

A prunus tree, more specifically a Japanese cherry, in bloom in springtime near Unesco world heritage Van Nelle factory in Rotterdam

Springtime in Rotterdam: Magnolia, Prunus, Robinia

For some photos the window of opportunity is very small. You have to be quick, otherwise your chance is over. Think, for example, of the increasingly rare photos of the city under a nice layer of snow. Or photos taken in the blue hour after sunset, when the circumstances change by the minute. Spring is another of those narrow windows. One moment the trees are still bare, a few days later they are full of blossoms and/or young leaves. And if you don’t act promptly, the spectacle is already over by the time you get your camera. Late Spring was a...

Stretched panorama of downtown Rotterdam, resulting in a Hong Kong-like image

A 360 Degree View of Rotterdam from Delftse Poort Building

Last week, once again I was given the opportunity, together with a number of fellow photographers, to take photos from Delftse Poort, the highest building in downtown Rotterdam. And unlike the last time, we could now get on the roof. So no annoying glass surfaces between the camera and the skyline. And a 360 degree view; no obstructions to the east and west by the closed end façades. My ineffable thanks to Ramazan of Rotta Historica for organizing the event and to Corine of Delftse Poort for the hospitality. Parapet What does a roof at such a height look like?...

The giant steel sculpture The New Delft Gate by artist Cor Kraat on the corner of Pompenburg aan Haagseveer in Rotterdam

The Rotterdam Public Sculpture Top 10

Every city has a collection of statues and other works of art in public spaces. But I do feel that the average artwork in Rotterdam is somewhat larger than elsewhere. The city has a remarkable number of sculptures that are so large that you can walk through them. The reason may be that, in the spaciously designed post-war inner city, there is simply more room to go big. I wondered what were my favourite public sculptures in Rotterdam and I came to this list of ten. Let me start with a disclaimer: I don’t know much about art at all....

Wooden walkways across the frozen and snow-covered Lake Kralingen in Rotterdam

Looking Back at the Sandwich Winter of 2017/2018

March 20, at a quarter past five in the afternoon, spring officially started, according to the astronomers. For the meteorologists, it even started already on the 1st of March. So it’s time to review the winter of 2017/2018. What kind of winter did we have and especially: were there some winterwonderland photo opportunities? Sandwich The winter of ’17 / ’18 was a sort of sandwich: a grey and boring middle section with some wintery scenes at the beginning and end. It all started promising on Sunday 10 December with a snow front that slowly moved across the Netherlands from the...

Aerial view of the old center of Amsterdam including the Singel canal, the dome of the Koepelkerk and the tower of the Westerkerk

The Open Towers of Amsterdam

Like most Rotterdammers, I tend to refer to Amsterdam somewhat pejoratively as 020 (the city’s area code, which seems to indicate it came second after Rotterdam, 010). But secretly I think it’s quite a nice place. Okay, I still don’t understand why it is the capital when the government is located somewhere else. But especially when it comes to old and new architecture and urbanism there is a lot to see around the Y river. The Open Tower Day on 24 March was therefore a good occasion to take a fast train to Amsterdam. Unfortunately I was too late to...