3Develop image blog Blog

Artist impression of the planet Venus in a remote future after terraforming, with oceans and continents, cloud patterns and an impressive ring system

The Rings of Venus

The closest planet in our solar system, Venus, looks suspiciously like Earth, at first glance. With a diameter of 12,104 kilometers, Venus is only a few percent smaller than Earth (12,757 kilometers). Gravity is also only a fraction less: 0.9 g. That similarity is very striking when you consider that the planets orbiting our sun vary enormously in size, from the dwarf Mercury to the giant Jupiter. As a child I was fascinated by this twin sister of the Earth. I even drew a map, not based on any scientific knowledge, with seas, continents, mountain ranges and wave currents. The...

The Ares, the spaceship on which the First Hundred travelled to Mars in Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy, arrives in orbit around the Red Planet

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy is one of the highlights of American science fiction, as far as I’m concerned. Red Mars, Green Mars and Blue Mars were published between 1992 and 1996 and tell the future history of our neighboring planet over a period of almost two hundred years. In those two centuries, Mars is fully terraformed: transformed from a cold, dry, lifeless desert into a living world with seas, forests and cities. Not all main characters are happy with those changes: the battle between the Reds, who prefer to keep Mars as it is and the Greens, for whom...

A map of the inner city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands and surrounding neighbourhoods, made of digital scrapwood, plywood and chipboard

Scrapwood Cities: Groningen and Rotterdam

Mid-March, in the week that the corona panic began to take hold, my growing apprehension was somewhat tempered by a nice little job for the municipality of Groningen. They had seen my digital scrapwood map of the Netherlands and wondered if there was such a map of the city of Groningen. That would be a perfect gift for a departing alderman. Blocks That map did not exist yet, but could of course be made. The question was: do I make each neighborhood out of a separate piece of virtual scrapwood, as I had done with the provinces on the map...

Pink blossoms of a prunus tree at Droogleever Fortuynplein in Rotterdam with in the background De Rotterdam building by Rem Koolhaas

Corona springtime; nature gives and takes

Right now, especially in these turbulent times. We’ve all heard the cliché a thousand times over the past few weeks of lockdown, quarantaine and social distancing. And yet I will use it once again: particularly during this difficult time, nature can offer us comfort, hope and inspiration. Home To be honest, I don’t have that much to complain about my own situation. I have always worked at home and I don’t suddenly have to deal with children who I have to teach or who drive me crazy in other ways. There are undoubtedly better, but also much worse, places to...

Gibberish: dozens of fantasy words in the bedroom colors yellow, blue and green, to easily fall asleep

Forget counting sheep: this is the way to fall asleep!

I’ve had a lot of sleeping problems in the past. Falling asleep in the evening was usually not that hard, but when I woke up at about three o’clock in the morning, the tossing, turning and worrying began. As a result I had a hard time concentrating during the day, creating a lot of stress and making sleep even worse in the next night. Tricks I have come up with a lot of tricks over the years to get out of that vicious circle. Trying to remember my latest dream, for example. Or counting my breath. Or running the marathon...

A "post-completion drawing" of the Basic Plan for the Reconstruction of Rotterdam bij Cornelis van Traa from 1946, with the city as it has been built in the 80 years after the 1940 bombing

The Reconstruction of Rotterdam Revised

This year we commemorate that eighty years ago the reconstruction of Rotterdam started. On May 14, 1940, much of the city was destroyed by the German bombardment and subsequent fire. Just four days later, on May 18, city architect W.G. Witteveen was commissioned to make a plan for the rebuilding. The ultimate Basic Plan for Reconstruction, drawn by Witteveen’s successor Cornelis van Traa, was not aproved by the city council until 1946. As I searched through my Rotterdam archive, I came across a thirty-year-old brochure, published in 1990 to celebrate fifty years of reconstruction. On its front page is a...

Artist impression of the "Belgian" planet Nervia, portrayed as a gas giant in the black, yellow and red of the national flag, with some moons, a ring and the star Neburonia

The Chronicles of Nervia

A few weeks ago I made an artist impression of the “Dutch” planet Nachtwacht as a red, white and blue, Jupiter-like gas giant. But such a planetary image in the national colors can of course be made for our southern neighbors as well. After all, also Belgium has recently acquired a piece of real estate in the Milky Way galaxy, as part of the NameExoWorlds project of the International Astronomical Union. Gaul The name the Belgians have given to “their” planet sounds a lot more euphonious than the guttural Dutch Nachtwacht: Nervia. Well, of course the name had to be...

Silver grey Porsche Macan Turbo parked at Maasvlakte near Rotterdam with the sea and a spectacular cloudy sky in the background

Porsche photography for beginners

To be honest, I usually don’t care much about cars. Okay, sometimes they are useful to get to a place where there is no public transport or to transport something too big for a bicycle. But I don’t have the required papers to drive them and I can hardly see the difference between a Mercedes and an Opel. However, I hear everyone say it is good to occasionally step out of your comfort zone. So when Robin Groenendijk of 64 Porsche Lifestyleblog asked me if I wanted to take photos for an article, I didn’t have to hesitate long. And...

Australia reforested, a detail of the Forest World Map, made of 15.000 digital trees, surrounded by virtual grassy meadows, with also New Zealand and a part of Indonesia

A Virtual Forest and One Trillion Real Trees

The World Map of Trees, shown below, is made of more than 15,000 trees that together form the continents of our planet, while the surrounding grassy meadows represent the oceans. A piece of land art on an area of approximately 200 hectares, accessed by roads and paths (the equator and some meridians) and with ditches representing tropics and polar circles. All this of course entirely digital and virtual, because unfortunately I have no backyard of this size. Apart from the fact that this forest map is a nice addition to my collection of world maps (see, for example, the stained...

The shining pot of the Boymans museum collection building under construction in Museum Park in Rotterdam during the blue hour on a morning the the winter of 2020

January Mornings: the 2020 Edition

In a previous post I explained why early January is such a good time to go out taking photographs at daybreak. There’s no need to set the alarm inhumanely early because the latest (in the sense of the least early) sunrise is around New Year’s Day. And in this time of year sunrise coincides more or less with the morning rush hour, making it easy to adorn the photos with light trails and other special effects. Also this year I went out a few times early in the morning for a photo expedition through Rotterdam in the blue hour. Unfortunately...