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Longlist of 120 photos nominated for the top 10 of best photos of 2017

Countdown: the Ten Best Photographs of 2017

Just like in 2016, I wanted to present a top-10 of my favorite photos of the year. And like last year that appeared to be a daunting task. In 2017 I took over 6,000 photos; that makes about 20 per day. When I tried to make a longlist, it still contained 120 photos: When choosing the final ten I mainly tried to create a nice selection, with a spread over seasons, locations, themes and parts of the day. It hurts that countless beautiful, sometimes even legendary, photos have not made it to the top 10. But actually that is also...

Detail of the Color Map of Rotterdam cropped at the city center with all city blocks drawn in a random color

Christmas Blog: a Festival of Light and Color

Christmas is the most important Christian holiday, but the origins of the festival date back to before the birth of Jesus. Both the Romans and the Germans did not let the winter solstice on 21 December pass by unnoticed. Understandably: even in modern times with its central heating and abundance of artificial light, many people get a little depressed by the short and chilly days. In earlier times, in poorly heated houses by candlelight, this part of the year must have felt even more depressing. So the moment on which the days start getting longer and we begin our long...

A freshly fallen leaf of a sweetgum tree, red with some yellow, in the grass in autumn

Looking Back at the Photographic Autumn of 2017

When does autumn begin and end? The answer depends on whether you ask an astronomer or a meteorologist. Equinox and solstice The astronomical autumn begins with the autumn equinox, the moment that day and night, everywhere on Earth, have the same length. Autumn ends with the winter solstice, better known as the shortest day. In 2017, autumn officially started on 22 September at 20.01 Central European Time; the end is scheduled for December 21, 16.18. Because the length of a year on our planet (and actually on almost every other planet) is not an exact number of days, the times...

The Rotterdam town hall seen from the Delftse Poort building with behind it Timmerhuis, Saint Lawrence Church and the Markthal

Making photos through glass – fighting reflections

Last week, together with a number of fellow photographers, I had the opportunity to take photographs from the 37th floor of the Delftse Poort building (formerly known as Nationale Nederlanden). Many thanks to Ramazan Aydogan of Rotta Historica for organizing this event and to the facility management of Delftse Poort for their hospitality. The blue hour Delftse Poort is one of the highest buildings in Rotterdam, and right in the center. You do not get a chance to take photos from such a place very often, and certainly not during the part of the day that is so popular among...

Light trails from cars in the tunnel under Koninginneplein in Venlo at night with slow traffic next to the tunnel.

Venlo revisited: the Koninginneplein Tunnel

The tunnel under Koninginneplein (or should I say Queen’s Square?) in Venlo was completed in 2011. It ensured a smoother and prettier transition between the railway station and the city center. Through traffic went underground; from now on pedestrians could easily and safely walk into the city. Glass panels My Royal HaskoningDHV colleague Mari Baauw was the architect of the project. I had the honor to design the glass panels in the railing between the underpass and the ground level. Six years later It was not the only reason, but Koninginneplein was my main goal when I traveled to Venlo...

Space art, showing the Earth-like planet Alice with a remarkable landscape full of islands and lakes and in the background gas giant Goliath

Alice and Goliath – two worlds out of many

How many Earth-like planets are there in the universe? In other words: how many doubles does our beautiful water world have? We’ll never get anywhere near an exact answer but “very, very much” is, most likely, pretty close to the truth. There are about 200 billion stars in our own galaxy. The number of galaxies in the universe is, coincidentally, also around 200 billion. So we are talking about roughly 40,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. Even if only one in a million stars has an Earth-like planet orbiting around it, which seems like a pessimistic estimate, we still have an unimaginable number of...

Black and white photo of the autumn in the Brediuspark in Woerden, The Netherlands with a low sun and the reflection of trees on the water surface, with a sepia tint applied in Photoshop

Black and White Photography in Photoshop

There has been a challenge going around on Facebook these days. People post a black and white photo of their daily life for seven consecutive days, without people in it and without explanation. And every day they challenge one of their Facebook friends to do the same. Sooner or later, of course, it was my turn. And it’s a real challenge for me. Photos without people, that’s no problem; on most of my photos, I’m already trying to avoid people. But with black and white, I actually had hardly any experience at all. After all, the world is in color...

Map of the Netherlands with names of all 72 towns, villages and hamlets containing the word "berg" (mountain)

Mapping the Dutch Mountains

“So where are those three mountains?” I wondered when I recently got out of the train at the railway station of Driebergen (meaning “three mountains). They were not there, of course. The nearby Utrechtse Heuvelrug (Utrecht Ridge) is at its highest point, the Amerongse Berg (Mount Amerongen), only 70 meters above sea level. In any other country such elevations would not be considered a mountain or a hill, but at most a gentle rise in the landscape. The Lowlands I realized that the Netherlands, which are as flat as a well-laid laminate floor, have remarkably many towns and villages with...

Work in progress by the author on a digital graffiti world map on a wall of ten by five metres

Graffiti and Coffee Beans: Two New World Maps

More or less at the same time, I finished the work on two new world maps. Two maps with a totally different look and feel, and created in rather different ways. They have, however, one thing in common: when I started, I expected to finish them in one or two days, but it took weeks before I was completely satisfied about them. Cartograffiti Below you see me working with a spray can to put the finishing touches on map no. 1: the graffiti world map: Virtual street art The picture is, of course, fake news, just like the whole piece...

Artist impression of the High Line Baan, a park on the roof of Lijnbaan shopping center in Rotterdam

From Tweet to Rooftop Park: the High Line Baan

It started with a tweet. At 11 July, I placed a photo on my Twitter account, made during the Rotterdam Rooftop Days. It showed the city’s main shopping street, Lijnbaan, seen in southern direction from one of the adjacent apartment buidings. A remarkable strip of low-rise buildings in a city that’s proud to be the Netherlands’ highrise capital. With a roofscape of chimneys, roof lights and machinery, which you might call interesting, but certainly not pretty. I added: it should be possible to turn those roofs into a nice park. Several fellow Twitter users responded in agreement. @Amsterdirk suggested a...