3Develop image blog Blog

Pavement tile on Dutch railway platform asking to keep 1,5 metre, or vijf tiles, distance, because of covid-19

Eighteen Corona Hikes in the South Wing

Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, traveling companion A. and I made hikes all over the Netherlands. But then, in March 2020, public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. For a while we dutifully adhered to that rule. But at a certain point it started to feel uncomfortable. Car owners merrily drove all over the place, but consciously carless people like us, suddenly saw our environment limited to a radius of a few kilometers around our own homes. And since A. lives in Leiden and I live in Rotterdam, joint walks were prohibited according to the… Read More

Detail of a piece of digital botanic art, entitled Hocus Crocus, based on a photograph of crocusses in springtime

Four Seasons of Botanic Digital Kaleidoscopic Art

Apparently I needed some extra color during the past lockdown winter. That’s the only way I can explain the explosion of colorful works of art that sprouted from my laptop during those months. I already wrote about the Icelandic impressions; also the European flag project and the Rotterdam paintifications were given a nudge in the right direction. But the greatest avalanche of new work came from the domain of Kaleidoscopia. Beautiful shapes The kaleidoscope was invented in 1815 by the Scottish physicist Sir David Brewster. He devised a tubular instrument with pieces of colored glass on one side, a viewing… Read More

Footpath on a wooden walkbridge along Oude Maas river in Carnisse Grienden nature reserve near Rotterdam, The Netherlands

The Best Metro Hikes In And Around Rotterdam

This blog post was actually planned for the spring of 2020. The idea, analogous to the famous Dutch Railways hikes: a number of hiking routes with a metro station or tram stop as the start and end point. But then it became clear that covid-19 would not pass the Netherlands completely unnoticed. Public transport was suddenly declared “for strictly necessary journeys only”. Of course I could have published in the more relaxed summer months of 2020. But even then, a second wave seemed to be around the corner all the time. Last winter’s lockdown also didn’t seem like the right… Read More

Kunstmatig verouderde "vintage postcard" van de Leuvehaven in Rotterdam, met historische schepen en kranen, het Maritiem Museum en het nieuwe Port Pavillion en de moderne hoogbouw van de binnenstad

Vintage Postcards of Rotterdam in the Twenties

This blog post is made for growth. A few years ago I produced a series of artificially aged postcards of Rotterdam, seemingly from a bygone era but with contemporary landmarks such as the Markthal, Central Station and Erasmus Bridge. In the meantime, a new generation of architectural highlights is under construction or just completed and that called for a new series of vintage postcards. There are still fences, scaffolding, site huts or other disfiguring elements around a number of those projects, so I’ll have to wait for the right time to strike. I will place the new additions to the… Read More

Impressionist sketch of a fictional abbey on the dark side of one of the planets around the ultra cool dwarf star TRAPPIST-1

TRAPPIST-1: the Link between Astronomy and Beer

Today we will travel to 2MASS J23062928-0502285, better known as TRAPPIST-1, a star at about 40.5 light years from Earth. That would normally be quite a long journey; even light takes more than four decades to get there. But in our imagination we’re there in the blink of an eye. Ultra-cool TRAPPIST-1 is a so-called ultra-cool red dwarf star, which made the news in 2017 because Belgian astronomers discovered seven Earth-like planets in orbit around it. The terms ultra-cool and Earth-like should not be taken too literally; anything below 2700 degrees Kelvin (more than 2400 degrees Celsius) is considered ultra-cool… Read More

Digital painting of a street in downtown Reykjavik, with colorful houses, shops and bars and in the background the famous Hallgrímskirkja

Impressions of Iceland Revisited

This week it’s been two years since I was Iceland, together with travel companion A; I wrote this blog post about it back then. It was great to see our beloved Reykjavik again but frankly speaking: the weather could have been better. Especially on the first days of the trip, our equipment and mood were severely tested by lashing winds and prolonged rainfall at temperatures just above freezing. Photogenic In other words, the conditions were not ideal for photography. But Iceland, in only slightly better circumstances, is so photogenic: colorful towns, picturesque harbors, rugged landscapes. Volcanoes, geysers, glaciers. Fjords, mountains,… Read More

Kruisplein square in Rotterdam, covered with compact snow and in the background the Central Station on a sunny day in the winter of 2021

The brief harsh beautiful winter of 2021 ★★★★

For a few years now, I have made it a habit, some time mid-March, to look back on the past winter, and especially on the photographic aspects of it. Unfortunately, since I started doing that, there has hardly been any real winter weather in the Netherlands. In 2014/2015, the winter lasted only two days. In 2016/2017 I had to go to the far east of the country to take beautiful pictures. In 2017/2018 there was some cold at the beginning and the end, but the rest of the winter was grey and rainy. For the winter of 2018/2019 I could… Read More

Nieuwe Maas river, Waslijn sculpture, Willemsbridge and Noordereiland in Rotterdam, The Netherlands under a spectacular sky at sunrise

A January Morning in Rotterdam

The month of January, and especially the first half of it, is the perfect time to take photos at dawn. The sun rises around a quarter to nine, so you don’t have to set the alarm inhumanely early and walk around with a jet lag for the rest of the day. Therefore in 2019 and 2020 I undertook several photo expeditions through an awakening Rotterdam in this time of year. This year I hesitated. Photos during the blue hour look cool mainly because of the multitude of light sources, from glimmering daylight to headlights, street lamps and especially interior lighting.… Read More

Aelbrechtskolk canal in the neighbourhood of Delfshaven, Rotterdam during the blue hour on a windless evening

Countdown: the Best Photos of 2020

I probably speak on behalf of most of us when I say that 2020 was a miserable year that we would rather leave behind us as soon as possible. Let’s hope that 2021 will be better; at least there are some reasons for moderate optimism. Photographically it was also a somewhat different year. Foreign travel was not an option and even within the Netherlands the possibilities were limited. I always traveled carelessly all over the country by train and bus, but that suddenly became rather difficult. After the “train service in national interest” this spring, and the very urgent advice… Read More

Thirteen pieces of space art by Frans Blok, framed and ready for an exhibition

World Maps and Space Art Exhibited

Over a year ago, I was asked if I wanted to have an exhibition of my work in the entrance hall of the RIVM, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven. At that time, I had only a vague idea of the existence of that institute. But then first the emissions of nitrogen by agriculture and industry created a kind of national crisis in which the institute played a pivotal role. And after that the covid-19 pandemic came upon us. By now, there is probably nobody in the country who has never heard of RIVM.… Read More