Saturday, April 12, 2014

Amsterdam Day 3

Zaanse Schans Windmills
We have completed four days in the Amsterdam area but I am just getting out the blog for day 3.  We spent most of our third day at the Zaanse Schans' windmills. The Zaanse Schans was one of the first industrial areas in the Netherlands.
The area had 600 windmills at its peak.
With that many windmills there was a need for a large labor pool.  The working men built small wooden frame homes along the canals.

The merchants build finer homes out of bricks.  Many of their homes were two stories.  And while all of the workers had vegetable gardens the merchants had fancy french gardens like the one in front of this home. 
All types of craftsmen were required to support the windmills and their associated business. This pile of barrels is next to the coopery. A cooper is a maker of barrels.  This shop was passed down for many generations.  It was last worked in 1999.  They installed quite a few cameras to document the work of the last cooper.  They got more information than they anticipated.  They discovered he was a poacher and spent much more time poaching than barrel making.  He also had a small drinking problem.



The upper sections of the windmills are rotated to maximize the efficiency of the mill. If you look closely at the upper platform you will see a red wheel that they turn to move the blades.The windmill in this picture makes peanut oil.
At one time there were 250 windmills here that cut timber.  Timber rafts were floated here from the Rhine. The timber was left in the canal for up to two years. During this time all of the sap leached out of the timber.  The middle windmill in this picture is a working woodmill.

I used a flash to stop the movement of these gears inside of the windmill.  Kathy was worried that I was going to stand up before I moved away from the gear spinning over my head. You can see it in the upper right corner.  I was surprised that you could tour this area.

This picture gives you an idea of the speeds you can obtain and why Kathy was worried that I might stand up too soon.


We had a nice visit to this area.  In addition to seeing the windmills we also toured a clock museum and a history museum. 

After a late dinner Kathy was ready for bed so I headed out for some more night photography. The two people on the bridge didn't move much during this long exposure.

This is a pedestrian draw bridge. The top pieces cantilever and pull up the walkway.

The nightlife area in Amsterdam.  Most of the drunks pedal home.  Just around the corner from here the police setup a sobriety check point.


The bars do a good job of lighting up the night.

Look for combined days 4 and 5 blog tomorrow.  I only pushed the shutter button 30 times today. Time to call it a night and go to bed.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

A day at Keukenhof Gardens

Day 2 in Amsterdam was spent at Keukenhof Gardens.  For those of you that haven't heard of the gardens it is like the Disneyland of tulips.  Last weekend 60,000 people visited the gardens. Keukenhof is only open for two months each year.
A river of flowers

Azaleas in were in bloom too.


Another visitor to the gardens

There must be hundreds of tulip varieties in the gardens. As some tulips finish blooming the beds are replaced with new plants so the gardens look great for the two months they are open.

This picture was taken near closing time. Earlier in the day there would have been hundreds of people in the photo.


The grounds are beautiful.  When Kathy and I arrive early in the morning the staff was hand mowing the grass.

Another closing time picture.  Kathy showed great patience because I setup here and waiting twenty minutes for everyone to leave before taking the shot. 


There is also a small Japanese Garden on site



Early morning picture.  The weatherman had promised blue skies in the afternoon. But he didn't deliver.

Kathy wanted to see what it was like to walk in shoes my size.

Another early morning picture before many of the tour buses arrived.

Wish my backyard looked like this.  Two hours after I took this picture there must have been five hundred people in this area.


A different view



One of the unique tulip varieties.

They opened a new indoor rose display today.  This new rainbow rose was quite strange looking. Hard to believe it is a real rose.

Every year they have a special display. This year they used flowers to layout the canal area of Amsterdam. Each blue area represents a canal. Each other color tulip represents a canal house. There is one tulip for every house. In the late 1600's one tulip bulb had the same value at one of the canal homes. 


Hope you enjoyed the Keukenhof photographs. Tomorrow we are off to see windmills in the Zaanse Schan area.

Our trip to Amsterdam started with a longer than anticipated drive to Houston since a semi driver decided to block all three lanes of US 290 with his overturned trailer. So our trip began with a detour through beautiful Tomball Texas. While our flight was a little bumpy we arrive safe and early at Schiphol Airport. After dropping our bags at our apartment, which was four stories up the twistiest stairs I have ever had the pleasure to climb,  we began our walking tour of Amsterdam.


The view just around the corner from our apartment

Enjoying the sun and the smell of tree blossoms

Artist at work
 After dinner I asked Kathy if she was ready to head out for some night photography.  She politely declined and choose wisely to get some sleep.  Which she is also doing right now while I write this blog.

Twilight has come and the city is beginning to take on a different feel.  The photographer also forgot to bump up his iso so he could capture this moving boat a little sharper.

While checking out composition possibilities for this location a police boat went speeding through the frame leaving this interest effect.

The picture without the speeding police boat after they turned on the lights for the evening.

Same location but a tour boat moved through the frame leaving this interest composition.  Which picture do you like better?

Returning back to the apartment after a long day.  You can see the bell tower at Westermarkt in the distance.

I must have been really tired to take a picture of these interesting buildings along the Prinsengracht and not notice that bright orange port-a-potty in the middle of the picture. Time for Bed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Big Five Blog

The Big Five animals are the animals that where the most dangerous to hunt. Not necessarily the prettiest animals in the bush.  This blog is devoted to the big five, Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, and Cape Buffalo.
Baby Zebra killed was placed in a tree by the Leopard.
The Leopard took his kill up a tree to protect it from the Hyenas. 
This male leopard is the dominate male for this part of the Kruger Reserve.
A large male Rhino.  All of the reserves have asked that I not identify where I took my Rhino pictures.  About 900 rhinos have been killed in South Africa this year for their horns.
These young males where waiting for mom to bring her kill to them.  In another year they will be forced out of the pride. They will need to hunt for themselves and avoid the dominate male lion.


Cape Buffalo are very aggressive when wounded. They have killed many a hunter. 
This lion walked within two feet of the vehicle. No cropping in this image.
Impressive size and still growing.
Two younger elephants.
Large Bull Elephant. They spray mud on themselves to reduce the number of bugs and for sunscreen.
A herd of Cape Buffalo. They say there must be 50 plus Cape Buffalo in a herd before you can place them in an environment with lions.
Panning shot of a lion cub. This picture was taking late at night with a slow shutter speed to blur the background. I was lucky enough to get a sharp head.  I am not showing you that 10 that didn't work.
Baby Male Rhino.This will be my last blog from this trip to South Africa. I have enjoyed almost five weeks here but I am ready to head home.  I have thousands of pictures to work through and lots of great memories. One more day of game drives and then it will be time to give my shutter finger a rest.