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The first time I visited Kyrgyzstan I explored a bit of everything. The second time I focused on the south shore of Issyk-kul lake where I found mostly impressive canyons and dry landscapes. This time I decided to visit the South of Kyrgyzstan. Starting at Osh and surroundings, I made my way back to Bishkek and explored locations that I didn’t know before. The main thing that surprised me here was how green the landscapes were. Especially in contrast with the last time I visited when I explored mainly canyons.
Once again I was impressed by the extreme variety of landscapes you can find in Kyrgyzstan. The first time I visited I already mentioned how in a short period of time, I saw landscapes that you can compare to Iceland, Utah canyons (US), high snowy peaks like the Himalaya and the European alps you could find even close to Bishkek, like Ala-Archa. On my visit to the south I was surprised by areas such as Arslanbob and Sary Chelek, that really reminded me of European parts. Everything was so green.
The highlight of my trip to the south was the peak Lenin area. A few hours drive south of Osh you can find the second highest mountain of the country (7100m+) with a yurt basecamp located an an altitude of around 3500 meters. The landscape and weather were surreal here. A huge valley with hills, lakes and massive peaks were great to explore for a few days. We experienced 4 seasons in 1 day here with snow, tropical temperatures and everything in between.
In Arslanbob I explored the beautiful walnut forests that are the biggest in the world. Walking around here was really magical. Not only this, as you can expect in Kyrgyzstan we found some lakes reflecting the mountain tops surrounding this surreal village. The atmosphere in this little village was great. It was something really different than what I experienced before in Kyrgyzstan. Houses were build on hills with narrow roads leading up to them. Everything was surrounded by greenery, streams, and beautiful (most walnut) trees. I spent only 2 days here but I would love to explore a bit more here in the future.
In Sary Chelek we found beautiful turquoise lakes with wild flowers everywhere, crystal clear little streams and so much green everywhere. It felt like yet another country right there in Kyrgyzstan. The road leading up to Sary Chelek was already very scenic, with hills full of green reminding me of Tuscany in Italy. No wonder Sary Chelek is a popular destination for a few days of holiday amongst locals. A canyon that takes your breath away leads up to a dirt road that looks like you’re going through a rainforest.
For this trip I also decided to photograph and tell a bit of story about the locals I met at guesthouses and homestays along with the atmosphere. Tourism is upcoming in Kyrgyzstan but is still in a starting phase, especially in the south. It’s great to see how locals are caring so much about the visitors. You will always have a warm welcome, often from a whole family. They’re taking great care of you and cooking great food! The start of tourism causes them to invest a bit in new ‘technology’. Jacob for example, proudly showed me his ‘luxurious’ shower while Husmidin in Arslanbob had wifi and a modern toilet, something he was also really proud of.
At the beginning of my trip I also received an official certificate or appreciation from the Minister of Tourism in Kyrgyzstan. I was honored to receive this and it motivates me to promote the country even more and explore new places. Thanks to everyone in Kyrgyzstan, the people I stayed with, the family of my girlfriend Bermet, and my great friends at Visit Karakol. I couldn’t have done it without them. And thanks to all the locals for their great support! I’ll be back soon!
This photo series is a combination of landscapes and storytelling shots. With each photo there is a brief explanation about the shot. They’re posted in chronological order (except the first few) from where my trip started.
An aerial shot of Peak Lenin (7100m+). Look closely on the left and you can see the yurt camp where we stayed a few nights. This was definitely the highlight of my trip to the south. We had a wide variety of weather conditions here as well with snow, sun, storms etc. Typical mountain weather.
During the night of our arrival at the Peak Lenin base camp it started to snow and within an hour everything was completely white. I quickly went outside and took a bunch of photos of the amazing atmosphere that happened.
A telephoto shot of our driver Atilet on a horse with the huge Peak Lenin as a backdrop. The small creature looking at the horse is a Kirghiz dog . This dog followed this horse everywhere as apparently they grew up together in the mountains.
A beautiful morning in Arslanbob. It took 2 days for these peaks to show themselves as we had a lot of rain during our stay here. Arslanbob is a beautiful village in the south of Kyrgyzstan with not only beautiful mountains but it also has the biggest walnut forest in the world.
In Kyrgyzstan you can find impressive mountains literally anywhere. This is a photo of a peak at the Kojo-Kelen valley valley. This is a popular place for trekkers and you can walk over the high mountains pass here to the other side. We only spent 1 day here and tried to make the most out of it although the weather was not great. But we still had a great time and explored some paths in the mountains.
The Peak Lenin area has many little lakes and pools which are amazing for reflections.
This morning quite some snow fell especially on the peaks around peak Lenin. The first sunlight casts a golden glow on the landscape. Later that day, a lot of snow already melted.
On that particular frosty morning I really loved how the little wildflowers looked. The color of these flowers popped in contrast with the icy grass and leaves. I love mornings like this.
Another atmospheric image of the snowy blue hour at peak Lenin.
You could easily walk to Tulpar Kol (Kol means lake) from the Peak Lenin basecamp. Tulpar Kol is the biggest lake in the area. Often storms pass by that look impressive.
It was really a surreal sight when the landscape suddenly turned completely white. At that time I was staying in my comfortable warm yurt. But looking outside triggered me to go out there!
That next morning we woke up for sunrise and photographed around the puddles. The snowy mountains reflected beautifully in the still waters.
The beautiful frosty morning also looked great from up close.
An abstract close up from a mountain next to peak Lenin.
Peak Lenin yurt camp on the early morning after the snow.
First light hitting the landscape while flying high above the peak Lenin area. This is the other side pointing away from the peaks. You can see the wall of 5000+ mountains in the background.
Another aerial shot of another sunrise at the peak Lenin area. From here you can see all of the little pools, lakes and hills mountains in the background and a sea of clouds below.
A photographer standing in front of the snowcapped mountains and hills to show the scale of the landscape.
There was a another huge red mountains right next to the yurt camp (see closely on the right). This one really reminded me of the Icelandic highlands.
Flying my drone in this area every time was really a joy. I almost lot it in a storm but luckily managed to get it back in the snow. Note that I couldn’t really charge batteries in the yurts because there was no power. But the car charger and the strong battery of our SUV helped me a lot here :)
I spent a day horse riding in the area. This horse and Kirghiz dog were always together. dog was following the horse everywhere. Apparently they grew up together. More on this in the next shot.
A portrait shot of this Kirghiz mountain dog. It’s a sighthound breed originated from Kyrgyzstan named Tairan. This amazing breed is perfectly adapted for the alpine regions in the Tian Shan mountain range. This particular dog walked with us for more than 6 hours and followed us everywhere. It had a very calm personality and seemed to really enjoy the mountains.
On the way to Lenin Peak we would see this massive wall of mountains from the Pamir range.
An aerial shot of Sary-Tash with the Pamir mountains in the background. We quickly visited this village before driving off into the mountains for peak Lenin. This village is located at 3170m and has a population of around 1500 people. It’s very interesting to see how the people live in this village. High altitude has a strong effect on health and living duration.
An old woman that I met in the local cafe of Sary-Tash. She didn’t speak English my local friends could translate. You would think this woman’s age is between 80 and 90 but her real age is only 60 years old! This comes from living all her live at an altitude of more than 3000 meters. It has a big effect on ageing and people generally don’t get much older than 70.
Exploring the Sary-Tash and Sary-Mogul villages brings you back in time. This is a photo of an old traditional kyrghiz man taking care of his cattle by riding on a donkey with the Pamir peaks in the background.
I really liked this scene near Sary-Mogul where a horseman was running with these 2 donkeys, looks like a parent with a baby donkey. I’m not sure why they were running around like this. Maybe they were training? Maybe locals could explain. The scene itself looked great
Life in Sary Mogul. Sary Mogul is located next to Sary Tash and is another village at a high altitude where we passed on our visit to peak Lenin (you can see the mountain range as a backdrop). I walked around a bit and photographed the local atmosphere along with some of the people. The lifestyle here is very simple and it’s like going back in time.
Locals doing their thing in Sary Mogul.
I asked some locals if I could photograph them with my extremely basic Kirghiz language skills. They always agreed and if you like portrait photography you’re in for a treat in these villages. Beautiful both men and woman with old wrinkly faces you can find a lot here. And they wear really traditional clothing. The south is like that, different compared to the rest of the country. The hat you see is the traditional Kirghiz hat. It has different versions for age.
After visiting the peak Lenin area we went to Kojo-Kelen valley y with is located on the other side of the huge mountain range of Sary-Tash and Sary Mogul. It takes a long way to get there driving on dirt mountain roads. From here you can trek to the other side of the mountains in a few days. A trek that is probably amazing but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to do so as we only visited this place for 1 day. The scenery in this place is amazing. Huge peaks, canyons, streams and flowers are a paradise for a landscape photographer.
I spend a good time photographing these little streams with all kinds of flowers around it.
During our stay in the Kojo-Kelen valley we quite some rain and moody weather which allowed me to focus on details. This was taken at 300mm+ of a huge rock surrounded by low clouds.
Another detailed shot of the low clouds hugging the rocks and trees in Kojo-Kelen valley.
Meet Jacob, the host of our homestay in Kojo-Kelen village. He is one of the few, if not the only one who owns a guesthouse here and is receiving tourists. Staying at a homestay in Kyrgyzstan is always amazing. People are very warm and welcoming and will take great care of you and cook you great food! We actually stayed in a yurt in Jacob’s garden, right next to a water stream. So relaxing to hear the fresh streaming water from the mountains during my sleep in the yurt.
You can see the start of Kirghiz tourism right here. According to Jacob, last year 400 tourists stayed at his place. Mainly trekkers that were staying there 1 night before they would cross the mountain pass. From his statistics he expects to get 1000 tourists this year. Other small guest houses will also be starting to offer services to tourists and its beautiful to see the tourism develop in the south. Jacob was very proud of his modern shower, but didn’t have a modern toilet (A modern toilet is not common in the Kirghiz country-side. The toilet is usually a little hut outside which has a hole in the ground).
Jacob has 7 kids, 5 girls and 2 boys. There’s always a lot of family around and we could meet some of his sons, daughters and grand kids. It is quite usual for Kirghiz people to have a lot of kids.
While we slept outside in the yurt, this was the inside of Jacobs house. Bright colours, no beds, but sleeping on pillows and mats is usual here.
One of Jacob’s sons who I portrayed inside the house.
A detailed shot of all of the blankets and mats that were used for sleeping inside the hourse. I really love the traditional color palette here.
Three generations in 1 picture here. Jacob’s wife (left, Turtakan), daughter (right, Rahia) and grandson Sidaytulla (and in the background one of his grand daughters). They were all happy to pose for pictures.
Another grandson of Jacob who was helping around around the house.
Jacobs wife Turtakan inside the house. Notice the complimentary color palette. The people in the south often dress up nice and the colours of the house matched here.
A detail from the housing outside after the rain.
After visiting Kojo-Kelen valley we drove to Arslanbob. I always love to fly my drone above the surreal landscapes of Kyrgyzstan. Turquoise lakes with interesting landscapes around allow me to go for some abstract top down-drone shots.
Arslanbob is known for its big walnut forest. Its the biggest walnut forest in the world and looks beautiful in early summer with flowers everywhere. This is an area we really have to protect, as I came to know that the walnut forest is not doing that great. Its being over harvested and cattle is ruining the new plants. This is something I would like to point out here and hope will be addressed in the near future.
This forest reminded me a bit of the beautiful forests we have in the Netherlands. I really didn’t know that Kyrgyzstan had forests like this and it’s in big contrast with the rest of the country. Everything in this area was very green, a lot like Europe. The village is built on a hill with narrow dirt roads leading you up to the top of the village. The village is surrounded by huge peaks where you can hike for days.
I found some lakes that reflected the peaks in the background of the village. These peaks took 2 days to show themselves as we had a lot of rainy weather during our visit. But on this beautiful morning, the day we left, we were rewarded for our efforts of keep trying.
The same place after sunrise.
A close up shot of the peaks taken the day before. They were constantly hugged by clouds and would only show themselves once in every while.
During our stay in Arslanbob we stayed at Husmidin’s (portrayed) guesthouse. Husmidin proudly showed us his modern toilet, shower and he even had wifi. Staying here was again a great experience. As Arslanbob is famous for its walnut forest, Husmidin makes all kinds of things from the walnuts. He made walnut cake every day (delicious) but also had walnut wine! According to him, he was the only one making walnut wine and honestly, the taste was not bad at all.
A close up shot of the entrance of the guesthouse. It’s common to remove your shoes in houses you enter.
Jacob’s sister helping around the house. Dressed up wearing beautiful Kirghiz clothing.
As usual there were a lot of family and kids in and around the house. Here’s one of Jacob’s sons.
Another son of Jacob. This guy had model potential! Always looked amazing in front of the camera.
After Arslanbob we drove further north to Sary-Chelek. Sary Chelek is popular amongst local tourists and it is no wonder why. It’s again different than the rest of the country with a lot of green with the combination of turquoise lakes. It reminded me a bit of Europe. On our first day (pictured here) we had a lot of moody weather but it cleared up after that.
A top down shot showing the amazing colours in Sary Chelek. Turquoise water combined with green scenery around.
An abstract telephoto sunlight hitting the trees and the lake.
Light peaking through the clouds hitting just that one tree. Taken at 400mm.
The road leading up to Sary Chelek went through green hills that reminded me of Tuscany (Italy).
A top down shot of the low sun hitting the trees.
We drove all the way from Osh to Bishkek with these stops in between. On the way back to Bishkek we drove through high valleys with flowers, horses and show capped peaks. Simply amazing scenery to see.
And occasionally you will find some amazing canyons in contract with the rest of the landscape. This is just one of them that looked great from the sky with all kinds of different colours and rock shapes.
Although not really considered the south, I went to visit Son-Kul for the second time just beause it’s so beautiful. Son-Kul is a huge mountain lake located at an altitude of 3000m+ . This is an extremely wide flat area surrounded by huge mountains. You really have to go there yourself to taste the atmosphere. On the day of arrival there was not a lot of wind allowing for some nice reflections.
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Albert Dros by Albert Dros - 2M ago
Every year close to 1.5 million tourists visit the famous dutch flower garden 'de Keukenhof'. This garden is beautiful, but the real beauty can be seen on the endless tulip fields on the country side. As a local I love to shoot the tulips again every year. I can always find new angles and new conditions to shoot. It’s very addicting. Here’s a series of pictures and a short film that I took during this year’s season.
Fun fact: the fields are not at the exact location every year. Why? You can’t grow the same flower 2 years in a row so the fields always slightly change. This year we had some beautiful fields perfectly lined up with windmills, making it possible to finally get some of my dream tulip shots.
This short film was shot in the season of 2019 in areas of North Holland and Flevoland:
Tips for photographing the tulips:
Use a wide variety of lenses from very wide (14mm) to extreme zooms and fast primes. You can really photograph the tulips in so many different ways.I love shooting wide and getting very close and low to the tulips. With the help of focus stacking I get everything in focus from front to back. This can be tricky when it’s windy.Increase your ISO a bit when you’re shooting the tulips with a sunset, especially when it’s windy. They easily get unsharp when shooting with a high f-stop.Look for out of the ordinary tulips and photograph them with a zoom or macro lens with soft focus. Try to match the sky with the colours of the tulips. In tulip fields you often have lots of tulips to choose from so you can match them up with the sky using a complimentary color palette.Drones are amazing these days. Shooting top down allows you to get some beautiful abstract shots.Try portrait orientation sometimes. It allows you to get more depth into an image.
These shots were all shot during this year’s tulip season.
The photography tourism is increasing rapidly over the years. A few years ago there were hardly any people in the country side but especially this year I noticed it was getting crowded. People from all over the world come to see and photograph our tulips. It’s highly important that everyone is very careful with the flowers. Don’t take them, don’t crush them. If a field is fences, don’t cross the fence. They’re simple rules but lots of people today do anything to take a selfie. All the above shots were taken on fields from local farmers that I personally know.
Special thanks to Marcel van der Gulik and Peter van der Peet and all the growers of Polderpride. This wouldn't have been possible without their support!
Gear used:
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Albert Dros by Albert Dros - 2M ago
People that know me know I love to shoot with extreme wide angles. Lately I have been experimenting with shooting at 10mm full frame. Shooting at 10mm is like shooting in another world. Because of the distortion on on the edges you automatically get an effect that kind of sucks you into the image. Foreground elements get extremely big, and clouds in the sky automatically point to the center.
This is not for everyone, but I love using this distortion to my advantage. I shot a bunch of images to show the effect of 10mm on a full frame body. Some tips when shooting with extreme wide angles:
First of all, get extremely low to the ground. Small things like little rocks or lines get extremely big on the foreground when using extreme wide angles.Walk around with your camera at a much lower level than normal and constantly look through your viewfinder (or in my case liveview, with a tilted screen), to see how the distortion affects the image. Small steps left and right, or putting your camera just a bit higher or lower, has a huge effect on the final image. Centimeters can make or break an image composition wise.Use cloudy skies to your advantage. They look epic with with super wide angle lenses.Shoot vertical for an even more extreme effect.
Using an extreme wide angle will give your creativity a boost, especially as wide as 10mm. It’s a whole new way of photographing and I can recommend it to everyone who likes to get creative in landscapes or architecture photography.
Note: Some people think extremely wide is automatically a fisheye. This is not the case. Fisheye lenses have an entirely different lens structure that causes then to distort in a circular way. A 12mm full frame fisheye is actually wider (but distorted) than a normal 10mm full frame, so keep that in mind.
These shots were done with the 10-18mm Laowa on the Sony A7RIII.
Other extreme wide angles are:
- New 10mm Samyang f/3.5 (just announced, not released yet, Canon/Nikon).
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I remember when I just started out with photography I would use external hard drives drives to save the biggest amount of my data on. I’m sure most of you reading have been there (or are still in this phase). The drive got full -> I would get another drive and because of technology and price, this one was often bigger but eventually, it would also run out of space. At some point I had a bunch of external hard drives with different sizes from different brands, each one with labels on what was on there. And from time to time I would need to get back to an old photo or video and I would have to find it on one of the old drives. At that time I didn’t even care about backups. I wasn’t really a professional and I had some drives crash and lost files. This was life.
At some point I decided this was not working well anymore. I remember back in the days I was always checking articles and doing research on what would be the best way to handle storage and backups as a photographer. There are tons of articles out there with a lot of information, but I tried to keep this one as simple as possible. Nowadays I have a reliable storage and back up system and in this article I am going to explain what works for me. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other options or that my way is the best. This is simply my workflow and a workflow that has worked for me over the years of being a professional photographer.
I work with decently high megapixel cameras with my main workhorse being the Sony A7RIII. Raw images are around 50 mb (compressed raws, if I shoot uncompressed they’re sometimes more than double). I often travel and when I come home I often transfer over 500gb of files from my travel laptop / storage back to my main storage. I currently have way over 15tb of photos and videos. For me, the most important things about store are:
Speed: I edit directly from my storage device. This means it needs to have an interface as fast as possible. I often work with files that are bigger than 1gb each (psd files with a lot of layers). Storage being able to handle these files at a decent speed is very important for me. Therefore I need drives with decent speed, and a fast interface to communicate with my workstation at home, currently an iMac 5k 2018 with 32gb DDR and 1 tb SSD storage.
Reliability: My main workstation is on for around 24/7. The storage is being used every day for extended periods of time. Being reliable is important for me. Even though I have back ups in place, it’s still important that the device I use is reliable including the hard drives. If anything crashes it still takes time to fix/replace.
Expandability: Like I mentioned earlier: it doesn’t work well to just keep buying new external hard drives and throw the old ones somewhere in your garage. Being a creative professional you start to work with bigger and bigger amounts of files and data. More often than not do you need to access old projects for clients. As a photographer I often sell licenses from very old photos. I need to be able to access those quickly. If I run out of space, there needs to be an easy and fast way to expand.
My workflow
Structure
I arrange my photos by date and location. My directory structure is as follows: year -> month -> date/location. This way I can always easily find my photos. I catalogue them in Lightroom with keywords so that I can always find old photos in a very easy way. Every time I come back from a shoot, I would make a new directly with the photos named date/location in my current month and simply update my Lightroom catalogue to add them in there.
Storage Device
So what exactly do I mean with a storage device? A storage device is simply a device that handles your storage. It’s not just a hard drive that you need to replace when it’s full. A smart storage device takes hard drives and combines their capacity together as one. So you can increase the total capacity by adding more hard drives. These devices have a lot of advantages compared to normal external hard drives. The main advantage is that you can easily upgrade your storage by adding more drives into the device. They also often have smart functions, their own processor to speed things up, own software, backup options etc. There are a lot of storage devices and brands out there. I use devices from a brand called Drobo.
Disclaimer: Although I have been using Drobo devices for a number of years, I recently became a Drobo ambassador. This does not affect anything written in this article. Your choice of storage device is entirely up to you and there’s a lot of research and articles out there comparing different brands and different kinds of storage devices.
What I like about Drobo is the ease of use, the speed and reliability. And it’s very easily expandable. I have been using the DAS systems of Drobo (direct attached storage). I prefer DAS over NAS. Because with DAS you directly connect your storage device to your workstation. With fast usb ports or currently Thunderbolt 3 this is simply faster than NAS storage. Working and editing photos and videos directly works much better from a device directly attached. There are a lot of other options next to Drobo, but Drobo simply works great for me because of the things mentioned above.
I currently use the 8D with 7 drives. It can take 8 in total. If it runs full it will give me a warning and I simply put an extra drive in it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same brand or capacity than what’s already in there. You just put the drive and the device will do the rest. This is what I like about systems: simplicity. When I have the maximum amount of drives in it (like in my older Drobo 5Dt), I can remove a smaller sized drive and replace that with a much bigger sized hard drive and again, the Drobo device will do everything. I don’t need to shift files or anything. Everything is been done automatically on the device. This is another great advantage of having a smart storage device.
Hard Drives
This is a tricky one. Regarding hard drives I need speed. The speed of interfaces is so fast nowadays that hard drives simply can’t keep up. To get the fastest speeds we could get SSD drives, but getting 20tb SSD can be pricy. Also, SSDs are not built for 24/7 usage. You would think they would be more reliable than normal hard drives because they don’t have spinning parts, but NAS and DAS systems operate drives almost 24/7. SSDs are not built for that, or at least not yet. So I would currently not recommend having only SSDs in your storage device, but this will probably change soon. I currently use Seagate Irongate hard drives. They’re decently fast and are built to run 24/7 in these storage systems. Another nice thing is that they have lifetime warranty, so if they die you simply replace them for free.
Drobo with detached front, 7/8 bays in use
Backup
If one of your drives crashes, you’re screwed. This is the nightmare of every creative professional so having good backups is a must. I would recommend backing up your stuff in different locations. Lots of storage devices have backup options in them via a wide variety of RAID systems, so has my Drobo device. I can easily set it up to automatically backup my files. When 1 drive in them crashes, it will automatically rebuild the files on the space that is left on the devices. Then I simply replace the drive and everything is fine again. This gives me a great feeling of safety. But it’s not enough. What if my house burns down or what if my whole house gets robbed? You need a backup in an extra place. I would recommend backing up data in the cloud. I use Backblaze myself (not sponsored in any way). I love simplicity and back blaze offers just that. You can select what to backup in a few steps and Backblaze will run in the background, uploading all your files into the cloud. It costs 8$ per month for unlimited storage. I have about 12tb backed up in the cloud.
If you don’t have a fast internet connection backup up large amounts of data can take months if not years. If you don’t back up on the cloud I would recommend having a physical backup at another place than your main office or house, at someone of your family for example.
The simple interface of Backblaze
Summary:
The following diagram shows my current workflow setup.
When I come back from a shoot, I simply copy all my files onto my storage device (2). This often goes with 500gb+ at once after a trip, so speed is really a thing here.
The storage device is directly connected to my workstation via Thunderbolt (3) to have optimal interface speed for fast data transfers
The Drobo (2) already has a backup function built in, so I am safely protected against a simple hard disk failure.
But incase of a whole device failure, robbery or fire I have my files completely backup in the cloud via (4) Backblaze (not sponsored). To recover my files I can simply download them. This will take a long time for someone with a slower connection, so Backblaze also offers to send hard drives with the data on it. A nice function. Fortunately I never had to recover anything from Backblaze yet, but the feeling of having my files safe is very important.
So as you can see the workflow and system I use is not very complex. It’s straight forward and simple, mainly because of the devices and tools I use. It’s important to note that good storage devices and services cost money. But fast & safe data is very important so I would definitely recommend to invest in a workflow that works best for you. The most important parts are a proper storage device and cloud backup. This makes sure your files are always easy to access and properly backed up.
To close this article I would like to emphasize that Photography is my full-time job and so I prefer to invest in a robust storage solution. The brands I pick work for me but that doesn’t mean other brands can’t do the same job. It’s entirely up to your preference and how much money you want to spend. But having all of your photos and videos in a safe place is important for everyone.
Feel free to ask me any questions.
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Everyone knows that Iceland has amazing landscapes throughout the whole country. But Iceland doesn’t only look beautiful from the ground. It also looks incredible from the sky. On a recent flight I had the opportunity to expand my aerial portfolio and focused on mostly top down images. Photographing top down is not easy. The landscapes look completely different than you’re used to. It’s like seeing a whole new world. New views go by every second and you have to be quick to capture them properly. All these top down views really look like paintings, hence the name of this series.
Rivers, ground textures, valleys, they all look very different from a top down perspective. The advantage of using a plane is that you can quickly fly everywhere and your perspective is much higher as opposed to using a drone.
Special thanks to Haraldur aka Volcanopilot for being a great pilot!
Swirling glacial rivers
Flying next to the Icelandic coast with interesting textures in the water. The colour of the water almost looks like its tropical here.
This flight was late autumn with lots of autumn red covering the valleys.
Top down abstract of the bottom of a wide river. The bottom texture looks like blue flames.
Simple top down view of the waves on the black of the Icelandic beach. The black sand with the white waves makes up for a great contrast.
Different colours of different mud and glacier streams coming together out of the mountains.
Sunlight hitting the greens in a valley in the Icelandic Highlands.
A river formed like a snake finding its way into the ocean.
An abstract view from the bottom of a glacier stream. I can spend hours taking pictures like this. They all look like paintings.
Harsh light on a bunch of streams. It looks like they’re forming the roots of a tree.
Another close up abstract in the form of an arrowhead or an organ. Whatever you want to make of it!
The autumn red combined with the blue of the rivers make for a beautiful complimentary color palette.
Black & White abstract of river flows.
Rivers along the coastal areas with lots of different textures combined. It looks like a water painting.
Big rivers mounting into smaller streams. The excerpts are like organisms on their own.
Gear used:
Sony A7RIII
Sony 16-35GM
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
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During the biggest super moon of the year (today, the 19th of February 2019) I took the opportunity to photograph it close to my house in Amsterdam. I also shot it the day before the full supermoon (18th of February, 2019. The photos from yesterday actually turned out better because there were beautiful thin mystical clouds hanging around and over the moon. This just gave that extra magic touch to the photos of that day.
Supermoon right behind the cross on top of the St. Nicolas church in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Shot at 800A bit of a wider shot at 450mm with the moon right in between the 2 towers of the church.
A bit of a wider shot at 450mm with the moon right in between the 2 towers of the church.
Also, when I already had the shots I wanted I could go during todays' morning and shoot something different: video. Here's a video sequence I did this morning. I really like the birds and planes flying in front of the moon!
Gear used:
Sony A7RIII with 100-400 GM and 2x extender
Photoclam tripod
Benro Gearhead for small adjustments (a gear head is great for this kind of usage).
For an article about planning, check the 'related article' with this post :)
Cheers!
Albert
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Albert Dros by Albert Dros - 4M ago
Everyone knows that Iceland has amazing landscapes throughout the whole country. But Iceland doesn’t only look beautiful from the ground. It also looks incredible from the sky. On a recent flight I had the opportunity to expand my aerial portfolio and focused on mostly top down images. Photographing top down is not easy. The landscapes look completely different than you’re used to. It’s like seeing a whole new world. New views go by every second and you have to be quick to capture them properly. All these top down views really look like paintings, hence the name of this series. Rivers, ground textures, valleys, they all look very different from a top down perspective. The advantage of using a plane is that you can quickly fly everywhere and your perspective is much higher as opposed to using a drone.
Special thanks to Haraldur aka Volcanopilot for being a great pilot!
Swirling glacial rivers
Flying next to the Icelandic coast with interesting textures in the water. The colour of the water almost looks like its tropical here.
This flight was late autumn with lots of autumn red covering the valleys.
Top down abstract of the bottom of a wide river. The bottom texture looks like blue flames.
Simple top down view of the waves on the black of the Icelandic beach. The black sand with the white waves makes up for a great contrast.
Different colours of different mud and glacier streams coming together out of the mountains.
Sunlight hitting the greens in a valley in the Icelandic Highlands.
A river formed like a smoke finding its way into the ocean.
An abstract view from the bottom of a glacier stream. I can spend hours taking pictures like this. They all look like paintings.
Harsh light on a bunch of streams. It looks like they’re forming the roots of a tree.
Another close up abstract in the form of an arrowhead or an organ. Whatever you want to make of it!
The autumn red combined with the blue of the rivers make for a beautiful complimentary color palette.
Black & White abstract of river flows.
Rivers along the coastal areas with lots of different textures combined. It looks like a water painting.
Big rivers mounting into smaller streams. The excerpts are like organisms on their own.
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I have been in Venice a long time ago and all I could remember were the crazy crowds. No wonder, I visited in summer. Last weekend I decided to visit Venice in winter with my girlfriend. People were saying ‘why Venice? It’s not the season.’ But that’s exactly the point. I thought that visiting in Venice would be smart to avoid all the crowds, and I was right.
My weekend in Venice was great! We had all kinds of weather ranging from clear skies and sunny to extreme rain (even some floods in the streets) and fog. Lots of different conditions to photograph which made things interesting. But, as I expected, almost no people! So here are a few reasons why winter is a great time to visit Venice, especially for photography.
Almost no people. Especially during sunrise and sunset you won’t see anyone. I was even alone at the most popular location to shoot sunrise from: The Accademia bridge. There was literally no one but me. During the day there were some people at the popular squares, but no one in the back alleys. It was amazing to walk around so ‘free’.A lot of variety in weather. Honestly, I love photographing cities like Venice when it rains. All the reflections give a magic atmosphere to the city. It gives a romantic mood that I love to capture. We also had a foggy day that allowed me to capture some images with a different unique mood. And a day of full sun. To captures the beautiful little alleys grey days are actually great as the light is very soft and you won’t get harsh shadows. This makes it perfect for capturing the details in the little streets. A thing I love to do.Hotel prices are generally cheaper in winter because its off-season. So you can get a hotel in a nice central location for a bargain.You can see how the city lives. I saw the locals go about their day. I learned to recognise little cafes and bars that the locals would go and learned where to go for authentic food. I saw kids going to school in the centre of Venice. I saw the merchants selling their goods on the streets. I didn’t see all this in summer when the city was packed with tourists.
I strongly believe to experience the true beauty and romance of Venice, you should go off-season with winter being the best season. Sure it’s cold! But it’s magical! Here are a bunch of images I shot over the long weekend
I love exploring random alleys in Venice. You can find beauty literally everywhere with all the little streets and canals. Here’s a canal with bridge during blue hour.
Girlfriend standing in the rain. All the reflection and water gives it a magical atmosphere.
An extremely foggy afternoon giving some unique photo opportunities. The grand canal is pretty quiet in winter.
The rain really gives live to these little squares. No idea why people are hanging up laundry when its raining though, I saw that a lot.
Blue hour in Venice is magical. Pick your street, canal and start shooting. Fun fact: this tower is not straight!
Some of the little canals look straight out of a fairytale.
The foggy atmosphere during one afternoon allowed for some unique photo opportunities. Here I did a long exposure to get a nice clean look to the image.
View from the famous Academia Bridge. The sun rises on the right of the famous Santa Maria Basilica. I didn’t get a spectacular sunrise but the beautiful soft light coming from the side made up for it.
Burano, a little village that you reach by boat about an hour away from Venice is a must-visit if you like colourful houses. After sunset almost everybody left so I had this place almost for myself.
A good example of what rain does to the atmosphere. I really liked the look of this little street with that single light illuminating like you’re supposed to enter.
During our sunny day we took a gondola ride. Sure they’re expensive but its a nice experience especially if almost no one is on the canals! And you can take some typical ‘Instagram’ pictures ;) Or just enjoy it with your loved one.
I just cannot get enough of these little bridges between the canals.
A nice sky above the beautiful little Burano village that has these cute colourful houses. Because of the rain a lot of puddles formed on the boulevard. I used them to get some reflection shots.
Pick your favourite color and shoot away. In Burano there is a color for everyone.
Burano during blue hour. Note that that tower is also not straight. It seems thats normal in Italy.
A starry night in Venice. When I was walking on the famous Accademia bridge during the night to my surprise I saw lots of stars. I took some shots and was surprised how much I could see and that the light pollution was fairly low.
This foggy day made interesting light conditions in the little streets around the canals.
An abstract shot of a colourful wall in Burano.
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Albert Dros by Albert Dros - 6M ago
2018 has been a great year! With many decent images, trips and interesting conditions in my own country I tried to round it up to 10 images which was definitely not easy. Upon seeing these images again I actually thought they were taken much longer ago. Time sure flies these days!
Highlight of the year was definitely visiting Kyrgyzstan for a month with my girlfriend. Seeing the beauty of her homeland and her family was amazing. I can't wait to go back there and explore more of the country.
When looking at my selection of images for 2018 I noticed that again there are quite some shots of my own country The Netherlands. After all these years I still managed to take some shots that were high on my list for a long time, like the windmill fog shot and my favourite tulip shot ever! We have had some insane weather in The Netherlands this year with an 'ice age' , frozen canals in Amsterdam, droughts and an exceptional colorful autumn.
In the end there's a healthy mix of photos both from my homeland and other countries.
I hope 2019 is going to be as good as this one :)
Peak Yeltsin near Karakol Kyrgyzstan, summer 2018. Full series can be seen here.
Windmills above the fog taken early spring 2018. I had envisioned this shot for a long time and the conditions finally came together this year. Full series of that morning on Boredpanda.
One of my favourite aurora shots ever with the famous Kirkjufell and an aurora that looks like a gate to space! This technical shot is a 3 row vertical panorama with the bottom row focus stacked of 6 shots. Shot winter 2018.
My favourite aerial ever: a riverbed in Iceland as seen from a plane.
This top 10 can't be complete without a curvy road :) I found this one in autumn 2018. For the full autumn series, please go here.
Spring 2018: A cold morning with some fog creating a magical atmosphere. A shot I had been wanting for a long time! This one is taken very close up to the tulips and focus stacked of about 5 shots. There was no wind so the tulips did not move much. Full tip series can be seen here.
An eagle flying over the peaks of Al Archa in Kyrgyzstan, summer 2018
An extremely cold winter in February with wind chill temperatures of -20. This particular morning was so crazy cold but the shots were worth it. The Netherlands was a frozen wonderland early 2018 with some amazing photo opportunities. Full series here.
Ala Kul Lake in Kyrgyzstan, taken summer 2018. This glacier lake is close to 4000m in altitude. It's one of the most beautiful little lakes I've ever seen.
This shot proves to me that even from iconic locations we can still take 'original' images, or at least I haven't seen a shot like this before until early 2018. I personally love this one because of the golden light hitting the waves. The sea was very rough here, taken winter 2018 in Iceland.
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This autumn has been exceptionally beautiful in the Netherlands. Because of the interesting weather earlier this year with the extreme droughts we experienced the trees are extremely colourful during the autumn period of this year. Trees that normally wouldn’t even turn yellow or reddish are now beautifully gold. The end of this year’s autumn is near and I feel that it has been one of the most beautiful autumns ever! Even in the neighbourhood around my house you could see golden trees everywhere.
Photographing in the forest is one of the most difficult forms of landscape photography if you want to do it well. It is also extremely rewarding. The light changes every minute so every minute new compositions pop up. You’re basically chasing the light nonstop. This combined with looking in the distance for compositions with your telephoto, and also having to look close for potential wide angle shots (very difficult in the forest) makes it very challenging. Photographing in the forest is also a great exercise! The other day I spent close to 6 hours just walking around, exploring and taking photos.
This collection is a mixture of just some walking and biking around near my house and visiting some local forests. Yes, the Netherlands has some amazing forests that you can get lost in. I tried to get some variety in these series with my signature shots of curvy roads, the classic sun rays shots, but also some intimate and low keys shots from small elements in the forest. This along with some extreme wide-angle shots taken at 12mm creates some diversity and shows how much different stuff can be shot in the forest. And I didn’t even take macro shots!
These photos were all taken in just 1 week
On one of the mornings Sony joined me to make a video of me photographing in the forest with the Sony A7RIII and the Sony 100-400 GM lens. Feel free to check it out here:
Gear used:
Sony A7RIII
Sony 100-400 GM
Sony 12-24 G
Tamron 70-200
Hope you enjoyed watching these!
Albert
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