I’s that time to reflect again! And what a crazy year it was. I started 2020 with a bang going to Antarctica with Iceland Photo Tours. It was an incredible trip it was and looking back we were so lucky to experience this. During this trip I really got addicted to the penguins. They were so cute and funny, and so photogenic. I think I took home more than 10.000 photos of penguins.
After that, I went to Iceland with the Skylum Luminar Camp. It was awesome to have so much photographers come together and have a great time in Iceland. I always love to share my knowledge on photography and Iceland itself with other people and it was a joy to meet so many new friends. Little that I knew, it was going to be the last Phototour of the year.
Shorty after that the first signs of COVID appeared. Not knowing how serious it was I went on another very productive trip to Madeira joined by Daniel Kordan. A ‘holiday’ turned into shooting day and night shooting of the beautiful island. My goal was to photograph the Fanal forest with its famous trees, but I came home with much more than I expected. We also had incredible conditions: clear skies for the milky way, low clouds in between the mountains and just 1 day of fog and rain in the Fanal forest: enough to get the images I wanted.
Directly after that, COVID was getting serious and there were lockdowns everywhere. Luckily, we were still allowed to go outside in the Netherlands. Even though I already had a big portfolio of NL, I think I’ve never shot so many new images in my own country. The circumstances opened up new possibilities:
I was able to shoot the tulips in Amsterdam without any people
I was allowed as one of the only photographers in our famous tulip garden: The Keukenhof to make a photo series of the park without any people,
I shot the Amsterdam Canals perfectly reflecting the houses because of no boats on the canals,
Spent countless of sunrises at windmills with fog
Greatly upgraded my portfolio with new forest images in every season. Also explored many new forest locations.
Upgraded my portfolio with new foggy heather images.
Got into macro and got addicted to photographing mushrooms in autumn.
In summer, we -me and my girlfriend Bermet- were personally hit by the virus. Bermet’s mother based in Kyrgyzstan got sick, and a few weeks later passed away from COVID. She was always healthy but lost against the virus. It was the first wave that hit Kyrgyzstan and many people died because of limited healthcare and doctors not knowing how to treat the virus. It was a huge blow for us and the family. Bermet went to her family with a special flight (normal flights were not allowed) and stayed there a few months. I stayed home, in Amsterdam.
During that time I decided to finish my timelapse film ‘Amsterdam - My Home’ . I was shooting footage for it for more than 2.5 years and decided that staying at home during COVID was a good time to do the edit. I basically locked myself up inside for a few weeks and finished the project.
When travel in Europe was allowed again I went onto an assignment for Visit Austria to photograph the Steiermark Province, also known as the heart of Austria. I was happy to shoot internationally again and came home with some great pictures of the area. I really enjoyed this rather unknown part of Austria: a great combination of beautiful mountains and areas with hills and wine. Also got to spent some time in Switzerland before that with my friend Marco Grassi and made new friends with Swiss local Atilla and his friends that showed us some nice mountains. That was my last real trip and I definitely miss it.
After that I worked 24/7 on my full editing course that I released a couple of months ago. I always received many requests for something like this and I figured this was the time to finally do it. I was, and still am, overwhelmed by the success. So many people joined the course and I received so many nice responses. Thanks so much for that!
All in all 2020 was a crazy year. I am fortunate that I can get infinite energy out of photography. Good or bad times, being outside photographing makes me forget about everything else.
I hope to see some of you again in better times in 2021.
Please enjoy these photos that I all shot this year. Every photo has its own description.
Little penguin family in Antarctica. When I was there there were many baby penguins. They were just too cute.
We saw many humpback whales in Antarctica. We didn’t see sunlight often, but during these short times the sun peaked through the clouds and gave the landscape that orange glow, long with the completely silence: it was magical.
The famous Medieval gate in my town of birth: Amersfoort with a crazy sky. I suddenly found myself here at the right place, right time capturing an image I totally didn’t expect, but really loved.
Finally managed to capture some forest places in the country with the proper amount of fog. Some places were on my list for a long time but I never got the conditions I wanted.
Canals were like mirror during COVID with no boats and many swans.
We had a short autumn peak this year because of lots of days with strong wind. Even though the peak was short, it was still beautiful and gave me just 1 very foggy day to still capture images, like this one.
I was happy to find new forest locations this year with trees I didn’t even know we had in the Netherlands, like this one.
We had lots of foggy mornings this year with time to increase my forest portfolio.
I got myself a macro lens this year (Sony 90mm Macro) and got addicted to photographing mushrooms in autumn.
A classic side with a new twist: 2 locals on their little boat on a beautiful hazy morning at the famous Kinderdijk windmill park.
I tried some new things during this year’s heather season. This photo with the moon and the trees was one of my favorite captures. I planned this moonrise and executed it when the right conditions happened.
Spent some time in the south of Styria at the winefields. Very photogenic and also: great wine!
The Klafferkessel in Austria: A spectacular area with a lot of lakes and spectacular mountains.
I did lots of driving in South Styria and spent time finding little things like this church on top of a winefield.
I enjoyed visiting the Styria Provence in Austria this year. This was one of my favorite mountains when a huge storm came in and swallowed the mountains in front of me. It came with a lot of lightning and thunder. After taking this shot I had to run.
Before Austria, I spent some time in Switzerland. Here: Spectacular light hitting the Swiss mountains. I actually stayed in a little hotel here and scouted this spot. Went back there in the morning to catch the first light hitting the peaks and was not disappointed.
I also really enjoyed the picturesque fields in Switzerland. The country is not really known for it, but the green hills with the minimalistic scenery made for some beautiful images.
One of my favorite shots from one of the few trips I did this year. The swizzled mountains with a dramatic sky above it.
Then of course there was Neowise, the comet. It was definitely a hype. We could see this comet all night but it was best to shoot in evening and early morning, as at that time it was close to the horizon.
Having a limited beach portfolio from the Netherlands, I decided that I would go here a bit more during 2020. I was happy to catch this crazy sunset after chasing a storm all the way to Friesland on one of my trips.
In 2020 I also spent a lot of times wandering our forests through the seasons.
In spring, I got obsessed with the rododendrons and spent days scouting for good locations with these flowers. I mapped them all and whenever there was good light, I made sure to be there to capture it.
Loving flowers, I also enjoyed photographing the poppies. I actually enjoyed them the most from up close, like this one shot at 300+mm
Living in Amsterdam and spending a lot of time at home, allowed me to go out whenever I saw potential in the sky. This was one of those days.
The famous Vlinder in the Betuwe, one of the most beautiful windmills in the country.
During 2020 I spent much time scouting for locations. I found this forest in spring close to my home, full of wild garlic.
Yes, I shot many windmills during sunrise in 2020. This was a beautiful sunrise at a windmill up north.
One of my unexpected favourites of the year: 2 horses playing during a beautiful sunrise in the Dutch Betuwe.
I was happy to photograph this new tulip image with a tulip in the foreground that has a duo-color palette, combining with a scene with fog and windmills.
Our famous Keukenhof Garden was closed this year. But the flowers were still taken care of like every year. I was allowed to photograph the park without any people: a unique opportunity.
Tulip season was quiet: no tourists. But the tulips were beautiful as always.
The red light district in Amsterdam that is normally packed with crowds, was completely deserted.
COVID caused an empty city of Amsterdam, creating unique possibilities to shoot the tulips in the city without any people around.
The cover of my timelapse film ‘Amsterdam - My Home’ that I finally finished this year.
This year I finally managed to do a proper milky way shot with windmills in the Netherlands!
The Fanal Forest in Madeira was on my list to photograph for a long time and this year I finally managed to go and was not disappointed. These trees are unique and it seems like they are alive.
Madeira has beauty everywhere and you can see the milky way on clear nights. We shot this image at night, walking up this hiking trail standing above the clouds.
After photographing the milky way in Madeira, we stayed for sunrise and were greeted with beautiful light and low clouds.
The famous Skogafoss waterfall in Iceland, with a unique composition. Everything was frozen and I had never seen these ice bubbles here before. They were actually super small but with an extreme wide angle lens and getting close (+ focus stacking) I managed this unique composition.