Category Archives: Netherlands

Royal Seats Of Amsterdam

Royal Seats, Amsterdam

While touring the Royal Palace in Amsterdam you pass behind the famous balcony on which royals greet the public in Dam Square. These chairs sit in the hallway behind the balcony, and presumably are where said royals wait before heading outside for the special occasion.

After I took this shot I wondered what that must feel like, what they might be thinking as they sit on these chairs. Do they look upon each engagement as a burden, a chore or a privilege? Is living a life prescribed to you from birth easy? I imagine not.

I loved the amazing blue here, which I have since noticed is very similar to the colour used by the Dutch national airline KLM. I suspect it’s not a coincidence, but I have no idea. Maybe someone out there knows the answer?!

To give the colour a bit more emphasis I decided to make the rest of the image black and white. Fortunately it was pretty easy in Lightroom. I just had to decrease the saturation for every colour other than blue to zero.


In The Shadow Of A Palace

Grand Palace, Amsterdam

I really struggled to capture the presence of the Grand Palace in Amsterdam. Occupying one end of the popular Dam Square it must be almost impossible to get a shot during the day without a whole bunch of people in it. I quickly decided I’d have to try some different angles.

Generally I find it hard to photograph large, monumental buildings like this. It’s very difficult to translate that feeling of standing beneath them in an image. But I was pretty happy with the composition of this shot, and think it conveys a good sense of the looming inevitability of such grand architecture.

I did feel that it was lacking some impact in colour. Along with a boost to the clarity I used the “Antique” preset in Lightroom to bring out the details and provide a bit more contrast.

The Circle Of Light

Chandelier, Royal Palace, Amsterdam

Admiring the wonderful halls and decorated rooms of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam there’s one thing that really stands out – the incredible chandeliers. Not only is each and every one enormous, but they’re fantastically ornate as well. If you like chandeliers, this is definitely the place to go!

Getting a chandelier shot that I was happy with proved pretty difficult. Because they are so intricate I think you lose something in the amount of detail that’s present. Looking back at most of my shots I found them a bit overwhelming. I was searching for something simpler, so I decided to try looking directly up at one.

Since I was shooting handheld this was really quite tricky! Lining myself up with the centre of the chandelier, ensuring my camera was level whilst leaning my head back as close to 90˚ as I could manage was a bit of a dark art. I almost fell backwards a number of times! And whilst my final shot isn’t perfect, I think it’s as close as I could have hoped for without a tripod.

Judgement Day In Amsterdam

Tribunal, Royal Palace, Amsterdam

I’m so glad we had the opportunity to visit Amsterdam again at the weekend. I came away with a completely different impression of the city, owed largely to the fantastic weather which was enjoyed by much of Western Europe over Saturday and Sunday. It also gave us the chance to see some of the sights we missed on our last trip.

This shot was taken in the Tribunal of the Royal Palace, the room in which death sentences were officially announced. Citizens of the city would watch through the windows for the verdict to be given. The room has many sculptures, but this was the most striking and emblematic of its aura.

Exploring the many rooms of the palace gave me a great opportunity to use my wide angle lens in confined spaces for the first time. I had such fantastic fun experimenting! The extra width provides a bit of distortion which makes everything feel that bit more grand and impressive. I think it’s the first time I’ve come back from a trip and been really quite pleased with my indoor shots!

Have you ever re-visited a place and left with a totally different impression? Have you visited the Royal Palace? Maybe you enjoy using a wide angle lens too? I’d love to hear from you!

Photo of the Week: Amsterdam

Quartier Putain, Red Light District, Amsterdam

Amsterdam – it’s a strange place. On the one hand I absolutely enjoyed wandering its canals and quaint historic streets. But I was put off this Dutch city by its red light district. It was seedy, creepy and made me feel quite uncomfortable. Perhaps more so than I have ever felt in Europe. But I’m certainly glad that I’ve been there myself to make up my own mind.

Continue reading