Diary

(mostly) daily images ...

29th September 2022 // Opening the curtains this morning I was greeted by the sun shining through the fog onto the path in front of the house. Forgetting about the meeting at 9am, I hastily got dressed, grabbed the camera and walked down to the polders. A great way to start the day.
25th September 2022 // To Hembrug, this amazing former ammunitions dump just north of Amsterdam that's now a sort of semi-derelict group of buildings that's slowly being turned into a location for alternative workshops and the likes. It's been a regular haunt of mine for a while, really just a place to go when I am feeling lazy and uninspired. Despite the rain I managed to knock 2 hours out of it. Afterwards to NDSM (I know ...) and home at 1830. 
24th September 2022 // To Leiden, and a meal with S. We ate in this place that reminded us of all of the lounge bar in Goodfellas, all Hawaiian themed and so on, but it was a really lovely place next to this small harbour where canal cruises full of tourists were departing from.  I worked in Leiden for about five years but never really saw the place until I had left. Now that S. is living there, I really should go down more often. It's a beautiful town, like Amsterdam with canals and cutesy houses but without the mass tourism that Amsterdam suffers from. 
21st September 2022 // Out for a walk for the first time in a long time. I just couldn't be bothered. In fact, I couldn't be bothered with a lot of things, photography being one of them. But today, for reasons I must figure out and bottle for future use, I went out with the camera (the 50mm f2) and went for a walk. No classics or anything, no pictures that'll survive the end of the month cull, but I do like this one. I discovered a new trend in my landscape photography, namely using trees or whatever is around to create a natural frame, like the one here on the left. 
The weather is getting colder and it's getting darker earlier in the evening which can only mean one thing: winter is coming! 
11th September 2022 // It's been a while, I know. Not an awful lot has happened, and not a lot of photos have been taken. This one came from a quick walk to the Polder this morning - the sun was shining all hazily through the trees, so I grabbed the camera (forgetting for a minute I was still in my pyjamas) and took a few shots.
29th August 2022 // Back to work after the weekend. Monday is always slow to get going and this was no exception. A relatively quiet day, not too many meetings and so a good way to get started. I'm in the office tomorrow and Friday, when our new recruit joins the team.
In the evening I listened to Goldfrapp and Portishead.
27th August 2022 // An exercise in evening photography. I've always wanted to try something like this, especially now I've some lovely fast lenses to try it out with. This was taken not far from the house, in very low light (there was some ambient light from a lamp post just to the right of the sign) and at a high-ish ISO (I think 3200). I think it turned out rather nicely. It's amazing just how much more options RAW gives you. The JPG version of this is unusable :)
22nd August 2022 // Still need to give this guy a run-out. I bought it a few weeks ago but just have not had the time just yet to try it out. It's a fun wee thing, a sort of point and shoot but then with real, actual film.
21st August 2022 // To Den Bosch today for a family visit. I'd not been there for a few years now, so it was nice to be back there to enjoy the atmosphere (there as a funfair on) and also something called Churro, a deep-fried pastry, coated with sugar to really push it over the healthy cliffs! 
19th August 2022 // So, I did a podcast today for work. Quite exciting, but also quite scary. 
14th August 2022 // I don't remember taking this picture. I must have taken it by accident when putting the camera back in the bag prior to boarding the plane back to Amsterdam. Quite a lucky shot - it came out not too bad. I was looking through all the images from the holiday and this one came out as one of those pleasant surprises. ​​​​​​​
11th August 2022 // Back home again from our break in Ireland. I've been looking through the images I took while out there (about 2,000, I reckon) and planning to put them into some kind of blog. It's a lot of work - Portfolio is not the most user-friendly site and it's definitely not designed for a lot of text. ​​​​​​​
02 August 2022 // It's been a while, sorry. It's also been a heck of a month between one thing and another. I'm in Ireland at the moment, and I'm here for another week but hopefully when we return to the Netherlands things will settle down. ​​​​​​​
16th July 2022 // A trip to Zeeland. The airco in the car is still broken, so a 2hr journey felt like four hours in front of an open pizza oven. Pure nightmare.
14th July 2022 // A quick trip to the Zuidas, the place where I work, with the 23mm f1.4. I didn't have much of an idea of what I wanted to take pictures off - it was more a case of wanting (no, needing) to get out of the house and do something creative. The Zuidas itself is fascinating enough and the light was amazing, but the really interesting part was the neighbourhood behind the Zuidas, Buitenveldert. All flats and playgrounds it has a certain something that's hard to describe. In Dutch there's a word, "gezellig", that comes closest. ​​​​​​​
04th July 2022 // An image from a trip into Amsterdam last Saturday, the first time I've been out with the camera for some time (or, at least, images worth showing). ​​​​​​​
29th June 2022 // Another warm day here in Amstelveen. K. bought me a nice desk fan from HEMA which really helped keep the heat down a bit in the room. A busy day, with lots of meetings moved over from yesterday and which I had somehow managed to re-plan after after the other today. I was in meetings from 0900 to 1530. Totally exhausting. 
In the evening to Myra, and then some panic as we got an email that Ryanair had cancelled our flights to and from Ireland. Some quick searching later and we managed to get everything rebooked. but it's a hassle I could have done without. 
Tomorrow to the office and then Leiden for dinner with S.
28th June 2022 // To the office today. I had probably the second-best desk on the floor, one right next the window overlooking the Zuidas. I felt like I was in New York, not Amsterdam. I block-booked that desk, desk #36, until the end of the year :) 
No other news really. Warm day. Long day. Working from home tomorrow and then back to the office again on Thursday. Roll on the weekend!
27th June 2022 // Finally managed to get out and take a few snaps with the new lens. After yesterday's fiasco getting to NDSM and Hembrug it was back to my usual routine of a quick walk around the polders during my lunchbreak. No sun but still quite sticky out. 
Off to the office tomorrow. ​​​​​​​
26th June 2022 // It's been a while since I updated this diary. To be honest, I've not really been out of the house that much since the whole Covid thing and the workshop and you're not interested in my photos of my desk, or the view out of my window. So, nothing has happened, and nothing worth sharing. Today I planned to go to NDSM - my 'safe' space if I can't think of anything better to do - but when I got there the place was mobbed and I could not get a parking space anywhere. Plan B, Hembrug, was also out as the roads were closed, or it required some kind of diversion that I just could not be bothered with. I just went home again, and hopefully will find some kind of inspiration and motivation soon. 
This was taken with my new lens, the 35mm f1.4, the so-called 'magic' lens. I got it two days ago but have not really had chance to try it out. This was the ice-cream I got when K. ordered something from New York Pizza. ​​​​​​​
19th June 2022 // Sunday, and Father's Day. Everyone was home and we had a lovely brunch (as per tradition). As we were having lunch the family in Ireland called and we had a nice Zoom-call. The rest of the day was nice and quiet, and we're back to work tomorrow.  ​​​​​​​
18th June 2022 // Up and down to Zeeland to swap cars over again. We'd have done it sooner, but Covid got in the way. It certainly helped having a decent car to go to Germany with - Pico would never have survived it! ​​​​​​​
17th June 2022 // Friday, end of the week at last. It's been a long one, that's for sure. I'm still not feeling too great after Covid. I'm just tired all the time which I am told is part of the after-effects. It'll pass I'm sure but yeah, they're long days. 
Broke out the sunglasses in readiness for the warm sunny day predicted for today​​​​​​​
16th June 2022 // We're gearing up for a particularly hot Friday - 29c according to some reports. Way too hot for me so happy to be stuck indoors while all that is going on. The weekend is not supposed to be much better either. Not to sound like a grouch (which I know I am) but I just don't enjoy hot weather. Too much heat is like a slowly draining battery, it all starts fine and dandy but as the day draws on the heat just sucks all the energy out of me. I reckon I was a Viking in a previous life, or at least some kind of north-north European, cutting about the place in three-layers deep mammoth hide because that's about the only temperature I can deal with.   
By the way, the image for today is not out of focus, okay? It's an artistically taken image of the row of houses across the street, taken through the grill that keeps the wee beasties out of the room. So, don't be judging me, clear? ​​​​​​​
14th June 2022 // The trouble with keeping a daily diary, is that you need to keep it up to date. And that's difficult when nothing happens, and nothing happens that's worth taking an image off. This Covid thing still has me feeling like shit (tired ...) and work keeps me in my little room. I could share images of my desk, or the view outside the window but that's boring, even though these are my days at the moment. This image was not taken with my camera but with my phone and features the lovely dip in the fence between our house and the neighbour's. 
13th June 2022 // Back to work today, or, at least, working from home. From one isolation to another. I am still really tired, and the concentration isn't really there, but I am sure that'll come back with time. Thankfully, I work for a really good employer who are happy enough for me to take it easy coming back. Also, thankfully, not too busy a schedule this week so I'm hopeful for a full recovery come end of the week. 
The flowers above are from work for my birthday. I don't know what they spray on them but whatever it is, I want some - these flowers are showing no signs of wilting despite the plague that's beset the house and the general neglect of anything living. Our house is full of plastic plants, just saying ...
12th June 2022 // Welcome to the final day of isolation!! Well, to be fair, I still don't feel great, so I think I'll be in isolation for a bit longer. Nevertheless, myself and Kirsty went to Myra to watch Roisin and the DJ5 in their final game of their championship winning season. Kirsty couldn't play, of course, on account of the Covid and all that, but it was nice to be out (and nice to be at Myra on a Sunday for the first time for a long time) in the warm afternoon sun. The ladies won 6-0, champagne was spilled on the field, medals handed out and a BBQ planned for later in the day. 
Me, I'm back to work tomorrow. 
11th June 2022 // An unusual angle. Can you guess what it is (as Rolf Harris used to say)? That, my friends, is the world outside my back gate. I ventured outside in the lovely evening sun for a little while. I feel like one of those dangerous psychiatric patients, allowed a brief slice of fresh air and normalcy before a big fat nurse comes along, administers the sedation, and takes me back to the ward. One more day to go!
10th June 2022 // Another lovely day in isolation. I've three books on the go now; I've watched two films in Netflix ("Trainspotting T2" and "Moneyball"), one that I had recorded off the telly earlier on in the week ("Grand Budapest Hotel") and watched more documentaries on Trump, the financial crisis of 2008, the Norman Conquest of Britain as well as a slew of videos that start with the title "A Day In The Life Of ..." than would be considered healthy. But fuck healthy, I've got Covid.  Only two more days to go and I'm free. Free to move to another room just along the corridor, a room called "The Office" where I can sit in isolation as well, but this time get paid for it. 
And so we go on. 
9th June 2022 // The official GGD diagnosis is in - I definitely have Covid-19. No real surprise there then, just confirmation of what I pretty much already knew (see yesterday's post). It means I need to be in isolation until Sunday at the earliest. I feel a lot better than yesterday anyway, the only things still lingering are a sore throat and the occasional cough. So, another day spent in the bedroom but at least I am getting a chance to catch up on some reading I've been putting off for a while.
8th June 2022 // I was just saying the other day how it's a miracle that I've not had Covid yet. Thinking back on it, I probably picked it up on Friday night and the opening day of the workshop. I cannot honestly remember a time where I felt as wiped out as I did today, the constant headache, the fever, the sweats, the shivers. Urgh. 
7th June 2022 // Woke up feeling rougher than the proverbial badgers' arse. Bit of a temperature, I think, and a sore throat, headache and aches and chills all over. I did a quick Covid test that came back negative, so I guess I just have a bit of a flu. Diet lady this evening, and then off to bed, I think. 
I've been selecting the images from the workshop, and I'll add them to the portfolio later. I must admit, I'm quite happy with them!
6th June 2022 // Happy Birthday to me! So that's me reached 52 years on this planet. Who'd have thunk it? Nothing has really ever happened to make me not make 52. I'm not a daredevil. I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't do much of anything really. I just sort of get on with it, which is the best advice I can give anyone. That, and the three golden rules imparted to me by a wise man in a pub who said he knew for certain: 
(1) keep your trousers on at all times;
(2) don't hit the customers;
(3) don't ever forget rule 1. 
Those have got me where I am today! 
5th June 2022 // Back into Amsterdam for the photo review. I cheated somewhat by editing out the shit photos (of which there were quite a few) whereas everyone else just kept their shiters in. I had over 1,400 images to show, 640 of which were of the guy blowing bubbles on the square! I was mortified, making people sit through all of that! 
It was nice to see everyone else's work though, you could really see the moment from where we were doing our own thing to when we went out with Robin (pictured above on the left, with Chris). It was light night and day, chalk and cheese! The weather got too wet though to go out and take images, so we spent most of the day in the restaurant and afterwards we went to Scheltema where I bought a book on street photography.
Then home for dinner and a quiet evening uploading the images from the previous day to Lightroom (which took most of the evening!)
4th June 2022 // Today I finally did the workshop I've been getting ready for now for weeks. It was good fun, learned a lot and walked 25,000 steps - a new record for me! We started out quite early - 0900am - when there really wasn't a lot to see or do on the streets. After lunch on Museumplein things got busier (and warmer) so that's when we finally got going. We had an hour's 1:1 session with Robin during which I got very, very close to people, with none of them really noticing which really surprised me. 
I got a few good photos in, but the magic only happened when we went to Dam Square to take pictures of a street performer who was blowing bubbles ("bellen blazer" in Dutch, no idea what the English translation is ...). I put the camera in burst mode at 8 frames per second and got in amongst the action. I came away with 640 images that I still need to work through but there's a fair number of keepers in there. I'll post some here when I get the chance!
This was taken on the way back from NDSM where we ate dinner and photographed the festival goers on the ferry. 
3rd June 2022 // Out for a quick walk at lunchtime. In preparation for the two-day workshop, I took a half-day. The weather was lovely outside, nice and warm but not too warm so I dragged myself out for my regular ramble around the polders. Didn't bother taking the camera - this place I've photographed to death - but I had a photography podcast on, so I was at least getting into the 'zone' for tomorrow!
2nd June 2022 // I'm getting ready for the workshop I'm taking part in over the weekend (see yesterday's blog) by clearing off the SD cards, polishing the lenses and charging the batteries. It's going to be a long two days, but hopefully I'm going to learn a lot and get some enjoyment back in my photography, something that's been really lacking the last few weeks. I understand this is completely normal and I'm sure it'll pass, but yeah, I wish I was a bit more positive going into the weekend. 
This image was taken at the table while I was uploading the 5-10 images I need to present on Friday evening (again, see yesterday's blog).
1st June 2022 // Another day at the coalface. Today wasn't particularly exciting - the usual round of meetings, documentation updates and quiet periods staring out of the window. A window, incidentally, I had to keep closed most of the day as between the neighbour's dog barking all day long, the excessive drilling going on somewhere else in the street and the shouting of the kids across the road the noise was hard to ignore. 
In the evening watched "The English Game", a series set in about the 1870's I guess, about the creation of modern football in England (read: professionalism and money - in one scene which wonderfully explains the difference between then and now, the protagonist, a man named Fergus Suter was offered £100 and a raise of his salary from £2 p/w to £4 p/w to go and play for a rival team)
31st May 2022 // Seven years ago today ...
30th May 2022 // So that's the suitcases unpacked and back in the attic, the holiday is over. Back to work today, thankfully still working from home. The idea of having to get in car again today to drive to an office just doesn't bear thinking about. It was a relatively quiet Monday with not too much on the agenda. 
29th May 2022 // Off home today and once again our journey was punctuated with the stop-start rhythm of the traffic jams we faced going to Germany. The whole trip just took a lot longer than it should have, and our planned trip to Koln had to be abandoned - we eventually got home around 8pm. Despite the horrific journeys we had a great time, the Schwarzwald definitely worth a second visit. Back to work in the morning! 
28th May 2022 //To Freiburg today and a quick wonder about the town. A nice wee place so it is, dominated by a huge cathedral on the main square. We paid a little extra to get into the older part of the church behind the altar where, in the various chapels we found the preserved body of St Alexander, the patron saint of Freiburg. I say preserved; it was a pretty rotten mess but done up in a nice costume so as not to frighten small children. 
Tomorrow to Koln, and home. 
27th May 2022 // A colder day today, and still no food in the house so we got up early to a place in town we know did breakfast. Then to Burg Hohenzollern which was pretty fab but a bit random - the castle was rebuilt in the late 1800's not for living in but just because it was there, and it seems a shame to waste a good location. So, it all appeared spanky shiny and new and not terribly old because. well, it isn't. Lots of really small rooms in an otherwise pretty massive building spread across two floors and a library devoid of any books. But anyway, it was nice to see, the sort of fairytale castles you see in kids' books. Then afterwards back to Triberg where we went to see Germany's highest waterfall (which, incidentally, at a mere 163m it isn't, that honour goes to the Röthbachfall at a considerably more impressive 420m). Once that was done, we went to the Lidl to buy food for the next two days even though we ended up buying more crisps than actual food and as I type this, we're slowly working our way through those already. I expect another trip to Lidl tomorrow. 
Speaking of which - off to Freiburg tomorrow to see what's there and also to try one of Germany's premier sausages, the Lange Rote ("the big red yin").
Today's picture was taking this morning from the kitchen window overlooking the green out the back.
26th May 2022 // Skipped a day, as we were travelling to Germany most of yesterday. For the next few days, we'll be in the Schwarzwald, not too far from Freiburg. The journey here was horrible - it took us three hours to get out of Holland and then another 6 to make to the Airbnb. So, what was supposed to be a 6-hour trip turned into nine hours. But we got here safely in the end. 
Today we went for a long walk, around 12km through the hills and farmlands surrounding the town. It's really beautiful here, all lovely large pastures and those houses you see in those Heidi-films (even though this is Germany, not Austria). Tomorrow, we go to Hohenzollern Castle, and then we'll see what else we can do. 
This car passed by as we were taking a wee break at a bus stop at the bottom of the town. 
24th May 2022 // A strange day, weather wise. Rain, followed by sun, followed by more rain. It was literally four seasons in one day! At the time of writing this the sun is shining again and it's warm enough outside to not need a jacket. 
I was at work in the afternoon to celebrate the new office move (see yesterday's entry) which was good fun. I met people that I've only ever seen via Teams and while I am good with faces, I'm terrible with names so there were a few odd encounters while I struggled to remember someone's name. I am easy to remember, apparently, because everyone seemed to know who I was. Towards the end they brought enough pizzas to survive the Siege of Troy, but I helped the cause along by getting stuck in! Then home on the metro in the blazing sunshine. 
Then off to Germany tomorrow!
23rd May 2022 // Liquid lunch! So, after the weekend I'm back at work, or, back at my desk in the office upstairs. We're moving office now at work, first into a temporary office and then towards the end of the year into our permanent office. I don't really mind working from home, I've gotten used to it. It's hard to imagine ever being back at work five days-a-week, but there's not really much pressure for us to be in the office so I don't think that'll ever happen anyway. 
The image above is of my breakfast, the same breakfast that I have every day. I've been on this diet for a year now and while I've lost weight (about 20kgs) the amount of weight you put on if you deviate from the plan is something else - yesterday's trip to Zeeland will take a bit of work to work off!
22nd May 2022 // To Zeeland. Busy roads, warm weather etc. 
21st May 2022 // I just noticed that our Xmas decorations are still up, or at least these lights. They're still on so I am guessing they've been on since about the 6th of December. I dread the electricity bill. Not that I care - I love Christmas, without doubt my favourite time of the year. Better than my birthday, better than anyone's birthday (apart from Jesus' obvs ...). 
20th May 2022 // Heard this totally amazing tune the other day off a random playlist on Deezer - "Bloom", by The Paper Kites. Here's a picture of me watching a video on how to play it. 
19th May 2022 // It's been a long and busy day, but I got a lot done so I can't complain too much. The weather was mostly awful today, so I didn't get to go out for my walk so today's image was taken from my desk. 
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