Westerdok Harbour, Amsterdam in Black and White

Black and white in Amsterdam; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Westerdok Harbour, Amsterdam; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014  

We walk past Westerdok Harbour it is a residential harbour, not far from central Amsterdam. Historically it was a major shipping dock, with rail lines, and a large rail yard. It has been redeveloped with mostly residential units and small office buildings, some of the houseboats parked her are for rent! I don’t think they go anywhere, they would be like an apartment on the water!

I have been doing quite a bit of black and white processing, it might be the weather or the short days with very little sunlight. I love the look, the cloudy winter skies show up so much better in black and white, and while we wake every morning hoping for sunshine we are not deterred! The city is charming, art seems to be everywhere, and I am glad we have had a chance to see it, even if I grumble a little about the weather. It is what we do, it is safe common ground to grumble about the weather!

I will just have to plan a return trip to see this lovely city in the spring, when the flowers are blooming and the trees are all leafed out!

Winter in Amsterdam; a little sunshine on the shortest day of the year.

Winter Sun on the Amsterdam Streets; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Winter Sun on the Amsterdam Streets; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere December 21 is the shortest day of the year, it means everyone is bundled up against the cold and rain, and long shadows when the sun does appear. Winter is not always the most photogenic time of the year to see a new city, but Amsterdam has so much to offer its visitors anytime is a good time to be here!

Paintings needing a good home

Painting needing a good home; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Painting needing a good home; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We love to walk through the flea markets, so many interesting things for sale, and sometimes it is simply the way they are arranged that makes them interesting. This one stall was full of old paintings, hanging overlapping, sitting on tables and chairs, overlapping, I loved it. Most flea market vendors don’t mind when I take a few photos, but it is always important to ask permission first, as some are very protective of their wares.

This is my submission to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness, Leannne has a great blog and once a week photographers contribute a monochromatic image to forum page, I would recommend you check out her page for the great images, it is where I have found lots of wonderful (weekly)  inspiration.

Monochrome Madness; Salzburg in the evening

Bill on the steps Salzburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Bill on the steps Salzburg; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

I think it is the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere, I am not sure, but I will suggest that the reason I am showing you so many evening images lately is that the days are so short, and the nights so long.  I should be happy, it is a great time to practise working in low light situations, to get use to carrying a tripod, to use the flash in different situations, and basically try new things, and I am happy!

The other reason that you are seeing a lot of night images is that the days have been cloudy and grey, no snow thankfully, only one day of rain, but dull and flat, and it is difficult to get something dramatic to show you. Now I am not complaining, just letting you know conditions haven’t been perfect.

This was a perfect setting to practise the long exposure and flash combination again. There were some adjustments before I got this image. I am not sure if it is perfect, any suggestions let me know. It is my contribution to Monochrome Madness for this week.  Leanne Cole publishes a blog post once a week, a bunch of photographers contribute they black and white images, each week is different and worth a look!

Enjoying the mulled wine; Vienna Christmas Market

enjoying mulled wine, Vienna Christmas Markets_IMG_0513

I am not sure if the Vienna Christmas Markets are unique in their marketing of mulled wine, but each market has a special wine and a special mug that they sell. When you buy your first cup of mulled wine you also pay a deposit on the cup, once the wine is done you can order more wine or you can keep the cup as a souvenir.  It seemed every market we visited had a different wine and a different cup; great fun drinking mulled and collecting cups, don’t you think?

I have used the photo of Bill and our first cups of mulled wine for my submission to the monochrome madness this week. If you have been following the blog for a while you will remember the group of photographers who at least once a week submit black and white images to the forum, head on over to Leanne Cole’s blog to check out the other submission, they might not be as much fun as Bill drinking mulled wine, but you will find some great photography.

We are off to Salzburg Austria to see their Christmas markets and taste their mulled wine!

Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary

Charles Bridge Prague Hungary; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge Prague Hungary; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

The Charles Bridge is a famous historic bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague, Czech Republic spans 16 arches and is lined with 30 Baroque statues of religious figures, and can be seen from one of more than a dozen towers in the city.

I had read that Prague has about 100 towers, at least nine are considered major tourist attractions, and visitors can climb the steps, or in some cases ride a lift to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the city. This image was taken from the Petrin Hill and Observation tower 299 steps to reach the top, not one of the tallest towers I have walked up, but it does sit on top of Petrin Hill, high above the city.

St. Charles Bridge, Prague at Sunrise

St. Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Charles Bridge, Prague Hungary at sunrise; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014 

We haven’t been getting up for sunrise very often lately, we wanted to see Charles Bridge in the early morning before it was filled with people. Sunday and there was at least a dozen photographers with tripods, and another dozen or so people walking around with cameras at 6 am! It was cloudy so there wasn’t much of a sunrise, but it was worth getting up early because by 7 am there bridge was starting to get busy, by then we were ready for our morning coffee and croissant.

All Saint’s Day; Budapest

Budapest Hungary; quiet pedestrian street on All Saints Day; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

All Saint’s Day; Budapest Hungary; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Perfect day and Perfect lighting for a black and white image, my contribution to Monochrome Madness Week 36. Leanne Cole publishes all the contributions on Wednesday morning, from Australia. So I am a little ahead of the game by showing you this image taken on All Saint’s Day, a National Holiday here in Budapest.

It was quite foggy that morning, the sun is low on the horizon, made for a grey day, with streaks of light coming between the buildings, the street seems endless as it fades in the fog! It was really quite beautiful.

check out the other black and white images on Leanne’s Monochrome Madness blog post.

Cathedral of Santa Maria; Duomo di Firenze at sunset; Monochrome Madness Week 35

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, Florence Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Everyone loves a sunset, and I never imagined that they could look better as a black and white image, then they do as a colour image, after all we watch or photograph a sunset for the colour, don’t we?!  Bill and I walked up to the Piazza Michelangelo specifically to watch the sunset. It was our last night in Florence, it was the first clear evening during the week we were there, so we had one chance to see it.  When we arrived on top of the hill, it was crowded. Other tourists who had made the walk, vendors who are selling their wares, and at least one engaged couple getting portraits done, it was a hub of activity.

The Cathedral is actually south-west of the Piazza Michelangelo, so the sunset happens to our left as we are look over Florence,  the setting sun was lighting up the side of the Duoma, and colouring the clouds all across the sky, but the colour and drama just didn’t translate well into the digital photo. The lights in the city were starting to come on, the Cathedral was warmly lit by the street lights from below, and the colour in the sky was starting to fade, and I still did not have an image that I was happy with.

Back at our apartment when I started processing images I knew that I would want at least one photo to submit to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness post this week. So I picked a couple of the sunset images, figuring if I wasn’t happy with the colour in the images the light might seem more dramatic if colour was removed. I have to admit I wasn’t optimistic, but quite happy with the results.  Hope on over to Leanne’s blog and check out the other submissions for Monochrome Madness.

Gondola navigates the small canals in Venice Italy

Gondola navigates the small canals in Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Gondola navigates the small canals in Venice Italy; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014  

Venice Italy, with any small and large canals, bridges and alleyways, you can walk around the city or you can take a boat. I don’t recall seeing any bicycles, too many bridges to carry the bike over to make it worth the ride I guess. It seems every bridge we walked over we would see a gondola full of people. When the light is just right the reflections of the buildings fill the canal. Some canals were so small, and the corners so tight I wondered how the gondola would make the turn, but they always managed.  With the reflection of the buildings in the canal water, it looks as if the gondola has nowhere to go.