I choose most of the countries I visit based on factors such as cost, available subjects, and the likelihood of selling my images once I return. But often, a chance to travel crops up and taking my camera means I can make money from it.
In the case of Holland, I saved on food and lodging by tagging along with my wife, who was attending a business conference near Amsterdam. I also saved on transportation by traveling to many of my shoots with a Dutch photographer friend.
Nothing grabs my attention more quickly than a display of nature’s bright colors…especially after a long, gray winter. If color, flowers and other photogenic subjects are what you crave, The Netherlands’ Lowlands—a stretch of land between Amsterdam and Rotterdam—cannot be beat.
Weather in the Netherlands during spring normally means cool evenings and mild days. The Dutch are very friendly and polite, and thankfully almost everyone speaks English…and they are always happy to chat in their second language.
In Holland, there is a market in every town, and every market offers a wide selection of artisan breads and cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the ever-present cream-puffs (my personal favorite). When I wasn’t photographing, I often chose to eat picnic style while rubbing elbows with the locals.
There is no shortage of attractions in this part of the country. Many of them turned out to be great locations to take stock photographs (images of places and things that are then sold through online stock photo agencies). I simply take the pictures, file them away and worry about marketing them when I get back home.
Travel photographers tend to experience a location differently than the average tourist. For starters, I get up very early every day to catch first light over a particular subject, whether it’s windmills, commercial tulip fields or reflections of a church on a canal. Early morning is my favorite time to be out, as I enjoy witnessing a place coming to life. People in business attire riding bikes to work…vendors setting up their tables at the local market…merchants delivering milk, bread and other products to households…
Between late morning and mid-afternoon, when the light is harshest (and the crowds biggest), I’m typically in my hotel downloading and editing images, writing notes, cleaning my gear, preparing for my next shoot, and maybe taking a nap. Late afternoon I’m outside photographing when the light is again warm and flattering.
One of my favorite subjects in Holland is the formal gardens of Keukenhof—a 79-acre park made up of gardens, ponds, fountains, greenhouses, a sculpture garden and a windmill. My other favorite has to be Kinderdijk—a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring nineteen windmills dating from the 18th Century lining a series of canals. (See photo above.)
But these trips are not just about sticking to a rigid list of shoots. To round out my image collection, I also wandered through the streets with my camera and came back with some great “detail” shots of things like wooden shoes, flower close-ups and the ever-present bicycles. These can make great stock photos.
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