Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Postcards from Keukenhof

2013_NLD_F3_1383Even though it is only open for less than two months each year, Keukenhof is one of the most photographed places in the world. Its beautiful flowers would be attractive enough on their own, but the Keukenhof gardeners add their own artistic touch with their arrangements and landscaping, creating an environment that is both peaceful and stimulating at the same time.

I visited Keukenhof in 2013 with friends. As it was my third visit, I knew what to expect so I made sure I had all the camera gear I needed! As with all of my blog posts, just click on any image and you will see a better, higher resolution version of the image.

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I wasn't the only photographer in our little group - Geert Jan's boys, Ingo, Leon, and Elwin, were out in force. I am very happy to say that they were creative enough to be pursuing non-standard points-of-view...

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... as you can see in this shot. You think that Ingo is photographing the end of a tree trunk...

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...except it was really his brother he was shooting!

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The log made for an interesting group portrait.

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Even Maarten got in on the picture taking!

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While flowers are the usual subjects at Keukenhof, and I will get to them in a moment, there are also a lot of opportunities to photograph people.

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Keukenhof is about 32 hectares (just over 790 acres) in size, which means a lot of walking if you want to see everything. The gardeners help out by liberally placing benches around the gardens so people can pause to recharge.

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For those with the opposite problem of excess energy, there are playgrounds.

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The gardeners and groundskeepers do a great job; they literally are the giants of the artistic landscaping industry, dwarfing us mere mortals.

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But back to the main attraction - the flowers. Bright, rosy, cheery flowers....

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and dark, moody flowers.

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The staff at Keukenhof certainly know how to use flowers. They use them to create a painted landscape, using the flowers as the paint.

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They use flowers as structural elements, complementing other structures on the grounds. In this case, it was horizontal rectangles.

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They use flowers as borders on their exhibits.

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They use flowers as accents.

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Throughout it all, they somehow manage to wrap their exhibits around the paths that let people wander through the exhibits, get close to the flowers, and yet not trample on them.

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Note that I am close, but that I am not trampling!

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For this visit, my visual journey started with exploring the flowers up close.

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There was even a case of "man imitating nature".

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I took a variety of images like these, but they didn't really hold my attention.




What really captured my imagination where the outliers, the "ends of the tail", those flowers so far out on the distribution curve as to be downright rebellious:

There are those who like to colour outside of the lines,

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those that are the early bloomers,

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those hanging with the wrong crowd,

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those that go out and get drunk with their buddies,

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and there are those pathfinders that are so far out there, there is no ready frame of reference to describe them.

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After Keukenhof, we decided to take a side trip to Leiden. Along the way, we stopped to see some of the massive tulip fields.

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In Leiden, we went for a walk around town, and I managed to get my first ever photo of a Dutch windmill.

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I also managed to create a unique self-portrait with the common Dutch elements: a canal, houses from the Dutch Golden Age next to the canal, and a bike.

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I saw this unique building that resembled a layered wedding cake.

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Maarten came across a magazine named "Maarten!". It wasn't his picture on the cover, though.

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We visited de Burcht, an old fortification.

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While the view from the ramparts was amazing, I loved the old, wise tree outside the walls.

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We ended our walkabout with a stop at a local cafe, where we explored the concept of sobriety testing using common bar accoutrements (flipping a coaster and catching it mid-air).

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It was a great way to end a visit with old friends in a beautiful setting.

Other stories from this trip are:
House of Oranje
Koninginnedag
Rijksmuseum
Train Stations
Dutch (S)Treat

1 comment:

Bon E. Soon said...

Scott, Ron and I just loved the photos that accompany your blog. I love tulips anyway and used to listen to a piece of music years ago when I was freshman at MUN. "Tulips from Amsterdam" was the name of the piece. I hope to go there sometime when I start to do things on my bucket list!