Looking Back: Amsterdam in 2018

I had a few photo trips in Amsterdam last year. One of them was featured in an earlier post, but the rest I’ve decided to combine into one post. Except for the first image, the others were all made in October. We enjoyed several sunny days that month and the lengthening shadows and softer light at that time of year created good opportunities for black-and-white photography.

I’ve always found the IJ-side of Amsterdam Centraal to be more spacious and interesting than the city centre side (i.e. the main station entrance). The cylindrical roof that extends over the bus station and bicycle paths lends itself to being photographed. There’s so much to photograph on this side of the station – from the shape and lines of the roof to the daily scenes of commuters making their way somewhere on bicycles. Then there are the ferries that bring people and bicycles across the IJ to Amsterdam Noord. I could definitely do more here than just an architectural shot!

Bus station at Amsterdam Centraal with view of cylindrical roof and a bus entering the frame from the lower right.

The other photos below come from walks around my office after work and a Meetup photography event organised by a group from Düsseldorf.

Striped shades for windows on the side of a building in Amsterdam, near the Rijksmuseum.

This next photo I’m rather fond of. I like how the shadows of the trees selectively highlight a portion of the boat. The entry of another boat into the scene from the opposite side adds just that bit of dynamism to the image, and also helps a little with framing.

Parked boat on a canal in Amsterdam.

The remaining photos I made from that Meetup photography event I mentioned earlier. I can’t remember where exactly I made the image below, but I was surprised at how many boats were on the canal that afternoon. At first I thought it was some kind of boating event, but soon I realised the canal was probably just a little congested.

Several boats on a canal in Amsterdam, on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Elaborate door knocker on a small boat in Amsterdam.

The group gathered at a café after two hours of shooting, whereupon we decided to make our way to the NEMO Science Museum. The museum was having some kind of open day, which also meant free access to its roof. The idea was to end the photography event by making some photos of Amsterdam on the rooftop.

Boy fishing near the public library in Amsterdam.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the rooftop view to be particularly inspiring. I did make a photo of a pigeon but quickly realised how ridiculous that was. There will consequently be no pigeon photo being shared in this entry. There was, however, a row of ships moored along a harbour adjacent to NEMO. I think they were some kind of historical exhibit, but I’m not even sure if they belonged to the museum.

Anchor hanging from the bow of an old boat.

This is how my camera saw Amsterdam in 2018. It’s a very pleasant impression of the Dutch capital, I must say. But, as someone who works in Amsterdam, I can tell you that this impression is also an inaccurate one. The weather is frequently not sunny – in truth it’s often rubbish and windy, possible also rainy. I have a colleague who was once soaked in the rain while cycling to work but arrived completely dry because it was so windy after the rain stopped.

Think about that for a bit.

Still, poor weather is not a reason to avoid Amsterdam. The city truly has some beautiful areas and if one were to put in some effort to find them, the results are rewarding. Walking along a street in a lovely neighbourhood in the evening of a sunny day is quite the experience. I should do that more often myself, now that summer’s almost here!

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