Crossing borders

This weekend I had some friends over from Iceland. A friend I’ve met through a photography job in Iceland a couple of years ago. He worked as part of the crew of a film that I was shooting the behind the scenes images for. We have a very good connection, straight away. and a growing friendship. I have stayed at his house in Iceland since that time we worked together. And I will do so again in the future. It is amazing how these things work. You meet so many nice people through work, and by just being yourself, polite and kind you make the best connections and friendships ever. I am so thankful for meeting this dude and call him a good friend by now.

So my friend and his lovely partner were over in The Netherlands for a few days, they decided to come our way. And we got to spend a good day and a half in our area. My wife and I took them out to a place called “Drielandenpunt” The place where 3 country borders meet. The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

For people from Iceland this is something unique and special, the only border they have obviously is the ocean. So they were pumped to see this place, and literally hop borders. So that’s what we did. Jumped in the car, drove for one hour roughly, and hopped the borders a few times. At first we were a little disappointed by the weather, grey, foggy and just a little mehh… But in the end the conditions were actually really nice! Very mystical and moody. With no other camera on me then just my phone I snapped the following shots, what do you think?

Winter in the forest

This image just screams: cold

My friend taking in the moody scenery.

Very dramatic and moody feel!

International handshake? Check!

Bottom line: Friendships are on of the most valuable things you can have. They can be worldwide, and cross all borders. Always.

Autumn: Vijlenerbos

Autumn is here, and I am super busy. Renovating the house and working on what feels like a thousand projects. All of this is good. I can’t complain. But due to me being super busy I haven’t had the change to go out and capture some of that Autumn goodness. Up until this week… This week it finally happened. And probably right in time, within a few weeks these popping colors will probably be gone.

In this blog, a nice forest in Vijlen, Limburg (NL) south of the country. Lots of pines, elevation changes and beautiful forest trails and paths. A great place to spend a few hours hiking. And so I did. Alright, have a look at my shots below, thank you.

Observing and enjoying the beautiful forest.

Observing and enjoying the beautiful forest.

“Orange Street”

Epic scenery, so much drama in this one.

“Pinaceae”

Panorama shot of the forest, epic colors peeping through in the back.

Making a little pitstop halfway through my hike.

Let’s call this one “The Dead One”

Autumn in full effect.

Piles of freshly cut wood.

The deep, dark forest.

The light was just perfect…

The smell of wood here was amazing

Autumn branches, Contrast. Love it

Click the images in the gallery below to see them in full size

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Foggy forest

This morning we finally had some rain, after a few very dry and warm days. I was so happy it rained and cooled down a bit. On my way to work I spotted this forest with some nice looking fog in it. You know I can't resist such things. Parked the car, walked into the forest and snapped some shots (with my phone) Here are the results!

Nice and moody morning in the forest

Nice and moody morning in the forest

Daytrip to Germany

So after not doing too much over the holiday times, with christmas and all that I recently thought it was time to go out on a decent daytrip again. Because it has been a while. Time to kick off the new year with a decent daytrip!!

Vertical panorama out of 11 separate shots.

Vertical panorama out of 11 separate shots.

My buddy Tom and me took off early in the morning again. To Germany. We spend the day at several locations. We started out down at the water over at the Rursee in the Eifel area. We went to the pretty town of Monschau, and to end the day we went to "Bieley" (that rock on the German/Belgian border where I've been before) We had some decent conditions for photographs. Not the sunset we were hoping for, but hey... at least it did not rain or anything. Take a look at the photographs below, and leave me some feedback/comments. Thank you!

Into the woods with my new friend.

I went out on a little photo trip with my new friend Chris Kuik. We have been planning to go and shoot for quite some time now. Also, I have been talking to Chris online for about 2 years, but we've never actually met before. So strange because we don't live that far away from each other and we both share the same passion for photography. Funny situation.

So finally this happened. We went out and just had a good time enjoying the nature and snapping shots. Hope we can go on similar trips more often from now on. Have a look at some of the pics we took. 

Hoge Venen & Bieley

Last week we had a public holiday, Kings-day. We celebrated the 50th birthday of our King. I had this day off just like many other Dutch people. I went and celebrated this day, you guessed it... Not in The Netherlands, haha. Instead of staying home I got into my car and drove off southbound. Into the Hoge Venen in Belgium and in Germany. I have always wanted to pay a proper visit to this area. And the weather was pretty good, skies full with nice clouds so off I went.

I first made my way down to this area just down south of Monschau, Germany. I have seen some photos of this rock called the "Bieley" and I was quite curios to how it would look and what kind of photographic perspective it offered over the valley beneath. I have seen a few photographs that looked promising. And boy, was I right. I had to walk for a few kilometers over some well organized paths through the forest to finally come up to a much smaller and "less traveled" path. At first I was skeptical to take this path and see where it would end up. Although I was pretty sure that this was going towards the rock I was looking for. So off I went deeper and deeper into the woods. All of a sudden I saw the rock peep out between the trees and overlooking this little valley beneath. Breathtaking place. With a little stream curving and finding its way through the valley. Surrounded by mighty pine forests. On top of this rock it really felt as if I was in the Alps or something. Really spectacular viewpoint and location. It was so good to be alone for a bit, taking in the environment around me and enjoying it. This place is so good to photograph, everywhere you look there's great shots waiting to be captured.

After making my way back to the car I decided to drive back home through Belgium. And I had a little stop in "Parc naturel Hautes Fagnes - Eifel" close to Ternell.
I got out the car and shot some more photographs in these great forests that are all around you in this area. The road that I drove crosses these massive woods. You really feel like you are alone with nature, something I really love and makes me feel comfortable. With everything. A nice way to spend a day off and an even better way to recharge. 

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

Out and About 2: Baexem

The second entry for this series is going to be a short one. But a very spontaneous one. Today was a lovely nice sunny and warm day. Perfect ice-cream weather haha. After the sun went down and the temperatures dropped a bit it was my time to shine. At least that how it felt to me haha. I just very randomly left for a little drive just out of town. No big plans, no expectations, nothing. But then I found some pretty decent spots and places that I just had to snap. And so I did. Here's a selection of tonight's shots. The sky was clear, very moody with the sun juuuust in there. It made the forest and the fields look so amazing. Don't you think?

All these pictures were taken between my hometown Grathem, and the one next to us to the north. Baexem. This area is not part of "Het Leudal" that I wrote about in my previous post. But its in the same municipality though. So, lets just call it part of it, shall we? Anyways, little spontaneous trips like these make me appreciate my surroundings. Far away, but also very much so: locally. Good end to a nice weekend! see you around folks!

-Arjan 

Out and About 1: Leudal

Hi all, I am going to start this series of blogs called "Out and About" This series will be blog posts about National Parks and other great outdoor locations in and around the area where I live. I will be showing you some of the most known, and lesser known spots and places in these areas.

So today I went to "Het Leudal" which is a beautiful nature reserve in the municipality of Leudal, In The Netherlands
Leudal is a municipality with close to 40.000 people living in it. With it being the biggest municipality in Central Limburg it is still very green, and has this great outdoor feel to it. No big overcrowded cities or busy highways here. The nature reserve is quite big (for Dutch standards) It extends over 900 hectares. And is filled with beautiful forests, little streams, wide open fens and plenty of hiking trails. Great place to forget everything around you, and breathe some fresh air.

Below are some photographs that I've taken today, all of them were taken between "Heythuysen" "Roggel" and "Haelen". All three are towns located in and around "Het Leudal" The nature reserve is much bigger then the tiny area I covered today, perhaps I have to dedicate a second "Out and About" blog to "Het Leudal" to cover some more areas of this place, and show you some more beauty of it through photographs!

The weather was quite dramatic today, a bit windy, heavy clouds. But that all made for quite dramatic conditions, conditions that I like to be out in. And that really work for landscape photography. Enjoy!