Sunday, December 28, 2014

Keeper Dozen 2014

Picking my 12 favourite photographs of the year has become a yearly custom. It was triggered by a group at Flickr (Keeper Dozen), which was inspired by an Ansel Adams quote: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." This year I am happier with the results than in 2013, undoubtedly because life has gone back to normal. My increased emphasis on abstract photography is clearly reflected in my choices, although it must be said that the one portrait I originally selected (link) is ineligible because the photograph was taken in 2013. As usual, not all pictures I selected have appeared in Flickr Explore, and not all pictures that have appeared in Flickr Explore ended up in the final 12. Here is the 2014 countdown from 12 to 1.

12. Stained glass abstraction
A garden seen through frosted glass, while we were visiting an exhibition. My favourite in a series of comparable shots. Explored, 300 views, 7 faves.

11. Take a seat
One of a series of close-ups of the seats of chairs of an Apeldoorn restaurant. Not explored, 200 views, 3 faves.

10. Abstraction in rust
This is  a close-up of a machine on a Dutch navy vessel, shot during Sail Kampen 2014. Explored, 6300 views, 73 faves.

9. Emotions
One of a series of abstracts of a green plastic cover, shot through the window. Not explored, 150 views, 3 faves.

8. Let there be light
This is an evening close-up, through the shop window glass, of a modern style lamp displayed on one of the neighbouring shops. Not explored, 300 views, 5 faves.

7. Cold as ice
A close-up of a church column in Kampen. The icy steel tones make the shot stand out. Not explored, 160 views, 1 fave.

6. Kampen rooftops
This is a picture I took near our home, a typical collection of Kampen roof tops. Explored, 2000 views, 47 faves.

5. And all that rust
A rusty abstract, not quite sure what it actually was. Explored, 3400 views, 51 faves.

4. Excelsior Kampen
A shot of the Kampen bridge near our home, shooting straight up under one of the pillars. Explored, 14300 views, 97 faves.

3. Nautical decorations
These are little paper decorations on board of one of the ships that took part in Sail Kampen 2014. Not explored, 220 views, 3 faves.

2. Another green world
Taken at the same location as #9. Not explored, 3700 views, 13 faves.

1. Elemental
The public and I agree on the #1 position. This is the flipped image of a church in Muenster (Germany), reflected in a wet outside restaurant table. Explored, 16800 views, 219 faves.


Friday, December 26, 2014

The red tree

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) is best remembered for his series of geometrical abstracts consisting of a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines with three primary colours on a white background. This is a relatively early work from 1908, which shows some influence of van Gogh. More about Mondrian in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

In the bleak midwinter

A recent painting by my wife, inspired by old Dutch cities in general. I named it after my favourite Christmas carol, because it seems fitting. It is also the painting we used for our Christmas cards this year.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Jethro Tull Christmas Album

Christmas albums usually do not stand out well in terms of cover art, but here we have an exception to the rule. The 2003 seasonal offering by prog rock band Jethro Tull comes with a beautiful stylish cover, resembling old Dutch paintings, and depicting lead singer/flautist Ian Anderson in the bottom left corner. Excellent choice of font as well. I could not retrieve information on the design, word has it that it was an "inside job".

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas lights

Here is an original Christmas pop/rock song that you have probably never heard. I know of the band My Favourite Tragedy because I have known one of its members for over 12 years on he internet. This is a really lovely song, which deserves to be better known. Art Rock score: 8/10 (great song, I'd put it on my MP3 player).


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Abstracting reality part 7: miscellaneous situations

Of the recurring topics in my photography, abstract images tend to stand out. This has inspired me to write a series of blog posts on the subject, as seen through my lay-man's eyes (I never received any formal training on photography). In these posts, I will tackle the following six (not mutually exclusive) themes: distorted reflections, architectural abstracts, wear and tear, zooming in, abstracted art, and miscellaneous situations. A general introduction was posted here; the first contribution (on distorted reflections) was posted here, the second contribution (on architectural abstracts) was posted here, the third contribution (on wear and tear) was posted here, the fourth contribution (on zooming in) was posted here, the fifth contribution (on abstracted art) was posted here.

Miscellaneous situations refers to pictures that do not fall under the first five themes themes (or at least less clearly). What they have in common is that you can encounter these opportunities all around you if you keep an open eye. Please click here to see 12 selected examples from my Flickr photostream with some background information.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Memento mori

Apologies for a bit of overkill on the subject of my photography. However, this shot of a grave within a local church became an unexpected hit at Flickr recently: my 74th to reach Flickr explore.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 10.9 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Woman reading at table

I came across this painting at the blog The 20th century in pictures last week, and I was impressed. Jane Peterson (1876–1965) was an American artist, whose Wikipedia entry does not give much more information (I found much more here). Her style has elements of  impressionism, fauvism, and art nouveau. The painting shown here dates from around 1920. More about Peterson in the Wikipedia article linked to below.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


Another candidate for the traditional year-end overview of my 12 best of the year. This is a typically found abstract, similar to the ones posted here and here.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 125
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Monday, December 08, 2014

Lost painting found in Stuart Little

This is a truly remarkable story. An art historian watching the movie Stuart Little suddenly spotted a long lost Hungarian masterpiece in the background: Sleeping Lady with Black Vase, a 1927–28 artwork by Hungarian painter Robert Bereny, It turned out to be the real thing, not a copy, purchased for next to nothing by the set designer. For the full story, see the link.

web site

Saturday, December 06, 2014


This Kenneth Branagh directed version of the well-known fairy-tale will hit the cinemas in 2015. The poster is an absolute dream - no wonder, when you know that Annie Leibovitz is the photographer.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Excelsior Kampen

This is a recent shot of the Kampen bridge near our home, shooting straight up under one of the pillars. The deviating viewpoint makes the shot interesting - in fact interesting enough to make Flickr Explore, the 500 most interesting shots of the day, my 73d to get that honour. With close to 200 faves and over 13000 views, it has become one of my three most popular shots of all time.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/8.0
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0


Monday, December 01, 2014


American indie/emo band Death cab for cutie is a recent discovery of mine, and I like what I heard so far. Plans is their album from 2005, with an outstanding moody yet simple cover design. The art work is credited to Adde Russell.