Plenty of Options

From the central station in Amsterdam there are plenty of options as far as transport goes. You could take a train, bus, taxi or ferry. You could also take a bike as tens of thousands are parked here. And if all else fails you can walk.

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Plenty of Options

This side of the station is modern and designed to accommodate these various types of transport. The other side of the station maintains old world classic architecture and is unrecognizable from the front.

On the upper deck to the left is the bus platform which is adjacent to the train platform. Below that is the car lane, then the bike lane and finally the walking lane. On the right the ferry can be boarded, free of charge.

I wasn’t thinking any of this as I took the photo, but Amsterdam Centraal is a monumental feat of engineering, architecture and design. This is where everything and everyone comes together.

monochrome images in the gallery

My short visit was spent mostly around this section of the city. I missed much and so I plan to come back and explore more. Having time to process what I did see and then go back will make the next trip even better.

And when I do go back I’ll have plenty of options for transport.

Ladies in the A’DAM Lookout

I noticed these ladies in the A’DAM Lookout sitting and looking out over the city. I’m trying to figure out why I like this. I think its because when we see an image of someone or something we subconsciously project ourselves into the scene. In addition, maybe what they’re looking at creates a question. We see hints of the city beyond.

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Ladies Sitting There
Ladies in the A’DAM Lookout

This is a type of street photography, even though it didn’t occur on the street. It happened inside an observation lounge of a tall building. Some photos don’t easily fit into a category, maybe this is one.

Rather than analyze this, perhaps its better left to imagination. There is a story here that is unique to each person. We each see this though the lens of our own minds.

Because the woman’s coat is red she is the focal point. I made it that way on purpose. It’s a technique that, for me, conveys individuality. Images of people are about, well, individual people. At least that’s the point I’m trying to make. You can interpret something else regarding the red coat, it’s entirely up to you.


At this point I guess I’ve answered my own rhetorical question. Perhaps now I can move on to something more concrete. Or not.

EYE Filmmuseum

I hung around here for bit looking at EYE Filmmuseum. It’s a museum dedicated to the visual arts and so while I was here there were a couple of student crews working on video productions. In such a setting, a photographer taking images of odd angles around the outside was perfectly normal. Not that I’d mind if it wasn’t.

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EYE Filmmuseum
EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam

Amsterdam places a high value on the exploration, creation and display of art. I believe that goes hand in hand with the tolerance and diversity of its residents. It is true that arts and diversity make a city vibrant.

more street photography

Amsterdam seems to be thriving, there is a lot of construction, in fact a new building was going up just behind me as I took this. I had to be careful to mind the tractors and cranes as I walked around looking for compositions. When I’m in the zone my focus gets narrowed and even a tractor might not register. No one seemed to mind, in fact I blended right in here.

First Impressions

This smokestack was one of my first impressions of Amsterdam as I took a cab to the hotel. I shared the ride with another traveller who asked our driver about it. Slightly annoyed, the driver replied that it was obviously a power plant. Perhaps a lot of people ask the same question upon first arrival.

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First Impression
First Impression of Amsterdam

A few days later I spied the same stack from atop the A’DAM Lookout and thought it and the clouds made for an interesting image. With this images I’m not trying to make a statement about fossil fuels, pollution or any such thing. Just the spectacle of a cylinder venting warm vapor into the cool November air. It’s something I could see myself staring at if I was a child. But I’m not, yet I stared just the same.

I recently posted a stack like this that we have back in Florida. Again, the spectacle of it against the sky is an odd attraction for me. It defines the horizon and connects the earth to the sky in a strangely fascinating way.

urban exploration images from the gallery

This abstract image is nothing more than a spectacle. It may be a first impression or it may be something for a child to stare and wonder. Or, …it may be nothing more than the musings of my wandering mind.

Night Along the Canals

Well, I’ve not been to Venice yet, but I can’t help but think that the canals of Amsterdam are the next best thing. They form a network through the city and are home to thousands of folks that live in house boats along the sides. And where there are canals there are bridges, everywhere and at every turn. I took this from a corner between two bridges in the central city one night. This is an area not too far from the train station, maybe a ten-minute walk.

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Night Along the Canals
Night Along the Canals of Amsterdam

Late at night the lights of the houses reflect on the still waters, it’s a favorite time for me to take photos. On this evening I had my tripod, on another evening I left the hotel without it and stabilized my camera on the bikes parked along the canals.

I’m sure you know that brothels are legal and regulated here. From a photographic perspective, the red lights cast a nice reflection on the glassy waters of the canals. This is about as close as I got to that. This was my first night in Amsterdam and I wasn’t really sure why the lights were red on this house. It didn’t take too long to figure it out and this wasn’t even the red light district.

night photography

If Amsterdam is nothing else it’s a haven of tolerance for all things. It is unique in that way and perhaps a magnet for free spirits and people with open minds. I found that very refreshing.

Just Before Dawn

This is the city of Toronto just before dawn on a Sunday morning. There’s something about the electricity of a city that is attractive, I think it’s something in our nature. I used to live here for a dozen years, it was at a time I stopped doing photography, now when I go back I bring my camera.

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Just Before Dawn
Just Before Dawn in Toronto, Ontario Canada

This spot is just east of the city, I’m sure it’s popular with photographers but there were none here at this hour. I guess I was a little lucky with the timing because just as I was finishing up it started raining. Not that I mind a little rain, but being in a deserted industrial site in the rain at this hour is, well, less fun than sitting in a Starbucks with a spiced pumpkin latte.

Another good thing about showing up late or early to locations like this, the water is smooth as there are no boats moving about. That creates the smooth reflections which are further enhanced by the long exposure. So despite the cold, the rain and the ungodly hour, this is the perfect time and setting for photography.

more panoramas

In fact this is a three image panorama. I took three, eight-second exposures side by side with a tripod and then stitched them together. The end result is a high resolution image that I can enjoy from the comfort of a warm room while sipping a latte and thinking to myself “that’s wasn’t so bad, was it?”


This is the Posthoornkerk Church not far from the hotel I stayed at Amsterdam. In fact I took this out the window of the room. It was a cloudy day, perfect for photography, and just as I returned to my room I noticed the light streaming down along the horizon. However the way the hotel was designed there were two walls of glass between me and the outside. Nevertheless the image turned out without any reflections.

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Posthoornkerk Church in Amsterdam

When I wasn’t out walking around I’d stand by the window and watch the people ride bikes past on the street below. They’d ride at all hours of day and night. When I first arrived I was on eastern time and so was up quite late. Even at two and three in the morning people were riding bikes to get around.

This church is just a five minute walk. I didn’t manage to get in, each time I tried it was it booked for some event. The last time I tried it was a film crew setting up for a production. The time before that I think there was a wedding. Its a busy place, at least when I was here.

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Next to the church I sat in a little cafe in the morning with a cappuccino as I watched the activity on the street. I then walked next door to the chocolate shop to get gifts to bring home. Across the street was a cheese shop and then meats across from that.

My impression of the neighborhood is of a little village within a big city. I think that’s true for many sections of the city.

In the Rain

This is a random shot I made in Amsterdam while walking around in the rain. It got me thinking about some general differences between the European and North American people.

In northern climates there’s no avoiding the rain. What strikes me is the commitment of europeans to using bikes. It’s one thing to ride a bike on a sunny day, but cold and rainy weather is another thing. I’d rather not ride in the rain, in North America its too dangerous and we don’t have many bike lanes.

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In the Rain
In the rain riding a bike in Amsterdam

Not so here in Amsterdam; there are as many bike lanes as roads and people are committed to this as a primary mode of transport, even in the cold and rain.

While I was walking around in near freezing weather I wore mittens and a scarf, yet I saw people riding without gloves and sometimes more than a little skin exposed. So using bikes here is a commitment beyond just fair weather riding. That’s not something that even occurred to me until I saw it for myself.

I suppose that because so many europeans use bikes, riding in the cold is normal. I think we North Americans can learn from that. It’s not so bad when if we just get on board with the idea.

The other thing that struck me was that folks here are in good shape. They’re burning calories not only from riding but by staying warm. Of course our bodies use energy just to maintain body heat when its cold.

favorite images

Anyway, this is a long winded post about people and bikes. Not sure why I got off on such a tangent. I guess I was impressed by europeans and their preferred mode of transport. From that one little thing you can learn something about a people and their culture. I think we could use a dash of that here in North America. That’s my 2 cents on the subject.