Past Friday, July 28, Sweetheart and I went paddling in The Netherlands. On the Veerse Meer at Kanoa Outdoor Events. I had reserved a kayak the day before. Great place, friendly people and democratic prices. Except for the fact they did not ask if we wanted a life jacket. Okay, we did not ask either.
Getting in a kayak after turning over is very hard. I am sure I would have a serious problem. But then again I am a trained swimmer. I could stabilize the kayak and help Sweetheart in it.
Lake Veere is a huge lagoon in the province of Zeeland. In 1961 the Delta Works dam system partially cut it off from the North Sea. The Delta works were an answer to the 1953 flood killing 1836 in The Netherlands.
Sweetheart and I kayaked some 4 hours and had a great time. Obviously I took the GoPro and a suction holder with me. The suction stuff did not work as the plastic of the kayak was too rough. I had to use the camera handheld but that wasn’t a big deal.
The weather on the lake was rough, about 4 to 5 Beaufort, so we choose calmer water. On the lake itself the waves were high and we don’t have enough experience yet.
With the GoPro Hero 4 Silver I shot everything in Protune, native white balance and flat color in order to get the most out of the footage. Also I choose the 2,7 K video setting at 24 fps.
We were hungry after the paddling so we stopped at Yerseke and enjoyed mussels in a small restaurant called De Schelde. I’ve been visiting this place a few times a year for the past 3 decades.
At the moment I am not sure yet what I will use a my video-editing program. I am trying both Final Cut Pro X and Premiere CC 2017.
What I find difficult is the color grading. Been watching quite some tutorials on Youtube.
I like this stage because it involves a lot of learning new stuff and experimenting.
Just a couple of weeks ago Sweetheart, her grandchild and foster kid Star, Sweethearts brother, wife and two kids visited a 3 kilometre barefoot path. I filmed the event and edited a 7 minute clip out of it. Added some royalty free music and voila.
I am pretty sure none of them expected such a beautiful result, not even me.
Sweetheart loves the fact I am now documenting our life on video. There is nothing wrong with photos but footage, voice, the surrounding sounds is a whole different experience.
I have many pictures of my mom who passed away in 2005. I would love to hear her voice, watch her speak, smile, enjoy life.
Photographs are stills by nature. We have to add our memories of that moment, that person, that whatever moment.
Over time that could be something very deceitful. My father passed away when I was 13. That was 45 years ago. I never missed somebody that bad as my father.
Anyway, today he is, in my mind’s eye, a god. Just an image. Just a fraction of a second. Yet I remember vaguely being hit, skin burning, crying. I vaguely remember the scent of the Pétrol Hahn he used.
I would sneak in the bathroom and shake the bottle with the green liquid and the oily substance floating on top of it.
I vaguely remember his cough, like something tickling his throat. When that couching finally went away he could not eat much anymore. Cancer got him. He was 64.
I wish I could watch him walk, talk, smile. That would be so fucking soothing at times. Even today. Fuck, I really so miss him. I would have love presenting Sweetheart to him.
It would never have been possible. He married my mom when he was in his fifties. I’m 58.
Do the math.
Yeah, I wish I could see my father one more time. Hear him talk, watch him walk. Smile at me.
After quite a long absence on this blog I am faced with a dilemma.
I wrote about what I like to call my love/hate relation with photography a few times.
As a matter of fact I haven’t touched a camera since Sweetheart and I returned from out holiday in Denmark. I’m talking September last year.
I posted some images from that trip and that was it. My last entry on this blog dates from October 2016.
This is a blog about photography and there is a thin layer with a personal grow path, kind of diary.
A month or two ago I started kayaking. Not that often but I like to be on the water. I used to dive too, mostly in the murky water of Zeeland in The Netherlands.
The I picked up a Denver action camera. The quality was okay and I mounted on my kayak and shot some footage. Enjoyed editing it. Nothing special, just your basic amateur video images.
Liked it so much I bought a second-hand GoPro Hero 4 Silver. It offers much more control and the quality of the footage and images are quite high. Shortly after that I bought an electronic stabilizer or a gimbal. The difference between handheld shots and the gimbal breath-taking. Yesterday I got a second-hand ultra-compact Acom H1 Handy Recorder for better sound.
So where is all this taking me? I don’t have a clue. I have almost no experience with this medium. I’m guessing this will be a thrilling new road I’ll be traveling on.
My dilemma is this.
Should I continue this blog albeit is not about photography anymore or should I start a new blog? I have no idea.
For those not interested in tech stuff and computers just jump to Denmark
I’m writing this while sitting in a corner of my living room. In front of me an old Samsung Syncmaster P2370 monitor in high-definition. A very old Dell keyboard, very noisy. And a mouse.
On my right side, on my desk, my iMac 27” with all the whistles and bells needed to write and work on my photographs.
I’m listening to my favourite CD, “Push The Sky Away” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It is playing on the same computer I’m writing on and I’m using VLC to play the music. Video is something else though. Haven’t gotten more than a black screen. Sound is okay though.
A cheap 20$ single speaker gives an acceptable quality but pushing the sound through my very old amplifier and equalizer would give a better sound. But these analogue devices are hooked up to my iMac.
No fancy Microsoft Word but LibreOffice Writer. I’m not even sure if there is a spellchecker available.
In fact, I am writing this on a 35 $ computer (screen, display, SD-card and mouse not included). I wanted to reconnect with Linux and decided to get a Raspberry Pi 3b. Although it cannot be compared to the sheer power of my iMac for normal work this configuration has not let me down yet. I am pleasantly surprised but on the other hand Linux does not have a huge footprint either.
So the Raspberry Pi is just a side project but also a plan B whenever my main system should die. Maybe, during the winter, I’ll be passing time with some electronics experiments.
Sweetheart and I enjoyed our holiday very much. It was Sweetheart’s first flight. All went well except that her luggage ended up in Portugal. An error at the luggage check-in. She got her suitcase the next day. Sweetheart loved seeing the sun coming up above the clouds. It was magical.
We had great weather. Sunny and not to warm. The rental Renault Clio okay. The hotel cosy and well situated at walking distance of the station of Helsingør, the ferries to Sweden and the centre of the town.
Food was delicious but very expensive. People friendly. Culture and art seem to be very important as there are museums and cultural centres everywhere. Higher incomes are taxed up to 65% but wealth is redistributed. School system is different, there is more space for personal development. Alcohol is extremely expensive and there is a rightful zero tolerance for drivers.
We arrived at 08:20 at Copenhagen airport on Saturday, September 17. When it became obvious Sweetheart’s suitcase was not travelling with us we picked up the car and on our way to the hotel, 47 kilometres from Copenhagen, we shopped for some basic stuff for Sweetheart. I had chosen for the coastal road.
After checking in we visited Helsingør and its castle used in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
On Sunday we drove along the coast and on Monday we took the boat to Helsinborg, Sweden. A whole different city when we looked at the buildings and the general architecture. Specialized shops selling only wine, beer and liquor. A stand on the street was an alcohol bar.
Unfortunately, Stella, Sweetheart’s eldest daughter, was not feeling well, texting Sweetheart with a zillion messages. Shortly after I held a crying Sweetheart in my arms. It was only the 2nd to 3th time in our 5 years I saw her crying.
In the afternoon the lower grades did not have school but the parks were filled with their laughter.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch. On a huge public square with flowers and pergola’s the underprivileged were drinking and shooting drugs. Sweetheart gave me some space so I could do some street photography. I was spotted quickly though and was confronted with an aggressive drunk so I backed off.
Between Helsingør (Denmark) and Helsinborg (Sweden) lies 7 km of water. Somewhere in between the border. So while the ferry is in Danish waters you can buy as much booze in the tax-free shop as you can carry. When the boat crosses the border you are not allowed to buy any alcohol any more but you can spend all your dough on tax-free tobacco.
On September 20, our 5th anniversary and the start of our 6th year we took the train to Copenhagen. It was very cheap because the ticket was 24 hours valid and gave access to bus, tram and metro.
Copenhagen is cold but beautiful. Gorgeous architecture like the Opera or the Black Diamond (Royal library). A zillion bicycles who won’t stop even if you want to try to get off a bus.
We walked for a while and then Sweetheart suggested taking a hop on/hop off bus. So we visited the Danish capital by bus and then by boat (included in the price).
Later that evening we had dinner, found our way to the station and took the train back to Helsingør. I guess we had another 2 stops before arriving when the train stopped. Something was said through the intercom but we do not understand Danish. Everybody got off. Then an official saw us sitting there, puzzled. He made us clear we had to leave the train.
While we walked to the other side of the station a voice said “the train to Helsingør is going nowhere”. There we stood, waiting in the dark. It was cold and it was raining. About 20′ later a train arrived and another 30′ we were at out hotel.
The next day we drove to the other side of the Danish Sealand Isle. The beach there was desolated. We enjoyed the sun lying on huge rocks and then we had even some more fun while the sun warmed our bodies and a gentle breeze caressed our skin. It was a magnificent moment.
Then our holiday was over. We drove back to Copenhagen and I found an expensive parking space in the center. We walked to Christianshavn and straight to Freetown Christiania, an 84 acres city within a city. Hippies, own flag and currency and an anarchist community. The smell of hash and weed was omnipresent and we regretted not having visited it earlier but we did not want to get on a plane stoned.
I loved Christiania and its apparent freedom.
Later on I gave the car back and then it was really over. Sweetheart and I enjoyed the night and the world and its small lights.
We landed at 22:50 in Charleroi and Sweetheart phoned The Boy to find out where he was. We walked to the underground parking but we did not find The Boy.
He was waiting for us in Zaventem, Brussels Airport. It was a miscommunication with Sweetheart. So we waited 45′ minutes before he finally showed up.
Much later we were finally back home. We slept well and the next morning, when I dropped her off at her place I knew our holiday was really over.
We had a blast. I loved being with Sweetheart. We had an incredible holiday.