I wish you all a year in which you can turn dreams into reality. A year that allows you to become, be or remain who you are, a year to tell what’s to be told and to give what should be given. And hopefully this will automatically lead to beautiful creations. For me, 2016 was a year full of little and big gifts. An exciting year, filled with beautiful surprises. I collected some of my most memorable nature gifts of the past year for you;
1. Winter Flash - Fox in hoarfrost
The year kicked off quite promising with some nice, cold whiteness. Sometimes it's a good thing you cannot look ahead, because with this little introductory white winter, the entire winter dose for 2016 appeared to be utilized. By rapidly pressing the shutter, I managed to perpetuate a winter fox before the winter weather had melted away. Typical case of "photo or it did not happen".
2. Awakenings - Starling murmurations
The mild winter was - photographically spoken- rather dramatic. The more fun when – after shaking off hibernation- I got surprised with the most beautiful air ballet, staged by hundreds of thousands of perfectly synchronized starlings, resulting in a stunning choreography against a pink setting sun.
3. Cute overload - Fox kits
Refreshed and ready for a long fox cub season! The well-known week-long quest and the endless posting near – as it appeared afterwards unfortunately uninhabited- fox dens. This spring was extremely cold and sitting for hours with wind force 6, 8 degrees Celsius and endless pouring rain resulted in 5 minutes of fox-cub-view! Which spontaneously warmed my heart and made up for all the walking, searching and waiting. Until the family decided to move, without letting any address notice, after which the entire cubs-search-process started over again. Bye-bye social life.
4. More fluffiness - Baby Little Owls
This fluffy nest hair and those little beady eyes, looking so candidly into the world, tasted like more. A befriended photographer surprised me with an invitation to "his" little owl family. This time no refusing owlets, that wouldn’t come out of the closet. No camera-shy owlets, just willing to their buttocks either. Instead, cute baby owls that gave away their best owlet- wiggles. What an owl-party it was!
5. Blue Magic - Sea sparkles in the night
After this cute overdose, it was time for some ….magic. It took a lot of nightly hours on dark beaches. Hours in which I repeatedly wondered why I became a photographer and not, for example ... an ordinary human being, peacefully lying in bed at 23.00. Until the surf suddenly started her own lightshow and even the baby jellyfishes participated the by turning on their little blue baby lights. At these moments I would have loved to wake up all ‘ordinary people’ to not miss this natural wonder.
6. The Art of Simplicity - Cobweb at sunrise
Bioluminescent algae, not the easiest subject to outreach. Luckily, the miraculous does not depend on size or quantity, neither on rarity. The magic just lies on the street. Or hangs in the bushes, as a beautifully woven piece of art. Beauty is everywhere, if you just open your eyes for it. And if you are prepared to stoop.
7. Fairy in a Fantasy World - Small Copper
Macro was my first love and I’m not sure if it will be my last. But as they say: the first cut is the deepest and at times this old passion suddenly resurfaces. Such a relief to not have to lug heavy gear for once. Such joy to see these beautiful elves (also called ‘Small Copper’) look back at me from their fairytale world.
8. Dreamscape Deer- Fallow deer in the mist
In autumn, fog is hardly a particularity. The colder nights almost automatically shroud the mornings in fog. But not every fog is the same. When the mist is too thick, it gobbles up your subjects. But too thin fog won’t give the desired magical misty result either. When you manage to be at the right place at the right time, when the fog is at its best and a cooperative model will figure in this magnificent setting, magic will be guaranteed!
9. Steamy Stag - Deer-musings
Fallow deer aren’t so elusive. And as I watch them, I realize that this fallow deer, that confidently accepts me and my camera, will approach a hunter with rifle with the same confidence. A very sad thought. Being a photographer, what more can I do than show –once more- how beautiful these animals are …? How peaceful they inhabit this planet, unlike some of our species ....
10. Happy Tree - Foggy dunescape
In addition to these gloomy thoughts, there were plenty of happy moments in 2016. On a gorgeous misty morning, I couldn’t find my focus, despite all the beauty around me. And I knew, this was a moment for contemplation; What do I want, what am I looking for, where do I want to go ...? As in response to my questions, the fog slowly pulled up, which pointed my attention to a beautiful small tree; my 'Happy Tree'. That was all I needed. I had found what I was looking for. Click.
11. Golden Lane – Autumn Trees
Autumn is a wonderful both melancholic and photogenic time, but capturing this whimsical season is an art at itself. If you arrive too early, the leaves are still green and you’ll miss the golden magic. On the other hand, if you're late, you’ll risk the chance that an autumn storm has just removed your decoration material. The autumn of 2016 severely lacked of light. Although the colors were gorgeous, gloom ruled and nice sun beams were sparse. But even without hazy lights the autumn of 2016 deserves to be immortalized.
12. Year-end Present - Hedgehog in autumn mode
I think every (nature) photographer can agree on the fact that photography is highly addictive, not to say obsessing. She pulls and begs and forces. A social life is difficult to combine with the ungodly hours on which photographers prefer to go out. But photography is not all there is Sometimes we must create some quality time with family or friends. This does not mean that you can’t take a camera with you. (just in case). And if a unique opportunity happens to arise, such as a hedgehog excitedly plowing through autumn leaves, you can, of course, as well use it! The family can wait. And wait a little more.. Or just go for a walk. Or two ... "Just oooooooone more photo…”
13. Reflections - Frosted trees along the waterfront
As mentioned, the winter of 2016 was not that impressive. We experienced a few unexpected nice cold snaps though. And , last minute, 2016 surprised us with some gorgeous white, crisp wintery mornings, which was a welcome bonus! The white leaves crackling under your feet, the cold wind blowing down the cheeks, the painfully cold fingers ... that 'Oh, that was what winter was like! "- feeling ... ..that alone made it worth being outdoors!
And now ... on to a new year. I cannot wait to start the unpacking all those new fresh presents!
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