Photoblog: Photo #58 – Autumn at Kaizersgracht

It has been hard to get to work on time these days.

The sun now rises around 8:30, about the same time I begin my morning commute. The traffic on the roads along the canals is an eclectic mix of other bikes, cars and massive trucks delivering supplies to shops. Also, roads can get blocked for hours at a moment’s notice because a giant crane was needed for getting something bulky to the third-floor window of an old canal house. Theres usually enough room for a bike to squeeze past but on a few occasions the crane is big enough that its base straddles the entire width of the road. One inadvertently finds that out at the last minute and takes a U-turn.

After over a year of biking through these roads, you take it all in your stride. So none of this has been behind me being late. The real culprit is the extended autumn. The trees along the canals have been so beautiful that I’ve found myself compelled to get down and take pictures several times in the 15-minute bike ride to work. The scene above is hardly 3 minutes into the commute and it alone cost me over 10 minutes!

Photoblog: Photo #57 – 75

From a visit to Paris earlier this year. I wanted to keep this for photoblog post no. 75, but pretty sure that something else will come along by then. When I took this picture, my phone’s camera was already 15 months old. The days during our trip in January were overcast and foggy, ensuring precisely the sort of light that torture tests phone cameras. When I started editing the pictures, I was quite surprised at how much detail I could extract from them despite these shortcomings:

p.s. Google Street View sometimes takes the fun out of taking photos like these. What’s the point of clicking, when you can see it this clearly any time without ever having travelled!

Standing under the autumn canopy

Autumn this year has taken its own sweet time to set in. Even now, leaves in shades of orange, yellow and maroon are clinging onto the branches of trees. If you look closely, you might even spot shades of green!

Last Sunday was cold and rainy. Quite typical for a Dutch Sunday in the middle of November. Not exactly the kind of day you spend outdoors and definitely not in a park. Except that Westerpark has a lot of covered spaces, exhibition halls and cafeterias. It hosts a food market a couple of times a month. That was what drew us there. Although I did end up spending a lot of time outside taking these pictures.

This lot almost looks like out of a stained glass window:

While these two, I edited to be a bit more muted (the first one below is a personal favourite):

Cleaning up the autumn mess

In the US last month, I had noticed that a considerable amount of people’s time, fuel and energy was being expended in creating piles of leaves with leaf blowers. Garbage trucks eventually cleared these piles away. While this works beautifully in a college-town of a little over three thousand, in a dense city like Amsterdam, the idea of individuals out with their personal leaf blowers not only sounds ridiculous, it’ll be plain inefficient.

The municipality here does it with three member cleaning squads equipped with high-pressure water jets, a street cleaning car and a good old fashioned broom. The whole process is surprisingly fascinating to watch, so much so, that I made a short video: