Photo of the Week: Winter Sun in Amsterdam

Sometimes you take a photograph that is all kinds of wrong according to the rules. Too dark, too bright, too sharp, too soft. But the thing about rules in photography is that we learn them so that we can break them. Sometimes that leads to a shot which you, and only you may really enjoy.

Rijksmuseum Tunnel

This shot from my recent trip to Amsterdam may be one of those. We’ve got lens flare from shooting directly into the sun. We’ve got people whose features we can’t make out and the exposure is all over the place.

But as a personal memory of a time and a place it nails it. It sums up why I love street shooting in Amsterdam and in some respects travel in general. In the background we can see the ice rink and winter market crowded with people having a good time. We’ve the bikes that are ubiquitous but what I really love is that it makes a feature of what for many would be the least interesting part of the area.

On the immediate left and right we have the glass walls and entrance to the Rijksmuseum. The building itself is an amazing piece of architecture filled with so many details that you could fill a book with just shots of it alone. Through the tunnel is the ice rink and bridge. Again a brilliant place to photograph people.

But here they become background.

I love photographing Amsterdam because it doesn’t matter where you look there is something of interest. Even the mundane such as a through-tunnel is interesting and would likely merit being regarded as interesting in its own right in other places. But it is also because no matter where I go in the city, there is always something catching my attention on the horizon or around the next corner and I have to slow myself down and take note of what is in front of me right now. Otherwise I may just miss everything by only looking ahead or behind.

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