It had been far too long since I’d visited this city but the chance to meet up with some American friends flying in to Amsterdam changed all that.  It was also a chance to grab some photographs.  And no tulips, I promise.


An evening stroll allowed me to take advantage of the lowering sun and some of the more typical shots that reveal the iconic architecture that line the dock basins and canals.

It can only be Amsterdam


Rain threatens but then that provides dramatic clouds for a photo. The flower troughs lining the canal bridges in this case prove useful in hiding the ugly construction barge and cement mixer..

I wasn’t too inspired by the Oude Kerk, the Old Church, until I found this beautiful staircase. Low lighting made for a noisy picture which I was able to reduce but not before deciding to play with the noise and grain and exaggerate it to make an almost pencil sketch version – so; Colour? Black & White? or ‘pencil sketch’?

Not your typical Dutch architecture

Walking along Sint Antoniesbreestraat everyone walked straight past this bold coloured blue metallic building that seemed out of place in the area. To me it was a dramatic architectural photo-op!


Hey I like this shot! Even if it does look like the cover of a Travelguide to Amsterdam or a promotion for Tripadvisor.

I have no photos that represent the place that impacted me the most – the Anne Frank Huis.  Thanks to our organised New Yorkers we had pre-booked tickets to get in – they are like gold dust – unless you take pot luck with a beard-growing long queue.  It is a well laid out museum and certainly takes you on an emotional and contemplative journey.

Somehow, back in the 1980’s, I failed to visit the Rijksmuseum.  I corrected that this time, although, of course, you don’t visit, you sample it. With over 8000 art and history objects on display it’s too much to take in in one go – so you select a period, an exhibition, a key work of art and focus on that.

As we exited via the grand glass and metal extension annexe I also focussed on the modern architecture, so different from the rest of the 1885 structure.

The ceiling with the aid of a very wide angle lens
Macro… or micro?

I was fascinated by the potential of those frames in the roof to create an interesting picture so I positioned myself dead centre underneath.  It needed some work in the ‘digital darkroom’ but in the end I was surprised at how confusing it can be – is it a massive structure? Or a close-up of a micro-chip?

Two more from the Rijksmuseum; a series of simple framed arches against white walls in the gallery caught my attention and the bikes that try to run you over in the tunnel that runs between the two main wings of the museum.

Bikes, bikes and more bikes than you can imagine

Talking of bikes. There are just millions. Not Trump inauguration millions, I mean Obama size. Multi-storey bike parks. And danger lurking on every street. More dangerous than a silent electric car these cyclo-terrorists swoosh past everywhere at speeds that would make Sir Chris Hoy blush. Every canal bridge and canal side have hundreds of bikes chained up, some three or four deep. There are, apparently more cycles than there are cyclists. I have theories about this. I reckon there is a secret Amsterdam Tourist Agent who buys up old bikes and then chains them up anywhere a gap appears – because tourists expect bikes! I also reckon, from the state of many of the rusting bike locks and flat tyres, that there are thousands of Dutch who have absolutely no idea where they left their bike – and buying a new one is preferable to raking through all that tangled metal and rubber.


Another typical feature of Amsterdam, the red shuttered converted warehouse buildings, now apartments.

Three wonderful days of touring and exploring old Amsterdam and the museums – but our final day featured the new Amsterdam – but that I shall leave for the next post, Part 2.