Earlier this year, Jim and I spent 2 weeks on a photographic reconnaissance trip to the Netherlands with the idea that we’d be adding this beautiful country as a photo tour destination in 2020.

We absolutely loved the Netherlands and the Dutch people. Of course, I’m generalizing here but our experience and impression are that the Dutch are friendly, practical and tolerant (unless you get them on 2 or 4 wheels). And everybody speaks English fluently. In fact, to ask a Dutch person if they speak English is considered an insult as you’d be insinuating that they’re not well educated.

We found so many diverse and wonderful photo ops during our 2 weeks there: Charming and lovingly preserved medieval villages but also intriguing modern architecture, the proverbial tulip fields and windmills (much more impressive than I had imagined), canals and dikes, and amazing Amsterdam.

One of the highlights each spring is the floral exhibit at Keukenhof which is also rightfully called the Garden of Europe. It is one of the world’s largest flower gardens covering an area of 32 hectares and showing off approximately 7 million tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and other bulb flowers. What makes it even more special is that the exhibit only lasts for two months.

You can imagine that during this relatively short window of opportunity, Keukenhof is overrun. We reserved 1 day for this wonderful experience and went to the gardens first thing in the morning and then again late in the afternoon until closing time, a strategy that worked well to avoid the mid-day hordes of international tourists.

I didn’t travel with a maco lens and used mostly my Fuji 10-24 mm wide and 55-200 mm lenses. The landscape of the park makes for lovely compositions, but what’s really exciting is getting close-up and personal with these stunning florals. Even though I love the floral glamour shots a macro lens can help produce, those shots can be created in your backyard or on your kitchen floor for that matter. In other words, they usually lack the sense of place longer lenses can show. With my longer lenses, I got to apply the compositional rules I also use for landscape and architectural photography: Leading lines and curves, symmetry, patterns, the rule of thirds, etc. I have also added one image which uses a quick movement of the camera at a slow shutter speed to produce an abstract composition with blurred color.

I hope that you’ll enjoy the images below and join us on our photo tour in the beautiful Netherlands in the spring of 2020 to create your own masterpieces.