Amsterdam Again

After a night spent in our dank and musty subterranean AirB&B we emerged rested and reset to the new time zone. The day holds visits to the Van Gogh Museum, the Microb Museum, the Botanical Gardens and stops for all sorts of tasty treats. In the evening we found a tall building with a rooftop bar to watch the sun set over the city.

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Emerging from the cave

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Croissant

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So flakey

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Enjoying a cookie

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It’s a very good cookie

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Taking a nice pic

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Lovely greenway for the rail cars

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Walking through the Botanical Gardens

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A flying being drawn to its doom by a carnivorous fly eating pitcher plant

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The botanical gardens

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A wild bee!

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This european bee has noticeably different proportions to the ones back home.

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Butterflies in the garden

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Another-fly

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Hiding out in the butterfly room

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A giant tardigrade, BLACK ALERT!

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Looking at the exhibitions

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Algee or magic potion?

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Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

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Omer in his natural environment; the lab

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Leafcutter ant

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Trying a local brew

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Grilled cheese for brunch

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Enjoying his avocado

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Justin had my camera

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Photo cred: Justin

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This is Amsterdam’s version of a shopping mall

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A nice row of houses

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Canals

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More canals (Anne Frank house on the left)

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More cheese

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Bars extending their seating into the canals

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Nice clogs

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Crossing a canal

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Crossing the tracks

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In old Amsterdam houses were taxed by the width and number of windows, contributing to tall narrow architecture of the city

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Another Amsterdam street

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No long exposure needed; this canal was closed for construction and was smooth as glass

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The sun is going down

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Watching the sunset over the city from the Hilton skydeck

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The Church of St. Nicholas at sunset

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Looking out over the city

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Amsterdam at night

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Enjoying a noodle break

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A restaurant across the canal.

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Known for its red lights, Amsterdam at night has lots of orange and blue as well

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Night on the canal

 

Home Again

The vacation is over and I’m back home again. Its time to get back to my normal routines as I fight the jet lag. I still get to re-live the fun from the vacation with the chocolates and cheeses I’ve brought with me as I curate and edit all the photos I took.

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The Eiffel Tower at sunset from the Arc de Triomphe

A Spider’s Snack

I previously posted some pictures of a spider I found which had apprehended a wasp in its web. I also took the opportunity to take some video. It was very up close with a very small depth of field, making the video a little shaky and blurry. I have tried a little to correct for this with some post processing.

Outside of the shoddy camera work its still rather impressive, if you are not arachnophobic.

The previous post was Lucky Spiders

Subject Isolation

In photography there is a concept called subject isolation, which simply means make sure what you want people to see in your photo stand out. This is commonly done by using a narrow depth of field to cause an intentional blur of everything that is not the subject. This effect is often called bokeh, and its popularity is the reason that so many wide aperture lenses are being made to day.

I recently got the ‘thrifty 50’ 50mm 1.8 prime from Sony. With the aperture open to 1.8 this lens should have a very narrow focal plane and lots of background blurring. Throwing on a tube extender for some ‘macro’ shots narrows the depth of field even further. I went for a walk to the local rose garden, self assigned to practice some subject isolation and try out the new lens.

Finding a new Bug

My find this weekend while out for a walk is two new insects I’d not seen before. Unable to identify them on the spot I took some pictures and looked them up later. One was a Bald-Faced Hornet, walking along the ground. The other was a Mud Dauber, perched on a flower.

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Bald-Faced Hornet

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Mud Dauber

Lucky Spiders

Yesterday while walking home I cam across a seven legged spider. Like finding a four-leaf clover I’m going to regard this as a sign of good luck. I also found a spider which was lucky enough to catch a yellow jacket for a tasty meal.

How the Honey is Made

More macro pictures of bees collecting pollen and nectar. I also found a wasps nest while out taking pictures, but I thought it was best to leave them alone. Taking these pictures often means getting within inches of the subject, the bees are too preoccupied to care, but the yellow jackets seemed a little more aggressive.

You’ve got Mailbox

Mailbox peak is a famous hike in the Seattle area, know for very steep elevation gain and beautiful views. Mailbox peak has been so popular there are now two trails up the mountain. We hiked the new trail which is better maintained and takes a gentler path up to the summit, though going back and trying the old trail is still a possibility.

The hike was challenging, but it was not as hot as the week before and most of the trail was under a protective canopy of trees. The last mile climbing in the sun was hard, but by that point the end is so close.

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Start with a sturdy bridge. Not very steep.

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Fording the ‘river’

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Into the woods…

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…and through the trees…

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…to the top of the mountain, please

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Stopping at the first overlook

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Not a bad view, but there is still a lot of elevation left.

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Does this count as rock climbing?

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Scaling this rock slide really feels like we are going straight up

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Climbing the rocks in the the hot sun does provide a nice view

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I thought the rocks were the top of the mountain but it keeps going up

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Saying hello to the natives

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Looking out over the edge

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THE SUMMIT! Those post workers really have it tough.

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What a good spot for a new profile picture

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Someone should open up a portrait studio here

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One for me too! Photo by Mark

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Rainier is the true star of the photos

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Even the locals like to stare out at the mountain

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Need to take a selfie to make it official

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The gang. Photo: Sean/Shiwani

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Time to do it all again in reverse

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Mark, Sean, and Anthony far ahead on the trail

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Wondering through the trees

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So many trees

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What a beautiful forrest

 

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Required: Picture of a Bee

Caught in a Web

I have been taking a lot of pictures of the local wildlife. Because I live in a city most of that wildlife is bugs. Bumble bees are cute and cuddly, but they dart around very quickly making getting good picture a challenge. A lot of my pictures are of much more stationary subjects, though many find them a terror.

This post has some graphic pictures of spiders, if you are arachnophobic turn back now.

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Morning dew caught like flies in a web

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An orb weaver waiting patiently

This picture was a difficult one to get, as the spiders usually wait on their webs on the side with less commotion, showing their underbelly through their web but making it difficult to see there face.

I’ve done a small amount of reading up on the identification of spiders and the number and placement of the eyes is an important means of classification. Now that I’ve gotten close enough to see this spiders face, I’ve very certain its of the Araneid, or Orb weaver, family. To figure exactly the genus or species I think a dissection would be needed.

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Having a snack

This was another opportune find while walking to the bus. I found a spider who had just caught herself a meal. Something I had not seen before.