It was a quiet evening in Den Helder. I had no particular plans and was wondering what to do. So many hobbies to choose from, or just an evening of bench watching… My camera caught my attention, as usual, again giving me an excuse to go out.
Den Helder is not a big city. In former days I used to wear my running shoes and run around the city. Cycling is a little easier to do. I noticed there would be no sun or moon and many clouds.
As the wind picked up (it always blows in Den Helder), I thought of making a long exposure against the wind to capture the movement of the clouds towards the camera. That would take me to the beach, and with the 'bad' light, that idea was not very appealing. Then I discovered that it would be low tide, which presented some options.
Den Helder is protected from the sea in 2 ways. To the west by the dunes and to the north by a high and long dike. At low tide, the breakwaters become visible and passable. Although the dike was not very appealing to the eye, I had to find something else to focus on, and I did not yet know what. So I grabbed my bike and cycled along the dike in search of an interesting view.
It was already getting darker, and I almost gave up hope for a nice photo and just tried to enjoy the ride. In the west of Den Helder, a 'famous' landmark is the 63-meter-high lighthouse 'Lange Jaap' (Tall Jacob). This was the obvious goal. But it has been photographed so many times.
A little further west is the village of Huisduinen. And with the fading light, I saw the lights of the houses come on and decided that this would be my goal after all. I went onto the breakwater and wanted to smooth out the sea in the foreground. With ISO down to 50 and f/9.5, I managed to get a 20 seconds exposure that did the trick. I stayed until I almost got my feet wet from the rising tide. I felt I had spent my evening worthwhile again, enjoying the outdoors, the camera as an excuse.
The former coast guard tower is now an apartment you can rent for an original night overlooking the sea, situated very close to the beach.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor