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Behind the Scene Winner: Daniel Laan

Hempolder, Akersloot, The Netherlands
Nikon D750, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, f/2.8, 1/100sec, ISO 800

A change of scenery that is a result of moving house can mean either of two things for a landscape photographer. On the one hand you may be inspired by new surroundings and the task of getting to know entirely new scenes and subjects all over again. I'm in camp B, though.

Having lived my entire life in the far north of the Netherlands, in a town called Den Helder, I instinctively knew when certain weather conditions were favourable for a particular subject. It helped my photography a lot that the natural landscape there looked desolate to begin with, as the dunes are always close by.

To be honest, I have found the process of looking for beautiful desolation quite daunting in this new landscape. This is the polder; the encapsulated, claimed water and marsh that makes up half of my country’s total landmass. Evidence of man-made structures in this landscape is never really far away, although in some places the ancient marshland still has a foothold and some personality. It turns out that the weather here is different too. It interacts in a wildly different manner with flat and empty grasslands to create photogenic conditions.

One of the weather conditions that behaves really quite different in the polder, is mist. Because surface water is never far away, evaporation and condensation turn these green pastures and city skylines into foggy places of make-belief. During the usual weather, the hues in these scenes are grey and green, but the haze and sunset turned this into a pink and orange display of wonder.

On this occasion, the persevering mists of a dreary day past December, created just such an ethereal ethos that begged for a closer look in an area that I had not explored yet. About half an hour before sunset I used GPS to navigate the dikes that separated the polder from the canal. It came as a surprise that there were small islets of willow trees inside the canal’s water, but the reeds in the foreground obscured the view long enough that I had to hurry to be able to capture any such subject at all in the fading light.

When I did eventually reach an opening in the reeds, I put my tripod down and attached the camera to it. A variety of waterfowl was in transit as I was preoccupied dialling in the camera to a setting that would capture them somewhat sharp by the time the sun actually set. I have warmed the white balance a bit to complement the scene and ended up exposing the image for a relatively short 1/100sec at ISO 800 that froze four geese, creating a more balanced image.

As with all photography, subjects change in appearance in good light and particular weather conditions. Sometimes, even the mundane can become the star of the show.

We wish to congratulate this month’s photographer for the 'Behind the Scene' story of this beautiful picture. This feature can be viewed in High Definition in the latest issue of the magazine
DIMITRI VASILEIOU, EDITOR

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