2020, thoughts


I’m not active anymore on photography related forums. I don’t read websites like fstoppers, petapixel, dpreview. I am not interested in the latest gear. I have interacted very little or none with peers on Twitter or IG. It allowed me to distance myself from the photography bubble.

You needed to favour Nikon, or Canon. Photography has died, because so many people share millions of photographs a day. Every amateur can become an influencer and share their thoughts and opinions on photography, preferably gear of course. I just don’t give a s&#t about it. I just don’t care.

A lot has happened in the meantime. The Corona pandemic, black lives matter, protests, people believing in conspiracy theories, finding their truths in their own filtered bubbles. And somehow the tech industry is thriving. And I will totally ignore the US elections. It’s not my country, I can’t vote, but it will affect us nonetheless though.

Many of us have been or still are social distancing themselves from friends and loved ones. Many people suffer the consequences of the Corona pandemic and subsequent countermeasures. People losing their jobs, or reduced working hours, money uncertainties. The economy in recession and somehow business thrive unlike ever before. Again it shows me that people base their lives around certainties. Even the young ones want certainties. Going to school, finding a job, making a living, starting relationships, saving money, and making their lives worthwhile.

When uncertainties fill our lives, it becomes clear that many people try to find answers instead of simplifying their lives. And people become strongly opinionated. We are at a point in life that the unbelievable internet revolution also clearly shows its dark side. Discussions becomes shouting, freedom of speech becomes intertwined with opinions. A political correctness on both sides of the aisle forces us into stand-offs. It has become so easy to find your reasoning for your own believes. And we make the mistake of assuming that believes is the truth. When there is unwillingness to listen to others your own believes become useless. It might all seem or purpose a ripple effect, but in the end changes will be minimal and we still need to live with one another.

Instead, maybe it is better to distance ourselves from it all. Maybe it is better to experience the freedom of actually not having an opinion, or at least not share it with others. Often they say the silent majority allowed bad things to happen, but sometimes the silent majority can actually silence fightings. When silence becomes noise too.

Maybe I ramble too much, I will try to silence myself again and focus on photography instead. Still take care, stay safe.

A month later

2020, Photography, thoughts, visuals

A little over a month ago I published my previous blog post. I was full of plans and ideas, but in the meantime something went wrong in the execution.

In April I wrote that had a TIA at the end of March. After that I started to walk and cycle a lot. I started to work hard on my daily skill of fitness. I got prescribed medication and after almost two months of using that I started to feel bad. I still try to recover from it, but it took away any joy of photographing and working on my images.


Currently I can’t be bothered with photography. I don’t care for cameras, I hardly look at Instagram anymore, and I don’t find a lof of inspiration.


I’m still in doubt about my photography. I kind of lost my interest in some of the genres. And cycling doesn’t help either. When walking I more easily pause to make a photograph. While cycling I rather keep the momentum of the pedalling flow rather then halting to grab my camera or phone.


I do observe though, and seeing those inspire me. I’m doing more sketches now, try to work on my illustrating skills, and experiment to see how I can combine techniques and ideas to melt them together.

Twenty years ago I did a lot of compositing where I mixed illustrations, typography with photography. Twenty years later I noticed a new interest for this art form.



2020, Photography, thoughts

Odd, as strange or unexpected. That is how March 28 eventually turned out to be.

IMG_2431 blog

We all live in strange times this year. And some families have been hit hard, really hard, with a virus called Covid-19 a.k.a. Coronavirus. Lockdown, social distancing, toilet paper, ICU’s, doctors, nurses, deaths, many deaths, uncertainties, pneumonia, China, Italy, Spain, disturbing low oxigen levels, UK, the States, mad man, more deaths, clapping, testing, shortness of breath, masks, post poned, canceled, more mad men, high fever, herd immunity, financial crisis, unemployment, and strange blood clots.

IMG_2469 blog-2

I had been feeling kind of sick since mid February, and while the news picked up about the Coronavirus, it kept on working. On February 27 apparently patient zero was identified in the Netherlands (later specialists estimated that the virus was already here mid February). On March 9 we were told in the Netherlands to not shake hands anymore, to cough or sneeze in your elbow, wash your hands for 20 seconds, and to use disinfectant. Still more patients came into ICU’s and on March 11 more precautions were taken.

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On March 11 I started a training at work. That night Trump ordered a travel ban for Europeans to the States, and quarantine countermeasures for Americans returning home. Our American trainer hastly left the hotel and returned to the US forgetting us to inform us she abruptly left.

So March 12 turned out to be my last day at the office. From March 15 we were ordered to work at home. Schools, colleges, and universities were closed. The next week I lost smell and taste. Sometimes I coughed and I lost my voice. I had no fever though and very little shortness of breath. So nothing to worry about, but from March 26 I felt to sick to work.

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I was mostly tired, still didn’t smell and taste that much, and had a general sense of illness. March 28 I regurarly walked against tables and chairs. Not really disturbing at all, it was just odd. Later Saturday night I got a headache, started to feel uncomfortably tired, and all I wanted to do is sleep. Everything happened in slow motion in my head. I could talk, but talked like a drunken man according to my wife. She was worried, but since I was sick she gave me rest and I immediatelly felt a sleep on the couch.

Later that night I informed here I felt better and that it all felt okay in my head. On Sunday March 29 she still was cautious. Cause my son had a stroke late 2015 they requested me to come to the hospital.

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There I underwent numerous tests and they told me I had a mini-stroke, a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). Probably because I had no short breathness that didn’t test me for Covid-19 at that time. The CT-scan, the electrocardiogram, blood test, it all took a lot of time. It became an odd evening.

Now I think I may be fortunate enough, and after four weeks of being mostly exhausted I’m gaining strength and more awareness. I have no headaches anymore, walk and cycle a lot, and enjoy photography again. I don’t feel that odd anymore.

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So stay safe, look after one another, and be kind to each other. Peace.

PAD photography, photo a day, stroll photography, Wouter Brandsma, Ricoh GR

September update

2018, Photography, thoughts


I’m sorry it took so long to post something new on my blog. Working, commuting, family, it all consumed a lot of time. In between I still try to photograph, a bit. The pictures will follow later, but I thought it was time for an update and some thought.

So Ricoh announced the GRIII a day before the Photokina 2018 opening. The GR series are basically the only cameras that really interests me. I’ve been using it since the end of 1996. 12 years with the GR1, and since 2009 with the GRD1, GRD3, and from 2013 the GR. While I love the concept of the GR series, I also believe that going digital caused scope creep with the designers. The digital GR cameras became programmable machines, and all I tried to do was make it more simple in it’s usability.

You see, the 1996 GR1 was a simple camera to operate. Choose your aperture or put it in P-mode. The only add-on was exposure compensation. Simple. My GR though has Tav mode, many programmable buttons, a rocker dial on the back that is as unpredictable as the weather in West Europe. So all I did, was choosing one aperture, ISO 1600, and using the zoom button for exposure compensation.


When I look at the back of the new GRIII prototype the user interface has changed. Less options, it seems. I’m personally glad that they ditched the flash, and that the GR has no tilted screen. I hope it can still be operated with only my right thumb. I will hopefully figure this out soon. More about that later.

Street photography. It seems no other genre in photography gets people more opinionated. While I wouldn’t call myself a street photographer I admit taking a lot of photographs that others think is street photography. I don’t take these however with street photography as my intent. With the new GDPR legislation that took place in May this year it is good to think about this intent. There is more protection now for the individual and personal data. And photographers are part of the personal data too. Cause I think honesty and respect are of the utmost importance, I think it will also alter my photography. And strangely though I find this very exciting.


So here both above mentioned subjects come together. Earlier this year I was interviewed for a German street photography magazine, Soul of Street Photography & Philosophy. It was as a joy to be interviewed by someone I know. It allowed us to dig a bit deeper in my reasoning, and thought process. So what has this all to do with Ricoh and street photography? Upcoming Saturday, 29 September 2018, Ricoh Germany and the Soul of Street magazine invite users and enthusiasts of all GR camera generations to the first GRmany Meet & Greet. It will take place from 10 am to 6 pm at stand A041 in hall 2.2 at Photokina. In their “photographers corner” the people of the Soul of Street Photography & Philosophy magazine and some GR-photographers from the PxP-Portfolio will be there, including me. So maybe I see you in Cologne. And the magazine, it is available here.

Don’t know, do know

2018, photograph, Photography, thoughts


So President Putin and Trump met each other in Helsinki. I don’t know really what to think of it, but the outcome felt like a definite shift of power. The world order we got to know, and grew up in, feels changed now. For some that might be a fantastic moment, for others it could be the end of their world. I don’t know if it is good or wrong. On the one side you have an elected president who I seriously doubt is fit for office, although my view might likely be influenced by my European more left of the political center position, and on the other side a president who was a former KGB agent. I don’t know, but both don’t really give me confidence to trust them.

I grew up in the Cold War and thought 9 November 1989 was like the most important day in my life, when the gates in the Berlin Wall stood wide open. There was the East and the West, until that moment when the Cold War came gradually to an end and the Soviet Union crumbled down. I knew there was no right or wrong, even though they kind of taught us so. I guess, there are wrongdoing rightly people and vice versa.

No matter where my thoughts and sentiments wander, it becomes obvious that the world isn’t right or wrong, isn’t all white or black. And the same can I say about my photography. While much of my work was black and white, it’s message or feelings was originally intended to be somewhere between it. After years passed by, and melancholy filled it in more often, it started to feel too much like black and white to me.

Therefore I decided to stop doing black and white photography for now. Also I deleted all my black and white photographs on my Instagram account. I still appreciate the beauty and simplicity of black and white, but really like the diversity of color now. Color isn’t just what you see. There is so much more to it. Just take a look at some of the movies by Wong Kar-Wai from Hong Kong.

It just fits me better right now. It provides me with a new set of challenges. Just to say, I’m curious how my photographs look in color.