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For me it had been over 20 years since being in downtown Alkmaar. After having studied there, I had never been back to the town center.

Recently family of my wife's mother from the US were here, and we had a trip down memory lane for them. It was nice to be back again, and even though much had changed, I still recognized most of the nice streets and beautiful buildings. And the Chinese restaurant we ate soooo many egg rolls in for lunch, was still there.

We had a nice time walking down the old part of Alkmaar (even parts I had never seen before), and along the way many memories surfaced again. Stories of the old days in Alkmaar were shared, both the good and the sad stories of relatives being deported during the war... 

One thing I did miss though: what happened to "Magdalenenstraat - Ja Gezellig!"...?

AlkmaarOlder part of Alkmaar, the Netherlands, with a view of the Waag tower, where during the summer the cheese market is being held.

Normally the tulips are in bloom in late April and some as late as May (depending on the kind or family). This year everything is in bloom a lot sooner: it is estimated that this year nature is two to three weeks early. So starting with the hyacinths, the fields are now turning pink and purple, and the first tulips are already emerging!

Today was one of the first days of the year that is was almost 20 celsius. With family from abroad we have been sitting outside in the garden most of the afternoon, and this evening we had a lovely dinner together. Nice company and good food, we were listening to family stories from way back. Having looked at the pedigree of our families for a while now, it is nice to hear these stories.

This picture was taken last spring on a similar beautiful day, near Noordwijkerhout, with the sun flooding the fields and making these yellow tulips even more colourful than normal.

Because of World Water Day, a post about a shot taken during our last holidays, in the Lake District, UK. Near Patterdale we rented a cottage. Across the street, on the right side of a field with nothing but sheep, a small stream with some rocks. The flow of water was nice, so, with a neutral density filter this shot was taken to smoothen the flow of the water. Two shots at 4 seconds each, and then stitched together.

Smooth as waterNear Patterdale, in the Lake District, UK, a small stream with some rocks

It has been a while, but the story to get this shot, brings back fond memories over our visit to the Sydney harbour. In 2012 we attended a conference in Sydney, Australia. We were lucky to have some time after the conference and stayed a few extra days in Sydney. And then another three weeks to see more of New South Wales.

Before travelling to Sydney I had seen a photo of the harbour brigade - a bit like this one, but from a different angle. I look at the map what locations would work to shoot the bridge at sunset. One evening, the weather was good, and we took the ferry from near the Opera House across towards Kirribilli. Time was running out fast, and not exactly knowing which way to walk my wife and I hurried through the area, looking for a way to get to the small park near the water overseeing the harbour bridge and also downtown Sydney and the Opera House.

Finally, and just in time we found some stairs going down between a couple of houses, and we ended up in the small park - and luckily there was still some light left, so I quickly set up my tripod and started shooting. I was very happy with this result of the harbour bridge. Looking at it brings back the many great memories we have of our visit to the city.

De Brink, DeventerBeautiful evening in Deventer, the Netherlands. The Waag building at one end of the square is really tilted!

A few weeks ago we visited Deventer, and had a very nice diner at Chez Antoinette Before diner we walked across the Brink. It was around 18:00h, a lovely evening for this time of year, and the light was beautiful. Without a tripod I just rested my camera on the fountain on the square, and took this shot. During post-processing I first thought, my camera was tilted on the edge of the fountain, but no, the Waag building really is tilted to the right... 

If you are in Deventer and looking for a nice restaurant, give Chez Antoinette a try - good found, nice hosts, you will have a nice evening!

I would like to welcome you to the new web site for Jack Bakker Photography. After using Wordpress for a while, I have now moved to the Koken web publishing system specifically designed for photographers, designers, and creative DIYs. A very nice and efficient CMS, which took only minutes to setup.

Koken is still a public beta, but already very promising: the system has some beautiful free themes and more and more plug-ins are being developed as we speak.

I will continue to play with some of the settings over the next couple of weeks, finalising the layout, and dotting the i's, so do come back soon ;-).