Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Night photography!

As promised I'm posting some of my photos from my night photography session on the Museumplein with Michael. :-). I'm quite happy with the results, and it was a really nice night to be out. I have to admit we looked a tad funny carrying our tripods on the tram, although Amsterdamers have seen much weirder things. Once we both set up though, I think we were pretty much in the zone. Let me know what you think about the photos!
The beautiful and famous Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum (State Museum), which dates from 1876 and opened in 1885 houses a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age as well as a substantial collection of Asian art. The collection includes paintings by Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt as well as many of Rembrandt's pupils and many more artists. Some of the most famous paintings are Rembrandt's The Night Watch, and one of my favorites, Johannes Vermeer's The Milkmaid. Only part of the collection is currently on view as from 2003 until 2010 (or later) the building has been undergoing continuous renovations and repairs.
 Van Gogh Museum and Concertgebouw (on left)
In 1999, an elliptical exhibition wing was added to the Vincent Van Gogh Museum which opened in 1973. The Van Gogh museum houses the largest collection in the world of work by Vincent Van Gogh including one of his famed sunflower still lifes. To the left of the exhibition wing is the Concertgebouw (Concert Hall) which opened in 1888. It is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouweorkest).

That's all for now... I'll post a bit more later as I went wandering last night with my camera.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Birthday rose

Well... mom took off today, after a short but sweet visit to AMS. We decided it would be more beneficial for her to leave her birthday rose here... but I wanted her to have a photo reminder of the time we spent together this weekend. So this is her birthday rose photo - I'm glad my readers can all share in the rose's beauty as well!
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend?! Weather permitting I'll be out trying to shoot some more night photos this evening... I will hopefully be able to share those with you in the coming days!

Thanks for staying tuned!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy 55th Mom!

I made a huge mistake the other evening... I failed to blog about the birthday of one of the most important people in my life... my mom. I actually had every intention of doing that, but I kind of got wrapped up in getting ready for her visit. Oops, I failed to mention that my mom's birthday present from my dad was to come visit me for the weekend! Pretty cool!

Anyway, I am now attempting to make up for failing to blog on Thursday. Happy belated birthday mom! This blog post is for you! First photo is my mom with my dad during their trip to visit me in April.
So... my mom arrived at Schiphol Airport on Friday around noon, where I met her with a birthday rose, kicking off a fun mother/daughter weekend! I'm really glad she has had the chance to be with me, because I've enjoyed introducing her to some of the people I've mentioned in the blog, and who've been an important part of my time here in A'dam! Tomorrow her short time here will come to an end, but I think we've made the most of the 48 hours she was in town... I wish it had been a bit longer though!

We were walking home tonight in the rain, when I was struck by the urge to make some photos. This happens sometimes when you are a photographer! Lucky for me my mom was totally willing to run up the 3 flights of stairs to my apartment with me, so I could grab some equipment, then go right back out into the wetness just to hold my umbrella over my camera as I shot my images. Not only is she a great mom, she's a great assistant! The following photos probably would not have been possible if it weren't for her help. Thanks mom! I love you!

One of the alleys off the street I live on...
The view across the Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) from where I live...
Once again, happy belated birthday mom! I'm so glad you decided to come visit me for the weekend!



Monday, July 21, 2008

Take it outside

While I was home for Eva and Bret's wedding, Amsterdam underwent a dramatic transformation... on July 1st a smoking ban went into effect, which literally drove the smokers outside. Now I'm not going to lie, I'm a HUGE fan of banning smoking in public places, I love not having to come home after a night of hanging out with friends, and requiring a shower before going to bed (with wet hair). However, I think there are some issues here, that I haven't really seen too much of in Illinois (January 1, 2008) or Iowa (July 1, 2008). Mainly this is a space issue. Since the smokers are not allowed to smoke in the bars, they instead crowd around the entrances or lean in the door frame. I admit, if I was a smoker, I might have issues with standing outside in the cold rain, which I'm told is part of a normal Dutch summer. I feel kind of bad for those who are so addicted to nicotine that they can't go more than half an hour or an hour until they are back outside. Then there is an issue of being able to get in and out of the bar. I've noticed a problem because the smokers do stay so close to the entrance, that you have to walk through wafting smoke to go in or out, sometimes, pushing past multiple people just to get to the door. Finally I've found that because there are so many people congregated at the door of pubs and restaurants, it's often difficult for pedestrians to get around them. The sidewalks, are extremely tiny, forcing you to step into the bike lanes, which can be a physical danger when most bikers feel, rightly so in this city, that they have right of way.
The smoking ban has also caused some issues to arise, that I'm not sure I've heard of previously in the states. The main complaint that I have heard is that the smoking was what covered up the body odor that wafts through crowded pubs, clubs, etc. I've even read that there are some Dutch clubs that have adopted smoking machines which let out the supposedly harmless scent of cigarette smoke, to cover up the natural odor. Evidently this scent does not stick to your clothes and hair... seriously though wouldn't everyone having better hygiene and using deodorant be a better solution? 

Speaking of taking it outside... I've seen some weird street performances over the years... but I think this may top it. In the Leidseplein... the square I've talked about before, this man, in nothing but a thong-loin cloth, was doing tricks on a hanging rope from a free standing apparatus haphazardly set up in the walk way between the veranda tables and the bars. It was a very odd thing to see, and I felt it was a bit dangerous as the outer circles of the crowd were perilously close to the tram tracks. Not really a street performance I have seen before!
Finally this evening, I'm very excited to be able to offer some FRESH PHOTOS! CLICK HERE to look through some new images from the past couple of weeks... and as always feel free to comment on this post, or let me know what you are thinking about both my writing and my images. Thanks again for reading!

Until the next time...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happy 1st Bday Meir!

1 year ago today little Meir Gideon Arbisser graced us with his presence! Born July 20, 2007 - it was one of the most exciting days of my life! To celebrate his first year of life, here are some of my favorite photos I've taken of him over the past year. Sorry Lily... but you've got major competition for top portrait muse. 
Meir at 4-days old
Meir at 4-months old
Meir at 9-months old
If you are interested in seeing more photos of Meir - plenty can be found on the baby blog that my brother Micah and his wife Lisa have kept since the beginning. Click here to go to the baby blog. 

I've been a bit lax on posting lately... and will try to be better about this! I've been working on some new stuff - I'll try to put in a post later.

Once again Happy 1st Birthday Meir!


Tante Talya

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I was unable to get to sleep last night until about 6:30 this morning. Sometimes that happens when my brain fails to turn off about whatever I happen to be thinking about. Fortunately for me there was a beautiful sunrise this morning... so I made the most out of my sleeplessness. As I leaned out the window to take some photos, I was treated to this rainbow. I felt I should share it with my readers!

It has been raining here pretty much all week. I'm told that is what to expect from Dutch summers... but I really didn't expect it to be as cold as it has been with highs in the mid 60's. Thankfully today was really quite nice, which was perfect for the photography event I co-hosted with Michael and Silas through Meetin. After lunch, and a talk on basic photography and digital cameras, our group of about 20 people headed out for some Amsterdam street photography around the Artis Zoo area. Hopefully I will have some images to share with you from this event later in the week... as I've taken to playing around with film for a bit. I've revived my father's old Leica R4, and will hopefully see some results after processing the film - it has been quite a while since I've used color film! Anyway... that's it for now. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Love to everyone,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jewish Amsterdam

Lily and I have been getting our share of Jewish Amsterdam these last couple of days. According to Wikipedia, "Amsterdam has historically been the center of the Dutch Jewish community, and has had a continuing Jewish community for the last 370 years." The Portuguese Synagogue website says, "When Nazi Germany invaded Holland in 1940 there were around 140,000 Jews living here, some 120,000 of whom lived in Amsterdam... After the war there were only 20,000 Jews left in Holland... At present there are between 20,000 and 25,000 Jews in Holland, around 15,000 to 20,000 in Amsterdam." 

Yesterday, Lily and I made our way down to the Waterlooplein - in the old Jewish quarter. After checking out the Rembrandt huis, where Rembrandt used to work as an art dealer and painter, we headed over for a quick tour of the Portuguese Synagogue. The Sephardic Synagogue which was amazingly undamaged during the German occupation, was built in the early 1670's, and is quite beautiful inside. While there was very little light in the main sanctuary, some nice light was streaming in the windows of the women's area on the upstairs balcony, where I shot this man. 
Today Lily and I got up early so that we wouldn't have to stand in line for the Anne Frank Huis... which often has lines wrapping around the block! We were there about 8:45 am and the doors opened at 9, so thankfully we didn't have to wait very long as it has been a fairly cold and rainy week here in A'dam. It was amazing to be in the place I'd read about so long ago in the Diary of Anne Frank, and was one of the reasons I was interested in this city in the first place! I bought a copy of the book, in English of course, so that I can reread it while I am still here. It is pretty incredible though that one little girl who documented her family's attempts at hiding from the Nazis could easily be considered the face of the ridiculous number of Jews from Amsterdam who perished during the genocide. I was not allowed to take photos of the exhibit, but did snap this shot of people standing in line to get inside from the cafe conveniently located at the end of the tour.
I'm going to run now... it's Lily's last night here, and I want to spend as much time as possible with her! We've had a wonderful week together.

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable summer!

Goede dag! - T

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Restaurant De Kas

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Amsterdam is the variety and quality of the food. The Dutch tend to use the word "lekker" quite a bit, especially when talking about food. "Lekker" roughly translates as "delicious," and I've found it to be very useful when describing much of what I've consumed in this city. I'm not sure that I've seen a higher standard of overall freshness anywhere else I've ever travelled or lived.

I have grown attached to quite a few wonderful restaurants and cafes, but right now I'd like to tell you about Restaurant De Kas. Restaurant De Kas is located in Frankendael Park in the East of A'dam. It is housed in an old 1926 greenhouse, and they grow their own fruits and vegetables, and buy mostly local products. De Kas offers one menu, which usually changes weekly, and is based on whatever is freshest at the moment. 

Lily and I were lucky enough to be able to check out De Kas on Tuesday evening. It was a truly enjoyable time, with lekker food, in an amazing setting! Please enjoy tonight's photo of the outside of Restaurant De Kas! Thanks for reading... more soon!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cute kid OVERLOAD!

Sorry to be away so long, unlike my jet lag back home which had me unable to sleep late... I slept a lot the first 2 days I was back in A'dam - and then Lily joined me, and we've been doing a lot while she's been here. 

On Saturday after her arrival, Lily and I spent an hour with Renaldo, the trainer I've been working with at my gym, which is conveniently located a block from me. Later that evening we went to a Mediterranean dinner that Larissa and I were cohosting through Meetin. (Bazar Restaurant Amsterdam was  a tremendous feast!) More than 25 people showed up to my first hosted event, and it was a huge success, with many of the group continuing the enjoyable evening at a cocktail bar down the block.

Today... Lily, Michael, and I took the train out to Amstelveen to go back to the Cobra (modern art) museum. We were specifically headed to see the newest exhibit Just Different! which was interesting... although I found what was outside to be much more interesting. There was some sort of festival going on... people (no hands) sand volleyball, a flea market, and lots of kids activities with adorable children! Tonight's offering photo wise is a selection of the photos I shot this afternoon - Cute kid overload!
I guess there are these buttons, or "pieces of flare" if you will that you can pimp je (your) crocs! with. A bit odd to see that as the background for this image though...
I really wanted to join this little girl on the trampoline... it reminds me of one I used to get to go on when I visited my grandparents in Israel when I was 8 or so!
Love from back in AMS!!! Hope everyone back in the states had a wonderful July 4th!