Canal Parade 2005


The Mayor of Amsterdam intervened to give this year’s canal parade (part of Amsterdam Pride)
the go ahead — there was some fuck up over licenses. I’ve watched the
colorful boats ‘n’ floats go by before, but this was the first time I
got a good spot at the barrier on Magere Brug.
It’s near the end of the parade’s route through the Amsterdam
canals, when the boats hit the Amstel River. All around me people
complained that it wasn’t as busy as last year (… that’s how I got my
spot!) and that the floats weren’t as good… I really didn’t care. It
was chilly and I got rained on a few times, but I stayed glued to my
spot for five hours, snapping away. Despite the fact that I was
coughing my lungs up and couldn’t see properly with my runny nose and
teary eyes. One thing I learnt was that my gear
isn’t up to this kind of stuff. I used my Tamron 70-300 4-5.6 and the
85mm/1.8. The 85mm was too short and the Tamron is a piece of crap.
Surprisingly, there weren’t a whole lot of photographers around where I
stood, but the ones carrying SLR’s all had top range zooms on them. I
am definitely going to get me that Sigma 70-200/2.8 for this kind of

Buddha bathing day

The He Hua temple on Zeedijk in Amsterdam celebrated Buddha’s birthday, or ‘bathing day‘ on Nieuwmarkt today. I went specifically to take photographs, but came back a little embarrassed. My fellow photographers (those carrying serious glass) didn’t seem to care this was a religious celebration. They were crawling all over the event, with little regard for altars and worshippers. But perhaps the worst of all was the guy with the tiny digital camera who first told other people to GET OUT OF HIS LINE OF VIEW and then walked right up to the main altar near the end of proceedings, NEVER TAKING THE HUGE CIGAR OUT OF HIS MOUTH. This is the rudest country in the world.

I came away with some good shots, wishing I’d got a few more of the green dragon on sticks.

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A bit of me on Much Music

If you caught the recent Much Music U2 special on Canadian TV (‘U2 Dismantled’)… that was one of my pictures they used, full screen, in the Gavin Friday tour of Dublin section. Taken in Dublin in 1990. They must have got it from the website, or from the book if it’s in there. No credit, of course. But still cool.

My glass is bigger than your glass

My third time at Artis Zoo this month gave me a case of something that must be quite similar to penis envy.

The first two times I shuffled around the park, my Canon 300d and cheapo 80-200mm were easily the most advanced system there. People stepped aside and told their children not to get in the way of the lady taking photographs.

Yesterday, besides the army of digital point and shoots, there were at least four individuals carrying serious ‘glass’. I found myself stealing glances of their massive tools whenever they lined up next to me, ready to snap critters in the small mammals area.

I could live with the very large man who at least shared his 10D and impressive image stabilised length – (possibly a 28-300mm L series) with his equally large son.

But the two young girls who were both sporting 70-300mm’s on identical analog EOS cameras really made me and my system feel a little inadequate. Even the guy with the 28-200 Tamron had me question my photographic virility due to its range and, well, girth.

I cycled home chanting ‘It’s not the size, it’s what you do with it’ like a mantra. Then spent the rest of the day clicking through online shops, comparing and scribbling down prices.

Another day at the zoo


I turned my day-ticket into a year-card today at Artis zoo and ended up spending four and a half hours there.

The lions were very entertaining. Mrs Lion (One visitor thought she was a tiger. Elsewhere, lots of visitors thought the wild dogs were ‘wolves’. Sigh.) tried to get a rise out of Mr Lion – I’m guessing she fancies him. Shooting pictures as they play-fought, I quickly understood why one would like to have a bigger buffer in the camera. I would like to have been able to shoot continuously:

  • Artis – lions

    They’ve got plants too.

  • Artis – horticulture

    (Most of the shots I took in the hothouses still have to be developed – I used my ‘new’ A-1.)