Wim van Velzen photography - landscape

the dunes near Katwijk

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To be honest, I think the sandy dunes along the Dutch coast are a weird landscape. Not because there is a lot of sand along the coast, turned into small hills by the wind. No, it is many the colours that are weird. Brown in all shades, gloomy shurbs and some bright fluorescing mosses, that I seemingly cannot catch with my camera.
As you might have guessed, I am not born and raised in Katwijk and even after 8 years of living there I often feel a stranger.

But weird doesn't mean that I shouldn't make any photographs of it. Weird can definately be attractive. But there are many, many ugly fences with their barbed wire, an enormous number of paths (and millions of people walking there, especially at sunday's. An Amsterdam shopping mall is quite in comparison.) And then there all kinds of pits, pumps and measuring laths, all used by the water-works. [ The dunes are used as a huge sandy filter for preparing water for the major cities in Holland ]
On top of that, more than 20 airplanes an hour are on their way to nearby Schiphol. What a noise.

I haven't made any significant pictures in the dunes for years. I simply couldn't manage to get one decent shot. OK, some were passable, but I didn't feel I was in the landscape. Just looking at it, mostly in doubt or disgust.

Influenced by my own articles (every landscape has a history, that can be felt and photographed), I decided this couldn't go on any longer.
One beautiful morning in October, I entered the dunes and just made photographs of everything I thought was characteristic. At the moment, there were not that many autumn colours. Everything was friendly.

About three months later there was a lot of snow (at least for Dutch understanding). I entered the dune early (in Januari sunrise is at a friendly time, so it is not that early!) and enjoyed the bright snow and the clear sky. Really radiant.

It took me some time, but now I can appreciate the dunes a bit more!