Amsterdam. Such an intimate, cozy city. Anywhere you go, the sound of bells tolling, bikes chattering and gulls’ crying surrounds you. The slanted buildings give away their age, but that's exactly what gives the city its character and old world charm. It was hard for me to put my camera down. The city resounds with its own mesmerizing beauty and relaxed feel (but I'm sure the coffee shops help with that). But oddly enough, the bikes exude a certain calmness as well. Even with their ever-constant [frightening] presence, they feel less threatening than Chicago’s wide streets’ incessant traffic.
Contrary to Amsterdam's wild reputation with its Red Light District, I decided to take a much calmer approach. Most of my days were spent going to bookstores or museums (since Amsterdam has a plethora of resources for photography), and my evenings were spent reading in the park next to my hostel by the setting sun.
I also learned how to ride a bike while in Amsterdam. [I know what you're thinking. Quite a perilous place to decide to learn with hundreds of bikers zooming around at every corner!] But somehow, I managed. Though not without taking a tumble or two- lessons in accepting humility I'm going to categorize that as. But at the small price of embarrassing myself, I got to experience one of my most favorite days in Amsterdam- a day of biking under the sun through miles of tulip fields.
More so than any other city so far, I found myself filled with creative inspiration. After seeing William Eggleson's exhibit at the FOAM Photography Museum and Elliott Erwitt's exhibit at Stedelijk Museum, I questioned my work, bought books, read articles and then ran around trying to replicate their technique. I couldn't ask for a better photography lesson than that. With this creative surge, I finally saw improvement and the pay off of taking this time to focus on my work.
This is what I saw.