Pictured: May 2021

Ever since the beginning of COVID I’ve been out photographing quite a bit more than before. I’ve been meaning to start sharing some of my photography here on my blog again, and figured a nice way of doing that is by sharing something an overview with some hightlights of the past month. I’ve seen this at other blogs and always quite like those, so here’s a first from me for May 2021.

Early may, early rising

I enjoy being out before sunrise. It is my favorite time of day, not persé because I am a morning person — I’m not, not at all I may add, though I’ve come to get somewhat used to it — but because outside in nature it is just the very best: that first light moving out of the dark, the promise of the day ahead, birds vocally starting their day ahead of most humans, the blue hours, the golden ones, the landscapes sprinkled in dew, draped in mist, the skies turning from to blue to purples and pinks and oranges and so on… It is just the very best.

Slowly moving towards the longest days of the year (in June, with 21st of June being the longest day of the year), the days are getting noticeably longer, and so the sunrises are getting earlier as well. Now, at the time of writing, early June, out and about before 06:00 am doesn’t sound all that bad, considering that these days the sun rises well before 05:30 am, but I guess you grow into that. I recall it already started feeling like an effort early May, which it certainly didn’t during winter and early spring.

Both taken early May around 05:50am, just before sunrise.

Spring?

Spring didn’t always feel present this May. In fact, for a lot of the month, it didn’t feel much like spring at all. It’s been quite cold, and nature seemed to be behind at least several weeks this year. In the dunes, the cow parsley had just started to blossom, and many trees and plants that normally would’ve been in bloom by now we’re only just about to blossom.

From a walk on a greyish morning early May. Not so much spring here yet.

In spite of the often not so great weather, I kept on going for my walks as much as possible. While surely some days are prettier than other, it is always nice being out, and there’s usually plenty to see as well. With the rain for example, there often were many snails everywhere, and I’ve enjoyed myself wachting and photographing them on different occasions.

‘All the same, each one different’

There’s this tree in the dunes that I almost always photograph when I pass it. I don’t always walk the same routes, so there might be weeks that I don’t run into it, but regardless, I’ve took many shots of this tree. There’s something about it that fascinates me, and it seems just a bit different every time I see. In different light, different seasons, from different angles and with a different mind.

I posted a few words about it on my Instagram when I shared some photos of it there. I was reminded of it later, when I ran a quote on the profile of (the amazing) photographer Phil Sharp, which immediately resonated:

“They’re all the same, but each one is different from every other one. You’ve got your bright mornings; your fog mornings; you’ve got your summer light and your autumn light; you’ve got your week days and your weekends; you’ve got your people in overcoats and galoshes and you’ve got your people in t-shirts and shorts. Sometimes same people, sometimes different ones. Sometimes different ones become the same, and the same ones disappear. The earth revolves around the sun and every day the light from the sun hits the earth from a different angle.”

— Augie (Harvey Keitel) in ‘Smoke’ (1995)

It’s from a movie I hadn’t seen, but I’ve found on the quote, which has a video of the specific scene as well, and it’s really great. The movie is now on my watchlist, hope to see that soon.

Poppies!

Few things scream Spring! like poppies, and it’s always a delight when they start popping up (pun intended). Here’s some of the first I spotted in May:

Afternoon walks

I rarely skip a saturday morning walk, but this time of year when the sun is starting to rise so early, my standard for weather conditions goes up a bit. I usually ‘just go’, but when the forecast says certain rain the next morning, I leave the alarm off. There’s been a few days this May where I turned off the alarm last minute because of that. Most of those days I just went for an afternoon walk, something I rarely do because I’m not a big fan of bright light.

From an afternoon walk mid somehwere mid May, in between rain showers.
Details of a Cotoneaster. Same afternoon mid May.

A trip to Apeldoorn

It was somewhere in the fall of 2020 when we last visited Apeldoorn, where my parents live. Due to COVID, we hadn’t been able to go again since. When the restrictions finally allowed it again, and my parents who are well in their seventies, got their vaccinations, we went as soon as possible. My parents have a lovely garden that borders right at a strip of forest and streams, and our kids love exploring there when we’re there:

Our kids running along a stream in the spring green.

Up close

Besides the snail, I didn’t shoot much small creatures last month. It’s something I usually quite enjoy, especially starting this time of year when a lot of tiny friends suddenly appear, but somehow it just didn’t really happen. Perhaps I just wasn’t paying enough attention, and gazed too far ahead when out walking.

However, I did run into this caterpillar that was pretty well hidden in a tree, that I took this next shot of. It is one of my personal favorite photo’s from this May, I love the depth of field, the colors, that little caterpillar in there ofcourse and the painterly details there in the background. Over at instagram though, it didn’t get so much response (I never get how that works, the ones that get all the likes, comments and bookmarks rarely ever correspond with my own personal favorite shots).

Can you spot the caterpillar?

‘Mud on your face’

There was an afternoon in May when I was at work in our (allotment) garden, clearing out an area and digging a hole for a small wildlife pond, where rain showers were coming and going. I ran in and out of the little garden house we have there, and while waiting for another shower to end I took some selfies — unaware of the bits of mud on my face. It’s all good though. A bit of mud on your face doesn’t always equal a big disgrace?!

Meetings with the moon

There were quite a few mornings when I was out early with the moon, which I love to include in some blue hour shots. These three, all taken at the end of May

Pastel skies

One of my absolute favorite things out in the dunes is watching pastel skies over the sea at sunrise. They’re not a given, and last month didn’t count as many as you’d perhaps expect (I’m not entirely sure what’s ‘normal’ or ‘average’ weatherwise to be honest). But there were a few, and if anything makes up for getting out of bed way earlier than comfortable, it’s pastel sky mornings.

Burnet roses

From what I get on social media, poppies are most peoples favorites this time of year. And while I love them too, I think I might have different favorite right now: the burnet rose (duinroos, in Dutch). I mean, look at these dunes covered with all those tiny dots! They’re all white and pink burnet roses, just in bloom. I think it is such a wonderful sight:

Up close then: a burnet rose with morning dew on it. These flowers are usually white, but sometimes pink too (not sure if that’s just they’re early bloom color before transitioning to white?), which looks so pretty.

Golden

All that glitters may not be gold, but this Golden rain tree in the golden morning sun sure is! I really like these shots I took on my way back home from a morning walk late May, when the sun was already too bright to my liking to shoot anything else anymore. However, under the trees is often quite nice in bright light, and it’s fun playing with backlight then.

Fox tails

I didn’t see so many foxes in recent years, and haven’t ben very lucky capturing those I did run into. I did see several fox tails last month; as most foxes I did spot were just running by or took off as soon as I ran into them. There was this one fox that did allow me a single click before taking off too:

Lovely light

Towards the end of the month then, it felt like spring had finally arrived and we started getting nicer days with some lovely light at sunrise. These two were taken at one of the last days of the month, at golden hour just after sunrise, and I think those colors are just so pretty.

Thank you

If you made it all the way here: Wow, I’m impressed! Thank you for taking. Please feel welcome to share any comments below. If you’d like to see some more of my photography, check out my instagram for my most recent stuff.

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