Week 13 – Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens

Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands

It was April, 2012 and I was in the Netherlands with five other photographers on a ten day trip arranged by Joe Van Os Photo Safaris. Our group leader was Darrell Gulin, a great photographer, a delightful person to be with, and a most capable leader with experience in Holland.

Keukenhof Gardens, also known as the Garden of Europe is one of the world’s largest flower gardens and is only about 25 miles SW of Amsterdam. I first visited Keukenhof Gardens in 2002 when Margaret and I were on a river cruise which allowed us most of one day at Keukenhof Gardens. The attached picture was a scene that I really lik

ed on that visit but the pictures that I was able to get were only average at best. When I photographed this bed of flowers on the first trip it was the wrong time of day and the scene had too much contrast. The wonderful river of grape hyacinth surrounded by tulips was forever etched in my brain. I know it was 2002 because that was also the trip where we visited the Floriade. Floriade is an international exhibition and garden festival, held every 10 years in the Netherlands. It is world class and every serious flower person should get to the Floriade once in their lifetime. In 2012 when our group trip was completed I stayed a few more days and on my own took a train south to the city of Venlo to attend the 2012 Floriade.

So, I had been waiting ten years to get back to Keukenhof Gardens and my special spot. On the first day there I determined that the best time to photograph this particular bed of flowers was late afternoon. We spent three days at the garden and each afternoon I would photograph these same flowers. The first day it was too windy, the second day, however, was perfect. That day there was no wind, the showers earlier in the day had ended, and the sky was overcast filling the scene with even light. The third day the sun was too strong, but it did not matter, I had my shot.

I have been to many great gardens and I would have to say that Keukenhof is my very favorite spring garden in the entire world. The next Floriade is 2022 and I have already added the Netherlands and of course Keukenhof to my calendar for 2022.

Technical Data:

  • Nikon D2s camera with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens set at 27mm.
  • ISO 400, 1/60 second at f/8 taken in Keukenhof Gardens
  • Taken at 5:31 PM, April 18, 1012
  • This picture demonstrates “focus stacking” at its best. You are looking at 5 pictures stitched together using the excellent digital image processing tool, Helicon Focus (http://www.heliconsoft.com/). With the camera placed on a tripod and using all manual modes, I set the f stop and exposure. Then I focused on the tulips that were right at my feet. Without changing anything except my focus positions, I gradually moved the focus points towards the flowers in the background. Helicon Focus then took the five different captures and selected from each capture only what was in sharp focus. Presto! Like magic the results have everything from front to back in perfect focus.