Not your average best Balkan photograph!

Each country cycled through; one best photograph

On my recent tour I wanted to stay close to the Netherlands. I cycled together with another person from the Netherlands to Istanbul and back. We did so between May and November 2015. Here we go:

The Netherlands

I am pretty sure I could have taken this photo in the Netherlands, but I took it a day away from the Dutch border with Germany. Wild camping in the Netherlands is difficult as there are very few thick patches of woods without trails going through. Once in Germany it becomes much more easy, yet this is a day away from the Netherlands.

1) Germany


Germany has plenty of good wild camp possibilities, although it can be a manmade forest, like here. It’s almost impossible to be unseen with such even planted trees. Yet it makes a very nice photo when the sun is setting. I played with the lens and got this as a result.

2) Poland

There are good parts of woods to be found in Poland, although many manmade. The setting sun again makes up for another boring plantation: the woods look like they’re on fire!

3) Czech Republic

Czech Republic

Coming near the end of a day and finding a village below on the end of a downhill: that’s great. In Europe there are shops and villages about everywhere, so this isn’t too much of a surprise, but I like it anyway. What I like as well is the view of flowing, rising and sinking lands in front of me.

4) Austria

The neatness of an Austrian farmer

Maybe because I am an artist, I see lines.  In any case, if I do see such a strong linear pattern, especially in ‘nature’, I need to stop. Something like this is only possible in West European countries, although the flows in this particular photo are unlike the flatlands in Europe. I wonder who decided about those few trees?

5) Slovakia

Man cycling to a village in Slovakia

I was only a few days in Slovakia and as soon as I crossed the border, I felt far from organized Europe. This man and his bicycle are a clear evidence. He waved us enthusiastically goodbye while I was not planning on photographing him. But I got him!

6) Hungary


The evening light is good for some contrast. I didn’t see much overwhelming, or just simple, beauty in Hungary (except for Budapest)  and here we were heading for the wrong border crossing when I saw how contrasting the colors were. I really wanted to have a few decent photo’s of Hungary, so I had to stop and take this one.

7) Serbia

DSC_0314 (2)

The place where camp was set up. It was a spot we found in a rush as the day came to an end. There were people who would see us walking in a field with the bicycle, especially since the bicycle path was high above on a dike. No one spotted us. It wasn’t until I squatted down to pee that I saw this beautiful view. Time for a photo!

8) Romania

Romania, there are many things to say about this country. I liked the people. I liked the high factor of (forced) self sustainability of the people. I liked the simplicity of living, although most people probably don’t. I liked the horse carts too, even though it might not be the best way to threat a horse? What a huge differences there are within Europe…

9) Bulgaria

Bulgaria did not catch my attention. It must have been the route we took. On this particular sandy stretch I followed my partner through sunflower fields. I did not like this unnecessary  trail and as a result I wanted to yield one good photo. Not easy as my bicycle doesn’t have a kickstand anymore and the fact that I didn’t want to hold up my partner too long. I had to take this photo with my bicycle hold up between my legs, hugging the field. It was worth the unnecessary trail : )

10) Turkey (into Istanbul)


I tried to make a photo where my partner would cycle past a mosque with in the foreground two tulip glasses filled with chai. Since we were cycling towards Istanbul there was so little beauty to be seen that I dedicated myself to make ‘a picture of the day’. I could not find the right setting so I decided the concrete boardwalk with bathing Turks in the background would do.

11) Turkey (out of Istanbul)

Suddenly it was wedding season in Istanbul, and so I could place myself behind the official photographer and do my thing. I found this photo special, gentle, as the groom looks like he has never really admired his fiancée so closely, but now she is his wife, he is allowed to ‘open’ her. Like a precious gift, as I hope she will turn out to be. Her look says it all.

12) Greece


While the beachfront hosted many rather poor dressed sunbathers, this man needed fish. He just sat down with the most simple gear and started fishing.

13) Macedonia

DSC_1073 (2)-001

An upside down photo, this way the dog is reflected upon its feet in the pool of rainwater. I tried to perfect the composition but the dog had found a bone and was not willing to cooperate anymore. I think the dog didn’t realize how original the photo of him would have been?!

14) Albania

This country gave many opportunities to camp where we wanted. This was at a beach, far below the sandy track leading all around a pointy outcrop near Durres. We were pretty sure we had the beach for ourselves that evening. We took a nap and were aroused by soft voices: 1 bride, 1 groom, 1 photographer, 1 boy who threw rose petals and 1 assistant who positioned the bride better… I wanted to join the photographer but decided to keep a low profile.

15) Montenegro


This is such a fresh photo, not the average image of mountainous Montenegro. The autumn has arrived and to wake up in camp with the sun shining bright, drying the dew and nighttime wetness is a very pleasant start of the slow day.

16) Croatia

DSC_0263 (2)-001

A pine cone with the ocean in the background. Looks simple but took enormous patience to have it like this. I have not used any photo program to change the photo, this is original. The reflections of the water with its constant vibrating waves gave the pine cone its shakiness. A wide lens opening and maximum zoomed in caused the dots in the background.

17) Slovenia

This spot was the highest point of Piran. From here it was a steep downhill to get to the backside of the village and go over and up more higher points. The old town is really old and unlike some other old towns, this one feels real and alive. I always admire the tiles on the roof, so differently done than in the Netherlands. Fire baked tiles are the best, and the most beautiful.

18) Italy

DSC_0749 (2)-001This is written with the full moon. It seems easy but it takes a lot of practice. It helps that the name is short. If I had to do my own name I would never succeed. We were camping along the river Po, completely covered by kudzu bush. Not one hunter spot us and I can go crazy with photographing the moon in all possibilities.


9 responses to “Not your average best Balkan photograph!

    • Thank you Felix. I would say: let me check your website right now. But… I tend not to check anyone’s blog so that I can’t be too much influenced in photography. Or is it laziness? Or the opposite perhaps 😉

      Thank you for your compliment Felix


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