If you were to ask me which city in the world has my heart, it would be Amsterdam. What started as a travel adventure aged 20, turned into a full blown love affair with the city as I didn’t return home for nearly 10 years.
When I think of Amsterdam I think of beautiful streets lined with glorious canal houses, faithful bicycles and well loved boats. I think of buzzing shopping streets, quiet hidden gardens, beautiful galleries and back street restaurants waiting to be discovered.
So when I was asked whether I would like to join London City Airport in promoting their #NoFilter Amsterdam I said, I sure do! The campaign is to show Amsterdam at it’s most authentic through photography, without the use of filters, instagram or smartphones. Luckily, when I visit a place there is only one type of camera in my hand, my trusty Samsung NX1100. I like to capture the place and my time there in the best way possible and for me this is always through a real camera lens.
The last time I visited Amsterdam was back in the Spring of 2014 when visiting old friends. I was reminded of the things I love the most about the city and I’m sharing them with you so that, in the hope you ever get to visit Amsterdam, you can make it a memorable trip too! I’m also sharing some tips on taking your own #NoFilter photography for your next trip wherever that may be.
1. Cycling – I couldn’t talk to you about why I love Amsterdam and not mention cycling. A fundamental way of life in Amsterdam, the people of Amsterdam travel everywhere by bike, in all kinds of weather! Travellling the city by bike gives you freedom, the whole city is yours for exploring. Hop on a bike and you will be able to navigate the city quickly and take in the sights along the way. Oh and it is so much fun!
Amsterdam tip: Rent a bike and head off on your own, unknown adventure. Be spontaneous, see what gems you stumble across, that is the best part! Oh and maybe take a map, just in case ;)
#NoFilter tip: Wear your camera around your neck so you are always ready to capture the shot. See something fun in front of you, snap away. I love this photo that I took while cycling (yes I can cycle with one hand!!) of my friends up ahead.
2. Creative Amsterdam – I don’t know what it is about the Dutch but they do creativity so well! In Amsterdam, there is always a pop up art exhibitions or market taking place in the city for inspiration. You can’t walk down the street without stumbling across a new little shop featuring up and coming design talent. I can honestly say I could never get bored walking the streets of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam tip: Head for one of the cities many markets, galleries or The Negen Straatjes (nine streets) as they are known in Amsterdam for creative inspiration, you will not be disappointed!
#Nofilter tip: Don’t wait for people to get out of the shot. To gain a real feel for the city, capture the real people who live there too! I loved this girls work and wanted to capture it in a photograph but I love the photo even more for having the artist in the picture too!
3. Park life – The Vondelpark is at the heart of Amsterdam life. If the weather is dry you can guarentee people will be heading to the park with their friends and family for picnics, kick abouts, a cycle or perhaps one of the many cultural events or markets that happen in the park every week.
Amsterdam tip: If you’ve had enough of the hussle and bussle of the city, head to the Vondelpark, stretch out on the grass and watch the world go by. Amsterdam is one of the best places in the world for people watching! The Westerpark (in the west of Amsterdam) is also a great place for a stroll and a drink in the hip, Pacificparc.
#Nofilter tip: Capture moments that you feel are typical for the country you are visiting, that way you can build a real feel for the country through your images. This is one of the things I love most about The Vondelpark and the Dutch people. They head out to the park, stick up a marquee and some bunting and celebrate their birthday, it never fails to make me smile!
4. Eating out – Eating out in Amsterdam is wonderful, there are so many fantastic little backstreet restaurants that you will always be spoilt for choice. As a resident of the city I was always hearing about a new place that opened or cycling past a restaurant I hadn’t seen before and adding it to my ‘must visit’ list. I miss being able to just pop into town for a quick pizza at Il Pacioccone with my friends.
Amsterdam tip: There are so many amazing restaurants in Amsterdam you will be spoilt for choice. Depending on the type of person you are when you travel, either do some research on Trip Advisor to make sure you find the best Italian or just wing it – you will seldom be disappointed, the Dutch do food very well.
#NoFilter tip: For great travel photography, take pictures of the moment. You may not think it a worthy subject at the time but it will be great for looking back at your trip and recreating that feeling. This pizza at Il Paccione was a very worthy subject and it most certaintly recreates the feeling of hunger…. drool….
I hope you do get to visit Amsterdam and that it captures your heart like it did mine all those years ago!
This is my entry into the #NoFilter Amsterdam competition, my photos will be judged by Duncan Rhodes from The Urban Travel Blog.