South-east of the big harbor city of Rotterdam, Nationalpark De Biesbosch is located at the beginning of the Rhine-Maas river delta. The name is pronounced like “Biesbos” and translates to “forest of sedges”. It’s a network of creeks and little islands, surrounded by the big rivers Waal (the Dutch name of the Rhine) and Maas.
Read more about De Biesbosch at Wikipedia.
I basically found this place via a google search, given that I am not the most familiar with Dutch nature places. And, in a way, the character of this area is very Dutch. Of course it is a vast, impressive flat land, but then you never really have the feeling of being in a national park or nature reservat – as the landscape is so open, you often get a glimpse of some buildings or power lines at the horizon. The population density of the Netherlands is very high and here it shows, given that there are also no hills or mountains that would block the view and create a more “cozy” feeling for the visitor. The best idea is to travel this place by renting a small row boat, I hope I’ll do that some time next summer maybe.
The last shot above – the route to the Biesbosch museum – probably doesn’t capture the “typical” atmosphere of De Biesbosch, but nonetheless it’s my personal favourite shot of the day. I really loved that little quiet road winding through this somewhat open heath landscape. Even though it was the beginning of October, the weather was warm and it almost felt humid here. Beautiful scenery that made me feel good and calm down.
Travelling a nature place during noon is, of course, what a photographer should not do. But then, I was mainly there to relax and enjoy a day off. I had some luck with the weather on this October day – overcast but a lot of sunshine, and the clouds added some detail to the pictures. For some shots I had to wait several minutes so that the sunlights would lit the right areas in the frame. But overall it was more a walk than a true photo session.
The following few pictures are taken to the east of the national park, where the Bandijk, a country road, leads out of the area, passing the settlement Kievitswaard and the small city of Werkendam with its big Beatrixhaven – harbor with freight terminal – to the next motorway. Here, the landscape feels even more open, flat and vast, as it is not covered in forest as in De Biesbosch itself. Depending on the season, it’s a big birders paradise as well. But apart from the literally thousands of birds that I saw, this area is also the home of beavers and many other interesting animals.
I was particularly impressed by a big weird tree that grows in the midst of a small swamp, with the Waal river in the background. See the shots below.
My camera gear for the day: Sony A7 II with FE 28/2, FE 50/1.8 and Zeiss Contarex 135/2.8 lenses. I found myself taking the vast majority of pictures with the 50mm and even the 135mm lens. Only one of the pictures above is a 4-frame vertical panorama that was taken with the 28/2. Actually I find that panorama stitching gives a more natural view than a single super-ultra-wideangle picture would do, as the objects near to the corner of the frame are less distorted.