Magrit and I visited the windmills of Kinderdijk on a photo-scouting trip for our new photo tour offering in The Netherlands with some skepticism.
Windmills are what comes to mind immediately when one thinks of The Netherlands and we were concerned that they would simply be too much of a cliché to photograph.
We are happy to report that our doubts promptly vanished as soon as we arrived at Kinderdijk and that this turned out to be one of our favorite photoshoots in 2019. We are now very excited to be offering a tour to The Netherlands on April 20-29, 2021. Of course, we’re hoping that traveling will be safe by that time but if not, we will certainly be back in 2022.
The windmills of Kinderdijk are impressive and a site that’s surprisingly not overrun with the hordes of tourists that we were expecting. The windmills themselves are beautiful enormously large structures, stoic sentinels from a gone-by era.
Of the 10,000 original windmills in The Netherlands, over 1,000 are still standing and most of them still work. Many are over 250-years-old. These windmills were used to pump water out of the lowlands and back into the rivers beyond the dikes so that the land could be farmed and would not flood. They were also used for other purposes. There were mustard mills, hemp mills, grain mills, snuff mills, cocoa mills, oil mills, chalk mills, paint mills, and sawmills. Nowadays, many farmers are installing modern windmills that convert wind into electric power which can then be used to irrigate fields.
We arrived late in the afternoon to take advantage of the warm afternoon light and stayed until after dark, photographing with long exposures of up to 30 seconds. When we finally got back to the parking lot and our car, we realized that we were the last souls around. Our enthusiasm for photography often finds us “closing down the joint.”
Kinderdijk features 19 stately windmills making it the largest concentration in the Netherlands. It is easily accessible from Rotterdam and Delft where we will be staying during our 2021 (or 2022) photo tour.
We strongly recommend a tripod to take advantage of the wonderful low light compositions. We were still able to create great images long after the sunset.
We also suggest bringing solid neutral density filters. I always travel with 6-stop and 10-stop ND (neutral density) filters. These are especially useful here during the daytime to allow you to get long exposures on a tripod. Using these filters will smooth out the water giving your photos a dreamy appearance.
In addition to 3 nights in Delft, we will also spend 4 nights in Zaandam and 2 nights in charming Leiden. These locations will allow us to easily visit exciting Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the lovely Keukenhof Flower Gardens, Haarlem, Delfshaven, Maassluis, Zaanse Schans (a 250-year-old windmill park and fascinating open-air museum), Beemster, Edam, Volendam, Marken, and of course, Kinderdijk.
Whether we’ll have to wait until spring 2022 or be able to travel in 2021, check out the itinerary for our Photo Tour in The Netherlands. We would love to have you along.
|Jim and Magrit have been photographing professionally and traveling in Europe for the past 20 years.|
They started Photography Travel Tours in 2011 with the goal of educating and guiding photographers to some of the most beautiful and iconic scenes in Europe.
The tours are not just about getting great photographs but also have the side benefits of doing so in wonderful environments. Great food, wine, people, and ambiance.
Read more about Jim & Magrit and their wonderful photo tours here: (http://photographytraveltours.com/about/).
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.