Getting ready for the parade at Summer Carnival

Taking photographs at events.

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Hello all!

In this post I want to talk about the photo’s I shot at several events over the past few years. There are numerous events to go to in the Netherlands, but I want to focus on just a few which I really like.

Summer Carnival

One of the most anticipated events in the year, has to be the Summer Carnival (Zomercarnaval) in Rotterdam, which has been a yearly event since 1984, although it was cancelled in 2015 due to bad weather. Its a week long event with special shows, good food, and uplifting music.

The highlight of the event is of course the street parade where a few dozen trucks drive through Rotterdam with people dancing on the trucks, with tropical music coming from the speakers on the trucks.

There are also drum bands parading on the route, and large groups of dancers and musicians in amazing colorful outfits, which they wear with pride.

In 2016, there were more than 2500 dancers, 30 carnival groups with their own queens, 30 groups of musicians and 20 floats for the queens of the groups, together with dozens of trucks with DJ’s and live music.

Live music from truck at Summer Carnival

The outfits are all hand made, and each group of musicians, or dancers has it own theme, which is also used on the floats.

I got to the parade pretty early that day, around 11 in the morning, because I knew it would get very busy along the route, so I also decided to get a nice position at the start of the parade route, which turned out to be a good decision. And I set my camera at Aperture priority, to get some nice shallow depth of field shots.

I saw the groups get ready for the parade and shot the next photograph of a young woman getting ready, in her amazing outfit. My settings were 1/250 sec, ISO 250, F 6.3, at 184 mm focal length.

Getting ready for the parade at Summer Carnival

I moved up a few hundred yards when the parade finally began at around 12, and got this really nice shot of one the group’s queens on her float, dressed in a large blue and white outfit, with lots of bling. My settings were 1/400 sec, ISO 800, F 6.3, at 246 mm focal length.

The next photograph was from a man dressed up in a very colorful outfit with a large hat on, with music notes all over his outfit and hat. He was nice enough to look at the camera during his walk along the route, and gave me this great smile. My settings were 1/160 sec, ISO 320, F 5.6, at 110mm focal length.

In fact most of the dancers were nice enough to pose a bit for an image, but that got harder as the day passed on, because there were so many photographers walking around and in front of the groups, while I stayed at the side of the road.

But I still managed to get this young woman to look into the camera with her amazing smile. She was clearly enjoying the day so far. My settings were 1/250 sec, ISO 1000, F 5.6, at 130mm focal length.

Young woman posing for camera at Summer Carnival

The last shot from the parade is from this Asian woman who was walking around on stilts, so she towered above all the other dancers, which made it easier to get a nice image, without having to fight my way on the road together with other photographers.

She was dressed in some sort of tree looking outfit with lots of green obviously, and a colorful headdress. My settings were 1/400 sec, ISO 1000, F 5.6, at 270mm focal length.

Check the video below for more of my images from the parade.

The parade is held each year at the end of July, so make sure you visit it if you are staying in the Netherlands for a holiday. Just make sure you are ready for almost a million visitors along the route!


Another event I like to visit each year, is the Rock-A-Rail event, which is an event where snowboarders from all over the world compete against each other doing amazing tricks, while boarding from a make shift ramp in the center of The Hague in the Netherlands.

Make sure you come early to get a good place to stand for taking your images, because the crowd is getting bigger each year. I usually try to get a spot on the side, but that’s been getting harder over the years. But there are lots of bars on the side, so you can also just hang out in one of those.

Try to shoot in Shutter priority to get some cool still images from the action. I shot the images with 1/200 shutter speed, but I might have gone a bit faster.

The ramp consists of several stairs with handrails, which can be used by the snowboarders to show their tricks. There is also a ramp next to a wall, where they can jump onto, while doing their stunts.

Rock A Rail Ramp

The image below is from snowboarder Andy Nudds, who had some quality airtime, so I was able to capture him mid air. I love the reflection of the light on the snow particles. Andy is from the UK and has been snowboarding since he was 14 in Halifax.

My settings for this shot were 1/200 sec, ISO 3200, F 5.0, at 70mm focal length.

Air time with Andy Nudds

The next shot is form the Swedish snowboarder Simon Houlind who was riding the rail of one of the stairs, with a nosepress. My settings for this shot were 1/200 sec, ISO 3200, F 4.5, at 70mm focal length.

Simon Houlind riding the rail at Rock A Rail

Only a few of the snowboarders used the rail on the wall, so I was happy to see Icelandic snowboarder Eiki Helgason making good use of it. My settings for this shot were 1/200 sec, ISO 3200, F 5.0, at 70mm focal length.

Sparrow Knox was riding the rail so hard, that he eventually broke his snowboard. In the next shot you can see how much the board was bending during his stunts. My settings for this shot were 1/200 sec, ISO 3200, F 5.0, at 70mm focal length.

Sparrow Knox riding the rail hard

Because there is no real fixed date for the event, you can check their website for updates on the next event.

Kinderdijk Windmills at night

The last event I want to highlight is the lighting of the windmills at Kinderdijk in the Netherlands.

There are a total of 19 windmills at Kinderdijk, and they are national monuments. Its also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.

The event takes place usually around the end of August, beginning of September, and it last for several days midweek and the weekend.

During the weekend it can get very crowded, so if you go there to photograph the windmills, I suggest you go there on a weekday at around 8:30 PM to look for a few good spots, before it starts.

Make sure you bring a sturdy tripod with you, and a remote to operate your camera ( or use a 2 second delay if you don’t want to spend money on a remote).

If you have a lens with vibration control, turn that off, because that might mess up your images.

Also make sure to bring a flashlight, because there is no lighting along the route, except the floodlights lighting up the windmills.

The first Image is from the “Blokkerse Wip” windmill along the route, which is actually located outside of the Kinderdijk area and resides in Alblasserdam. My settings for this shot were 30 sec, ISO 200, F 11.0, at 25mm focal length.

Blokkerse Wip at night

The next photograph is from several of the Overwaard windmills, which are octagonal wooden grondzeilers. My settings for this shot were 30 sec, ISO 200, F 11.0, at 59mm focal length.

The last image I want to share is a photograph from an Overwaard Windmill bathing in floodlights. My settings for this shot were 30 sec, ISO 200, F 11.0, at 18mm focal length.

Octagonal Overwaard windmill in floodlights

Anyway, I hope you like the images, and perhaps gave you some ideas to do during your stay in the Netherlands.

Feel free to leave a comment below, and share your own favorite events to photograph!

Kind regards,


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