Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Dawn in Istanbul

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

click on the photo for alternate version

Just before dawn, Istanbul’s fishermen get in their boats and move onto the Bosphorus or the Marmara sea. If you walk or sit along the coastline, you can hear them talking or listening to music. A great place to visit in Istanbul, if you want to sit along the coast, is Kadıköy, which is also where this picture was taken. Inspired by the work of Michael Kenna.

Tell me, which is better, the above or the alternate version?

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Happy Birthday! :-)

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Click to enlarge

Today’s my girlfriend’s birthday. Look what I made for her! Since I live in Istanbul, and she lives in Sofia, Bulgaria, and we couldn’t be together for her birthday, I still wanted to make something special. So I gathered up some friends and acquaintances at my university and made this! :-)

There’s many nationalities in there also… Italian, Dutch, Romanian, American, Turkish, Canadian, Greek, German and Czech. I thanked them for their help afterwards.

Hope you all like it as much as my girlfriend did. A little bit less is also okay also. ;-)

I’ve Got A Job

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I do, and that’s the reason why I haven’t been blogging so much (and dropping, for the EC readers). It’s a waiter job and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I make 12 hour days. Never did that before and it’s really tough since you’re standing all the time and since it’s a touristy restaurant it gets extremely busy, guaranteed! Here are some (clickable) pictures of my work:



The job’s quite fun. I get to speak many different languages. Today I’ve spoken Turkish, English, French, German, Dutch, and a little Bulgarian! :-)

The pay’s not so great though. It’s 50-80 lira per day (about 30 euros) for 12 hours of work. You can do the math and calculate my hourly wage. It’s very hard work and I don’t think most of the visitors realize how hard the staff actually works for what kind of money. I wouldn’t expect it at least. Now that I know, I’ll be a little bit more considerate when tipping in touristy places. Also, some of the visitors thinks that “service costs” means that the tip’s included. Wrong. I don’t get an hourly wage, I get a “commission”, which comes from the service costs (10% of the total check). So next time you see “service” on your bill, TIP!

It’s great to be working in a bar/restaurant again and it’s a nice experience for now. Hard work, but it makes you sleep well at night… and wake up with an aching body the next day. ;-)

Off to bed. Gotta get up early tomorrow for another 12 hour day.

New Picture Album of Sofia!

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Just uploaded another album to my Picasa with pictures of my stay in Sofia, Bulgaria this week. Click on a pic below to go check out the album!

Or click here to see all of my albums, including older albums of Sofia, Istanbul, Brussels, Holland, Macedonia, and Bulgaria.

Beautiful Istanbul Sunset

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

As said in the previous posts, I live very close to the sea. The first evening that I was in my apartment, I got a bit bored and went to walk around a bit. I found a gorgeous sun setting in the sea. Check out the video below… It’s really soothing, relaxing, meditative. :-)

Sorry for the crooked horizon… see it as artistic expression.

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The Vegetarian Sandwich

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Being a vegetarian in Istanbul is quite the challenge, but it can be done. This however, is not the topic of today’s post. I want to talk about bar/café culture here.

In Holland, or most North-Western European countries, if I go to a place to eat a sandwich where I’ve never been before, the next time I come back they won’t even remember I was there before. Small towns or villages are (generally) an exception to this rule, but in this 15 million population metropolis called Istanbul, you are remembered and valued.

The first time I went around the corner here to get a sandwich, I tried to get a vegetarian one. I got a sandwich with some cheese. I liked their attitude though (it was very hospitable and accommodating) and told my friend about it and took him there. When I came back I could see in their eyes that they were happy I not only came back a second time, but also brought another new customer to the place. My vegetarian sandwich now contained cheese and tomato.

Today I went there again and I heard the one guy say in Turkish to the other something along the lines of “look, he’s back again”. It’s nice to be noticed and it’s great to see how much Turkish business owners value returning customers. This time I got the same sandwich but with cucumber and salad. Next time maybe some fries? Another example.

In Istanbul there are many places to have some tea with friends, smoke some nargile (hookah/seisha), and play some games (mostly backgammon). Last week I already spoke about going to a nargile traditional waterpipe place in Taksim with some friends. We decided to go there again and I think we’ll be having weekly meet-ups at this place once we’re all spread out over town at different universities. Well, so far we already have weekly meet-ups ;-)

Anyway, we sat down, drank some tea, ordered a banana flavour nargile which had milk instead of water in it and started playing backgammon. After one game, we put back the board and brought out Balance, probably known as Jenga to most Westerners. We played a few games, but the concentration and energy that goes into this game is magnetic and we soon had the attention of the staff. We invited them to come play and had a lot of fun with them. Great!

It’s important here to form a bond with people. Not just for the free tea, nargile, or having many friends, but for the simple fact that the customer / staff relationship is rather different from in Holland. In one way you are treated with more respect and more formality, in the other way more personal. Maybe because of the more personal touch there is more respect between staff and customer. People don’t just see each other as their roles (there are exceptions of course) or as numbers, but as actual people and treat you as such.

Except for in Turkey’s mobile phone network provider Türkcell’s shops where they treat you like someone who doesn’t mind having to “come back tomorrow” for seven days per week to avoid getting cut off from the network. Big thumbs down to Türkcell and how their staff treats foreigners. (Just wanted to vent)

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Istanbul pics online!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

My first batch of Istanbul pictures is now online. Go check it out at Picasa.

Look Up More Monday

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Look Up More Monday Banner

A few years ago I was walking through my hometown Utrecht in The Netherlands quite bored, but I had to kill some time. For some reason while I was walking I looked up and suddenly found myself marvelling at a beauty I had never noticed before. I believe a lot of things in our surrounding go completely unnoticed, because we don’t look up much. That’s why I’d like to encourage you all to LOOK UP MORE!

Every Monday I will post a photo or two of shots I took while looking up. This is the first installment with some shots from Istanbul, Turkey.

The last one is a shot by my girlfriend Tsvety (visit her DeviantArt page) and was taken in Ephesus, Anatolia, Turkey. It contains the Library of Celsus, completed in 135 AD.

If you would like to participate, just post a pic every monday taken from an upward angle and post your link below! For this week don’t worry if your post is a day late. Just post your link and visit the others.

PhotoHunt: Beautiful

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

Last year when I was working at the Bulgarian National Radio, they sent me on a worktrip to a town called Troyan. This town lies in central Bulgaria and is not frequently visited by tourists. I was told by the town’s tourist board to go spread the word, I also met the mayor, that’s how few foreign guests they get ;-) . Besides work, there was also some time for sightseeing and we visited the church displayed in the picture.

In general, I find most Bulgarian churches more interesting from the outside than from the inside, although my first encounters with the Eastern Orthodox interior of churches were far from boring. Check out the full album of my pics in Troyan.

Have you been to Eastern Orthodox churches before? How did you like it? Ever attended a service and care to share how it differs from Protestant or Catholic services? Share now and leave a comment. :-)

If you have a wrinkled picture of your own to share and you’re a PhotoHunter, be sure to leave your name and a direct link to the post below! *

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PhotoHunt: Wrinkled

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I took this shot during the Global Day of Action for Tibet on the Dam square in Amsterdam. Besides this being one of the few pictures that corresponded with the theme, I also feel quite strong about the Tibetan issue. If you haven’t already, check out the BBC documentary “Undercover in Tibet” (for free via the link).

To see the whole album of pictures I took during the Global Day of Action, click here.

If you have a wrinkled picture of your own to share and you’re a PhotoHunter, be sure to leave your name and a direct link to the post below! All PhotoHunt posts get Stumbled!

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