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Kleinkunst

Photo blog

On this photo blog small series of photos will be added regularly. It are mostly nature, landscape, macro and night photos. I'm fascinated by the wildlife on our nature reserves, macro photos of insects, sunrise and sunset, blooming heather at the end of the summer, the beautiful colors of autumn, wonderful starry skies, ...

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Extreme close-ups of insects ()
This year I focused on micro photography, the superlative of macro photography. I develop my own automated macro rail with which I can make 30 to 60 images in steps of 100 to 300 microns (thousandth of a millimeter) and then merge them. This way I can make razor-sharp images of insects that want to sit still for a few minutes. Obviously, the latter is not and technically it is always quite a challenge. By using extension rings between your camera and macro lens you can take extreme close-ups. But the big drawback is that the depth of field is less than 1mm. This is almost always insufficient to properly portray an insect. The solution is an automated macro rail that can create a whole series of images that you can then merge with software.

There are many expensive commercial solutions, but I created automated rail myself. My father-in-law developed the hardware with a rail with a stepping motor and some extra electronics and 3D printed parts. I developed software for my Windows PC that controls my Nikon camera and software for a Raspberry Pi that controls the electronics. The end result works really well and these are my best images of extreme close-ups of insects.
Nocturnal animals in our garden ()
The wildcam in our garden often registers all kinds of mammals at night, such as stone martens, hedgehogs and various types of mice. It seemed to me an exciting challenge to make some beautiful images of these nocturnal animals with my Nikon cameras. Not an easy task, however. With a laser trigger and a few flashes, with all kinds of setups and after many attempts, I managed to make a few but varied images of the stone marten and hedgehog.
Racoon ()
During one of the nights that I stayed in the observation cabin in the Ardennes, I was able to photograph the raccoon. The little bears with Zorro mask and ringed tail look cute and cuddly, but they are not. The raccoon is an invasive exotic species that has been introduced in Germany since WWII and has since spread to neighboring countries. There are probably more than a thousand in the Belgian Ardennes. And now and then one even pops up in Flanders. Raccoons are mainly active at night and are therefore rarely seen. They have no natural predators and do cause some damage in our forests. They are omnivores and so they eat everything; fruits, nuts, corn, worms, birds, lizards, snakes, fish and even squirrels.
Wild boars ()
This summer I went three times to the Belgian Ardennes an observation hut on the Plateau des Tailles near Baraque de Fraiture to photograph wild animals. Armed with my camera and short telephoto lens and a wide-angle camera that I could remotely control, I was able to take a varied series of images of the wild boars. A small group of young pigs often showed up before sunset. The big family with heavy boars and sows and also young squeakers usually only came at dusk or when it was already dark.
Birds of prey ()
A small selection of images of the most common birds of prey in Belgium and the Netherlands; buzzards, hawks, sparrowhawks and kestrels. Birds of prey hunt for smaller birds, rodents and amphibians, are therefore somewhat larger and have sharp claws and large crooked beaks.
Sunrise at the heathlands ()
The end of August is always a good time for landscape photographers. In the morning there is often atmospheric fog and the heather is in full bloom in our regions. This is a small selection of photos of sunrises on the flowering heathlands. A few photos are made this year in the beautiful nature reserve the Teut in Zonhoven. The other images are from past years in Gerhagen (Tessenderlo), Veerle heide(Veerle-Laakdal), Averbode heide (Scherpenheuvel), 's Hertogenheide (Aarschot) and Blekerheide (Lommel).
Little owls ()
The little owl (Athene noctua) is one of the smallest owls in the Lowlands. The little owl is mainly nocturnal and can be found in a wide range of habitats including farmland, woodland, heathland, … It feeds on insects and small vertebrates like mices.
Black-tailed godwits ()
The Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa) is a beautiful wader and a meadow bird par excellence. They hibernate in Africa, but they return to the Low Lands early in the spring. During the breeding season the godwit shows spectacular court flights. I was able to photograph them courting and mating in Friesland in the Netherlands.

Half of all the Black-tailed godwits in Europe breed in the Netherlands. However, the population is under heavy pressure and, unfortunately, they are being pushed back to meadow bird reserves. This species is classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Black-tailed godwits make an inconspicuous grass nest in meadowlands and lay an average of 3 to 4 eggs. They eat earthworms, insects and insect larvae.
Red squirrels ()
One of the cutest mammals in our forests is the red squirrel. I have been able to photograph them very often in recent years and this is a varied selection of my best images. Squirrels are 20 to 28 centimetres tall and can easily climb trees and jump from branch to branch. They have a beautiful bushy tail and in the winter they also get ear plumes. Squirrels do not hibernate in winter time but they are not very active on cold days and that is why they will bury nuts and seeds during autumn. They also eat mushrooms, berries and insects. The most common squirrel in Western Europe is the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) but their color can vary from reddish brown to gray or black. The lower abdomen is white.
Green woodpeckers ()
Juvenile green woodpecker (Picus viridis) in our garden. Green woodpeckers almost exclusively search for food on the ground and our lawn was the ideal place to find ants. A couple of days I layed down under my camouflagenet to photograph them from a low angle and at close distance.
Hageland by night ()
Panorama photo of the beautiful courtyard of Abbey of Averbode in Scherpenheuvel-Zichem. The Abbey was founded in 1134.
Cluj-Napoca ()
The fountain on the Avram Iancu Square with on one side the Orthodox church and on the other side the National Theatre and Opera.
Roe deer ()
The population of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is the Lowlands (Belgium & Netherlands) is increasing. But even though they are spotted more often and in different biotopes, they mostly remain shy animals that are difficult to observe for a long time. The roe deer is Europe's most common deer, they are between 100 and 140cm tall and weigh between 20 and 35kg. The past summer I really started observing and photographing them in the nature areas in Aarschot and Scherpenheuvel-Zichem. I did many walks in the same area and especially at dawn I went out well-camouflaged trying to photograph them.
Fox cubs ()
Some months ago I had a great encounter with some red fox cubs (vulpes vulpes). Fox kits are always very cute and playful when they are around their brothers and sisters. These foxes weren't shy at all and I was able to lay down to get a nice viewpoint and photograph them near the water and in the sand dunes.
Little owls ()
The little owl (Athene noctua) is one of the smallest owls in the Lowlands. The little owl is mainly nocturnal and can be found in a wide range of habitats including farmland, woodland, heathland, … It feeds on insects and small vertebrates like mices.
Sint-Pieters-Rode ()
The small chapel of Saint Joseph is located in a field under an old lime tree nearby the castle of Horst. It has been built in the beginning of the 19th century.
Autumn in the Ardennes ()
Autumn pictures of the beautiful region around Malmedy in the Belgian Ardennes. Some small waterfalls of the Hoëgne river near the village of Hockai. The Hoëgne is a tributary of the Weser and has a length of 30 kilometers.
Woodpeckers ()
In the Benelux (Belgium/Netherlands/Luxemburg) live five species of woodpeckers. They are beautiful fascinating birds but they are also quite shy and cautious. The great spotted woodpecker is the least shy and is quite common. The green woodpecker can be seen in gardens. The last months I was able to make some good photos of three species (great spotted woodpecker, green woodpecker and black woodpecker) in most cases from a hide.

The great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) is mostly black and white with some red on the head and around his back. It is the least shy woodpecker that can find larvae and beetles under the bark of pine trees. The great spotted woodpecker also eats berries, nuts and seeds. They nest in a tree and they carve out the hole together. Young spotted woodpeckers have a red spot on top of their head. Adult males have only a red spot at the back and the head of females is completely black.
Oostvaardersplassen ()
The Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland is the largest national park in the Netherlands. It is a large wetland with reed plains, rough grassland and ponds that attracts thousands of birds such as geese, spoonbills, cormorants, herons, .... 25 years ago they introduced some deer, Heck cattle and Konik horses and this park is a very good example of rewilding. Now there live about 1100 wild horses, almost 3300 red deer, 40 Heck cattle, around 50 roe deer and a healthy population of red foxes that are also active at daytime. Only a small part of the park has open access but now and than they organize safaris. During our safari we encountered a cute juvenile fox (Vulpes vulpes) that come to took a look at an old carcass of a deer.
Winter in Sint-Pieters-Rode ()
The small chapel of Saint Joseph is located in a field under an old linden tree nearby the castle of Horst (Sint-Pieters-Rode, Belgium). It has been built in the beginning of the 19th century. This long exposure shot is made a sunset.
Kingfishers ()
Kingfishers are one of the most beautiful species of birds in my country Belgium. The common kingfisher (alcedo atthis) is a fish-eater with a bright blue orange plumage of about 16cm long. Males are distinguished by their pitch-black lower mandible while females have a dark red spot.

I already spend a lot of hours sitting in my camouflage hide near a pond, but often I didn’t capture any good shots. Recently, however, it was a great day and a young female kingfisher has been fishing for many hours. She catched fishes, insects and a lot of frogs and tadpoles. After each dive, she flew to the twig in front of my hide. Then she beated the prey against the perch several times. Once dead, the prey is positioned lengthways and swallowed head-first. As a nature photographer this was a fantastic day.
Rutting season in Hoge Veluwe ()
Every year the rutting season of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) starts at the end of September. We went one day to the beautiful Hoge Veluwe National Park in the Netherlands. The park is home to almost 200 red deer. During the rutting season the males, known as stags, leave their male herds and will search for females. The females also live in herds and are called hinds. At that time male red deer will have impressive antlers and they will grow a short neck mane. They start roaring and fighting with other males to impress the hinds. We had a nice evening despite of the hundreds of other nature photographers who also visited the park.
Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen ()
The Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen is a beautiful nature reserve in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. It is a dune area with lots of water channels. It has the largest population of fallow deers in the Netherlands. It is estimated that there are 3000 fallow deers. There also foxes, some of them are used to people, roe deers and many birds. We also visted the neighboring Zuid-Kennemerland National Park. We were not able to spot the wisents (European bison) which were released in the Kraansvlak area in 2007. We saw a nice herd of Highland cattle.
Sint-Pieters-Rode ()
The castle and the chapel of Horst are photogenic landmarks near my new home. So in recent months I went out to photograph them several times, mostly in the evening and at night or when there were special weather conditions. I tried to create some unique photos of these monuments that differ from the images that already have been captured by many other people.

The castle of Horst is located in the village of Sint-Pieters-Rode (Holsbeek, Belgium). The castle was built in the mid-14th century and is still quite authentic. The former living rooms, made of brick and sandstone, are mostly from the 16th and 17th centuries. Under an old lime tree in the middle of the fields nearby the castle the Saint Joseph's chapel is located.It dates from the early 19th century.
Blooming heathland ()
The most interesting time for landscape photographers in my home region the Kempen is definitely the blooming period of the heather in late August. This year it was a two weeks earlier than other years. I woke up early multiple times to photograph the sunrise at the heathlands of the Blekerheide and the Heuvelse heide in my hometown Lommel.
Tiengemeten ()
Photos from a weekend trip to the nature island Tiengemeten in North Holland. In 2006 Tiengemeten was transformed from farmland to nature and now it is full of wild flowers, there are wonderful fields of yellow goldenrod, semi-wild Highland cattle graze there and waterbirds are also numerous.
Birds ()
Last spring I spent a lot of time in nature; sometimes very close to my home in Lommel, occasionally from my hide and also several walks in the bigger nature reserves in the Netherlands. I was able to photograph a lof of birds and now I’ve created a small selection of the best photos of kingfishers, cormorants, herons, woodpeckers, buzzards, ...

A wonderful kingfisher from my hide at a small pool of my friends. The common kingfisher (alcedo atthis) is a fish-eater with a bright blue orange plumage of about 16cm long. Males are distinguished by their pitch-black lower mandible while females have a dark red spot.
Konik horses ()
The Oostvaardersplassen in Flevoland is the largest national park in the Netherlands. It is a large wetland with reed plains, rough grassland and ponds that attracks thousands of birds such as geese, spoonbills, cormorants, herons, .... 25 years ago they introduced some deer, Heck cattle and Konik horses. Now there live about 1,000 wild horses, the largest population in Europe. The Konik is originally a Polish and Belarusian small wild horse. They live in large groups with many foals and there is often a lot of interaction and even fights. It is fantastic to spend some time between the horses.
Lommel by night ()
Night photos of my hometown Lommel. Some well-known landmarks such as the Leyssens mill, the German war cemetery, Saint Mary’s park, the CC Adelberg and the church of Lommel center with sometimes with a wonderful starry sky. Some photos are my by using my flash and torch and some 'light painting' techniques to illuminate the subject.

The Leyssens mill is an old mill tower from 1797 which has been moved and renovated in 2012.
Red deer rut ()
From mid-September to mid-October the deer rut takes place. At that time male red deer (Cervus elaphus) will have impressive antlers and they will grow a short neck mane. They start belling and fighting with other males to impress the hinds. I went several times to the Weerterbos in Nederweert (Netherlands) to photograph the red deer.
Sunset at Heuvelse Heide ()
From mid-August the heather blooms in our nature reserves in the Kempen (region in Flanders). So a couple of days I woke up early to photograph the sunrise and the rich colour of the purple flowering heathland in my hometown Lommel at the Heuvelse Heide
Tree frogs ()
In some small nature reserves in Belgian Limburg and Dutch Limburg you can find tree frogs (Hyla arborea). These tiny frogs are only 2 to 4 cm in length. They are green and have a brown lateral stripe from the eyes to the groin. Females have white throats, while males have golden brown throats. They mostly can be found on brambles near small streams or ponds.
Kingfishers ()
Finally I found a nice spot in nature my hometown Lommel where a couple of kingfishers is regularly catching fishes. The past few weeks I spent a lot of hours in the early morning near the small stream and I was able to make several good pictures of these beautiful but shy birds. The common kingfisher (alcedo atthis) is a fish-eater with a bright blue orange plumage of about 16cm long. Males are distinguished by their pitch-black lower mandible while females have a dark red spot.
Historia Mundi ()
In June the Historia Mundi event took place in Lommel. During two days many groups came together to do re-enacting and living history. Based on historical research all groups tried to reproduce cloths, weapons, tents, crafts, ... Many of these people know their piece of history very detailed and are very enthusiastic when telling about it. I made a series of photos of prehistoric people, Romans, medieval knights, soldiers from the Renaissance, Scottish Highlanders, German soldiers from WWI, ...
Beavers of Leuven ()
In June a beaver family of four animals housed in the Dyle river near the Begijnhof in the center of city of Leuven. The beaver (castor fiber) is the largest rodent in Europe and is now back in Belgium in some places. Beavers are nocturnal and generally very shy. But these beavers showed up at dusk and were not disturbed by the many people who where watching them dragging and eating branches. In early July however they were chased.
Normandy coast and Nieuwpoort ()
Photos of a photography weekend on the coast of Normandy with its impressive cliffs and picturesque lighthouses. Our trip ended with a great sunset and a blue hour in Nieuwpoort on the Flamish coast.

The wonderful white cliffs, the arch and the pointed 'needle' in Étretat at the coast of Haute-Normandie.
Insects ()
This past summer I have been photographing insects with my new macro lens and extension rings. This resulted in some nice pictures which reveal a lot of interesting details of these insects.
Flowering heathland ()
From mid-August the heather blooms in our nature reserves in the Kempen (region in Flanders). I went to the Maasmechelse Heide in The Hoge Kempen National Park and two days I woke up early to photograph the sunrise and the rich colour of the purple flowering heathland in my hometown Lommel.
Running horses ()
On the last day of July our photo club ISO400 had a great photo-shoot in the nature reserve the Sahara in Lommel. 4 people of a local horse stable came with their beautiful horses to run through the water and in the white sand which resulted in some great action photos.
Young wild animals ()
This spring I spent a lot of time in nature and I had some unique opportunities to photograph some young animals and birds. These are my best photos of a wild boar piglet, young tawny owls, a juvenile woodpecker and a cute red fox cub. All photos except the ones of the wild boars are made in their natural habitat in my home region.
Night photography in Duisburg ()
A couple of photos of evening photography in Duisburg. The ‘Tiger & Turtle’ sculpture is a walkable roller coaster. And in a small parc the Mercator globus can be found.
The mills of Kinderdijk ()
Some photos of the 19 windmills in Kinderdijk in South Holland. They were constructed around 1740 to drain the polder. Nowadays there are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Flowering tulip fields in Zeeland ()
In spring a lot of tulip fields are flowering in Zeeland (The Netherlands). I went there and on an early morning I started photographing these magnificent display of colours.
Swans ()
Photos of a group of swans on the lake of the nature reserve De Maat in my neighbouring city Mol-Rauw.
Snow and ice ()
Photos of snow and ice in my hometown Lommel and surrounding areas during the coldest week of this winter.
Flamish and Zeelandic coast ()
A day of photographing at the Flamish and Zeelandic coast in Breskens, Cadzand, Knokke and Blankenberge.

The storm poles at the beach of Breskens near at the mouth of the river Schelde.
Birds in the Belgian Ardennes ()
Photos of a weekend of photographing birds from a hide in Viroinval in the Belgian Ardennes; tits, finches, creepers, nuthatches, woodpeckers, ...

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)
Autumn in the High Fens ()
Photos of autumn in the nature reserve High Fens (Belgium) near Ternell with the small Hill and Getzbach rivers.
Damselflies and dragonflies ()
Some photos of damselflies and dragonflies in my hometown Lommel.

Female black-tailed skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum). The males are blue and the females have a yellow color.
Living statues festival ()
During the weekend of 18th-19th June my hometown Lommel organized a living statues festival. Several wonderful living statues and amusing street artists from all around Europe were invited to demonstrate their skills.
Tree frogs ()
Photos of some European tree frogs (Hyla arborea) in a nature reserve. The frogs are range from 3 to 4 cm in length.
Hallerbos ()
Photos of the Hallerbos (Dutch for Halle forest) with its bluebell carpet (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) which covers the forest floor for a few weeks during spring.
Hallerbos ()
Photos of the Hallerbos (Dutch for Halle forest) with its bluebell carpet (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) which covers the forest floor for a few weeks during spring.
Zealand ()
Photos of a day bird watching in Zealand (The Netherlands)
Lommel Sahara ()
Some photos of Lommel Sahara with the first snow of this winter. The Sahara is a small nature reserve with ponds, woods and some small sand dunes.
Insects ()
Some macro photos of dragonflies, beetles and grashoppers.
Living Statues in Lommel ()
Last weekend my hometown Lommel organized the 3th European Contest for Living Statues. Several wonderful living statues and street artists from all around Europe, Cuba, New Zealand and Brazil were invited and during 2 days they demonstrated their skills.
Ghent ()
Some photos of the beautiful historical centre of the city of Ghent.
Winter in Lommel ()
Some photos of winter time in my hometown Lommel.
Fauna on Texel ()
A few photos of seals and birds on the Wadden island Texel (The Netherlands).
Lommel during winter time ()
A few photos from different spots in Lommel during the snow white but ice cold second week of 2009.
Contest for Living Statues ()
Last weekend my hometown Lommel organized the European Contest for Living Statues. More than 45 beautiful living statues were invited and during 2 days they demonstrated their skills. Hereby a few close-up photos of some of these artists.
War cemetery on freezing winterday ()
Photos of the German war cemetery in my hometown Lommel on a freezing cold and white Saturday morning in December. It is one of the largest soldier cemeteries from WOII and 39.091 German soldiers are buried here.
Blue tits ()
A couple of blue tits (parus caeruleus) have been living in the birdhouse in my little garden for a month. The whole day they were flying in and out. In the beginning they were feeding their young ones yellow caterpillars. The last few days all kinds of insects and seeds were on the menu. Now all 4 small blue tits have fledged.