The best photo I’ve taken so far

I took the above photo at the Keukenhof in the Netherlands, on 16 April 2004, and to this day, I don’t think I’ve taken a better photo.

A year earlier, my Mum had come to visit me, soon after I’d moved to Belgium, and my husband suggested I take her up to the Keukenhof for the day. I’d never been there, and had never even heard of the place, so I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Mum and I caught the train from Mechelen, which is in the Flemish part of Belgium, and a couple of hours later, caught a bus from Leiden station, in the Netherlands, to the Keukenhof. From the moment we arrived, our eyes were like saucers. Mum’s a keen photographer, so she took loads of pictures, as did I.

One doesn’t have to be a brilliant photographer to take great photos at the Keukenhof. You just point and shoot and 99 times out of 100, you get a lovely shot. Still, I’ve always been particularly pleased with the one at the top of this post. Earlier this evening, I set out to apply it to my Twitter account, but as the space for the background image in Twitter is a wide rectangle, I wasn’t able to fit all of this picture in. So I thought I’d post it here, too.

I haven’t been able to locate the hundreds of other photos I took of the Keukenhof; I’ll need to wait till my slumbering husband awakes so he can help me search. I had to go trawling through my old emails to find this one (I was sure I must have sent it to someone, around the time it was taken, and sure enough, I had). When I find the rest, I’ll add a slideshare to this post.

The timing of the visit makes a difference

Mum and I visited the gardens on 29 April 2003 and the place was just breath-taking. By the end of the day, we almost felt physically overwhelmed by the amount of beauty we’d taken in. The colours, forms and scents of the different flowers were out of this world.

Fifty weeks later, on 16 April 2004, I took my husband there, and I soon noticed that the pictures we were taking weren’t as pretty as the ones I’d taken the year before. I worked out that the first time I’d been, the large, mature trees of the park had had an extra two weeks in which to put on their Spring leaves, so all my photos were lit by a lovely pale-green background. We still got some lovely shots during the 2004 visit, including the one at the top of this post, but those from the first visit were better, overall.

My third and final visit to the Keukenhof was in early May 2008. That time, the trees were almost in full leaf, which gave yet another feel to the experience and the photos.

If you ever get the chance to visit the Netherlands in the Spring, definitely plan a visit to the Keukenhof.

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