I’ll say it. I like Amsterdam, but I don’t love it.
I don’t think I’ll speak of it in the rapturous terms that many others have. We get along, the city and I, but I think we’re meant to see other people. It hit me on the way home; Amsterdam is a city of revelry, merriment, and conviviality. I am alone by choice. We have different intentions, the city and I. I’m glad I came, and I’ve seen amazing things here, but I’m ready to move on to London.
Tonight was the last little bit of proof. I did a minor sightseeing day (only two museums!) and then came back to the flat to rest and nap before going out for night photography.
Tonight, though, I trolled the city and started to doubt that I’d get anything. At all. Everywhere I looked, my camera’s lenses felt empty. I’d taken the 14 tram line south and just come up empty-handed, stop after stop. But, then, a fellow traveler was perfect, waiting for the 14 in Waterlooplein.
I shot revelers walking from bar to bar in the red-light district:
and tried to get a taste of a city that has endless water, bicycles, and heavily-vertical buildings:
This photo, though, sums up my ambiguity about Amsterdam. As I was walking back to the flat, frustrated that I hadn’t gotten The Shot that told the experience, I crested a small hill and realized there were four photographers, none happy, all pointing their cameras in the same direction. I turned around, saw what they were seeing, and immediately joined their ranks.
We all struggled with the same shot – a perfect moon in perfect position with cloudbank and ancient church … completely marred by overhead tram lines. I ended up standing in the island in the middle of the road, shooting with both lenses, hoping Amsterdam would give me just this one perfect shot.
It wasn’t to be. There was no way to get the moon, and the church, AND remove the tram lines. I shot knowing I’d have to crop two-thirds of the image out, wishing for a tripod, noise correction, ANYTHING to make this somewhere near what I saw with my own eyes:
It’ll have to do. It isn’t the perfect shot, but I think it sums up my time here: close, so very, very close.