Shoot! photography book by Zilverblauw
The smell of darkroom chemicals will be forever linked to my childhood. My dad was (and is) a passionate photographer and used to develop all his photos at home. We also had a mini photo studio in the attic and every once in a while my dad would ask my sister and I to be his models and I clearly remember the hot lamps and silver reflection foil. The results: tons of beautiful grainy black and white photos of ourselves, that still have that particular photo paper smell today. (I shared some of them on Instagram if you like to see).
In my teens I liked cheap disposable cameras and for the first time we sticked colorful photos in our photo albums. Later in artschool I used an old Minolta for my projects. Photography has always been part of my life in some way, but I really fell in love with photography on our first trip to Iceland. I didn't have a photo camera at the time, but brought my mobile phone and snapped so many pictures. Iceland is very photogenic, the light, the landscapes, their design, the colors, the Northern Lights... Soon after our trip I bought a little compact camera because I wanted better quality without carrying around a heavy DSLR. The compact camera was replaced by a bridge camera (a Sony NEX5N ♥) and earlier this year I bought myself the first mirrorless fullframe camera (a Sony A7R). It still fits in my handbag, because I think the best camera is the camera you have with you. I also believe that good photography is all about training your eyes by practicing a lot, like every day. With my previous camera I started shooting in RAW which made a huge difference too. I think I'm too lazy and impatient to read big manuals about photography, I prefer to spend my time looking at beautiful photos ;) Or trying to make them myself.
Two months ago, Anki from Zilverblauw published her first book, called Shoot! It's a book about photography, but as you can see on these pictures, it's not a dark black & white book with tons of technical details. It's a book that looks good in your home (HELLO gold foil letters, pink and yellow!) and it looks good in the inside as well thanks to Anki's love Casper's graphic designer skills. Actually it doesn't only look good, it feels good too: in the book Anki tells all about making photos with your heart. Of course you need to know a little bit about aperture, lenses and white balance. But above all photography is about learning to look & see and show the world with your heart and through your eyes. A little peek into the book:
Inspirational photos made by Anki. Don't you immediately recognize her style?
See, even the technical pages look nice and easy:
All handlettering in Shoot! is by Milou, also known as Mevrouw Knot:
And a proud moment (and a complete surprise!) when I flipped through the book: my blog & instagram are mentioned amongst other inspiring creatives:
I can't wait for Shoot! to be published in English (wink wink Uitgeverij Snor), because this is a photography book you actually WANT to read. With lots of helpful tips and gorgeous photos, but without the boring technical details... well, there's of course some basic stuff you need to know, but Anki makes it very easy to understand, and easy on the eyes. A beautiful gift for anyone (or yourself) who enjoys taking pictures and wants to improve their skills. You can buy Shoot! here.
Desert de Les Palmes
What a heavy week. Ever since I heard that there was "something" going on in Paris on Friday night, my emotions were all over the place: horrified, shocked, angry, sad, scared, invincible... We hear about suicide attacks in far-away countries, war crimes, poverty, epidemics, natural disasters every day on the news. But this week the horror was here in Paris. So close and the consequences directly influence our daily lives. My first impression was that people around me, friends and strangers were so extremely sweet, supportive and cohesive. I wish that this will become the new "normal": that we help others, share more and care for each other.
Horror like this makes me realize how furtunate I am to do what I do (and love), and travel to so many beautiful places. One these gorgeous places is the Desert de Les Palmes, north from Valencia in Spain. It was one of my favorite hikes during our trip through Spain last month. According to Robert, it's not a hike if you don't have to use your hands. And really: we climbed over the ridge of 3 mountains, with steep precipices and giant rocks. The views over the Mediterranean were dreamy and it smelled like pine trees the entire time. Pure bliss!
Robert "tricked" me into this hike by explaining this was the only place in Europe where you can find indigenous(!) palms. The Chamaerops humillis were beautiful, and yes: we climbed to that mountain peak in the background:
The mountains were so peaceful, and from almost anywhere we could see the Mediterranean and the cities of Castellón and Benicàssim. We didn't cross paths with anyone the entire afternoon, except for one trail runner and a mountainbiker. Really, if you love hiking and being outdoors, you should go here: it's beautiful!
Subtle colors of pink and orange heather:
My sister asked me to bottle the smell of the pine trees, because it's one of the best natural perfumes in the world. Unfortunately I don't know how, so i brought her one of these pine cones:
Desert de Les Palmes /// Parque natural del Desierto de las Palmas /// Perfect for a day trip from Valencia
More information about routes here. We parked our car in the National Park near the visitor center and followed routes 1, 2 and 3. We covered a total distance of 10km in 4 1/2 hours, including breaks ;) Not very fast, but we loved it!
Dulce de Leche in Valencia
Coming home after a three and a half week break meant it was back-to-business straight away. It felt like we hit the ground running: new projects, new clients, a weekend in a cabin on the water, and a bathroom that needed our attention too. Knowing that I have so many sun-drowned photos and stories that I want to share here... oh sometimes I wish I could skip some work and go straight to photo editing and blogging. And go back to Valencia to have a delicious raspberry muffin at Pastelería Dulce de Leche:
Souraya from Binti Home has a big crush on the city of Valencia and when we met at Meet the Blogger in Amsterdam in October (we were actually on stage together!), she suggested me to check out the tips on her blog. I did and had to check out Pastelería Dulce de Leche, because it's not only a bakery, they also sell beautiful lifestyle products... and plants!
It was super busy when we visited Dulce de Leche. Really: coffee, cake and plants are such a successful combination! And their staff is super friendly and laid-back, like most of the people we met in Valencia. The neighborhood Ruzafa is probably the hippest area of the city, lots of fellow graphic designers have their studios in Ruzafa and there are some really nice boutiques, restaurants and coffeehouses too. If you're in the area: don't forget to visit the Ruzafa food market. It's so vibrant!
I'm not sure if it's the delicious cakes, the abundance of sanseveria, monstera or rubber plants, or the nice coffee, but everyone at Dulce de Leche was smiling. Including us, because what's not to love when you're in a lovely and sunny city with your favorite person, eating cake, drinking coffee, surrounded by plants? Yes, I know, I want to go back too ;)
Funny detail: I immediately recognized the ochre plant pot that Souraya has in her plant hanger, next to the counter:
Pastelería Dulce de Leche /// Carrer de Cuba, 43 /// 46006 València, Spain /// +34 (0) 960 03 59 49
Open every day from 9AM to 9:15PM
Urban Jungle Bloggers #23
Hola, bonjour, hello, I'm back! After a three lovely sunny weeks in Spain, I'm back in the office! We came home to found our ongoing bathroom renovation completely transformed: there are tiles on the floors and walls and everything has been painted and stuccoed! It finally looks like a real bathroom! And I'm so excited! A few more details, like fixing the transparent ceiling in the double shower, as you can see above, adding the bathroom fixtures, sinks and lighting and we're done. I'm so very happy with the shelf in the bathroom that I couldn't NOT use it for today's plantshelfie for Urban Jungle Bloggers.
If you followed me on Instagram you probably saw that I gathered quite a few green souvenirs during our holiday. I also picked up a set of beautiful sleek Matagalán terracotta pots in Barcelona. So I decided to combine it all: new plants, new terracotta pots and a new bathroom shelf. Ultra simple and I like it. Even though I know the plants will be replaced by shampoo & soap very soon ;)
My favorite green souvenirs from our trip were cactus plants. I found 10 different kinds in public areas, like parcs and on the side of the road. One of my rules when I cut off a piece of cactus is to not destroy the mother plant. And I never steal plants from people's private gardens. You'll be surprised by what you can find in public parcs, near the beach or on the side of the road in the Mediterranean countries.
Below on the left you see my new prickly pear (Opuntia) from a green plot near the beach of Valencia. There was a giant Opuntia growing there with these beautiful purple fruits. The Old Men cactus (Cephalocereus senilis) on the right is an oldie that started growing this summer. His hair grows from the top of his head in a very "punky manner", pretty cool!
There will probably be plants in our finished bathroom, although I haven't investigated what and where. Just for the sake of it, I placed a tiny terracotta pot in the new circle window:
My most magical cactus treasure from our trip is the Organ Pipe cactus on the left. I found it just opposite of the Opuntia plants, hidden under a stack of weed! I cut off a few taller ones too. Now I hope they will grow new roots: aren't they the coolest? The second cactus in row is a Cylindropuntia and the yellow "bulbs" are where the flowers used to be:
And aaahhhh those Matagalán terracotta pots... I wish I could afford to put ALL my 150 plants in their pots: they are handmade, sleek and just perfect. In Barcelona I met with Carolina, the designer of Matagalán and she told me about the new plant pots she's currently working on. They will be all about "balance"... very exciting! For now, I've paired my pretty pots with some random terracotta pots:
The plants will soon be replaced by shampoo & soap, but today I'll simply enjoy my #plantshelfie in our soon-to-be bathroom:
Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series hosted by 2 bloggers: Igor (Happy Interior Blog) and Judith (JOELIX.com). Every month we share ideas to create an urban jungle through styling ideas, DIYs and green tips & tricks. You can find additional inspiration on our Urban Jungle Bloggers Pinterest board and keep up-to-date via our Facebook page. Want to join? Find out how on our website and use #urbanjunglebloggers #plantshelfie on twitter and instagram. Let's bring some green into our homes and blogs!
► For more Plant Shelfies, check out the gallery!
Vale - Venga - Adios!
Finally after some very long and intense months (ehmmm it's been 2 years since our last big break!) we arrived in Spain. This past week we stayed in the Pyrenees, or even better in Spanish: los Pirineos. And that's immediately my biggest frustration of the week: I don't speak Spanish. I read and understand it globally as it's so similar to French, but I was unable to ask specific questions about the almonds they were harvesting or the ceramic workshops that I wanted to visit (and didn't find). Of course, with French and English, a few Spanish words (mixed up with Italian... oops!) and lots of gestures you get a long way, but still, it's a little bit frustrating for a curious person like me ;)
Anyway, I'm happy to spend my days with my husband, discovering something new every day, reading books, exploring the mountains, sleeping, hiking, and gathering some nice green souvenirs. I picked some fresh palm tree seeds in the palmeraie in the botanical garden in Zaragoza and cut a few cactus plants as well. We've just arrived in Valencia, so I think I "may" bring some more souvenirs. If you'd like to see what I'm up to, check my Instagram, as my blog will be quiet for the rest of October. Here's a big dose of sunshine and palm trees from Zaragoza for you to enjoy, maybe it helps to keep warm as I've heard it's freezing in most parts of Northern Europe... oh and if you have any tips on learning a few words of Spanish?
Almost just as good as the real deal: palm tree shadows:
Oh yeah, I know what to do with these:
@joelixjoelix on instagram