2023 kicked off with biting some sand. As a powdered seal fills my frame, I realize that this animal was apparently at the back of the line when paws, ears and tails were handed out. It looks like some sort of hairy larva, decorated with these huge eyes and two cute little wings. Fortunately, this lack of long limbs does not seem to hinder them at all. In fact; seals are chronically happy. Unfazed by rain or storm or cold or storm, they roll through the sand smiling and waving cheerfully at the camera with their adorable little flaps. As I transform into a living sand sculpture, I enjoy the little remaining view of this wonderful creature, shining like a happy sand cake.
A new name could be gradually invented for our Dutch winters. (Anyone?) Cold, ice and snow have become collector’s items. Stories about building snowmen, skating to school and icicles larger than life are starting to have a high grandma-telling quality. Nowadays you have to grab that falling flake as soon as you see it, because it has melted before it hits the ground. More than ever, it is a matter of right time, right fox. My fox in the snow was ultimately a fact, but fox and I unanimously agreed that wind force nine with horizontal snow is seriously no party.
It seems as if even frost has adapted to this volatile era. At a TikTok-worthy pace, some fog is quickly created, interspersed with a brief frost and then it’s a matter of going. If you blink three times, that white world is just a dream gone by. But, however briefly, in 2023 I stopped time for a moment to be in this timeless fairytale world with a fox.
Cubs remain one of nature’s most beautiful gifts. Naturally, there are repetitive rituals in cub season: finding the den, the cubs’ first steps outside, the first time the cubs are suckled and the almost standard move of the fox family, after which the entire search-and-find ritual starts all over again. starts. But above all, even after more than a decade of photographing, foxes continue to surprise me. Traditionally, it is the daughters from a previous marriage who help care for the little ones. This year, however, the only daughter left and the older sons were eager to assist mom. Which sometimes resulted in hilarious moments, such as the look on the men’s faces when the cubs tried to drink with them. But the best part was the adorable love these dog foxes had for these little ones. More than once, I saw them go aww with a tilted head at the sight of so much cuteness. Fox emancipation is a fact!
Obviously, I could write books about foxes, but very occasionally there are birds that demand SO much attention that they manage to turn me into a temporary birdwatcher. This year a little bird almost pushed its blue chest into my lens, forcing me to take its picture.
Against tradition, I didn’t photograph birthday cubs this year, but stayed in bird style. A group of golden yellow cuteness almost swam into my garden and made for one of the best birthday presents ever!
The Great Dragonfly Festival
There are many people who don’t like insects. They find them dirty and even scary. I never understood that. Insects are magical creatures and it makes me genuinely to see them literally disappear within our lifetime. We all have the memory of a butterfly bush full of butterflies and walking along a ditch where the dragonflies almost flew into your ears. And now you can be happy with just one stray butterfly. Until one beautiful summer day when I was invited to the big dragonfly festival and it was pure magic….
Real life advent calendar
For years, photography was my joy, my relaxation, my comfort, my outlet, my support, my doorway to a more beautiful world. Mid-summer, this door closed with a bang. And there I was, standing in the dark. However, as my eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, I saw cracks of light everywhere around me. And where there are cracks, there are doors! And doors are there to be opened, like a kind of real-life advent calendar! Each door offered access to a new surprise. Sometimes nice and sometimes a reason to quickly close that door again. At times it was quite a search for the key, but all the more fun when we did find it. One door turned out to be so rusted that I had no way of opening it. Family, friends, acquaintances and neighbors joined in and together we pushed, pulled, sanded and scraped, hacked and sawed until the door finally swung open! Behind it we found a room full of shelving units with neat piles of blessings on each shelf. So much that we will happily continue counting in 2024…
And to share one open door: Wishing you all the best for 2024!