“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” — Destin Sparks
About Douro Photo Tours (DPT)
I have been a passionate photographer nearly all my life; indeed my first job was as a technician at a developing and printing laboratory.
Over the years I have done many photographic assignments including weddings, family gatherings, portraits and commercial. My activity declined somewhat in the 90’s when my children were young. Then it re-ignited about 15 years ago, fuelled by the digital revolution.
I have also owned many different cameras, but now (mostly) use a Sony Alpha 7iii mirrorless system.
And apart from DPT, I currently concentrate on photography for websites – which I also build!
How it all started
Inspired by the beauty of Leiden, I started to explore other Dutch cities in depth, and began to concentrate on urban photography.
I started Dutch Photo Trek, so I could share with others my passion for the history of Leiden and other cities, and my passion for photography.
In the beginning…
The phototours aim to show you more unusual aspects of a city and take you its best photo opportunities away from the crowds.
In addition we give you actually interesting historical information, and offer coaching and advice on how to improve your photography skills.
New for 2020
Covid and lockdown
The city of Porto seemed ideal: a beautiful city with an excellent transport system, and not too large.
The move to Portugal
Obviously, the name Dutch Photo Trek was no longer appropriate, but I wanted to keep the acronym DPT. The Douro is the river that flows through Porto, so I have changed the name to Douro Photo Tours!
I also took the opportunity to reduce the range of tours and workshops. And in conjunction with Keep the Moment photography school in The Hague, DPT is offering a six-day photography course based in Porto.
If you join one of our tours or workshops, I want you to have a great experience. If you are not completely happy, I will gladly give you your money back! Can I say fairer than that?
On a personal note
I actually find that most of the photographs I take fall into one of six main themes:
- Urban landscapes
- Night moods
- Subtleties of light
- A moment captured
- Making the familiar strange
- Man dwarfed by nature
- Macro photography
The first five were ‘conscious’ themes, but ‘man dwarfed by nature’ is the one that intrigues me most. I was unaware of it until pointed out by a friend and colleague!
. . .
Reasons to take up photography
Photography is good for you mentally and physically:
• It gets you out in the fresh air
• It gives you exercise
• You begin to observe and see the world around you
• You learn to be creative
• it teaches yo about technology
For me there is nothing nicer than to go out on a crisp winter’s morning and photograph the dawn. Then come back to a steaming mug of strong coffee followed by an enormous fried breakfast.
The difference between a snapshot and a photograph
Smartphones make it easy to take pictures; you always have a camera to hand. You see something you like, and CLICK you have a picture of it. With a bit of luck, and depending on the conditions, the result may be very pleasing.
Sometimes you have to be quick to capture a moment, but usually with a bit of thought and planning you could have made it even better. Walk around a bit to make sure you have the best angle, and bet lighting. Apply the rule of thirds; make sure there is space around an object or person; do not chop the top off things; make sure there are no ugly distractions (such as portable toilets!)
But here’s the thing: you eyes and brain are far more sophisticated than even the most advanced camera sensor. For a start, they are about a thousand times more sensitive to light, which is why a woodland in summer appears as soft shadows and dappled pools of light, while a photograph of the same small is patches of green with detail, and large areas of black and white devoid of anything.
Your eyes interpret the scene around you, a camera records it literally. So why bother, you may ask. Well, a camera (obviously) can record a snapshot in time, which your eyes cannot. But what transforms than snapshot into a photograph is when you value to it. For example use backlighting to form a halo round a person. Or use a fast shutter speed to freeze a moving object. Or a slow shutter speed so water appears silky and moving. And a photograph can present shapes, patterns and textures that your eyes do not readily discern.
The start of a journey
For me, clicking the shutter is the start of a journey:
• Compose the picture
• Press the shutter
• Post process the picture (for example in Lightroom or Photoshop)
• Share the photograph on social media (Instagram and Flickr)
• Stream the photograph to your television