Vermeer exhibition

The Rijksmuseum is local to me so it’s churlish not to take a few hours and visit. The Vermeer exhibition sold out immediately months ago but on a tip-off from a chap on the internet, I risked going and getting a ticket from the desk inside.

The Rijksmuseum is local to me so it’s churlish not to take a few hours and visit. The Vermeer exhibition sold out immediately months ago but on a tip-off from a chap on the internet, I risked going and getting a ticket from the desk inside. It worked! I got a ticket to an exhibition that was really crowded, unlike the Geffen in LA which I mostly had to myself.

In terms of Dutch Artists, for me, Vermeer ranks top, followed by a versatile Van Gogh and a workmanlike Rembrandt. The Rijksmuseum has assembled roughly 2/3 of Vermeer’s surviving works and it was an amazing journey through a life spent painting.

Seeing a lifetime of painting laid out makes you appreciate how he progressed, but also how he used many of the same elements often: viewing through a window or curtain, lit from the left, often solo ladies with a musical instrument or focus item, occasionally a symbolic painting of a map or a cupid.

Het Straatje
Het Straatje. A street scene in Delft, possibly his aunt’s house.
Another view of Delft
The other surviving view of Delft
The Milkmaid. Note the vibrant light from the left as the maid makes, probably, bread pudding, the foot warmer at the back decorated with tiles.
Girl with the pearl earring.
And of course, the Girl with the Pearl Earring. Again, it’s beautifully lit and has excellent use of colour.

That’s a small sample of the paintings on show. I’d heartily recommend a visit to Amsterdam to risk being able to get tickets to the Vermeer exhibition. Having lived close to London’s museums, I can safely say this blows them away.

Climate Certificates

I recently spent a few hours getting these climate certificates. Man, that was depressing. By about 2100 we’re totally screwed. Global temperatures may well have risen by 4C and we’ll have run out of resources like fossil fuels for plastics and rare earth metals for our phones. Never mind the billion or more people who will be displaced by uninhabitable land. See Gaia Vince’s “Nomad Century” for the details in detail. And yet governments are still subsidising oil and gas exploration. It’s like they don’t want us to live.

Oil takes 5x the energy to extract than it used to and we have of it 50 years left. We only have 200 years of Uranium left.

TBH it’s really depressing and makes one want to go off the grid. Or get a job building huge numbers of wind turbines, planting trees or regrowing coral reefs. Wind, solar and water (for now) are renewable resources. We should start using them as much as possible immediately and start rationing the use of expendable resources like oil and gas. I have a Facebook group into which I drop links about climate-related stuff. Denmark is, I believe, almost net zero today. Now let’s get the USA and China to follow. If the money spent on militaries and war was spent on carbon emissions, we’d be golden.

The recent kerfuffle about 15 minute cities is a good one. I’d like to be able to walk, cycle or tram to what I need.

So remember the five Rs: Refuse (don’t buy it), Reduce (do less of it), Reuse, Recycle, Rot (make compost).

Azure DevOps cert

Six months too late, I’ve now been certified in basic Azure DevOps. Top tip: if you wholeheartedly embrace the Microsoft system it works so much better. What surprised me was that GitHub is now well-integrated. I still won’t use Azure for personal stuff since VSCode has connections to everything Open Source I use.

Sad London Bicycles, slightly happier Amsterdam ones

In the time I was a “real” photographer and in the time since when I’ve been armed with an iPhone camera, sad bicycles have caught my eye. Back in the day in London, very often wheels were bent or stolen completely. More recently in Amsterdam, the bicycles have just been collateral damage from the crappy weather. Anyhow by special Reddit request, here are the pictures. I believe the EXIF data should be intact, so if you really care, the phone photos should locate themselves. Why couldn’t SLRs do GPS?




Taipei is less about bicycles, although they are present, than scooters. I couldn’t find the photo I really wanted which was of a swarm of scooters waiting for a light to go green, pouring out fumes. I believe now there are many more electric ones, with convenient battery swapping stations. I do love the guy with gas bottles stacked on the back of his scooter.


So there you have it. The people of Amsterdam clearly value their bicycles more than Londoners, which given how much the Dutch travel by bike is only to be understood. Given the amount I’m walking at the moment, I daresay I shall encounter more, especially if I go to particularly bike-dense areas.