Taking my weekends back

The name of this blog looks back to the time when my weekends were all mine to spend on hedonistic pursuits, back to the time when I was not too busy chasing too many big dreams. But after exhausting myself for several years, I realized that there is no point in going after a dream when the trade-offs are lost time with your loved ones, a stressed soul, compromising personal beliefs and a dwindling relationship with the people you care about.

So I made a difficult decision last summer and as a result, I have my weekends back.

It was weird at first, to have “too much” time in the weekends again. I was so used to working in the weekends that I felt like I was being lazy using precious time to sit on the couch and look at the wall for hours. Or spend the whole afternoon in bed reading. Or a whole day catching up on American tv series. But after a while, I gradually slipped back into the weekend mode like most people, allowing myself the luxury of long breakfasts and lazy Sundays. Whenever there is time (after doing the grocery, running, watching series of lazing around) or extra money, we would go on weekend getaways or visit the parents in-law in Zeeland.

I’ve also taken up a new hobby – taking photos. I am very careful in using the word photography, because same as with writers – not all people who have a camera and understand technicalities (and can use Photoshop) can be called photographers in the same way that not all people with a blog can be called writers.

I like taking pictures and my husband (who is a photographer) says that I have an “eye” for it. When he offered his old Fuji X100s for me to practice on, I became more interested in learning the techniques. I am a point and shoot type and I am too lazy (or too dumb) to understand the workings of those camera buttons. My enthusiasm with taking photos stops where proper settings starts. If I take a good one, that’s probably out of luck.

Where do I point my lens at? Usually landscape, architecture and food. I also like incorporating moving subjects in my photos, especially people walking or biking. But I am still too shy to ask for permission so I don’t put close up shots of people’s faces on my blog. Maybe one day, I can summon enough courage to shoot a proper portrait.

In the meantime, here are some snaps I shot using Fujifilm X100s.

My favourite landscape subject is still #010, my beautiful city Rotterdam. In case you haven’t heard, Lonely Planet finally recognized it as one of the must-see destinations in 2016. The photo above is taken at the same time, early one morning while walking to Parkade to survey a ship.

Scenes from my last weekend getaway in Maastricht.

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It’s a bit awkward to take photos of your meal in restaurants. I feel weird doing it but some dishes are just irresistible to photograph.
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This last series is from this weekend’s visit to Zeeland. We spent an afternoon walking around the old city of Middelburg. Before going home, we stopped at Oosterschelde where the most advanced storm barrier and dam in the Netherlands is located. This barrier protects Zeeland from another water tragedy after the North Sea flood of 1953.. The sunset was gorgeous.

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No I did not use Photoshop on these photos. But I did use Lightroom, specifically the shadow function. I learned that from my husband too.