Sometimes you're in Luck! (Video)

Although it feels like spring now, my mind is still with the subzero temperatures we had. The winter weather caused extraordinary, un-Dutch scenes. I am going to write an extensive blog about my mornings on the Wadden Sea, but for today I am taking you to the IJsselmeer, where a good dose of luck helps me to shoot a killer image!

Because it is above zero, the ice on the IJsselmeer melts and breaks into pieces, which is then pushed ashore.

Above zero

All good things come to an end; The thaw sets in. But because there is quite a lot of ice on the IJsselmeer, we are treated to one last surprise: drifting ice! This phenomenon occurs when the ice starts to break and is then pushed ashore by the wind and current. Depending on the amount, thickness and wind direction, this can lead to a huge spectacle.

Huge amounts of ice accumulate; a special sight!


Because it is a gray day, I don’t have to get up early. The sun is barely visible. I start my search in Lemmer. However, there is not a piece of ice to be found, so I quickly continue. Via the Red Cliff and the Mirnster Klif, I drive past Laaksum and Skarl. A nice route. I grew up in this region, so I know where I get the best chance to shoot a nice photo. At Skarl, I take some traditional ice photos but I miss the excitement. I want something different. From this spot, I have a wide view across the IJsselmeer and I see that the ice accumulation is higher towards Stavoren. So I have to go that way too!

The sky is nice, the ice is beautiful and yet I miss excitement. Time to move to another location!

Lots of people

In Stavoren, I park at the harbor and cross the dike. My feelings are somewhat tense, I am not satisfied yet and do not know what I will find here. It is busy, many people have come to Stavoren to see the drifting ice. No wonder! There is a lot here! After taking a number of photos from one of the big piles (this to the dismay of a local due to the potential danger), I decide to walk to the fishing harbor entrance. Here are two beacons that could be of interest I see a beautiful line of broken ice and have found my composition!

The shot

To get the shot I want, I need to be as close to the waterline as possible. Therefore, I climbdown the steep and super slippery stones. Balancing on the rocks, I prep my gear. I want to start the ice-line at the bottom left of my image. It is quite a hassle to find a satisfying place for my tripod. Many of the ice blocks are loose, the stones are slippery and the water is fairly deep. Eventually it works, and after some fine-tuning I am satisfied with my composition!

Finally, I got what I wanted; The light is beautiful, the sky dramatic and the line in the ice guides the eye through the image!

Through the ice

I enjoy the view while taking pictures. The sun breaks through behind me, while a heavy rain shower enters the scene in front of me. The forecast said it will rain non stop from 3 pm so it won’t take long now. Suddenly, I hear an engine roaring to my right and the sound of breaking ice; to my surprise a boat is going for the ice! I quickly switch my camera to film mode. This is too good to miss! The captain gives a huge burst of gas. The engines roars and the ice creaks!

But, as expected, the ice is too thick. I can’t believe my eyes. The ship comes to a standstill at exactly the right place in my composition. To top it off, the sun blasts through the clouds behind me. I can’t believe my luck! The image is complete. The dramatic sky, the line in the ice, the beacon and the boat are lit by the sun. While I am photographing, I enjoy the spectacle that takes place in front of me.

Everything suddenly seems to come together: The light, the dramatic sky, the line in the ice form a beautiful image! Tamron SP 15-30 G2 with NiSi CPL.

You make your own luck

After a while the sky starts to close, and rain falls. This is the sign for me to leave. Very happy with the image, I suddenly realize that on the one hand I have been very lucky, but on the other hand I enforce these this by going out often. In other words: exposing yourself to the elements, looking for beautiful subjects and being on location increases your chances of shooting beautiful images. Moments like this make all failures and “pointless” outings worth it. And besides, a moment in nature is never pointless!

Thanks for reading

If you like my photography, please follow me on Instagram @harmenpiekema and Facebook. Check out my YouTube channel to see behind the scene vlogs, learn how to use certain gear and follow me on my adventures. If you want you can check out my webshop. Your support means a lot!

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