Amsterdam After Dark – Photo Essay.

By Posted in - Europe & Photo Journal & Travel Blog on March 19th, 2012

Amsterdam was the very first stop on our European journey. I hate to say it but I just didn’t love Amsterdam the way I thought I would. I think it was a case of having high expectations – which is never a good thing. Amsterdam is iconic – everyone knows someone that has been there and it’s been featured in a million movies. All the people I know that have visited the city have told me over and over again about how fantastic it is and how much I would love it.

I definitely had high expectations of Amsterdam, I expected it to be utterly impressive, hedonistic and unlike anywhere else I had ever been. While it was a pretty cool city it just didn’t grab me the way other places have. It’s an extremely fast moving city and it easily tops the list as one of the most expensive European cities. I just didn’t feel any real kinship to Amsterdam and because we were only there for three days there just wasn’t a lot of time to search out the missing connection.

While I was there I decided to take some photos of Amsterdam at night. Looking at them makes me think there must be more to the city than what I initially felt. Hopefully in the future I’ll get the chance to go back and give it another go. I really like these photos and I hope you like them too!

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark
All of these photos were taken in Amsterdam using the manual setting on my camera and without the use of a tripod.

Check out my photo ebook – Getting Out Of Auto. Learn the ins & outs of exposure, composition and special techniques to help you get photos like the ones you see here.

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark  Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

Amsterdam After Dark

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All of these photos were taken in Venice, Italy using the manual setting on my camera and without the use of a tripod.

Check out my photo ebook – Getting Out Of Auto. Learn the ins & outs of exposure, composition and special techniques to help you get photos like the ones you see above.

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*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers and Beans Travel Website & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you do want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!

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(24) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Luxury Accommodations Blog -

    March 19, 2012 at 4:49 am

    A great city where you can never get bored

  • John -

    March 19, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Beautiful photos. I especially love the ones with light trails, though I can’t quite make out what caused all the vertical light trails in the fourth photo – what created that?

    • Bethany -

      March 19, 2012 at 7:27 am

      Oh I love that photo so glad you noticed the trails. 🙂 I was just playing with light & motion. I was shocked at how busy Amsterdam was (didn’t expect that with the all the coffee shops – hahha) and was trying to find different ways to capture that feeling and decided to move the camera down slightly during an exposure. I really liked the way the trails came out on that one – kinda looks like tear drops in a lonely city.

  • Andrea -

    March 19, 2012 at 8:44 am

    These are so incredible – I haven’t taken very many at night here; it’s definitely a good-looking city after dark as you’ve shown. I know what you mean about it not wearing off on you. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the city and it changes every time I go.

  • Vicky -

    March 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I’m sad to hear you didn’t like Amsterdam. I guess it is such a legendary city that it has a lot to live up to. I haven’t been, but hoping to go in October. My friend said it can be really disturbing, what with all the stag groups and the Red Light District and all. At least you got some cool photos from it!

  • Nico -

    March 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I think Amsterdam can be many things, depending on what you bring there. I haven’t been in a while but have fond memories of its cosmopolitan feel and buzzy energy. It was really active and traveler friendly, I thought. Plus the people are just beautiful. But yeah, high-expectations can really kill an impression. I takes time to get in the swing of any city.

    Love the photos, Bethany. Digging that fisheye panorama. Stunning.

  • Ayngelina -

    March 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    I have been to Amsterdam and you really captured the beauty at night. All I remembered was the seediness but this reminds me of the nicer aspects of it.

  • Jarmo -

    March 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Great photos, Amsterdam is really pretty at night time. Shame you didn’t feel the connection, but I suppose you can’t always like every place, depends on what happens there. I really like Amsterdam, I usually go there at least once a year, hopefully next month going there next time!

  • Lovely, lovely (and did I say, Lovely) pictures! I especially like the one of Hotel Atlanta. And I command you on your use of light and color contrast. Beautiful indeed.

  • jan -

    March 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Absolutely beautiful photos!

  • Dean -

    March 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Lovely photos as usual. Amsterdam is a city I would love to visit.

  • Matt -

    March 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Nice Shots! I know what you are saying about looking for Iconic in Amsterdam. Because it is so well known, it falls short on this, but in my mind the best part about Amsterdam is just wandering around. It is a city that would be a lot of fun to live in…if you could afford it.

  • Leigh -

    March 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Fantastic job on the photos and interesting to see Amsterdam at night for a change. I loved Amsterdam for the museums and the fact that everyone rode a bike. I’d have to return to comment on how it is now but my daughter said last year she felt it to be very unfriendly.

  • Cherina -

    March 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    It’s always disappointing when a place doesn’t live up to your expectations. I felt the same when I went to Budapest. I always ‘try’ not to have too many expectations when I travel (I usually fail miserably though!) At least you got some great photos – really love the one of the bikes and the diamonds sign.

  • Megan -

    April 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

    I have to say that I agree with you in that Amsterdam just didn’t capture my heart like I’d hoped/expected it to. I’ve been twice–both for decent lengths, but it still didn’t resonate with me. I much prefer the smaller city of Utrecht (about 45 minutes outside of Amsterdam). It feels more cozy, the people are friendlier, and you still get the Amsterdam look and feel, but without all the trash, noise, and rudeness.

    In any case, you still managed to get some great night shots of Amsterdam! I just love the charm of those houses along the canal, and they’re even more beautiful at night!

  • Dixia Shi -

    April 12, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Fantastic photos, pretty interesting and different to see Amsterdam at night for a change with bright lights. I loved Amsterdam for the bridges, thanks for sharing eagerly waiting for your next post.

  • Lesley Peterson -

    April 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    What! Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities EVER! Art, architecture, friendly people and all that mesmerizing reflective water. You must go a little further afield, get away from the train station and so-called Red Light (read: tourist) areas. If you study up a bit beforehand so you know what direction to wander in, Amsterdam is a magical, dreamy place. I’d lovelovelove to live there…

  • Brimshack -

    April 22, 2012 at 1:42 am

    Looks fantastic. I especially life some of the gingerbread architecture.

  • Andy -

    May 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Wow, it’s always disappointing when someplace just doesn’t end up agreeing with you. I think you’re right though – it only seems to happen when expectations are unusually high. The same thing happened to me when I went to Venice.

    I think it’s important to not write it off as a destination though, especially when there for only a short time. There are so many factors that can influence how you feel about a new location. Hopefully you’ll get to return and enjoy the city much more the second time around 🙂

  • Steve -

    May 29, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Wow! Wonderful pictures of a multifaceted city. Thx for these photos full of atmosphere!

  • Jenna -

    May 30, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I loved Amsterdam even though, like you, I was only there 3 days, but I definitely feel like I need to go back and experience much more to really get to know the city. These are great, and I especially love the one with the boat passing by the houses.

  • Kate -

    July 21, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    I was also there 3 days and I felt exactly the same way! I just didn’t love amsterdam. Although I had a great time out with my friends who live there and got to experience an awesome nightlife (which I don’t have in my town) I felt no real connection to the place or the people. Altogether, I left the city with a somewhat sour taste in my mouth.

  • Ellen Keith -

    October 20, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Amsterdam is one of those cities that has such a reputation, it’s hard to go there without expectations. I’m lucky in that my family is from the Netherlands, so my first few experiences with Amsterdam were from a very intimate, local perspective. Later, upon visiting the city as a backpacker (with other people my age), I got a much more tourist-tailored view of the city: with the typical coffee shop/red light district itinerary as part of the focus. For me, that wasn’t nearly as special.

    However, even if it didn’t live up to your expectations, you still captured a lot of the city’s magic in these photos. I hope you given it a second shot!


  • Christy -

    November 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Wow. These photos are ah-mazing! Did you use a tripod this time?