Sunday, August 5, 2012

For the love of Nature...

Floriade! I heard about this event some 30 years ago, early on after I emigrated from Greece to Flanders. The Netherlands, as world famous it is by its tulips, is not only the Kingdom of Het Huis van Oranje, but also the Kingdom of God's best gifts to man, flowers and greens. Floriade is a flower festival organised every ten years and this year it is being held in Venlo with the theme "Be part of the theatre in nature; get closer to the quality of life".
Floriade 2012 features five themed areas on a site of 66 hectares.

  • Environment
  • Green Engine
  • Relax & Heal
  • Education & Innovation
  • World Show Stage
It also has a Cable Car of 1,100 meters. Very clever!
Since I missed every single Floriade since I came here (1982, 1992 and 2002) I promised to myself to visit the Venlo event for sure, since, one never knows, maybe I don't live to see another one, or feel too fatigued to walk around its venue exhibits in ten years from now. Indeed, Floriade is almost an event of a lifetime. Equipped with my 5D and my standard 24-105 AF IS Canon zoom, I arrived at the parking on July 31st, right about the event daily opening time of 10am, and thank God for that, since the walk in a full parking terrain from one end to another counts the best part of one km, or more. One risks to be dead tired (certainly at my age) before one even reaches the shuttle-bus stops! However, I was pretty close to the entrance as I got here rather early, lucky me... Off the driver's seat, I put on my youngest son's walking shoes, and there I was, ready to go, loaded with a few kgs of Canon gear.
The entire organisation of the venue, inclusive logistics, efficiency, cleanness, buildings/landscape and pavilion architecture, concepts and quality of exhibits, shops, souvenirs, restaurants, coffee-shops, even an open theatre with a huge daylight video screen of immense proportions to entertain visitors with the Olympics latest, up to the traditional frittes-mayonnaise for the Belgo-Dutch lunch enjoyment, an ultramodern amphitheater for live music performances, what can anybody say??? Only the Dutch can manage venues like these. They even re-worked their motorways around the venue with new bridges and secondary roads leading to hotels and parkings that are even too new to display in Google's maps satellite view . For fun, visit the spot north of the crossing of A67 and A73 near Venlo in Holland in Google and see the current configuration on the standard map view first. Then switch to the satellite view. You are not gonna believe your eyes how much work they put into it. The satellite view shows the way it was before the Floriade, whereas the map view shows all that was built for the needs of the event! Unbelievable! Just for a show that only lasts April to October 2012.
The Dutch, being Dutch (entrepreneurial, that is to say) already declared that all the buildings and infrastructure will be reused for businesses after next October. My compats should think about that each time they drive outside the premises of the Athens 2004 Olympics village, shame on them!
There's so much to say about Floriade 2012... Big! Real BIG! Huge really! In all its aspects. A must go! Since I can't write as good as I shoot pictures, I rather say it with my shots and leave the writing to the skilled. I took a total of 750 pictures, incl. panoramic shots. Of those, a total of 655 I have eventually published on my Flickr account. I grouped them by 'my' themes in a total of 15 sets, of which my personal preference goes to their Orchids, displayed as a slideshow here.
If you've got nothing else to do and can't free up the time to visit the Floriade itself in Venlo before it ends in October, see my work as your second best option... I'm sure many visitors shot millions of pictures, but not many are as addicted to amateur photography as I am, to shoot more than 700 pictures in less than 10 hours, a full battery charge and 12 GB of flash cards filled to 'card full' status, and then spend 20 hours developing them and group them in 17 Flickr sets (!) to present the best possible view of the event, for the pleasure of those who don't plan to go.
Between you and me, some of my shots are too flattering to the objects they represented on camera. Better than the real thing, so to say... It's because, one, camera lenses see more than human eyes, especially when they get close to their subject via zooming. And two, I like colours a lot, so I did my usual thing to add some personal tint and 'artistic' interpretation here and there. For my own visual enjoyment...

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