Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Flowers and kimonos : Keukenhof Spring 2014 ( part 1 of 3 )

Spring has finally arrived. Last weekend I went to a meeting with people from the Kimono de Jack NL at the Keukenhof Flower Show,  near the small town of Lisse , located in the West of the  Netherlands, not far from the coast.
The Flower Show is held each year in spring in a very large English style garden , that dates back to the 19th century. It was originally designed to show off the flowers from local flower growers
( mostly bulb flowers like tulips, hyacinths , daffodils ) and these are still the main attraction of the Show.

Each year , nearly 100,000 people visit the Flower Show each week. Luckily  the garden is so large, it never gets really crowded.

Long rows of  hyacinths line the paths. There's hardly any wind today and their sweet smell is everywhere.

Hyacinths come in many varieties and they all smell wonderful.

A mixed border with a footpad in the middle : the garden is full of opportunities to stroll and enjoy the flowers.

Most of the flowers are outside , but there are several large indoor halls at the show where  thousands of flowers are on display.

Hundreds of varieties of tulips and other flowers are on show here.

These are only a few examples.

The tiny blue bell-flowers of Muscari ( grape hyacinth ) : one of my favourite bulb-flowers.

This weekend , the Flower Show has a 'Old Holland' show with people in traditional Dutch costumes from past centuries. These women's caps (headdresses) are made from white cotton or lace and adorned with golden ornaments.

Interestingly , these traditional costumes are different depending on which town and region you live in. You could tell the difference between unmarried people and married people (not unlike furisode !) , widows and widowers and even religions and professions. Children had their own costumes.

Bio-powered go-cart, early Dutch model. You move the handle back and forward to move and steer with your feet.

Nice pose, young girl ! I love the way the artist has used bottle caps to decorate the fish.

After I met up with the other members of KDJ ,we went to look for a place to have lunch.

Sitting down at one of the ponds to enjoy our food and the sunshine.

Mei-ing and Carolien.

Mei-ing's lemon cake was irresistible.

Getting ready to take their own photos home from the event.

Maaike and Ben from Belgium.

Always in a good mood , Maaike is.

Wearing kimono in public always attracts attention : lots of people stop by for a chat.

or take pictures, especially Japanese people. They're always surprised to see their traditional dress worn abroad. We even met a few Japanese kitsuke-sensei there ( none of them wearing a kimono ^^ )

More people arriving : Stephanie, Lizemijn, Tim and in the back Youandi talking to Jordy, Jente and Maxime.

and Katarzyna , who had brought her baby along ( you can see him in the picture above).

While everybody stood around chatting and eating ,  I  took some musubi shots.

Linda is wearing a asa no ha (hemp leaf ) patterned kimono with Dutch themed musubi.

Maaike's musubi.

Mei-ing's musubi.
Carolien's musubi.

Youandi's musubi

Maxime's musubi.

Stephanie trying her hand as a waitress. Very elegant !

After lunch we all went for a walk around the garden and visit the displays in the flower-halls.

The sunny spring weather seems to give everyone extra energy : Stephanie running forward through a sudden shower of cherry petals.

Jente spins her furisode. Quite appropriate, since furisode means ' swinging sleeves' .
Furisode are traditionally only worn by unmarried women.

Posing in front of an old fishing boat , part of the 'Old Holland' exhibition.

At the Keukenhof, you HAVE to pose near the tulips.

Our Kimono de Jack signature shot : a rosette of tabi.

Tulips, a wooden clog, a windmill and everyone saying "cheese" : it cannot possibly get more Dutch than this.

Thanks to Lizemijn taking photographs , I was able to pose in this group shot too.

Water is an essential part of the Netherlands , so we set off looking for a more adventurous location to pose.

One small step for man, but a giant leap if you're in a kimono. Luckily, nobody fell in.

From left to right : Carolien, Linda, Youandi, Barbara, Maaike, Stephanie, Jordy, Maxime, Jente and Ben.

With so many photos , I've split this blog into 3 parts , so you won't have to wait too long because of all of the photos uploading.
(To look at the photos in full size, just left-click on any of them.)
(This post is in three parts, Click Here to go to part 2 , Click here to go to part 3)

Flowers and kimonos : Keukenhof Spring 2014 ( part 2 of 3 )

This is part 2 of my visit to the Keukenhof Flower Show with people from the Kimono de Jack NL.
(This post is in three parts, Click Here to go to part 1
After all the group photos, we looked for locations to take some individual photos.
In a garden this large, there's plenty of them.
I especially wanted to get pictures out of the sun, because I don't like the harsh shadows it creates on people's faces. I used a flash in every picture to soften the shadows.

Jente , posing under a blossoming cherry tree, wearing a furisode and a purple hakama.

Jente and her friend Maxime.

Closeup , showing off her hair ornament.

Stephanie and Jente.

Jente and her friend Jordy.

Carolien, sitting on a fountain.  She is wearing a hitoe tsumugi komon with temari ( japanese stringballs) motif.

Youandi , in a kimono with yabane ( arrow fletch) motif.

Maxime, looking very smart wearing a black beret.

Wonderful! Found some sakura blossom to pose by.

and Carolien found this bench to pose on.  Great! The sun is starting to set and the low sunlight from behind is perfect. 

The life of a model is not a path of roses. There were always people walking by in the background, but at one point a lady kept standing there watching us. Youandi went over to persuade her to move out of the scene...

After some negotiating , she agreed to leave. Thank you so much Youandi ! ( This will save me lots of time of  'photoshopping' her out of the background ).

Ever since the first time I started photographing kimonos, I've been thinking about changing the photos to black and white , because I wanted the beautiful patterns of the kimono to show up more, without being distracted by the colours. I have also tinted these sepia , to give them a warmer appearance.

Youandi, posing under the sakura.



 To look at the photos in full size, just left-click on any of them.

In the third part of this post , I'll return to the garden for pictures in the setting sun and include some panoramic shots. (This post is in three parts, Click here to go to part 3)