with a golden twist...
Did some night time shooting last night in Amsterdam. Now I started close to the Dam square in the hart of the city, and planned to move on to the Nieuwmarkt market square later on to photograph a medieval defensive city gate, that used to be part of a now disappeared medieval city wall encircling Amsterdam until the great expansion of the city in the Golden Age (17th century). Later on, it became the cities Weigh House (De Waag), where goods were weighted for trade.
Big mistake... Of course, with the tourist season going on, I expected people to be around, and that was not the problem.
However, after carefully having set up my Tachihara 4x5 camera at about 23.45, I started noticing a disturbing amount of traffic. I had set up my camera on the opposite site of a small one-way road to get the best view. Now, cars were passing by every few seconds... taxis that is~!!
I had lost my sense of time, and looking at my watch, I realized it was probably near to closing time at midnight for many bars around the square!
Ever since deregulation of the taxi market some 5-10 years ago, there has been a expanding number of taxis in Amsterdam, all hunting for the same limited number of clients... especially tourists in the summer season.
I probably saw some 80-100 taxis passing by in just twenty to thirty minutes or so, in between me trying to get a shot... some taxis turned up over 5 times... impossible, what a nightmare!... I needed to recap my camera (used a black notebook for that), every 5 seconds or so. The taxis came in waves, sometimes 5-10 taxis in a row.
Don't know how the two shots I attempted turned out , may have to re-shoot at a better time...
Anyway, for the golden twist... one taxi stopped and opened his window next to my camera, one of the immigrant taxi drivers now attempting to make a living in the taxi business. His Dutch wasn't to good, and I initially expected some superfluous remark about "Geeee, never seen that!", but I than heard him saying: "I have one too". Yes, sure!... but he than started asking me about where I got the film, and made some gestures indicating "sheet", meaning he really did seem to know what he was talking about. Finally gave him some names of shops he attempted to memorize while the growing line of taxis behind him started sounding their horns.
So, next time you visit Amsterdam, don't be surprised you may end up in a taxi having a lively discussion about large format photography with some Middle East looking taxi driver!