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One of Us #63: Gert van den Bosch

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    Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:08
One of Us #63: Gert van den Bosch

Dyxum member Gert van den Bosch writes...

I am Gert van den Bosch, born in 1964 in Den Bosch. I am married, and a proud dad of four children. Only one child is home from the four, the weekend child starts living together with his girlfriend. We live in the middle of the Netherlands, in a town called Zaltbommel. I became a Dyxum member in June 2012.

1. This is me, at work.

That shot was made on a very special Water buffalo farm. The Water buffaloes go in to the mud, as you can see in the last picture, number 31.

I am suffering from Wegener's granulomatosis, a chronic disease which hinders me on a daily basis. I cannot work anymore, I stay at home since 2003. I became ill in 2000. I was working in a family business in the timber trade to 2003. In 2009 I picked up the camera again. My son was in a drum class. Everybody had a camera. But not me. Someone loaned me a Sony A300 – it felt really good. Just one month after that moment I bought an A330. That was no super match. So I have bought an A550 9 months later and sold the A330. I fell in love with the A550. I was using the A550 to summer 2014. Due to a lot of mud and manure it started jamming, and I bought the A58 and start using it together with the A550. In 2014 I became a Sony Award Winner and won an A7, which is still in use, but more as a spare, or extra when shooting documentary pictures. Like in the Vet's practice.

Nowadays I am using the A7RII and A77II my beloved and heavily used couple accompanied by a few fast prime lenses. Like the Zeiss 55mm F1.8, Sony 28mm F2 with ultra-wide converter to 21 mm, Sigma 35mm F1.4 and the Sony G 85mm F1.4 I don't use many zoom lenses anymore. Only the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 HSM on A77II, and the Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 on my A100 which is modified for infrared photography, and occasionally on the A77II. I don't switch lenses much while shooting, I think beforehand which to use. It does not come in handy when switching lenses in a very dusty barn or mud pool.

I use both cameras side by side while shooting. It saves me a lot of walking and crawling around and also very importantly: the animals are not getting stressed. The best compliment I got so far from a Farmer: “I was not aware that you were here!” I always keep in mind that it is no playground, the farmers earn a living with their livestock.

How did it all start? In Photography, of course. When I was about 10 years old, I got a Kodak Brownie in my hands, and start to use it. I didn't have a clue what I was doing back then. Shortly after I got an Afga-matic camera. I did not take part in much photography, because Sailing and Windsurfing were much more interesting in those days. When I was 17, I bought my first SLR camera a year later, a Dark room. The shop owner gave me a few hints how to picture things and besides a few hours practice in High School, I never had any schooling, training or courses. I have learned it the hard way: Reading, submitting pictures to photo learning sites.   I have started on a very small forum with less than 25 members. It was a good school. After this I went to a larger forum and became moderator after a few months. I did this about 3.5 years. At some point, I wanted something else.

How did I get involved in (farm) animals? Well...various reasons. One of those reasons was my Basset hound (which passed away a while ago). To get her in action on a good picture, I had to lay down.


As you can see in the picture, it is a short-legged dog. The second reason: My wife asked me for some Cow pictures (which got out of control, big time)... and at some point I got access to an organic pig farm. I discovered that animals condone me in their nearness. My weakness (standing straight for a while and walking around) turned out to be very relaxed for them. Sometimes I just sit down in a meadow, barn or mud pool. I observe them. After countless visits to lots of farms and animals, I know a few things about animal behaviour. It is very useful in (farm) animal photography to know what they do. I am not afraid, but I do have respect for those big ones. A male pig can crush your arm, a bull can smash you, a camel can crush your head. Never, ever, chase animals on an active basis. Always take it slow and easy. Never corner them. It is best that they always can see the open space. I found out for myself that animals are much more interesting to picture than people. I do want to make some exceptions. I like also documentary photography. The Vet, the Farrier, The Butcher. Everything that has to do with farm animals!

I am making a kind of database which contains quite a lot of breeds. Meaning; livestock. I have bought a NAS with 5 HD's for storage. I have pictured so far: Forty six breeds of Cattle, twenty eight sheep breeds, fifteen pig breeds and eight goat breeds, some Donkeys, Camels, chickens and Ducks. I am riding around in my country, but also go to Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Wales and England. In September, I am going to the Italian part of Tirol to picture special breeds in the mountains.

I get in touch with Smallholders and farmers by Twitter and Facebook. Last year (2016), a UK Farmer said to me on twitter: "You are producing nice pictures". I replied: You have nice cattle. 'Why don't you come over'. Maybe I will, I said. Three others replied: 'Come to us as well!' I did. I booked a flight to Bristol, rented a car, went to Minehead(Exmoor) first. Next day to Devises (Wiltshire), third day to Tetford (Lincolnshire) and the final day to Helmsley (Yorkshire) I went home to Amsterdam from Manchester.   So....that went smooth as silk, so I went back this year, by my own car. The Ferry from IJmuiden to Newcastle and a detour (Scotland, Lake District, Wales, Exmoor) to the Tunnel. A nearly 1500 miles trip well planned, visiting around 10 farms in one week. I enjoyed it very much, meeting some very friendly farmers who love their trade and livestock. I was on the back of a quad on a very bumpy ride in the Lake District in the pouring rain. Luckily I had my waterproof clothing and wellies with me. I was also driven around for hours in a Landrover in a large area in beautiful Exmoor. I went alone. After a good English breakfast, I go on the road to visit the farmer of choice. Mostly not that far, because in the evening before I did a lot of driving. I visit two farms on a day. One before 2 pm and one around 4 pm. Most farmers offered me lunch, and we had a lot to discuss. In the evening I go as quick as possible to my hotel (all booked in advance) skip dinner, take a shower, charge all batteries and go to sleep.

3. From my last UK trip, made on a farm in Exmoor.

4. Also from my last UK trip, in Scotland

5. And another one, made in Wales

What I do nowadays: I write to the farmer in an area I like with the breed(s) I like and try to make an appointment. I mostly succeed, and I always promise a lot of pictures. Which they always get.   
I have a lot of invitations for next year already. I would like to go to Scotland. I am pretty sure already that I am going.

I have done several exhibitions, but this is not my cup of tea. It is a lot of work and earnings are around zero. Some magazines and newspapers have published my pictures, and sometimes I am asked for an assignment. It is never paid. I don't want to but I have a freezer full of excellent meat. Sometimes I get a dinner voucher, or vouchers for a camera store, or travel vouchers.

My first entry on Dyxum was this one:

6. We all come...to your Party.

Much to my surprise it made it to the weekly exhibition, and several weeks in a row more pictures. I feel still very flattered when a picture that I have taken makes it to the WE.

As you maybe might know...I like Cows. I went into the water for this next shot. I had my waders on for this. This is a fishing suit, with wellies attached.


8. 'Shy' Organic Sows in the snow.

They don't like cold much, they prefer the warm barn with a thick layer of straw. But sometimes, they get out and it is wonderful to take pictures then. Got my waders on again (good isolation) and flat out on my belly in the snow for this one

My second PotW became also PoTY in 2014
9. Cold Pony.

I have submitted this one to the SWPA 2014. I did this in November 2013. To be honest...I forgot that I had submitted it. By the end of January 2014 I got mail from the SWPA. My picture made it to the Shortlist. A few weeks later, I got mail if it was all right that someone called me that afternoon. I really didn't expected anything from that call.    I did not know which purpose it had. I was not nervous, exited or else. The call came, and the speaker congratulated me! I won! Open class, Nature and Wildlife.

I had to sit down for a while. I couldn't believe it. No Elephant that was bathing, no diving bird into the water....no... A Pony from The Netherlands won! It is not a small competition. In 2015 I did not win anything, but in 2016 I made it to commended. That means among the fifty best in its class. I also won nothing this year.

10. The Curious Fox.

I lure this tame one by making noise with my keys in my pocket. He thought he was getting something. The nickname of this kind of Fox is backpack Fox. Because you can easily lure and picture him.

11. Boer Goat (lamb)

I am into special breeds such as this is one. They have origins in South Africa, but can be found in the Netherlands.

The next is one of my personal favourites, it is on my living room wall.
12. Sheep-ish

13. Mudpool fun

For this picture, I went into the mudpool myself(in my waders) without disturbing the pigs

14. The Wrinkled ones

For this one, flat out on the ground, in a lot of things that stick and smell.

Something I developed myself: Family portraits. But not with much posing, just the farmers with family and their livestock. Real fun to do.

It began with this one.
15. ‘A walk into the Woods'

This farmer is really walking there with a big boar (obvious... )

After this I started to work out a concept.

16. Sunday afternoon in Hedel

I have put the farmers in a setting like it looks like they do this every day. It is fun. Everything is caught in one picture.

17. Holiday on the pigfarm.

The farmers and I worked out this concept. How does that work? First an idea pops up. Next is the question: What do we need? How to arrange? And so on. I even write a kind of storybook with scenes. The man in the boat died a while back very suddenly and all at once. Very sad. The family is happy with this photo.

18. Another holiday on the pig farm.
Same family and same farm as in picture 16, a holiday version.

19. Afternoon in the barn.

Dutch Dairy farmers. The lamp on the table is mine, and the feeding bowl from the Cow in the back, too. The portraits in the back are her ancestors.

I also like to do Documentary photography, I attend surgery in the Vet’s operating room, I go on the road with Vets, Farriers, and more.

20. Farrier at work.

The first time ever that I saw a Farrier. I have seen many Farriers at work by now, and it is never boring

21. Sheepshearing.

22. Preparations for surgery

The horse is sedated, the surgeons are about to scrub and sterilise for surgery. I have seen quite a few surgical operations and it is very impressive.


A C section is hectic, and it is hard to catch the right moment. It goes very quick. While taking this picture, I got amniotic fluid spray over me. The afterbirth was thrown just centimetres from me right into my photobag


Another Farrier shot, which is a bit abstract, but with a lot of action in it.

25. Getting the Cow eating again.

The farmer (on the left) and the Vet plumb the Cow with water. She has something in her stomach (30 litres of water) and starts eating again.

26. X ray broken paw from a puppy dog (felt down the stairs)

I also practice infrared photography.

27. Infrared image very close and wide angle with a Bull

28. I took this one from a boat in our National park Biesbosch.


This is made by using a DIY made device which contains my camera. My camera has a wide-angle lens and the shutter is released with a remote. Live view is switched on, but I am using an extra screen (9") for having a good view. I am on a surfboard with my waders on and I have a paddle to propel myself.

I never ever use flash, using 99.9% natural light. Very rarely I use a torch (daylight 5500K), to get the light where I want it.
It is not only for my own safety (these huge animals can harm you seriously without even blinking their eyes) but also for several other reasons.
Like: 1) I really like natural light and 2) I don't have a clue how to use flash!

I recently purchased a Sigma 135mm F1.8 which is a very welcome add to my prime selection. It is used here on my new dog, an English Bulldog


Thanks for inviting me to One of Us, it is a big honour. I took it very seriously and spent quite some time writing this article and selecting pictures. I am happy it was proof-read before publishing, so typo's and mistakes in grammar are all mikey2000’s

I would like to go on for many years from now in photography. I guess it will go on like this, collecting special live stock breeds, some documentary... I like this a lot. As I said before, I have started again in photography in 2009 with Sony gear. I enjoyed this from the start, especially the live view for my beloved Frog perspectives. When I came to Dyxum, I thought at first that the bar was too high for me, but much to my surprise, I fitted in here. It is special and fun to talk to Sony/Minolta users from all over the world. I have met a few on meetings and some self arranged mini meetings, that was fun.

and last....

31. in the Mud!

Thanks for reading!

Edited by mikey2000 - 21 September 2017 at 22:12
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    mambo View Drop Down
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote mambo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:22
    Congratulations Gert on the very well deserved recognition. I enjoy your shots very much.

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    Post Options Post Options   Quote skm.sa100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:30
    Very interesting.

    Congrats on being selected to "One of Us". In this little corner of the internet where we come for relaxation, stimulation and enjoyment, that's a big honor.

    You've trodden something of an unusual path as a farm animal photographer. As you observed, most animal togs focus on wildlife and spectacular and elusive shots.

    Sorry to hear about your medical condition.

    Nice pictures and I hope you get many years' worth of pleasure from photography and continue sharing with us.

    More Dyxumer, less photographer.
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:36
    Congratulations Gert!
    Well deserved indeed. Always a pleasure to view your well captured animal shots.
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    Gert van den Bosch View Drop Down
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Gert van den Bosch Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:41
    Originally posted by skm.sa100 skm.sa100 wrote:

    Very interesting.

    Congrats on being selected to "One of Us". ....
    You've trodden something of an unusual path as a farm animal photographer.

    Sorry to hear about your medical condition.


    Thanks! Well, I see it this way...due to my poor health, I have to approach things in another way, and that seemed so far succesfull in farm animal photography, because I think they don't see me as a threat. I try to walk around as calm as possible and don't disturb them.
    I like down to earth photography. :)
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 September 2017 at 22:54
    That's a great story and the images are great photography!

    I loved the "Cold Pony" the moment I saw it!

    And I hope to see much more portraits of livestock and other animals that meet your lens. All the best!
    "Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans)   http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldo_posth/

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    Post Options Post Options   Quote alpha_in_exile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 00:42
    #20 is one of the finest photos I've ever seen, anywhere. I remember seeing it on Dyxum before, and I was pleased to see it again here. I think of it as a 'Dutch master photo'. Rembrandt-like. "Cold Pony" is a favorite, as well.

    Gert, thank you for sharing.
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote 4paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 00:46
    Yay Gert!
    Your happiness is in your pictures, I'm a big fan!
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote glad2badad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 03:22
    Awesome story, brilliant work. Shared this with family tonight - we all enjoyed it very much.     
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 04:06
    Wow. I've always admired your talent but seeing all the pictures all at once has my jaw dropping. It's obvious you spend many many hours at your craft
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 04:55
    Congrats with being one of us, Gert .
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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Jocelynne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 05:30
    Thank you, Gert, for all the inspiring animal-human histories you have given us. You give the word "profound" a deeper and more substantive meaning than the contents of most libraries and philosophers combined throughout time and the World.

    We need you. And you have served us amazingly.

    Greatness can be found in the most unexpected places and people, as you demonstrate over and over.

    With respect and affection

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    Post Options Post Options   Quote bonneville Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 07:59
    I'd like to add my congratulations to a well deserved member of this special group of Dyxumers.

    Always enjoy your pictures and this selection gave my wife and me an enjoyable start to the day. Your captions and comments are priceless.

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    Post Options Post Options   Quote Jozioau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 September 2017 at 09:32
    Fascinating life story and superb accompanying images. A wonderful tribute. Congratulations, and keep posting your amazing animal studies which are always a pleasure to see.
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