10 July, 2012

I Amsterdam || Rijksmuseum Blue

I Amsterdam || Waiting For The Magic

While I was in Amsterdam, I really wanted to make a cool shot of The Rijksmuseum during Blue Hour. The thing was, I had no idea how the building would light up, or even if it would light up at all. I find that this happens to me often in European Cities. I’ll get set up and wait for the magic to happen but then… no magic. It baffles me that people go through all of this trouble to design these magnificent structures with no thought to exterior lighting. I know that some of these buildings predate conventional lighting but still, come on Europe. One yellow flood light just doesn’t cut it. ;p

Since I’ve been burned this way so many times, I always make sure to get to my locations extra early. That way I can capture a Golden Hour / Sunset shot in addition to a Blue Hour / Night Shot. Then later on I can decide which version better represents the feeling of the location. Sometimes as a bonus, I end up with two beautiful versions to use.

For this shot I arrived a good 2 hours before what you see here. Once I picked a nice composition and tweaked all my camera settings, I kicked back, opened a bottle of wine, and waited for the magic to happen. I was confident that the dramatic weather would produce some awesome sky drama. All I had to do was be patient and vigilant.
An ominous cloud descends over The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.

  • What a stunning image, I absolutely love the colours and the whole feeling of the shot. I remember visiting the Rijksmuseum when I was there oh .. uh … OMG 20 years ago (it’s scary when you start thinking in decades), but I don’t remember this water feature at all. I must go back! So beautiful Elia.

  • Eric

    How do you control stop the street lights from flaring?

  • I love reading your experience. Great writing!!! Love it and the I have no words to say. I am just awestruck!!! Great shot!!!

    • Thanks for the feedback Chitra! It’s great to have you here. 🙂

  • Awesome image! Love the reflection in the water …
    Great tip on the “kick back with a bottle of wine” btw … Maybe this will persuade my girlfriend to wait with me for a great shot (since we mostly go together on trips) 🙂

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    wishing for blogging.

  • Bryan.c900

    I don’t live to far from there, looks like I will have to go again and wait for the magic hour, great photo see if I can get something like it,?????