THE Traveler: Ryan Karlstad of Stillwater.

The scene: A classic view of Amsterdam — with its canals and the gracious homes that line them — gets a dramatic twist with dark clouds backlit by the setting sun.

The trip: "My wife, twin daughters and I made this trip to Amsterdam about two years ago. My daughters were eager to see Anne Frank's house since they had just finished reading her diary ['The Diary of Anne Frank'] in school," Karlstad wrote in an e-mail. "It was a clear, bright day when we entered her home and adjacent museum, but when we left the skies had become ominous and foreboding, reflecting perhaps Anne Frank's own experience in hiding." Because the historic center of Amsterdam is well preserved even as modern life bustles along, he and his family "could imagine we were visiting the city in its Golden Age, in the 17th century," he added.

How he got the shot: "The natural light and the glow from the windows accentuated Amsterdam's Old World character. I was initially disappointed that the clouds obscured the golden hour on our last night in Amsterdam, but the clouds provided a visual interest that clear skies would have lacked," wrote Karlstad, who used a Canon 5D Mark III camera.

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