Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 16: Pinocchio on a bike

I am the first to admit that there is often a portion of luck involved with photography; especially when doing Street Photography where one has very limited control on what is about the happen! 

The other day I was out with my recently purchased XF50mm f2 lens; yes, X-photogrpahers don't get there gear for free! Although a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor camera (75mm full frame equivalent) might be considered a bit long for Street photography, I love to use it as my "across the street" lens where I can't get closer to my subject. 

In the image below I was experimenting with slightly longer shutter speeds to show motion on the street. People passing on bikes are perfect subjects for this! 

The first image I took, turned out to be the best one. Still not entirely sure why, the nose of the guy passing by looks completely out of proportion and immediately reminded me of Pinocchio; a fictive character featured in a 1940's Disney movie. The heart in the background makes it even more interesting. 

If somebody can explain, why only the nose seems extended, I would like to hear it in the comments below.    

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF50mm f2 lens
  • ISO 250, f7.1, 1/50s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC (latest update)

More of my Colour Street Photography can be found here.

Remember: "It is not the photographer takes makes the picture, but the person being photographed". Sebastiao Salgado


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 15: Tour of Flanders - Ronde van Vlaanderen 2018

The Tour of Flanders, known as "De Ronde van Vlaanderen", is an annual road cycling race held every spring in my home country Belgium, which is often nicknamed "Vlaanderens Mooiste (Flanders finest). 

The yearly race has been held uninterrupted since 1919 and even took place while Germany was occupying Belgium during World War II.

Although I'm not a cycling enthusiast, I do like documenting traditional events like this. As I was just in Belgium for a week, I finally got the opportunity to do so.

Held on Sunday April 1st this year, the tour started in Antwerp and finished in Oudenaarde after 229km! The race is known for its short, steep cobbled climbs. The image below was taken on one of the last feared climbs, called the "Paterberg". 

Ronde van Vlaanderen 2018

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF18-55 lens
  • ISO 3200, f8, 1/500s, 55mm
  • SOOOC (Straight Out Of Camera)
As typically there is an overload of different colour during these mass events, I straight away elected to document it in black and white. Unusual for me, I the shot in jpeg, using the Acros Yellow Film simulation, in camera. Elected to go for the square format, to avoid unwanted distractions.

More images of this great Flemish Social event, can be found here

Remember: "The race is won by the rider who can suffer the most" Eddy Merckx


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 14: YOUR FLIGHT IS READY FOR BOARDING - Airbus A380, Nice

As I'm approaching the aircraft for my next flight, I occasionally take a minute to reflect on where Aviation has taken us since the early days at the start of the 20th century. Although I've been flying jet-liners for close to 25 years, I don't take things for granted...

We have come a long way! As an example, the distance covered on the first flight by the brothers Wright at the end of 1903, was less than the total length of the aircraft I fly for a living, the Airbus A380.

While the double deck, Airbus A380 does not need a longer runway compared to other wide-body aircraft (B747, B777, A330, A350...), an extra loading bridge to reach the Upper deck is desirable for optimal passenger handling

Even though the airport of Nice Cote d'Azur is relatively small, they did a while ago upgrade one of its gates to accept the A380. Another airport that recently has been upgraded is Brussels. Yours truly is planned to operate an ad-hoc A380 flight to Brussels on April 19th. It will be close to 16 years, since I last landed at the Brussels International airport.

The image below was shot at Nice airport in the South of France. I was especially attracted by the great light and the reflection on the side of the boarding gates. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 200, 1/950s, f5.6
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC, including Black and White conversion
More Airliner images can be found in there respective gallery here

Although it was somehow taken out of context, Orville Wright once said; "No aircraft will ever fly from New York to Paris".



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 13: IT IS LONELY AT THE TOP - Burj Khalifa during Blue hour

Last week I got the opportunity to go on another rooftop in Dubai, but this time facing East for a sunset/blue hour shoot. With the sun setting in your back, this obviously allows to have the post sunset light reflect on the buildings in front of you. While a more classic rooftop shot might still make it into another Pic(k) of the week, I wanted to share an image that immediately stood out to me. 

Although Dubai is known for its amazing skyscrapers, once above floor 75, there are only a handful buildings around you that exceed the height. Such was the case when I went up to the roof of an undisclosed building the other day. 

The sun had set about 10 mins earlier on ground level, as the worlds tallest building, Burj Khalifa, was still getting a fair bit of reflected light. The sky turned blue and pink for a very short time span; just long enough to grab my second camera body (X-T20) with a longer lens and frame the image below. The first thing that came to my mind was that it gets pretty lonely at the top; it had to be the image caption!

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF50-140 f2.8 lens
  • 1/110s, f5.6, ISO 800, 61mm
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro 4; gradient and skylight filter
As I did not have the time to set-up and second tripod, the image was hand-held; the reason for the ISO 800. It is definitively a case where the in body image stabilization (IBIS) of the new Fujifilm X-H1 would come in handy. Check out my X-H1 review here if interested in this new camera. 

While I normally make a conscious decision to allow sufficient time before adding images to my Architectural portfolio, this one was added pretty much straight away. I have a feeling, it will be one of my favorite Architectural images of the year...

Remember, "It is lonely at the top, so you better know why you are there" - John Maxwell.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018


As a pilot, I've had quite a few opportunities to admire the Northern Lights over the years. When traveling up North to Iceland or Northern Scandinavia to see the Aurora Borealis, one always has to be lucky with the weather as cloud cover will of course hide this amazing spectacle from the viewer on Mother Earth. Being up above the clouds, is of course an advantage! A huge disadvantage and challenge is that one can not use a tripod in the air.

I'm occasionally asked if the Northern Light can be observed during summer. Well, there are of course always rare exceptions, but since up North it pretty much remains daylight all night long, your chances will be close to zero. Obviously it depends on how you define summer; the further you are away from June 21st (longest day in the Northern Hemisphere), the more chances you'll get. So briefly... it is mainly a winter thing! Or alternatively go to Antartica  or New Zealand where the seasons are obviously reversed and one can see the Southern Light (Aurora Australis). 

The other question I always get from people who are seeing the Aurora for the first time, is "What makes it happen?". Without becoming too technical, it is a natural effect that forms due to collisions of particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles from the Sun's atmosphere. The most common color is yellow/green which forms at about 60 miles altitude (airliner typically flies at about 6 miles altitude). Much more rare or complete red auroras which develop at altitudes of 200 miles and higher. A good read-up on the phenomenon can be found here

People or sometimes a bit disappointed on how the Northern Light shows up to the naked eye. It is one of the exceptions were the camera is able to register much more than what a human eye can see at night. The same is valid when observing/photographing the Milky Way

The image below was shot some time ago, over Northern Greenland. Taking well over one hour, the show was exceptionally long. Using the In Body Image Stabilized (IBIS) of the new Fujiifilm X-H1 camera (review here), I was able to get a relatively steady 1.3 sec exposure. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-H1 with the XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 12800, f2.0, 1.2 sec
  • RAW file development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik Dfine for some noise reduction
Check out my Aerial photography gallery for some more Northern Light images as well as other views from above.

Remember: "Nature is cheaper than therapy" - M.P.Zarrella