Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 8: THE RED DOOR AND THE COW - VARANASI, INDIA

After attending Vineet Vohra's "How to Street" workshop as part of the Xposure photo-festival in Sharjah last November, I knew I had to go to Varanasi, India. Vineet, like many other Indian Street Photographers, has done a lot of great work in Varanasi, the Northeastern city along the holy river Ganges (Ganga in Hindi).

Well last week, I finally managed to tick off Varanasi of the bucket list. I spend almost an entire week by myself, shooting the colorful streets and riverbanks of the Ganges. 

Once I complete the review of the recently announced Fuifilm X-H1 camera (check out my Instagram for more), I will be dedicating an entire blogpost to this amazing Street/Travel photography adventure!  For now, lets have a look of one of my favorite images of the trip which was shot the very last day...

The image below was shot midday (who says you can't shoot in harsh light?) in a narrow alleyway. As I approached the street corner, there were two other photographers who were clearly also drawn to the exciting light and the red door. After a brief chat, they both left but I decided to stay a bit longer. I could see there was definitively some potential at this place. 

When a cow appeared at my left, I knew I had to act fast. I especially like how the cow is looking at its own shadow and how the person walking in from the right, adds to the composition. It also adds to the urban myth that bulls and cows are attracted to red. Well, it seems completely wrong as all cattle is colorblind to red anyway. Don't ask me how they found out but this one remained calm!


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF23 f2 lens
  • ISO 200, 1/1000s, f4
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC using the Classic Chrome camera profile     
  • Photoshop CC 2018 to straighten the door frame a bit
While waiting for the extended blogpost about my visit to Varanasi, please visit the link here

Remember: "Street Photography is like fishing, you never know what the catch of the day will bring".

BJORN







Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 7: CASA MILA - LA PEDRERA BARCELONA

Often referred to as the "city of Gaudi", Barcelona is without a doubt one of my favorite European cities. Before he devoted all of his attention to completing the Sagrada Familia, ingenious architect Antoni Gaudí's last private residence was Casa Milà.

Popularly known as La Pedredra (open quarry), the house was completed in 1912 and is a prime example of Catalan Modernism architecture. 

The history of this house begins like the history of every residential building. At the start of the 20th century,  a couple named Milà, decides to build a house on their 2,000 square metres large property on the noble Passeig de Gràcia. It was supposed to become a special house, which stands out in the modern Eixample district. 

Not visible in the image below is the highlight of the building which is without a doubt the roof. Not only the outstanding view over the city attracts attention to the many visitors. But the chimneys, ventilation shafts and staircases do it with their imaginative colours and shapes. Some chimneys look like medieval knights guarding the roof! Check here for images of the roof.

As the first building of the 20th century, Casa Milà was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984.

Beside the roof, one of the other photographically interestingly places is the central courtyard seen below. 



Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with XF14mm f2.8 lens
  • ISO 1600, f8, 3 bracket shots between 1/80s and 1/1250s
  • Photoshop for RAW development and to blend the 3 images together
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
After my final edit of the image above was completed, I had a look how much shadow and highlights I could recover from a single RAW file (middle exposure). Not surprisingly the end result was virtually identical, with only a little more shadow detail hidden in the shadows. Proof to the amazing recovery possible with the 24Mpx X-Trans III files of the latest Fujifilm X-series cameras; X-100F, X-Pro2, X-T2 and X-T20.

Whenever you are in Barcelona, make sure to visit La Pedrera. More info here.

Remember: "There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature, therefore buildings shall have no straight lines or sharp corners" - Antonio Gaudí


BJORN



Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 6: FLANDERS FIELD PATTERNS - Aerial photography with the Fujifilm X-T2

Last week I spend a week in my home country Belgium and although the weather wasn't the best, I still managed to shoot some new Aerial Photography work from my 65 year old Piper Super Cub; often referred to as the little yellow Flying machine

One of my favourite shots from the latest trip was the image below of a manmade canal around a new large hospital complex just outside the city of Roeselare. I'm not entirely sure what the main purpose is of the waterway, but it definitively looks visually appealing! Long time blog-readers, probably know that I'm always drawn by interesting patterns in my aerial photography. 

While typically aerial nature photography is often best in spring and fall, winter scenes can also be interesting because of the lack of foliage, making patterns even stand out more.


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF 18-135 lens
  • ISO 800, 1/900s, f8, 79mm (118mm full frame equivalent)
  • Iridient developer for RAW conversion
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
More of my Aerial photography can be found here

Remember: "The single most important component of a camera is the 12 inches behind it" - Ansel Adams



Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 5: YEAR OF ZAYED - 100th birth year of UAE founder

For the UAE, 2018 is the "Year of Zayed"; the late Sheik Zayed bib Sultan Al Nahyan, is the founding father of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although it is unclear when exactly he was born, it is generally accepted to be in 1918; 100th years ago! 

When I arrived in Dubai in the summer of 2002, he was still in charge of the country. His strong leadership and commitment to make a federation in 1971, is often looked at as what makes the UAE rather unique in the region. 

Rather than dwelling about differences and rivalries between Arab nations, he was known to concentrate on building and strengthening international relationships. A role which he maintained till his passing in 2004.

The image below shows two strong leaders; the late Sheik Zayed on the right with Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the visionary leader of Dubai, on his side. 

I particularly like how the single leading line in the frame, draws the attention to Sheik Zayed; a symbol how the country has developed in its short 46 year history. 


Image details:
  • Fujifilm GFX 50S with the GF 32-64mm f4 lens
  • ISO 100, 4sec, f16, 32mm
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development
  • 1 underexposed image was used to blend in some of the highlights, using Photoshop CC 
  • Nik ColorEfex pro 4 with gradient and Pro Contrast filters applied
The highest building on the right (gold/yellow coloured) is the soon to open, Gevora hotel; with its 356m, the latest worlds tallest hotel. It is taking that record away from the JW Marquise (also in Dubai); just one meter smaller. 

Emirates airline has a few aircraft flying around in Year of Zayed liveries. Two of them I photographed while flying a unique formation for the opening of the 2017 airshow. Click here for more.

Remember: "The woman is half of society. Any country which pursues development should not leave her in poverty or illiteracy" - Sheik Zayed  


BJORN

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 4: EK SUNSET - DUBAI CREEK HARBOUR

One of my favorite places to shoot the Dubai skyline at sunset, is from the grounds of the new Dubai Creek Harbor project; a new waterfront property project on the southeastern shore of the Creek. 

Since the Dubai Creek Harbour sign has been overshot, I wanted to be more creative with my framing and only use a few letters of it... While experimenting with some other combinations, the logic choice for me was "EK", the two letters which stand for Emirates Airline and which has become a brand name on its own.






























































Image details:

  • Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 50-140 f2.8 lens
  • ISO 1250, f11, 1/400s, 80mm (120mm full frame equivalent)
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Photoshop CC to clone out a few distracting elements
More of my Architectural work from Dubai, can be found here.

Remember: "A good photograph starts by knowing where to stand" - Ansel Adams.


BJORN