Thursday, January 17, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 3: FROM RAVENS TO CROWS - Inspired by Masahisa Fukase

This weeks Pic(k) of the week is a triptych, a photograph consisting of three different images combined together. While strolling along one of the kite beaches in Dubai, I ran into a large flock of hungry crows last week. 

Seeing the crows, I was immediately inspired by the work of Japanese photographer Masahisa Fukase, best known for his 1986 book Ravens (Karasu), which was selected as the best photo-book of the period 1986 to 2009 by the British Journal of Photography. IN the aftermath of a divorce he shot a series of moody and impressionistic raven images over a period of more than 10 years. Mainly shot on his daily train commute he clearly went for mood rather than technical refinement. A short video about this book can be found here.

Fukase's images are probably not for everyone, dark, blurred and grainy, they are very different from the daily tack sharp images we have become so used to!

While I normally provide full Exif data for my Pic(k) of the week images, I'll exceptionally won't be doing so this week; this in order to give the photograph rather than the gear the full attention. 

Given the triptych is not that large in the above blogpost, I invite viewers to click on the image above to check out the full screen view!

Although I'm a big fan of the Fujifilm black and white film simulations, I was looking for specific grainy and high contrast filmic look, something Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and Analog Efex (both by DxO) could provide me! I used the Ilford HP5 Plus 400 film pack simulation in Silver Efex followed by Analog Efex to get the look I was after! 

I know these type of images might not be for everybody, but as always I'm interested to hear what the readers think!

Remember: "The crow once called the raven black" - George R.R. Martin.

BJORN




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

TOP 10 IMAGES and PHOTOGRAPHIC HIGHLIGHTS of 2018

As a yearly tradition at the start of a new year, I've now gone through all of my 5 star images (my best work) and tried narrowing it down to my best 10. If you have never this as a photographer, I strongly suggest doing so as it is always useful looking back at your past work.

For me 2018, has been a great year for photography with lot of dedicated photography trips outside the day job as an airline pilot; likely my best year for photography ever! 

The highlight was likely a 5 day street photo trip to Varanasi, India in February; heaven for Street/Travel photographyNext was a dedicated Travel photography trip to Tuscany in Italy end of May till early June. 

Over the Summer months, I attended a number of airshows and fly-ins in central Europe; to name a few, the commemoration airshow for the end of WWI at Meaux near Paris, the Oldtimer Fly/Drive-in at Schaffen, Belgium, Operation Caudron on the beach in Le Crotoy,  France, the Wings over Camarillo airshow in California and finally the Cambrai airshow in Northern France.

In the Fall, I spent 5 days in Istanbul on a Street Photography trip. Last but not least was our 12 day photo-adventure to Cambodia; from the "Temples of Angkor". through "The Kids of Cambodia" to small village life. What an amazing trip it has been!

No wonder this has been the year with the highest number of keepers so far... My Lightroom catalog for 2018, shows 344, 5 star images; the best work that potentially could make it in a portfolio image! 5 Star images are up by almost 100 hundred from the year before.

As an official Fujifilm X-Photographer for Fujifilm Middle East, I regularly review gear. Below is a quick overview of the new cameras I reviewed in 2018:

So lets have a look at my personal TOP 10 images of 2018... Here we go!


10/ Fokker DR.I TRIPLANE, MEAUX



9/ IT IS LONELY AT THE TOP - BURJ KHALIFA

8 THE EYE OF ISTANBUL

7/ GHENT ROOFTOP

6/ BAY OF SOMME

5/ STREET HUNT

4/ THE RED DOOR AND THE COW

3/ MONKS OF CAMBDODIA

2/ DARK CLOUDS OVER VAL D'ORCIA

1/ HAVING FUN AT BRUSSELS AIRPORT


So what do I expect 2019 to bring when it comes to photography? Obviously I don't have the magic crystal ball, but I do expect more of the same. Planning to run more photowalks and workshops for Fujifilm Middle East, I'm also diving into the world of drone photography. No a replacement for my "classic aerial photography" from aircraft it should hopefully become a nice addition! 

Lastly except more Fujifilm related reviews on this blog. I have a few interesting ones lined up already! 


Remember: "The only time you should look back is to see how far you have come".

BJORN


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 2: FLYING HIGH OVER MOUNT DAMAVAND, IRAN - Fujifilm GFX 50R

Readers that follow me on Instagram, will likely know that I've been testing the brand-new Fujifilm GFX 50R camera over the last few weeks. While I have shot the larger GFX 50S before, I was keen on trying the smaller 50R for Street and Documentary work. More about this in a future blogpost. 

It was also the first time I tried the Fujifilm medium format camera system for Aerial photography; one of my favorite genres of photography! And yes, the camera does not disappoint! It is small enough one can comfortably shoot it from a plane/helicopter while the amount of detail is mind-boggling. This would be my go to camera if I was to do full time aerial photography today! 

The image below of the highest mountain in Iran, Mount Damavand close to Tehran, was shot from an airliner cruising at 36000ft. I've blogged about this very photogenic landscape before in 2015, so rather than duplicating info, please check out the previous post here.


Image details:
  • Fujifilm GFX 50R with the GF45mm f2.8 R WR lens
  • 1/320s, f10, ISO 100 
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) Super Fine jpeg
  • No image post-processing or image editing 
I'm planning on printing the image above on a large dibond. Meanwhile, have added it to my Aerial portfolio, a limited collection of my best aerial work which can be checked here

Lastly, I finally have picked up my first drone, a DJI Mavic 2 Pro! Expect to see some aerial drone images on this blog...

Remember; "The most important part of the camera is the 12 inches behind the viewfinder. I really hate it when somebody looks at my photos and says, wow you have a great camera!". Ansel Adams


BJORN



Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 1: YEAR 10 OF THE SERIES FROM A GHENT ROOFTOP - Fujifilm GFX50R

First of all a Happy 2019 to all my blog readers! May the New Year bring you good health, joy and happiness! 

At the start of a New year some photographers are often starting a 365 project; one image per day for a full year. What starts as a great idea for New Years, sometimes turns out to be not realistic and not the best for creativity...

I personally believe that one image per week (52 project) makes for a more thoughtful photo-project and this is exactly what my New Years resolution back in early 2010 was! Now 468 Pic(k)s of the week later, I can proudly say that I haven't missed a single week and have now just started my 10th consecutive year of doing the personal project.

To be honest I never thought I would be able to maintain my Pic(k) of the week series for that long but I've thoroughly enjoyed the process and it has definitively helped my photography forward. Completing 10 years has now become the new goal! 

Like my first post in January 2010, the first 2019 Pic(k) of the week, comes from Ghent (Gent in Flemish), the capital and the largest city in the Belgian province of East-Flanders (Oost-Vlaanderen). The city which started as a settlement in the late Middle ages, can be found at the confluence of the rivers Scheldt and Leie. In the 1300 it was one of the largest and richest cities in Northern Europe. 

For centuries Ghent's skyline has been dominated by three largest churches; from left to right in the image below; Saint Bavo cathedral (942), Belfry of Ghent (1380) and Saint Nicholas' church (13th century). For years I wanted to shoot a rooftop image of these three symbols of Ghent. When I received a brand new medium format GFX 50R on loan from Fujifilm Middle East and a connection that could get me up on a rooftop, I knew I had to grap the opportunity by both hands!


Image details:
  • Fujifilm GFX 50R with GF 45mm f2.8. R WR lens
  • ISO 100, f16, 3 exposure bracket shots with shutter speeds between 2.5s and 30s
  • Image blending in Lightroom CC > Photomerge HDR
The afternoon I went up the rooftop in Ghent with a fellow Dubai based photographer, we both were quite pessimistic about the shoot as grey skies were dominating the skies. I had shot a series of mediocre images, when I told my fellow photographer just after sunset, that I thought the best light was gone. He insisted on staying another 15 min to see if no magic would happen. Oh boy, was I happy we did! 

All of a sudden the sky turned pink for a few minutes with the resulting image below! I tend to be a very patient photographer and normally don't leave a spot early, but clearly didn't see that one coming! Thanks Erik! 

Although the image above is a HDR (High Dynamic Range) blended image, I made a very conscious effort to keep the overall look as it did on the day. I personally don't like images that "look HDR"; something that seems to be common with newer photographers discovering HDR!

As a yearly tradition in January, I will blog what I believe are my best images of the past year. Expect the post before mid-JAN. 

Remember: "Today is the first page of a 365 book. Write a good one." - Brad Paisley












Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 52: LOOKING UP AT WHAT NEXT YEAR WILL BRING!

This weeks Pic(k) of the week, concludes the 9th consequtive year of my Pic(k) of the week series. What initially started as a one year project has evolved to so much more; never has a Pic(k) of the week post been missed over the 9 years! Yes, the plan is definitively to continue with the project in 2019! 

Frequent blog readers, would have seen other images shot during a recent photo-adventure to Cambodia last month. I've blogged about both my "THE KIDS OF CAMBODIA" project and the "TEMPLES OF ANGKOR" (slideshow here) series.

The conclude the Cambodia images, I would like to present my "Cambodia, daily life" gallery which finally went online last week. The cover image and the one I'm probably most proud of, is the image below of a monk looking up.

































































Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF16-55 f2.8 lens
  • 1/80s, f6.4, ISO 320m, 55mm
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • ColorEfex Pro by DxO for optimal contrast

I will be reflecting on 2018 photographically speaking somewhere at the start of the New Year. For now, I would like to wish all readers a Happy 2018 and see you all on the other side!

Remember: "Tomorrow is the first page of a new 365 page book, you better write a good one


BJORN