Monday, September 1, 2014

Pic(k) of the week 36: Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles - a Frank Gehry building

While the Summer temperatures here in Dubai are still well above 40C (104F), my Architectural photography in the UAE has been put on hold for a while...

I did however have the opportunity to photograph an interesting project by one of my favourite Architects, Frank Gehry; who by the way, a few months ago, was a passenger on my flight from New York to Dubai.

The Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles (CA, USA), got its name from a large donation given by the Disney family. Although the project started in 1994, the concert hall, which can seat 2265 people, opened in 2003 after a delay due to lack of funds. 

Its shape reminds me a lot of another Frank Gehry design; the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Northern Spain. 

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles - a Frank Gehry building

Unfortunately there was a large Food festival next to the building the Friday night I was there, limiting me to detail shots. On a positive note, it gives me the opportunity to return...

An interesting side story is that unlike the majority of the matt finish of the building, part of it (Founders room) was initially very shiny. With some neighbours complaining about excessive glare and heat; similar to the effect of a parabolic mirror, the solution turned out to be lightly sanding the panels causing the problem!

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 10-24mm f4 Fujinon lens
Mounted on a MeFoto tripod + Really Right Stuff BH-30 bullhead
ISO200, 16mm (24mm full frame equivalent), f11, 
3 images shutter speed bracketing between 1.7s and 1/35s
Merge to HDR in Photomatix 5
Nik ColorEfex pro 4 for contrast enhancement

More images of this amazing building can be found in a brand new Los Angeles gallery.

To quote Mr. Gehry; " An architect is given a program, budget, place and schedule. Sometimes the end product rises to art - or at least people call it that way".


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wings over Camarillo 2014 pre-show

Last Friday I spend the afternoon at the Camarillo airport near Los Angeles, where the fine folks of the Commemorative Airforce (CAF) were preparing for their yearly airshow. 

Curtiss C-46 China Doll at Camarillo, CA, USA

The CAF is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to restoring, preserving and showing historical aircraft all over the US and Canada. Originally known as the Confederate Airforce, the CAF has several "wings" with the main South Californian one being based at Camarillo.

Curtiss P-40N Warhawk at Camarillo, CA, USA

As I wasn't able to attend the show during the weekend, I did the next best thing and flew a single-engine DiamondStar DA40 into Camarillo the day before. Photography wise it turned out to be a great, as unlike during the air shows days itself, there were no restrictions on where one could shoot from.

Pre-airshow days come with a great atmosphere, which I remember from my days helping to organise the airshow at my home airport Moorsele in Belgium. 

P-51A Mustang at at Camarillo, CA, USA
There were a fair amount of rare birds at Camarillo, such as the one and only flying P-51A Mustang flown in from Chino, CA.

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this P-63A King Cobra that flew in from the Palm Springs Air Museum,

A6M Zero at Camarillo, CA, USA
and an original Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero based at Camarillo. I especially like the contrast between the American "Budweiser" advert and the Japanese aircraft. Let's all be friends now!

World Record altitude breaker Long-Ez, Camarillo, CA, USA
It wasn't all warbirds however, with a fair amount of GA and Experimental aircraft like this Rutan Long-EZ ex altitude record holder. And yes, as an ex-owner of the Rutan aircraft, the Canard designs are still very close to my heart!

All images were shot with the Fujfilm X-T1, with either the 55-200 or the 10-24 Fujinon lens.

C-47 duo at Camarillo, CA, USA

More photography at Camarillo can be found here.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Pic(k) of the week 35: Two sunsets in 24 hours

As a long haul airline pilot, being jet lagged while flying around the globe is clearly one of the negatives of the job. There are however moments that make it all worth getting out of bed on the back side of the body clock...

One of these happened yesterday, while I flew a +15 hour flight from Los Angeles to Dubai. The mid afternoon Californian sun was still quite high above the horizon, as we climbed to our initial cruising altitude of 33000 feet. As the days are slowly getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere and with the help of flying Eastbound, the day was quickly coming to an end as the sun set over Baffin island (top image).

Two sunrises in 24 hours

As we crossed the Northern tip of Greenland, barely a few hours later, a new day was born. Cruising along at 900km/h (550mph), it would be a short one. 

As the sun was dipping below the horizon for the second time over Iran, a huge thunderstorm created an amazing shadow on the opposite site (bottom image). 

Image details:
Top image:
FUJIFILM X-T1 with XF55-200 lens
ISO 1600, 55mm, f3.5, 1/20s
RAW development in Lightroom 5.6

Bottom image:
iPhone 5S
ISO 50, 4.12mm, f2.2, 1/30s
Lightroom 5.6 for noise reduction

Print module in Lightroom was used to make the above diptych

Remember: "A photograph is often looked at, seldom looked into" - Ansel Adams.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pic(k) of the week 34: The new flying toy - 1954 Piper Super Cub

End of July, in my Pic(k) of the week 30: "The little yellow aeroplane"I explained how I recently have enjoyed going back to the grassroots of aviation, in flying a vintage 1950's era aeroplane... 

Less than three weeks later, I'm now one of the proud co-owners of the Piper Super Cub that I talked about in the blogpost above. 

The aircraft, an ex-Dutch Air Force 1954 Piper L-21A (called PA-18-150 in the civil world), is now based in my home country Belgium. Beside being flown by myself, it will also taken into the skies by its two other owners. The aircraft doesn't look its age, as four years ago, the 60 year old aircraft, has been completely restored.

Just back from flying the new toy around Belgium over the last week, I hardly can get rid of the grin on my face!

I can't remember ever having had a "self-portrait" for my Pic(k) of the week, but since I've pretty much been living and breaching Piper Cub the entire last week, this one needed to be included! 

The new flying toy - 1954 Piper Super Cub

The image above was taken at Moorsele, a 700m grasstrip in the West part of Belgium, where I did my first solo flight in 1987. For me nothing symbolises the "going back to basics" more than what's above!

Back to photography now... While doing some Air to Air photography last Saturday from the Cub, it became clear again how valuable a compact size system like the Fujfilm X-T1 is. Taking a full frame Nikon or Canon DSLR in a confined space like the Super Cub cockpit, would have been very different! 

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with the 18-55 Fujinon lens
ISO 200, 23mm (35mm full frame equivalent), f6.4, 1/300s
RAW development in Lightroom 5.6
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for contrast and color enhancement

Remember, "You haven't seen a tree, until you've seen its shadow from the sky" - Amelia Earhart


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pic(k) of the week 33 : Spotlight on 1931 Travel Air biplane

Vintage aircraft have always been high on my Aviation Photography shooting-list and as some of you might know, I'm now the proud shared owner of a 1954 Piper Super Cub.

The aircraft below is not our “Cub" but a 1931 British registered visiting Travel Air 12W, parked at my local home airport in Belgium (Kortrijk-Wevelgem) for the night

When the sun peaked briefly through the clouds a few hours before sunset, I immediately framed few shots with my Fujifilm X-T1. Less than 30 seconds later, and this great moment was all gone. 

Spotlight on Travel Air 12 Q/W at Kortrijk-Wevelgem, Belgium

Image details:
Fujfilm X-T1 with the weather sealed 18-135mm
ISO 400, 25mm (38mm full frame equivalent), f5.6, 1/500s
RAW file imported and edited in Lightroom 5.6
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for Pro Contrast and local detail enhancement

Next Saturday, I’m hoping to fly our Piper Cub to the Oldtimer fly-in at Schaffen-Diest, Belgium. Needless to say that my lightweight Fujifilm camera bag will be coming along as well!