Monday, June 10, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 24: THREE TREES

It doesn't always have to be dramatic landscapes or spectacular skylines to make for an interesting landscape image...  Such was the case when I past three lonely trees in the desert close to the Al Qudra lakes in Dubai. 

Plenty has been written about the power of three and how an odd number of subjects often works better than even numbers. Lastly I like how the bird flying through the frame adds visual content to what is basically a very simple image. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF50-140 f2.8 lens
  • ISO 160, f5.6, 1/1400s, 75mm 
  • Lightroom CC for RAW file development
  • Photoshop CC for small clean-up of distractions in the foreground
More of my "Nature of the UAE" images can be found here

Remember, "The axe always forgets. The tree always remembers." Paulo Coelho


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 23: IFTAR AERIAL - EID MUBARAK

Eid Al Fitr is a key date in the calendar for Muslims all over the world; it Ramadan, the month where Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. Traditionally a "moon sighting committee" gets together at the end of Ramadan in search for a glimpse of the new crescent moon. Once the sighting is confirmed it marks the first day of Eid AL Fitr, "The festival of the breaking of the fast". In the UAE this started on the evening of June 3th this year...

Over the last few years, I've been trying the document Ramadan and more specifically Iftar, the daily breaking of the fast after sunset in a series of images. On one of the last days of Ramadan, I joined a photowalk, organized by Instagram poster "everydaydxb". Thanks for organizing!

The below image was shot from a 4 or 5th floor rooftop, while the daily Iftar meal was being set-up. Typically all over Dubai, a free Iftar meal is offered to anybody who wants to attend; attracting thousands of people; a very social activity which is great for Street/Documentary photography. As long as one shoots respectfully most people do not mind being photographed and will often even pose. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF50 f2 lens
  • ISO 5000, 1/250s, f9
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) Jpeg using Classic Chrome Film simulation 
  • In camera settings: Highlights -1, Shadows +1, Sharpness +2, Noise 0
The entire Ramadan collection can be found here

To all Muslims celebrating, "Eid Mubarak"! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 22: BIG WAVES WITH MAVIC 2 PRO - Long exposure aerials

Longtime blog readers will know that I've been an avid Aerial photographer for a number of years. My 1954 yellow Piper Super Cub aircraft in Belgium has played a big role in my more recent aerial photography.

I've been watching aerial drone photography from the side lines for a number of years and finally bit the bullet end of 2018 when I bought a DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

While for me there is clearly a place for using an actual airplane, there is also a place for using a drone (also called UAV, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), for some other shots. Aircraft can be allowed to enter airspace where drones or not allowed. 

On the other hand, a Long exposure image like the one below is virtually impossible to take from a moving aircraft. Even from a helicopter this is not easy as your helicopter pilot will rarely be hovering at altitude but rather be moving at a slow speed. 

The stability of modern small drones like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is pretty impressive; as long the winds are not too strong one can quite easily shoot at shutter speeds of 1s or even slightly longer. Waves hitting the shoreline are a perfect subject for "Long Exposure" drone photography. 

Image details:
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro with PolarPro ND1000 filter
  • ISO 100, f5.6, 1 sec
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • DxO ColorEfex pro4 for optimal contrast
Although PolorPro is not a sponsor of the blog, but I've really happy with my PolarPro ND filter set, including the 10-stop ND1000 filter I used for the shot above. 

The fact that the Mavic 2 Pro is one of the first prosumer drones that has a variable aperture lens, makes it perfect to fine-tune the perfect long exposure time while in-flight under variable light conditions. 

More of my Aerial photography can be found here

Lastly, as an aircraft pilot myself, I would like to stress to fly drones responsibly. We still see far too many people that think they can fly wherever and as high as they like to. The sky is not only yours! Make sure to check local regulation and only fly certificated if that is what is needed.

Remember: "You can't stop the waves. But you can learn to surf" - Jon Kabt-Zinn


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 21: THE POWER OF NATURE - Using Fujifilm X-T3 PRE-SHOT

Sometimes I hear photographers say, "gear doesn't matter, it is the photographer that makes the image". Although there is some truth to this, there are circumstances where gear does however matter.

A great example is when one wants to shoot night images of a thunderstorm when sitting in the back of an airliner at 35000ft. Yes one can shoot lightning using  a tripod on the ground, but from an airliner which is moving close to 1000km/h this becomes a different story... 

The Fujifilm X-T3 (and X-T30) has a new feature called "Pre-shot ES". I'm sure we have all been there, where we realize that we just missed the shot in high action photography; a fraction of a second too late. Like magic, it allows to get those shots that otherwise would be missed. How does it work? 

First the function is part of the high speed burst (CH) mode and only works with the Electronic Shutter (ES). In Pre-shot ES and when half pressing the camera continually stores the last 20 images in the buffer (not on the SD card). The moment one sees the image, the shutter is pressed full down as normal. The last 20 images, just before the shutter was pressed fully down, are then written to the SD card as well as those frames that are captured while pressing the shutter down. In selecting the final image, one can then use the image that just captured the right moment. 

This is exactly how I captured the image below of an active thunderstorm with the lightning bolt. I particularly like how the yellow of the city in the right side of the image, plays off the deep night blue sky lit by the lightning.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF35mm f2 lens
  • ISO 6400, 1.8s, f 2.0, Manual focus
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development 
  • DxO ColorEfex pro 4 for optimal contrast 
When trying to capture "The decisive moment", the Pre-Shot ES function is really opening all kind of doors!

Both my Portfolio and my Galleries have a dedicated Aerial section. Please check them out by clicking on the links. 

Remember: "Stop trying to calm the storm. Calm yourself and the storm will pass" - Timber Hawkeye


Thursday, May 16, 2019


Making images pretty much on a daily basis, occasionally a portfolio worthy image slips through the nets. Such was the case with an image I shot in Nice, Côte d'Azur almost three months back... 

While on a 24hr layover in Nice, I woke up to an amazing sunrise in my hotel along the Promenade des Anglais. Just enough time to grab my camera and frame a few shots as the sun disk starting peeking about the horizon.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T30 with the XF18-135 lens
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • DxO ColorEfex pro with Graduated Neutral density filter and Pro Contrast
I took the opportunity to rework my Nice, France gallery and replaced some of the older work with newer ones. Please check out the gallery here.

The image was shot with the new Fujifilm X-T30 with the XF18-135 lens; a great travel combo! Check out my review of the X-T30 here

Remember: "Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long you will miss them" - William Arthur Ward