Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 10: Cloudy sunset at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai

The Burj al Arab, the so called only "7 star hotel" in Dubai, remains one of the most photographed buildings in Dubai. Design work of the to the letter translated, "Tower the of the Arabs", was started in 1994 by a team of British Architects led by Thomas Willis. Five years later, this amazing building became the icon of Dubai!

Cloudy skies are rare in Dubai and whenever they do appear, it makes for great photo-opportunities. Such was the case the day after a large sandstorm (Shamal) hit Dubai last week. 

Of to the Jumeirah Beach with tripod and camera bag, I managed to create the following keeper image of the sun rays illuminating the Atlantis hotel on the top the Palm Jumeriah just before sunset. 

Although I carried neutral density filters to make a long exposure, I elected to go with a normal exposure where the waves remain visible. Another rarity in Dubai... 

Jumeriah Beach sunset, Dubai 

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 10-24 f5.6
5 jpeg exposures with varying shutter speeds between 1/1000s and 1/25s
Exposure blending in Photoshop CC 2014
Nik ColorEfex for contrast adjustment

With multiple exposures, I more commonly blend them together through a 32bit conversion in Photoshop HDR Pro. This time however, I elected to use a more neutral manual image blending technique in Photoshop. 

One might ask, why I shot in jpeg format rather than RAW? The day before I had done some jpeg testing and did forget to reset the camera to RAW shooting. Only  towards the end of the shoot, I realised my mistake... Yes, one I'm not proud of, but I guess it proofs it happens to all of us! Anyway, still relatively happy with the final result.

An excellent pdf presentation of the construction of the Burj al Arab can be downloaded here, while more of my own images of this iconic building can be found here.

Remember, "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us" - Winston Churchill.

  




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 9: Spaceship or Train station - Lyon Saint-Exupéry

Lyon, the third largest city of France is often looked at by foreigners as a pass through city; over the Summer months thousands of people drive through Lyon on their way to the French Riviera or Spain.

Earlier this month, my yearly trekking to the ski-slopes in the French Alps was however the reason for my one night stay in one of the hotels near the Lyon Saint-Exupéry airport. 

One thing not to be missed for anybody interested in modern architecture, is the train station, designed by renown Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava. The project was initially started in 1989 and was supposed to be ready for the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. Delays however pushed the official opening into 1994. 

While the station was supposed to connect the international airport and become a large travel hub, it never really worked out this way. Over the years, I've never seen the train station as being busy...

Although it makes me think about a Spaceship, the perfect symmetry of the main building, officially was inspired by the wings of a bird taking-off.  Either way, it remains a great subject for some black and white architectural photography.

Spaceship or Train station, Lyon Saint Exupery

Image details:
Fujifjilm X-T1 with the Fujinon XF10-24mm f4 lens
ISO400, f8, 22mm (33mm full frame equivalent), 1/1500s
RAW development in Lightroom 5.7
Nik SilverEfex Pro 2 for Black and White conversion

A few more images of this dramatic building can be found here.

Remember, "Architecture is inhabited sculpture" - Constantin Brancusi


Happy shooting,
BJORN





Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 8: Dark clouds over Saint Peter's Basilica - Rome / Vatican City

Even though my day-job as an airline pilot, makes me travel more than the average photographer, I'm often limited to less than 24 hours to shoot in. Such was the case a few weeks ago, when I was in Rome; one of my favourite cities for travel photography.

Not rare for Italy, the city center was locked down because of a strike the day I was there. It became a bit of an expedition to get from my crew hotel near the airport, to the spot I envisioned in the center of town; the Sant' Angelo bridge over the Tiber river which is a great spot to photograph the Saint Peter's Basilica (Vatican city) at sunset. 

To add even more to the drama, it started raining just when the best light was about to hit the scene... At least I didn't have to worry about  my camera as the Fujifilm X-T1 is weather-sealed! 

Dark clouds over Saint Peter's Basilica (Rome/Vatican)

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 18-55
5 bracketed shots varying between 1/15s and 2s
ISO 200, 55mm (83mm full frame equivalent), f8
Merge to 32 bit file in HDR PRO in Photoshop CC 2014 
Star effect of some Street lights blended in with additional image shot at f22
Nik ColorEfex pro for contrast optimisation 

Those of you following me on social media, might have seen a different shot from the same place in a portrait orientation, called "The Vatican is on fire". 

Remember, "Just as Rome was not built in one day, an image is sometimes not made in one shot neither".

Happy shooting,
BJORN

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 7: Flying over frozen Turkey

As I'm writing this while on a weeklong ski-holiday in the French Alps, it's only normal to post a snowy landscape image for my Pic(k) of the week!

The aerial image below is however not of the Alps but of the Northern-Eastern part of Turkey. Unlike what most people think, winters in Turkey can be very harsh with lost of snowfall.

The image was taken when flying over Lake Van; with a maximum length of 119km and a total area of 3755 sqkm this is Turkeys largest lake. Even though the surface elevation of the lake is 1640m (5380ft), the water doesn't freeze because of its high salinity.

Over frozen Turkey

Image details:
Fujfilm X-T1 with the Fujinon 16-55 f2.8 lens
ISO 200, 34mm (51mm full frame equivalent), f6.4 1/1500s
RAW file developed in Lightroom 5.7
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 with Pro Contrast

More aerial images can be found here.

Remember: "You wanna fly, you have to give up the shit that weighs you down" - Toni Morrison

Happy shooting,
BJORN

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pic(k) of the week 6: The desert is loosing from the city - Dubai

Over the years, I photographed the ever changing Dubai skyline from a lot of different angles.

Early January, we had one of the few "rain-days" in Dubai and believe it or not but that is big thing! Schools remain closed, the mayhem on the streets is even bigger than normal, life pretty much comes to a stop...

One of the advantages is that the next day is often a crystal clear day with unlimited visibilities. Perfect to go to the edge of the desert and photograph the Dubai skyline from a different perspective.

The image below of "The Villa" housing compound, consists of 9 images shot in portrait mode, stitched together as a large panorama. At almost 12000pixels wide the amount of detail is pretty amazing. Be sure to click on the image on a large screen to fly enjoy it.

The desert is becoming smaller, Dubai

It remains remarkable how over the last 15 years, the Dubai desert is slowly loosing from the city. Something I hope to express in the above image.

Image details:
Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 50-140 f2.8 lens
9 images, ISO500, 140mm (210mm full frame equivalent), f9, 1/640s
Stitched together with Photoshop CC 2014
Lightroom 5.7 to optimize contrast and detail

More images of the Dubai skyline can be found here.

Remember: " A city is not gauged by its length and width but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams" - Herb Caen