Friday, December 31, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 52: Reflecting on 2010

Hard to believe yet another year just flew by. I'm writing this post, a few hours before 2010 comes to a close. Just under 12 months ago I started my Pic(k) of the week project. I clearly remember the first image made early January in a wintery Belgium.

Overall 2010, has been another exciting photography year!

It has been especially good year for travel photography. In April, I came home with images from Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur on my weeklong " 2010 Incredible India" photo tour. After the summer, I left on the amazing African photo adventure in Namibia called; "The Beauty and the Beasts".

My airline job, brought me to interesting places all over the world. Check them out in my Travel gallery.

The Yas Hotel (on the Formula one circuit in Abu Dhabi) images collection, became my most popular Architectural photography series ever. The images were showcased in magazines in the US, Europe, Middle East, all the way to Japan.

My Aviation photography highlights were the shoot for the making of the "Abelag" calendar, Air to Air photography while in Belgium last Summer and the MEBA 2010 Business aviation event held in Dubai.

Pic(k) of the week 52: Reflecting on 2010!
While shooting some Architectural work at Dubai Creek, I noticed this Indian man. To me, it feels like he is thinking about the past and future... something we often do at this time of the year. This shot is not posed or set up. Actually he probably never realized he was being photographed!

Image details:
Nikon D700, 70-200 2.8 Nikkor lens
ISO 200, f3.5, 200mm, 1/50s
RAW processed in Lightroom 3
Nik Software SilverEfex

Last but not least, since I'm a strong believer in personal photography projects, I will continue my "Pic(k) of the week" project for a second series. All images of the 2010 edition can be found here.

Happy New Year!
BJORN

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 51: Stay on the line

Most of you probably know that my day (or night) job is being an airline captain for a major airline based in Dubai. Guess which one!

Beside the line flying, I've also been holding an instructor/examiner rating for a number of years. One of the more interesting training duties is Base training, which is taking cadet pilots (ab-initio, inexperienced first-officers) out in an empty Airbus A330 to do actual take-off and landings (touch&go's) for the very first time in the real aircraft! Earlier this month I've done quite a few of these flights which are very rewarding from a job satisfaction point of view.

Pic(k) of the week 51: Stay on the line!
One of the things that feels very different in the real aircraft compared to the simulator, is taxying the aircraft. As an instructor, I frequently find myself saying to the trainees, "Stay on the line". I'm sure this explains the image caption.

The shot above is made with my brand-new Nikon P7000, a compact camera with a pro touch! It replaces my 2 year old Canon G9. So far I've been very happy with the new Nikon's image quality and interface. Initially writing a single raw file to the memory card took more than 5secs, which is really slow! A firmware update and buying a 4GB high speed class 10, Sandisk card reduces the time to less than 2secs. Very reasonable for RAW file writing on a compact camera.

Needless to say that this camera will not replace Pro gear like my NIKON D700 with 2.8 lenses.

Image details:
Nikon P7000
ISO 100, 50mm, f5, 1/1000s
RAW file development in Lightroom 3.3
Single shot HDR with Photomatix 4
Contrast adjustment Software ColorEfex

More of my Airline images can be found here.

To the ones celebrating, Merry Christmas

Click that shutter,
BJORN
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Abelag - Calendar project

Last August, I spend a day shooting at Brussels airport for the Benelux leader in Business Aviation, Abelag. They operate a large fleet of more than 20 cooperate aircraft, ranging from the prop-jet Beechcraft King-Air 200 to the Dassault Falcon 2000 EX. 


The day started very rainy but about halfway through, the sky cleared up and the cumulus clouds made for a great background!

The main purpose of the shoot was collecting images for their yearly black and white cooperate calendar. The final design of the project has been done by a local Belgian printing company and the calendar is now in the process of being distributed. So far it has been well received and feedback has been very positive!

A few sample pages can be found below. Please click on the image to see the full size.


























More of the Abelag images shot at Brussels airport and at their second largest branch, 
Kortrijk-Wevelgem, can be found in my Business Aviation gallery.

Please contact me if you are interested in a similar project for your company!

Click that shutter,
BJORN

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 50: Festival of Blue

Along the Dubai creek, close to Business Bay bridge, you'll find Dubai Festival City. A   relative new project consisting of a residential area, a shopping mall (after all it is Dubai!), golf course, commercial offices and 2 hotels. They have an interesting one-liner on their website: "It's all happening where it all began". A reference to the birth of Dubai which started around fishing and pearl diving at Dubai creek. Just like in the early days, the saltwater creek divides the city in two parts, Bur Dubai and Deira.

Festival city hotels
The image of Festival city's office tower and hotels above, is made from across the creek, Bur Dubai side. Since the opening of the new Business Bay bridge, the overriding color of the area is blue. Due to the high dynamic range, I shot 5 images (-2,-1, 0, +1, +2EV) and combined them into a HDR image. Needless to say, that one will need a sturdy tripod to do so!

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70 2.8
ISO 200, f7.1, 58mm, shutter speeds from 1s to 20s
HDR processed in Photomatix Pro 4

More images of the area can be found here.

Click that shutter,

BJORN
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Middle East Business Aviation convention 2010

MEBA 2010, Middle East Aviation, has come to an end. The bi-annual three day event held in Dubai, is a convention of everything business aviation related in the region. I attended on the opening day and had two reasons to go: 1/ Meeting with future cooperate aviation clients, 2/ Expanding my aviation portfolio. Overall happy with the outcome, I did enjoy the 60 or so aircraft on static display.

Gulfstream 550
Because all jets are parked close together, it isn't always easy to come up with interesting images. I tried however concentrating on detail shots like left engine of this Gulfstream 550. If shooting for a client I would of course have asked to remove the disturbing yellow air-conditiong hose...

Cleaning a Boeing BBJ
Just like any event with a lot of people, I do enjoy just strolling around and looking for photo opportunities. When two guys started cleaning the windows of a Boeing 737 BBJ, I immediately realized I needed to have the camera ready...

Vista Jet Bombardier Challenger 850
Sometimes the fact that aircraft are parked close together, can be used to the photographers advantage, like combining the tail of a Vista Jet Challenger 605 with the winglet of a TAG Global Express.

Al Jaber Aviation A318 Elite
There were a fair amount of large cabin business jets like Boeing BBJ's and this Al Jaber Aviation (AJA) Airbus A318 Elite cooperate jet.

Dassault Falcon 7X
My favorite of the MEBA day was this detailed shot of the center engine of a Dassault Falcon 7X. As usual I want to give it some time, but it is likely the image will make it into my Aviation portfolio gallery or at least my Business aviation gallery!

Since the late summer, I've been working on another business aviation project in Belgium. It is just about to go public, so you can expect another aviation related blogpost next week...

Till then,
Fly safe & click that shutter,
BJORN

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 49: Stripey Falcon

Over the years, photographing business jets has been one of my favorite jobs. They are relatively small, have great lines and often come in amazing paint jobs !  

Falcon 2000 EX at Kortrijk-Wevelgem, EBKT
I shot this beautiful French built Dassault Falcon 2000 EX at Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport, while I was in Belgium last week. Its full black livery with silver stripes is unique and very photogenic. Even though I photographed this regular visitor to the airport before, I'm very pleased with this latest one! Looking at the patches of snow, this one is clearly made on a cold wintery day... Oh boy it was cold!

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens 
ISO 200, 50mm, f9, 1/640s
RAW developed with Lightroom 3
Converted to Black and White with SilverEfex Pro

I'm now off to another Business aviation event, this time in Dubai, MEBA 2010 (Middle East Business Aviation). It is the Middle East's premier aviation event and a perfect place to connect with past and hopefully future clients! Even though it doesn't include an airshow, the show has about 60 or so business aircraft on static display.

Expect more on the event in a future blogpost.

Till then, take that lens cap off,
BJORN

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winter flying

I just got back from a brief visit to my home country Belgium where the winter arrived early this year! With temperatures below -10C and quite a bit of snowfall, it was about as far away from Dubai I could get...

Robin DR400-120 OO-FBI at Kortijk-Wevelgem airport
No short break to Belgium is complete without a flight in a general aviation aircraft! We flew a single engine Robin DR400 over the white fields of Flanders. The semi-bubble canopy is not ideal for photography, but the low level winter flying combined with some interesting shots, made my day!

winterview of A17 highway Kortrijk-Brugge
Navigating over snowy landscapes is very different due to a large change in contrast. Snow cleared roads stick out very clearly while some items like railways and high tension lines are barely visible.

EBOS, Ostend airport, Belgium during winter
Even though we didn't land there, the Ostend airport at the Belgian coastline was open and ready for traffic. Airports with a single runway like Ostend, are often temporarily closed due to snow removal.

EBUL, Ursel air base, Belgium
Before heading back to the home airport ( Kortrijk-Wevelgem), we landed at Ursel air base, a dis-used but standby military base in the middle of a forest, used by two civilian aero-clubs. Always a great place for an afternoon cup of coffee!

Fuel depot at Roeselare, Belgium
Aerial photography is great for industrial buildings like these brand new fuel tanks along the Roeselare-Leie channel. Each large tank can hold 30 million liters and takes up to 2 months to fill up. 


Castle of Rumbeke near Roeselare, Belgium
Just before landing at Kortrijk-Wevelgem airport, we overflew one of Belgium's oldest Renaissance castles, Rumbeke castle. The place gives me a lot of childhood memories and about 18 months ago I shot a series of HDR (High Dynamic Range) images at the site. All of them can be found here.


Those of you interested in my Aerial photography, make sure you check out my book, Focus on the World Below.

Combining my two great passions, aviation and photography, always gives me this warm fussy feeling... Nice when its -10C outside!


Take that lens cap off,
BJORN
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