Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 35: Eid-Al-Fitr

First of all: "Eid Mubarak" to all my Muslim friends and blog-readers!

Tonight is the end of Ramadan; the most important month on the yearly Islamic calendar, lasting 29 to 30 days. It is a month in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking during the day-light hours. It is also a time for spiritual reflection and worship. 

Because the Islamic months are based on the lunar (moon) calendar and not the sun, Ramadan moves backwards by about 11 days. This year it started on August 1st, right in the middle of the harsh Dubai summer. Not an easy month to fast, if one has to cope with 45C (113F) temperatures during the day...

Unlike popular believe, Ramadan does not really effect non-Muslims too much living in Dubai. Needless to say, one pays respect to fasting Muslims by not eating and drinking in public places during the day. Beside this, most companies are working Ramadan timings, finishing work a few hours earlier than usual. 

2011 Pic(k) of the week 35: Eid-Al-Fitr

Eid-Al-Fitr ( Arabic for "Festivity of the breaking of the fast" ), which starts today, marks the end of Ramadan and depending on the work sector gives one, 1 to 3 days of holiday. It is announced as the moon is spotted the day after new moon.  

More of my Mosque images can be found here.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with 70-200 2.8 VRII
ISO200, f9, 200mm, 2sec
RAW development in LR3
Nik ColorEfex Pro for contrast adjustment
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black & White with selective coloring

Don't just take pictures, make pictures,
BJORN

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 34: Gare de Nice ville

Old train stations make for great photography subjects... One of them is the "Gare de Nice ville" at the French Cote d'Azur, which was completed in 1867 and has remained pretty much in it original condition. I passed through the station on my way to the worlds second smallest country (1.98 sqkm), Monaco. Some of the images of Monaco, the most densely populated country in the world, can be found here.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 34: Gare de Nice Ville
The steel rusty pillars make for an interesting HDR (High Dynamic Range) subject. 


Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8
ISO200, 50mm, f7.1, 1/80s
RAW development with LR3
Single RAW file HDR processing with Photomatix 4
Nik ColorEfex for contrast adjustment

I've now been asked multiple times what my preferred HDR software is. To be honest I also have a hard time choosing between my two favorites; Photomatix 4 and Nik Software HDR Efex Pro. I personally feel like both of them have a place in my HDR workflow. Sometimes I just try both and go with the best result! 

If interested in HDR photography make sure you check out the latest book by Rafael Concepcion, "The HDR book", a practical approach to the HDR workflow.

Remember when photographing a subject, the first few pictures you take, the best ones you make!

BJORN

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 33: These shoes are made for walking!

Just a few weeks ago, I was at my parents place in Belgium, where I had promised to shoot a very personal object; my second walking shoes, almost 40 years old. Yes I turned "midlife age" earlier this year...

Before we go any further I need to praise my mum, who last year at the age of 64, picked up her first digital DSLR! Needless to say, she has a steep learning curve ahead, but she really seems to enjoy taking her Canon 500D out and has an interesting photographical eye. I guess I now know where I got the photo-bug from! Follow her on Facebook here
She was actually the one who photographed them first last month.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 33: These shoes are made for walking
These are apparently my second pair of shoes which have been bronzed later by common tradition.

Imaged details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 105 2.8 Micro
ISO 1250, 105mm, f10, 1/80s
Lightroom 3 RAW processing
Nik ColorEfex Pro for optimum contrast
Nik SilverEfex Pro 2 for B&W conversion

Some selective coloring was put back after the high contrast Black and White conversion. 

Thanks for visiting and to quote David DuChemin remember: Gear is good, Vision is better!

BJORN
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Set fire to the rain - Macro images from French Pyrenees

While post-processing, I often listen to podcasts or music. The tittle of todays post was born while listening to an Adele song, "Set fire to the rain"!


Thistle with waterdrops in French Pyrenees (B&W)
The first morning on location in the French Pyrenees, we drove our little Fiat 500 up a mountain track and discovered plenty of opportunities for macro photography. The early morning mist was slowly lifting and the whole place had a mystique feel to it!

Morning dew, French Pyrenees
Even though I'm not a morning person, the early start was worth it. The rain stopped just about as the sun rose. It would quickly burn of the raindrops on the forest fauna and flora... "setting fire to the rain"! I clearly had a limited amount of time available...

Black & White morning dew, French Pyrenees
My favorite image of the mornings shoot is the one above. Black and white macro images are not that common, but I really like how the sun reflects in the hundreds of drops looking like beautiful human eyes.
3 leave pepperwort, French Pyrenees
I guess there is only so much luck one can have while being out there... a clover 4 would have been nice, but wikepedia tells me there is only a 1 in 10 000 chance for that!


Fungi on tree near Campan, French Pyrenees
One of the last subjects I photographed before the sun set fire to the leftover raindrops, was  some fungi nestled deeply into a large tree trunk. 

Hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did...

Don't just take pictures, make pictures,
BJORN

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 32: Birds eye view on Labassère

Apologies for being a few days late with my Pic(k) of the week post... it has been a bit of a hectic week!
Slowly finishing the image editing process after my latest visit to the French Pyrenees, I today have uploaded 11 new ones to the Pyrenees gallery.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 32: Birds eye view on Labeserre
The image above of the small Hautes-Pyrenees village (less than 250 inhabitants) of Labassère has been made from a viewpoint near an old telegraph tower. The Gothic church dates back to the 14th century.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 14-24 2.8 lens
ISO 200, 21mm, f 4.5, 3 different shutter speeds for HDR
RAW development in LR3
HDR processing with Nik HDR Efex Pro

Expect another post with more close-up and macro images in the next few days!

Till then,
Don't just take pictures, make pictures!

BJORN
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 31: Dubai double-decker bus

Back from a 5 day break in the French Pyrenees and a few days in Belgium, the batteries are again fully charged! Even though the main purpose of the trip was to continue my Paragliding training, I also managed to do some photography. The weeklong escape from the Dubai Summer, started with a flight from Dubai to Paris on one of Emirates' Airbus A380 aircraft.
Pic(k) of the week 31: Dubai double-decker bus
Emirates has 90 (yes, ninety) Dubai double-decker busses on order. The 570 ton aircraft has been received very well by its passengers; be it due to the quietness of the cabin, the extra legroom, the business class bar or the first class showers.

Just before boarding, I made a 5 shot HDR (High Dynamic Range) image (above) from one of the three jetways. 

Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 14-24 2.8 lens
ISO 200, 24mm, f4, 5 different shutter-speeds 
LR RAW processing including White Balance adjustments
Nik Software HDR Efex Pro for HDR development
Nik Software SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion


Off to more image editing now,


BJORN

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