Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 39: Learning to fly Big Mama

As I write this, I'm cruising at 38000 feet on an Airbus A380 to Munich. For a change, I'm flying as a passenger and will after stopping in the capital of Bavari, continue to Toulouse, France.

I rarely blog about my day-job (no pun intended it involves a lot of night work!) as a pilot, however this time a little explaining might be relevant. This year is my 25th anniversary as a pilot in which over the years I have flown over 40 different types of flying machines. All the way from a 5kg paraglider to a 372 ton Airbus A340-500. 

2012 Pic(k) of the week 39: Learning to fly Big Mama

The coming months, I'll be training to fly the largest passenger aircraft in the world; the Big Mama Airbus A380. Part of this training is done over three weeks with the manufacturer in Toulouse (SW France), while the specific training as an A380 instructor/examiner, will be completed in Dubai. The whole process will likely take about three months and should be over, just before the end of the year.

Because of this, my photography will probably suffer a bit. I plan on continuing my Pic(k) of the week series and might even be able to do one or two other blogposts in this period.

Image details:
Nikon D800 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO1600, 125mm, f2.8, /4000s
RAW development in LR4.1
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion

The image above of the mighty A380 landing at Dubai was taken just before sunset. In order not to duplicate information some more facts on the A380 can be found in an earlier blogpost: 2012 Pic(k) of the week 28.

Remember, "Flying is not Nintendo, you don't just push a button to start over"

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Pulling rickshaws through Kolkata (Calcutta)

Yesterday I was in Kolkota, the former Calcutta and the capital of the Indian state West Bengal. This city with more than 14 million people is apparently the only place where one can still find the "Pulled Rickshaw".

Richshaw puller in Calcutta
Even though the Indian government tried banning the use of these ancient hand-pulled rickshaws over 5 years ago, there are presently still over 20.000 pullers. 

Richshaw puller in Calcutta
Often doing their work barefooted, they do not have their own rickshaws but rent them for a nominal fee of around 30 rupees ( 0,5 USD) per day.

Richshaw puller in Calcutta
Earning only a few dollars a day, it is harsh work for over 12 hours a day. These brave men say that they are only happy to stop pulling 2 to 3 people around, if the government gives them alternative jobs.

Richshaw puller in Calcutta

The defenders of this age old way of transport often point out that they keep the carbon footprint down. Another reason why the government has a hard time banning the pulled rickshaws, begins in June of each year, when the monsoon rains start flooding the streets of Calcutta. Often waist deep into the water, they are very much the only way of transport in some parts of the city.

Richshaw puller in Calcutta
Most rickshaw pullers come from the adjacent state of Bihar and are almost all over 45 years old. 

Rickshaw puller portrait
I would like to finish this series with a portrait of one of the pullers and a quote of Eli Khamarov; 
"Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 38: Diving for survival

Last night I got back from another quick 24 hour visit to Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), I managed to do a bit of Black and White Street photography. Trying to document the daily life in "Saigon" (old name for Ho CHi Minh), I've learned to always have the camera ready for that decisive moment...

2012 Pic(k) of the week 37: Diving for survival

While my taxi-driver was trying to make his way through the busy traffic, I saw somebody diving into a waste container. Without wanting to be disrespectful, I felt this was a shot not to be missed! 

In Vietnam and a lot of other countries, many people try to make a living by collecting used plastic bottles and other materials that can be recycled. It is at times like this, that I feel how fortunate some of us are... Respect! 

Image details:
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70 2.8
ISO400, 58mm, f 3.2, 1/320s
RAW development with Lightroom 4.1
Nik ColorEfex 4 for contrast adjustment
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black & White

Please make sure that you check out more of the images in my " Ho Chi Minh" gallery.

Time to pack again and spent 24hrs in Kolkata, India!  

Remember; " A rich man is just a poor man with money" - W.C. Fields

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 37: Waterfall Wednesday

Just over a year ago a brand-new social networking site was born; initially started by invitation only, "Google plus" (G+) now has 250 million registered users of which about 150 million are deemed "active". 

Because of the way it deals with images, it is the perfect "photographers social network" and is now by far my preferred place to hang out with other photographers. Unlike  Facebook where one connects mostly with people one already knows, G+ makes connecting with unknown photographers from all over the world very easy! It also is a great way of staying inspired, especially by using the free iPad app

To stimulate photography even more, some active members have started themed days like Moon Monday, Tree Tuesday, Travel Thursday, etc...  The most common themes can be found here.

In order to make searching for themed images easier, one tags the images the Twitter way; Tree Tuesday is tagged with #TreeTuesday. 

2012 Pic(k) of the week 37: Waterfall Wednesday

Still working on my images from the recent trip to Iceland, this a perfect opportunity to enter one for the #WaterfallWednesday theme. The image above was shot at the mighty Gullfoss waterfall about 90mins East of the capital Reykjavik. Even though the initial batch of images were all color ones, I've now started converting a small batch as Black & Whites.

A 9 mins slideshow of my best Land of Fire and Ice adventure, can be found below.

For the best viewing experience, make sure you select 1080p in the bottom right corner and that you watch it full screen.

Image details:
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8
ISO100, f8, 24mm, 1/4s
RAW development in Lightroom 4
Black and White conversion with SilverEfex 2

Remember; " I haven't been everywhere, but it is on my list"  - Susan Sontag

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 36: Railroad patterns

Early August I had one of my aviation firsts; " my first hot air balloon ride"! Yes it took 25 years of flying as a pilot before eventually experiencing the wonders of ballooning. There is obviously very little way of changing the course of the balloon, but it sure is a heck of an aerial photography platform. Yes, I had a blast!

2012 Pic(k) of the week 36: Railroad patterns

When shooting aerial photography, I'm foremost interested in registering the "patterns" of the world below! The image above of multiple cargo train tracks, was shot near Ghent, Belgium. 

Image detail:
ISO400, 200mm, f3.5, 200mm, 1/1250s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.1
Contrast adjustment in Nik ColorEfex Pro 2

More of my aerial photography can be found here.

Still on the subject of aerial photography, I was interviewed by the HumanTheme blog with regards to my very popular image of the "Ditched C-46" in the Bahamas".

Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price. - Amelia Earhart

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