Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 46: NIGHT STREET PHOTOGRAPHY TOKYO - STREET HUNT WORKSHOP NOV 22

I'm slowly catching up with the image backlog of my latest Street Hunt in Tokyo, Japan. Generally the time I spend editing my Street Photography images is very limited, but I do want to go across all images and identify the ones that deserve some extra work...

An image that stood out immediately was the one below shot outside the Hardrock Cafe in Roppongi. Made late at night just before typhoon "Lan" hit the capital, it was shot with my favorite night street photography lens, the weather sealed XF16mm f1.4 R WR lens (check out my review here).

I had been playing with the reflections in a water puddle for a while, when all of a sudden a guy on a bike approached from the left. I was particularly happy with how the person showed up only in the reflection and not at the top of the image. 



Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-E3 with the XF16mm f1.4 lens
  • ISO 6400, 1/20s, f6.4
  • Lightroom CC Classic for RAW development 
The program of the Fujfilm Middle East workshops has now been finalized for the 2017 XPosure Photofestival in Sharjah (close to Dubai, UAE). Beside workshops on the Business of Photography, Model posing, Conceptual Portrait, Wedding and Food photography, both X-photographer Stephan Geyer and myself will do a separate workshop and photowalk around the theme of Street Photography. 

My own STREET HUNT talk/workshop will be on Wednesday 22 NOV starting at 2pm followed by a short photowalk at a nearby location at 4pm. The workshop/photowalk will give you an introduction to Street Photography, provide you with lots of tips and tricks to document life on the Street and will provide you with the tools to set up your camera for best results. A 1 hour 30' photowalk where we will put things in practise will conclude the day. Free transport to and from the photowalk location will be provided from the Sharjah Expo center.

To register for my "Street Hunt" workshop, visit the Fujifilm Middle East website here. Pre-registration is required and spots are limited. Just like the Fujifilm workshops, the entrance to the XPosure photo festival is FREE as well!



Fujifilm Middle East will be giving away 2 Fujifilm X-70 cameras to two of the participants of the Street Photography workshops. Don't miss out!

Hope to see you all there,

BJORN



  



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 45: SHANGHAI SHIPPING

One concept which measures the Worlds largest cities, is that of the Metropolitan area. Although there is currently no globally accepted definition, Tokyo Japan is with its 38 Million people the number one here. The number two and just behind Tokyo on that list, is Shanghai, China; a city I visited just before going to Japan last month. 

However when looking at the largest "City proper" definition (population living within the administrative boundaries of a city), Shanghai is the number one here! 

Shanghai is often looked at as one of the most modern Chinese cities and is a great example of the booming economy of mainland China. Situated along the Yangtze River delta it is strategically situated in the middle section of the East China coast. 

Like a lot of cities known for sea-trading, the city is divided in two parts, Pudong (East bank) and Puxi (West Bank). The image below is made from "The Bund", one of the best viewpoints to shoot the Shanghai skyline. 

Being the worlds largest container port, I wanted to frame the modern part of the city together with it longtime shipping history. While smog is often limiting the visibility severely in a lot of the large cities of China, I was clearly lucky the day I was there!



Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF16mm f1.4 lens
  • ISO 200, f8, 1/220s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC Classic
  • Nik ColorEfex for optimal contrast 

More images of Shanghai can be found here

Remember, "A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it is built for" - Albert Einstein


BJORN



Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 44: TOKYO STREETHUNT with the Fujifilm X-E3

Last week I spend 4 days in the worlds most populous city on the planet; Tokyo Japan a megapolis with close to 38 million people which is always popular with Street Photographers. 

I'm intrigued by how efficiently public transport in the city is run. To put things into perspective, Tokyo Metro which has close to 200 km of metro lines and moves almost 7 million people every day; and that for only one of the public transport options! 

Over the years, I've been following the work of German photographer Michael Wolf quite closely. In his "Tokyo Compression" series he has been documenting commuters being smashed against the steamy Tokyo metro windows. Click here to check out the project. 

When I saw a train pull-up with "steamy windows" on the first day I was there, I was automatically drawn to Michael's images. As the train was not completely full, the faces were not directly pushed against the windows but it still made for an interesting image. To me it also reminds me of the late Saul Leiters work; one of my favorite Masters of Color Street Photography!

Although other trains were pretty full as well, this was the only train where the condensation phenomenon was observed; not sure what exactly triggered it on this specific train. 



Image details:

  • Fujifilm X-E3 with the XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 6400, 1/110s, f6.4
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC Classic using the Classic Chrome Film Simulation Camera profile
Over the years, New York has been my favorite city for Street Photography but I think Tokyo might have just taken its first place! A gallery of my Street Photography images shot in Tokyo can be found here

The trip to Tokyo was an in the field test of the brand-new Fujifilm X-E3, which I reviewed here last month. I'm working on a separate blogpost with some new findings over the next few weeks. 

Last but not least, I'll be giving a Street Photography talk during the 2017 Xposure Photofestival in Sharjah (close to Dubai, UAE) for Fujifilm Middle East on WEDN NOV 22 at 2pm; a short photowalk at 4pm will follow. More info will be shared in next weeks Pic(k) of the week!

Hope to see you at Xposure, 


BJORN




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 43: THE YELLOW STEPS - Street or Fine-Art photography?

Isn't it strange that us Photographers, often tend to be so bogged down on definitions? What is Street Photography? What is Fine-Art Photography? Does it matter?

While I'm in the middle of making a new presentation for Fujifilm Middle East for an upcoming "Street Photography" workshop at the Xposure Photofestival in Sharjah next month, this question came up several times recently. 

If someone asks me for my own definition of Street Photography, I would tell them it is "Documenting everyday human life and society in public spaces, mostly shot candidly". Does the image below fulfill this definition? Yes... no? Does it matter?

I find it quite interesting that even photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson,  who is often referred to as the 'godfather of Street Photographer", hated the term. Maybe we shall just be "Urban Photographers", or "Photographers"? Does it matter?

Talking about definitions, lets take it a step further and try to define what a Fine-Art image is? Again, "my own definition" of "Fine Art" would be any image that somebody else than the photographer or his/her immediate family/friends, would hang up in their own living space". 

The image below, shot in Circular Quay Sydney, could certainly fulfill that requirement I guess, but then again, "does it matter"?

What I do know, is that I was immediately attracted to the great complimentary colors blue and yellow as I walked past these steps into the harbour just after sunrise. It is an image that I just send of for a large dibond print and of which I can't wait to see the results!

The wrinkles in the water, hopefully make the viewer ask some questions? Is that a fish just below the surface? Did somebody just jump in the water? 


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 500, f8, 1/80s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Photoshop CC for optimal sharpening using a High Pass filter in overlay mode
I'm writing this article on a plane (as a passenger and not the pilot!) on my way to Tokyo, Japan. I'll be documenting human life and society in the worlds most popolous city over a four days and I really don't care how you want to call it! 

BJORN











Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pic(k) of the 42: SUNRISE OVER THE OPERA HOUSE, Sydney

My day-job (or night-job) as an long haul airline pilot, has me going to some interesting places all over the world! A negative is that one often suffers from severe jetlag...

Such was the case when I was wide awake at 3,30am in Sydney the other day. I eventually got out of bed, took a quick shower and cup of coffee to finally grab my camera and go for a pre-sunrise walk in the city. As it was a Sunday morning, there was virtually nobody on the streets; a bit of a surreal experience.

Anyway, at daybreak (around 5am) the pre-sunset blue hour turned out to be spectacular. Unfortunately I had left my tripod in the hotel. Damn it! The jetlag was really getting me! Using what was available, I ended up using a wall to get a 2 seconds exposure. 


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF35mm f2 lens
  • ISO 800, 2sec, f8
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro for optimal contras
  • Sharpening done in Photoshop CC using a High Pass filter in Overlay mode

few more images of my 36hr visit to Sydney can be found here. The last 7 being the most recent ones.

Remember: "Every sunrise brings a new day with new hopes for a new beginning" - anon



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 41: LOOKING UP AT MUCEM, Marseille, France

It is often been said that interesting modern Architecture often changes a city over a few years; this might become the case with one of Marseille's latest buildings; MUCEM, a museum devoted to European and Mediterranean civilizations which opened in 2013. 

As Marseille is trying to get rid off its reputation of crime capital of France, MUCEM will hopefully bring in more visitors to France second largest city!  

The building which was built on reclaimed land, was designed by the French Architect Rudy Ricciotti in collaboration with Architect Roland Carta. It is connected to the 17th century adjacent fort with a 130m long footbridge. The 15.000 square meter cube is surrounded by a latticework shell of fibre reenforced concrete; the main attraction of this architectural marvel.

The openings in the shell make for some interesting shadows, the terrace on the roof also gives the visitor great views on the Mediterranean sea. One does not need to pay for the entrance to the museum in order to visit the terrace on the top floor. 

The image below was shot from this viewing deck, using a smaller aperture to have a nice sunburst effect. elected to convert to Black and White in order to take away some of the distracting color fringing in the sun flare.

  
Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 320, 1/500s, f16
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development
  • Nik SilverEfex for Black and White conversion

I did enjoy my short time in Marseille... more images of this large city in southern France can be found here

Given that so many different cultures live together in Marseille, it is also a great city for Street Photography. Next Pic(k) of the week will show you an example of this!

Remember: "Turn your face into the sun and the shadows fall behind you" - Unknown

BJORN


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 40: HOW TO STREET ? Xposure Photo Festival Sharjah

In about 7 weeks, November 22 till 25, the Xposure Photo-festival in Sharjah is on again! This 4 day yearly photo-festival, is quickly becoming one the regions most prominent photo events; having a nice mix of workshops, one of best photo exhibitions I've seen and the regions largest trade show.  

Fujifilm Middle East, will be present at Xposure and although still not 100% confirmed, as an official X-Photographer, yours truly will probably being doing a speaking event on one of the first two days. 

For the ones that don't know, Sharjah is the Emirate next to Dubai in the UAE and is promoted as being the "Cultural Heart" of the UAE. As it doesn't have the same amount of eye catching architecture like Dubai, it feels a bit like Dubai used to be in the 1980's or even 1990's. 

One of the workshops that immediately caught my eye, was "HOW TO STREET" by Indian Street Photographer Vineet Vohra. I've been following Vineet's work for several years and have always have been attracted in how he's able to layer his Street Photograph images that well. 

Something I also see in the work of Magnum Photographers Alex Webb and Harry Gruyaert; my two main inspirations when it comes to Street/Documentary photography. 

Within hours of opening, I booked my own slot for the How to Street workshop and can't wait to shoot along the master! As of today, there are still a few slots available, which can be booked here

By the way, I'm not affiliated or paid by Vineet to advertise this; he doesn't even know.

One of my Photo resolutions was the fact that I would go more to Sharjah to document Life on the Streets of the UAE Cultural Emirate. The workshop above will be a great opportunity to do so.

The image below was shot at the main Dhow (wooden cargo boats) port in Sharjah, while a small truck was being loaded onto a ship. I love the look on the face of the guy on the left; you can see him thinking, "I hope the chains were properly fixed"! 

   

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T20 with the XF50mm f2 lens
  • ISO 200, 1/350s, f5.6
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development using the Fujifilm Classic Chrome Film Simulation

More Street Photography from Sharjah can be found here

Remember: "Buy a good pair of comfortable shoes, always have a camera around your neck, be patient, optimistic and don't forget to smile" - Matt Stuart


BJORN


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 39: THIS IS NOT A DOUBLE EXPOSURE

Most modern cameras (all of the latest Fujifilm X-series, more here) have a multi or sometimes called double exposure mode. I allows the photographer to take multiple images and blend them together during the shooting process; something that can be used in a very creative way!

Now, the image below is NOT such an image. While shooting the streets of the Belgian city of Ghent (Gent in Dutch), I bumped into a construction site which was fenced off. It had several banners installed along the fence, made of a partially see through material. While I framed a few images, I didn't think too much about it on the spot. However on reviewing the images on the computer, I really liked the effect and mystery. 

To me a good Street Photograph, is an image which creates more questions than answers; I think most will agree that the image below definitively fulfills that requirement. 

I'm often asked if a Street Photograph needs to have actual people in the shot? Personally I don't think so; as long as there is a human element in it, I'm OK to call it Street Photography.  



Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF23mm f2 lens
  • ISO 2500, 1/500s, f8
  • RAW development including Black and White conversion in Lightroom CC
One might ask why I shot the image at ISO 2500... For my Street Photography, I normally set up with camera in Manual Aperture mode and use a fixed shutter speed between 1/320s and 1/500s. Auto ISO, which I normally allow to float up to ISO 3200 (ISO 6400 in lower light), then takes care of the exposure variations.

While I've added the image to my "Best Black and White Street Photography" work, I would like to invite all readers to check out the other images here!

Remember: "All the technique in the world, doesn't compensate for the inability to notice" - Elliott Erwitt


BJORN


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pic(k) of the week 38: THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL - C-mine LABYRINTH

Earlier in the month, I visited C-mine, an industrial museum and creative hub housed in an old (closed) coal mine in the northeastern part of Belgium. In the early 1900's the city of Genk (not the same as the city of Ghent) had only a few thousand citizens. But when coal was discovered just before World War I, three mining sites where opened, giving a huge increase in population numbers (65000). While the mines made for a huge boom of the local economy, eventually they were closed down; 1986 was the last year coal was brought up to the surface at C-mine, then called the mine of Winterslag.

Today, the old industrial site which is open for visitors, attracts a lot of photographers. There must have been more than a dozen wedding photographers shooting images the Saturday I was there. One of the more interesting rooms, is the compressor hall; a large room full of compressors that provided air the miners up to 900 meter underground.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, an outside 1km long steel labyrinth was designed by the art and design duo, Gijs Van Vaerenbergh on C-mine square. "Labyrint" is not a classic high wall labyrinth, but a structure that provides new viewpoints to the site in a very creative way. The 190 ton maze consists of a combination of cylinders, half and full circles, providing some see through parts as can be seen in the image below!


Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF18-135mm lens
  • 3 shot exposure bracket at 33mm with a variety of ISO and Shutter speeds
  • Lightroom CC Photomerge HDR to blend images together
  • Nik ColorEfex Pro for optimal contrast
More of own images of the C-mine site can be found here.


BJORN