Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 46: STREET HUNT DUBAI - Street photography workshop at Xposure

One of my favorite Photofestivals in the UAE is without a doubt the International Photography Festival "Exposure"; a relative new event  in the emirate of Sharjah, bordering Dubai. 

Like last year, I'll we holding an "Introduction to Street Photography"workshop followed by a photowalk during the event, for the fine guys of Fujifilm Middle East. Called "Street Hunt", the free workshop will start at 1pm sharp, on Thursday 22 November 2018 at the Sharjah Expo center. Pre-registration is required and shall be done through Fujifilm Middle East; check out their Instagram account for more info here or click here for registration.

The workshop will address the why, where and how of Street Photography; especially around the region. On a first come first serve basis, Fujifilm X-series cameras can be lend for the duration of the afternoon. A perfect opportunity to test out what all the Fujifilm excitement is all about!

This weeks Pic(k) of the week, is a silhouette shot I shot last week from a pedestrian bridge in Dubai just before sunset, is the banner used for the workshop/photowalk. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF100-400 lens
  • 1/640, f8, ISO 160, 252mm
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC; main editing was a creative use of White balance for a more impactful image
Shooting Street Photography with a long lens like the XF100-400, is of course somewhat controversial... Since I was shooting across a 10 lane highway, a long focal length was the only way of getting the shot. Unusual for Street Photography, I also shot in high speed burst mode (CH 20fps) using the new Pre-Shot function of the Fujifilm X-T3 (review here). Doing so made picking the best shot when it comes to gesture, very easy. 

I do plan on blogging about these two controversial Street Photography techniques, somewhere in December. 

Remember: "Sometimes you need to milk the cow a lot before you get a little bit of cheese" - Henri Cartier Breton

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Early September, I attended a World War I, remembrance airshow in the North part of France at Cambrai Niergies. Also known as the Great War, which lasted from 28 July 1914 till 11 November 1918, WW I took more than 16 million casualties on both sides of the frontline. This Sunday, NOV 11, people will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, so it is only appropriate to use an image that is related to this event!

The image below of a German Fokker Triplane Dr. 1 at Cambrai, is close to my heart as one of the airfields the WW I fighter was based at during the war, was close to my homecity in Belgium; Markebeeke. 

The Dr 1 was flown by many of the German aces (pilots who have shut down more than 5 enemy aircraft), such as Manfred von Richthofen (Red Baron) and Werner Voss. This beautiful replica aircraft is  registered in France and flies in the colours of the Jasta (squadron) 6, with 527/17 markings. 

Cambrai Airshow 2018

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF18-135 lens
  • ISO 500, 1/400s, f14, 55mm
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) jpeg using the Velvia Film simulation
The Cambrai 2018 airshow had one of the longest flying airshow programs, I've ever seen, non-stop from 12 to 6pm. Unfortunately the display line was facing south, which let to shooting into the sun for most of the afternoon; far from optimal. More images of the airshow can Cambrai can be found here

Remember: "The murder of a man, is still a murder. Even in wartime." - Manfred von Richthofen.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 44: DON'T MISS OUT ON THAT WINDOW SEAT - Fujifilm X-T3 and XF18-135 lens

Be it as a pilot up front or as a passenger in the back, even after all the time I've spend being airborne, I remain intrigued by the view outside! Knowing that only about 5% of the worlds population will ever have a chance to fly in their life-time, we should never take this for granted! Don't miss out on that window seat! 

Like most other genres of photography, the best photo opportunities often present themselves during the Golden hour, a short period just after sunrise or before sunset. 

In the image below, the sun is about to set over the Bay of Biscay in Southwestern France when I was particularly attracted to the complementary colours blue and yellow, that play nicely of each other. The different cloud layers give the image extra depth.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF18-135 lens
  • ISO 160, 1/500, f16, 25mm 
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik Color Efex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
More of my Aerial Photography portfolio can be found here

Remember:"You haven't seen a tree, until you have seen its shadow from the sky" - Amelia Earhart

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 43: THE EYE OF ISTANBUL - Ara Güler In Memoriam

Sometimes it is a photography book that inspires me to take a trip to a place that I haven't been to or at least have not been for some time. Such was the case with Istanbul... The book of Magnum photographer Alex Webb "Istanbul, City of a Hundred names", is one of my favorite photography books! So he was the main reason to eventually go back to Istanbul last week, but there was more...

While Alex his work is mainly color work, I've also been fascinated by the black and white work of Turkish-Armenian photographer Ara Güler, who is often nicknamed "The Eye of Istanbul". As a Photojournalist, Ara documented life in the city that was once called Byzantium and Constantinople, from the early 1950's to the 1990's. To celebrate his 90th birthday, an Ara Güler museum opened last August in Istanbul. More than enough reasons to visit the city that is often referred to as the bridge between East and West.

As I visited the museum, I would later that day learn that the great Ara Güler had passed away that same morning. What a loss for Photojournalism and Photography with a capital "P"!

Istanbul is often referred to as one of the best cities to shoot Street Photography in and after having shot there for an intensive 3 days, I have to concur! After Tokio and New York city it is probably my personal number three!

Initially I had planned to shoot colour work in Istanbul, but the whole Ara Güler experience on day 1 together with the fact that the skies were mainly grey and overcast, made me change to Black and White.

The image below was shot from a place under the famous Galata bridge, during the only short period of sun over the three days. I love how the Suleymaniye Mosque gives the image a nice sense of place. It was merely waiting for the perfect couple to complete the image.  

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mm f2 lens (my favorite Street Photography lens)
  • ISO 1000, 1/400s, f14 (small aperture used to accentuate the sunburst)
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) Jpeg using Acros Yellow filter
During my Street Photo adventure in Istanbul I almost exclusively shot jpegs. I've talked about the excellent quality Film Simulations and the resulting jpeg files which are often nice that replicating them using the RAW file is close to impossible. It begs the question why we still shoot RAW? Well there is definitively still a place for RAW for some genres of photography, for me jpeg has become the way to go for pretty much all of my Street Photography. I might still be shooting RAW+jpeg but often end up not even importing the RAW files anymore.  

The entire collection shot at Istanbul last week, can be found in its own gallery titled after Ara Güler, "The Eye of Istanbul". 

More than likely, I will be picking another image from Istanbul for next weeks Pic(k) of the week! 

Rather than closing with a quote as usual, I would like to share an additional image made at the Ara Güler Cafe, downtown Istanbul the day after his passing. Still being a regular visitor at his own cafe until just before his passing, people had put some of his books, flowers and candles at the place where he always used to sit down. A touching remembrance for a great man!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Earlier this year, while testing the new Fujifilm X-H1 (review here), I shot some images at an old abandoned village in the UAE; Check out Pic(k) of the week 11, "When the desert takes over", for more!

When I visited the small village in Al Madam last March, I knew I would come back and I finally managed to do so last week. 

Clearly social media has given this hidden jewel a sudden boost with images appearing on a weekly basis. With the image below however, I've tried to bring a bit more of an artistic image; keeping the mystery alive! 

I personally find that we still see too many images where photographers want to open up the shadows at all cost. Depending on what you want to show the viewer, there is definitively a place to keep the shadows as they are; dark and moody like in the image below.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF50-140 f2.8 lens
  • ISO 1600, f10, 1/320s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex pro for optimal constrast
The entire collection of images shot at the abandoned village can be now be found in the new "When the desert takes over" gallery. Similar to Kolmanskop in Namibia but on a much smaller scale, it contains images where one can see the power of the desert; therefore the name, "When the desert takes over". 

I'll be sharing new images from Al Madam in my Instagram feed this week; if you don't follow me yet, I do invite you to do so, here

Lastly, I'll be in Istanbul, Turkey on a Street Photography trip on OCT 18, 19 and 20. Any photographers that want to meet up in this great city, feel free to contact me though social media! 

Remember; "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light" - Aristotle

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 41: SUNSET OVER MOUNT FUJI

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the main symbols of the country. At 3776m (12389ft) it is a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1708. Although about 100km away from the capital, it often can be seen on a clear day from downtown Tokyo. 

Mount Fuji is one of Japans Holy mountains, with Mount Tatu and Mount Haku being the other ones. 

Below is an aerial image of Mount Fuji, often by the Japanese called "Fuji san", just as the sun had set behind it. I love how it distinct shape dominates the landscape!  

Image details:
  • Fujifilm XT-2 with XF50mm f2 lens
  • ISO 200, f3.6, 1/320s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex pro 4 for optimal contrast
Being so iconic, I believe the image above deserves a place in my Aerial Photography Portfolio. Click here, to see the remainder of this "select" group of my best aerial images!

Remember: "Those at the top of the mountain, didn't fall there


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 40: STEEET HUNT IN TOKYO - Fujifilm XT-2 with XF16 f1.4

During the month of October, I'll be shooting in my favorite three Street Photography cities worldwide! 

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to shoot in my number one, Tokyo! In a few weeks, I'll be off for a 4 day trip to Istanbul followed by New York city at the end of the month. Yes, October is clearly Street Photograph month for me!

Whenever we fly into Tokyo as airline crew, we stay in the smaller city Narita which is about one hour away from the megapolis Tokyo. Tropical storm Trami, which temporary closed Tokyo Narita airport on Sunday night, gave me an extended stay by 20hrs; this meant visiting my favorite Street Photography city was much more practical! 

Because I knew that the public transport would eventually shut down due to the storm, I had limited time available in order to make it back to my Narita hotel in time. It ended up being an intensive 4 hours of shooting downtown Tokyo. 

The image below was shot close to Shibuya station where one finds the worlds most busy pedestrian crossing. I love how the guy looks at the young lady on the right; a very telling expression which gives the "Street Hunt" phrase the extra dimension!

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with XF16mm f1.4 lens
  • ISO 6400, f9, 1/100s
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development using the Acros Y Camera profile
Tokyo is known for its great light with deep shadows and amazing highlights; perfect for colour work; see my Tokyo Colour gallery

Since the sky was grey with the occasional rain shower, I decided to limit myself to shooting black and white. The entire gallery of the shoot can be found here

Remember: "Street Photography is like fishing. Catching the fish is more important that eating it" - Thomas Leuthard.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 39: OPERATION CAUDRON - Landing on the beach at Le Crotoy

September 1st 2018, is a date that stands out in my 32 year old pilot's logbook... After sending of multiple emails and jumping through a few hoops (figuratively), we managed to land our 1954 Piper Super Cub on a historic beach in Northwestern France.

The reason for the event, was the remembrance of the Worlds First official Flying School, started by the French brothers Caudron and which dates back to 1910! 108 years later, the Piper Club France, got 40 (mostly) vintage Piper aircraft together to land on the same beach the brothers had their Flying School well before the start of World War one! 

In preparation for the mass landing which was nicknamed "Operation Caudron", most aircraft got initially together on the last day of August at a small nearby airport called, Abbeville. While some people spend the night at nearby hotels, some die-hards like ourselves spend the night under the wing of their historic aircraft in tents. 

After breakfast the following morning, we left under a perfect blue sky with three minutes spacing between two aircraft, for the short hop across the Somme Bay to the Le Crotoy beach . After more than 14500 flying hours, my first beach landing was finally in the can! And what a beach. Talk about Aviation history! Click here, to see what it all looked like more than 100 years ago!

Over the years, I've shot a collection of Portfolio aerial images of the Somme Bay which has amazing patterns, especially at or close to low tide. Two examples can be found here and here

After we all returned successfully later that day before the high-tide came in, it clearly was a flying day to remember. Thanks Piper Club France for the perfect organization; no incidents or aircraft damaged. Bravo!

The video above, which exceptionally I'm presenting as my "Pic(k) of the week, consists of footage GoPro, Fujifilm X-T3 camera and even a short iPhone clip (sorry for the vertical format). All still images were made with the Fujifilm X-T3 camera, which at the time wasn't even released. To check out the X-T3 review, click here.

I know it might not be the highest video quality you've seen, but as the event was so important for myself, it did deserve to be my Pic(k) of the week. Die-hard still photographers, don't worry, we will go back to the weekly standard Pic(k) of the week for the next one! Meanwhile more still images of the Operation Caudron event can be seen here.

The video above can also be found in my YouTube channel

Lastly, looking into next year, I'm presently planning to participate in another remembrance event called "Operation Cobra", this to commemorate a less known military operation, held 7 weeks after D-Day, next year 75 years ago. And yes, it will involve another beach landing! 

Remember: "A mile of highway takes you one mile, but a mile of runway takes you anywhere