Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 48: ANOTHER DAY AT ANGKOR WAT

Cambodia, has been on the list of places to go to for a long time... I finally managed to tick it of the list. One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about this Southeast Asian country is undoubtedly Angkor Wat.

A a prime example of Khmer architecture, this amazing temple complex built in the 12th century, is even on the National flag. Over the last 10 years, tourists worldwide have also discovered Angkor Wat, leading to a huge influx of visitors to Siem Reap, the city where the temple is located.

I had read multiple posts talking about the hundreds of people that flock to Ankor Wat for sunrise; some people say it is a must see while others hate the crowds. I wanted to make up my own mind and try at least once! 

Erik De Vries, a dutch photographer based in Siem Reap, who I hired for a 4 day photo-tour, recommended not to bring any tripod. I must say that I initially questioned that decision, but in the end I was happy I didn't!  

As the ticket booth for the Angkor Wat temple complex, opens at 5am, Erik showed up at our Siem Reap hotel at 4.45am in a tuk-tuk. A quick drive to buy our three day ticket passes, which by the way are not cheap (37,-USD for a single day and 62,-USD for 3 days) and then to the temple grounds.

Most photographers, shoot the temple at sunrise from one of the two reflection ponds. The one on the left, which has the sun rising behind the temple, had some scaffolding in the foreground, so we elected to use the right one. As we arrived around 5.45am, there were already a hundred or so people trying to get to the front of the small lake. 

A tripod would indeed be more of a hindrance than a benefit. Thanks Erik. It was not that I was about to make a unique image. Just do a google image search for "Angkor Wat sunrise" and you'll know what I mean!

At least the sky looked pretty dramatic the morning we were there. Below is a triptych shot handhold. The first two images were shot within 15 mins while the third one was shot after lunchtime. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with XF16-55 f2.8 lens
  • handheld at 16mm, varying shutter speeds and ISO between 800 and 160
  • Lightroom for RAW development
  • Nik ColorEfex pro 4 for optimal contrast
In hindsight, I was happy that I did the sunrise shoot at Angkor Wat. More for the overall experience than for the actual images I shot. The alternative of shooting one of the other temples around Angkor Wat is not really an option as the other temples only open at 7am.

Personally I find that if I start with shooting those iconic images first, it clears my mind and gives me the artistic freedom to then make some "real" images. 

I hope to finish the editing process of the images shot during my 10 day visit to Cambodia, somewhere next week. More about this in a future blog post.

UPDATE: More images of the Temples of Ankor can be found here.

Remember, "Focus on the journey, not the destination




Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 47: GREAT MOMENT IN CAMBODIA

I'm writing this from my hotel room in Siem Reap, on the last day of an amazing photo-adventure to Cambodia. What a trip it has been... so many great experiences that will be engraved in my memory forever! 

One that stood out the most is related to the image below. While strolling through a rural village about an hour out of Siem Reap, I noticed a nice reflection on a scooter parked inside an open motorbike maintenance shop. Quickly positioning myself across the street, I managed to compose the image below. Although the lens used is far too long for classic Street Photography I'm still happy with the result! After framing the shot below, we made a series a Street Portraits of the family and chatted to the three kids which all spoke remarkable good English. Being extremely sweet, we wanted to reward them with a small tip. Something I rarely do, but which I did find appropriate for the circumstances. 

When my wife handed out the money to the youngest of the three, he immediately gave it back to her, and stated the following: "Madam, we have everything, food, a house, clothes. We go to school. Look at us, we are happy. The only thing I know is English. I don't know what to do with money. Please take it back" - remarkable words from a 7 year old!

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with XF 50-140 f2.8, 120mm
  • ISO 800, 1/320s, f18 (such a small aperture to increase the sunburst effect)
  • Acros Film Simulation + Yellow filter, no editing, straight out of camera  (SOOC)
Once the image editing of the more than 3000 images is over, I'll be updating this post with a link to one or two specific galleries. For now, this is the only image uploaded from the trip so far. Meanwhile please check my Instagram account for more here. I'll also blog about my  photo-adventure to Cambodia somewhere in December. 

Lastly, I'm running a FREE Street Photography workshop on THU NOV 22 during the Xposure Photofestival held this week in Sharjah, UAE. The workshop will explain the why, how and where of Street Photography (90 mins) and will be followed by a hourlong photowalk. Fujifilm X-series cameras can be borrowed for free. Please click here to register online. If you don't have one already, you just need to create an account via the link. Places are limited. 

Remember: "It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter" - Alfred Eisenstaedt


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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

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.