Monday, March 29, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 13: Two sisters

Inspired by David J Nightingale's photo-workshop organized by Gulf Photo Plus (GPP) earlier this month in Dubai, I went out to Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) to shoot some Black-White HDR photography. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to David's workshop but I've seen quite a few interesting images by two fellow Dubai photographers, Escapism and Momentary Awe. Please have a look at their excellent work!
The business center of Dubai is an Architectural photographer's paradise. No wonder David took his students out there! From DIFC, one has great views on Emirates towers, a 355m office tower and a 309m hotel. When I arrived in Dubai 8 years ago, they where one of the newest Architectural wonders of Dubai and reminded me of two sisters. Today they are still in my top 3 of the best modern Architecture in the city.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with 24-70 2.8
3 shot HDR, -2EV, 0EV,+2EV
ISO 200, 24mm, f 7,1
Photomatix conversion for HDR, Perspective correction with PS CS4 and then Nik Silver Efex Pro for Black & White conversion

This post is one day early, but I'm leaving on a photo-trip to India right now and should be coming back with interesting shots on April 4th.

Till then,
Happy shooting,

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 12: Old & New at Dubai Creek

A few days ago I went back to one of my favorite places in Dubai, the Dhow Wharfage at Dubai Creek. I came home with a collection of people and Dhow (old style wooden boat) images and decided to give some of them an antique look.

We all know the expression, "a picture is worth a thousand words" well I guess this one is worth 4 thousand words! 
I like the water reflections on the boats in the top left image as well as the expression on the faces. Life on these wooden boats is very different from modern life in the city... Looking closely to the bottom right image, one can see a sailor using the self made toilet hanging on the side of the boat. 
For me these 4 images tell a story. I would be interested to know what you think. 
Feel free to leave a comment.

Please click on the image above and select a larger size like XL(arge) or X2  to have a better view. More photographs of the shoot at the Creek can be found here.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with 24-70 2.8 lens
Contrast adjusted with Topaz Adjust 4 and Nik color Efex
Antique look with Nik Silver Efex Pro
Used Print module in LR to export the 4 images to jpeg file

Happy shooting,

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 11: iSee the Dubai Fountain!

Last night we took friends out for dinner at the Dubai Fountain next to the Burj Dubai, sorry Burj Khalifa. The dancing Dubai Fountain sits on the 30 acres (12 hectares) Burj Khalifa lake and jets water up to 500ft (150m) on several different music themes. The show plays every 20 min from 6pm till 10pm (11pm THU to SAT) and has been designed by the Californian based WET, the creators of the fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
While having dinner at Moore Cafe at the Dubai Mall waterfront promenade, I snapped this iPhone silhouette image of some people watching the show. I kind of like the 2 parties of 3 people. Makes one wonder if they are related..?

Image details:
iPhone 3GS
Sharpening, contrast and framing within the iPhone with Photogene.

More iSee images here.

Happy shooting,

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 10: What is this?

Earlier in the week I spend the day in Abu Dhabi shooting architectural images for a client.
The place to be was the Aldar Headquarters (HQ) on Al Raha beach where the 110m oval shaped building is coming along nicely. I've shot at this location multiple times during the construction process and I'm always excited to spend time around this very different office building...
Because of its special shape there was a need for a tailor made glass cleaning unit. So, that's what it is! 

Image details:

Nikon D700 with Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 lens
ISO200, 32mm, f7.1
HDR out of 3 shots, -2,0,+2EV with photomatix

Architect MZ & Partners have conceptualized the stunning round design and ARUP has been appointed as lead consultants and engineers. The facade consisting of hundreds of glass triangles has been installed by the Parmasteelisa-Gartner group.

For more images of the Aldar HQ in Abu Dhabi, click here

Happy shooting,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 9: Burj Dubai - sorry, Burj Khalifa

On January 4th the world witnessed the opening of the tallest tower on Earth. Prior to its inauguration it was called Burj Dubai, now it is the Burj Khalifa, named after the UAE president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. This has been viewed by observers as an attempt to boost confidence and to show that the capital Abu Dhabi is backing up Dubai.
I'm sure that most people in Dubai will keep it calling Burj Dubai for some time to go. And so do I...

Image details:
Nikon D700, 14-24mm 2.8 lens
ISO 200, 20mm, f8, 3 exposures for HDR -2EV, 0EV, +2EV
HDR processed in Photomatix, details enhanced with Topaz Detail

Early February, the Burj (arabic for "tower") has been in the news again. The viewing platform on the 124th floor has been closed for an undetermined time due to people being stuck in one of the elevators. The building developer is blaming "unexpectedly heavy visitor traffic" and "technical issues with the power supply". I think, I'll go with the second one!

There is speculation that the opening of the Burj Khalifa might have been brought forward in order to bring some good "Dubai news" after all the financial troubles that were spread around the world, end of 2009... I do not know anybody who has moved into the building and I'm sure there is still a fair amount of work going on inside the tower.

Beside all of the above, the building remains quite an achievement. It has world records for the following:
  • Tallest building in the world
  • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • Highest number of stories in the worl
  • Highest occupied floor in the world (not yet, I suppose)
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world (for a while at least)
  • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world 
  • Tallest service elevator in the world 

Some facts:
  • Opening ceremony 1325 days after the excavation work was started
  • 828m tall (2716ft), compared to second tallest tower Tapei 101, 508m (1666ft)
  • 1044 luxury apartments, 49 floors of offices
  • 160 room Armani hotel supposed to open shortly ?!
  • Elevator speed 18m/s (59ft/s) faster than Tapei 101
  • 160 floors, more floors seem to be there but not for living/working in
  • Worlds highest mosque on 158th floor
  • Worlds highest swimming pool on 76th floor
  • Building has 2909 stairs up to the 160th floor
  • Proud to be Belgian, it was largely built by the Belgian company, "Besix" 

Happy shooting,

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pic(k) of the week 8: Going to church on the ski-slopes?

Just back from a weeklong ski holiday in Austria. This year we went to the Skicircus area in Saalbach-Hinterglemm-Leogang. The ski pass gives access to +200km excellent prepared alpine ski pistes and has 55 of the most modern cable car and lift facilities. 

Needless to say, that I didn't take my trusty Nikon D700 on the trip... instead I shot some images on the go with my Canon G9 and iPhone 3GS.

High on one of the mountains between Leogang and Saalbach, we found this beautiful small church right on the ski slopes. 

Image details:
Canon G9, ISO 80, f 5.6, 1/2500, 15mm 
Contrast adjusted with the brand new Topaz Adjust 4

More images of our ski adventure here

PS: We were very happy with our hotel accommodation. Therefore we can highly recommend the Forsthofalm Hotel close to Leogang. It consist of an older Chalet and a modern all wooden building with a nice Spa (sauna, steambad, relax...) on the top floor. 

Happy shooting,