Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 13: My Dubai skyline

This year is my tenth year in Dubai. One of the best ways to see how the city has evolved in the last decennium is from a distant away.
A great place to shoot this exciting skyline is from the "Creek extension" next to the Al Khail road. It was fellow Dubai photographer Catalin from the great Momentaryawe blog, who first published images from this spot. 

2012 Pic(k) of the week 13: My city skyline

My Dubai skyline image above was shot 20 mins after sunset. Even though not perfect, I  picked a day with some clouds in the sky.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8
ISO 200, 19mm, f 5.6,  Shutter speed 5 shot HDR
RAW development in Lightroom 4
Photomatix for HDR
Nik ColorEfex 4 for optimum contrast

I can't wait to shoot a similar shot with the brandnew 36.3 MP Nikon D800 which I have on pre-order. Yes, I'm eagerly waiting for it to be shipped!

More of my Dubai architectural work can be found here

Also, if interested in doing similar work yourself, make sure you check out Catalin's 2 day workshop; "Shooting with post-production in mind" end of April. 

Happy shooting,

Follow me on:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

iPhoneography, getting out of your creative rut

Over the last few years, a new word has entered the photo world; "iPhoneography". If you think about it, iPhoneography is a strange new word isn't it? We never used to say Nikoneography or Canoneography, did we? After all, does it really matter what we are shooting with? 

Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa
On the second day of 2012, I exchanged my iPhone 3GS for a brand new 64GB 4S. Since that day this little camera has boosted my photographic creativity in more than a few ways. 

Bridge near Hamme, Belgium
Going back to the end of 2011, I found myself in a creative rut. Most photographers have gone through periods where one was lacking the motivation of going out and trying new things. Some call it creativity block. Surprisingly the iPhone 4S has really helped me getting out of my rut!    

2012 Pic(k) of the week 1: Back to basics
Looking at blogs like it almost seems like the whole thing is becoming a cult. But why? Is the 8 million 4S camera better than most of todays compact cameras? Probably not, but there are clearly some important advantages. Here we go:

UAE national shopping at Dragon Market, Dubai, UAE
1/ The best camera is the one which is always with you! Quoting Chase Jarvis, this is clearly the number one and the most import advantage! When an opportunity presents itself, using an iPhone is clearly better than not having any camera at all!

Homeless in Munich, Germany
2/ Small form factor, easily fits in a pocket

3/ Looks non-intrusive to shoot. People will not feel overwhelmed.

Santa Claus in Nice
4/ Good for street photography; as one can pretend working on the phone while shooting

Emirates A380 at Dubai airport
5/ Automatic geotagging; built in GPS coordinates with every image. Works perfect with the new Map function in Lightroom 4!

Mosque and Burj Khailffa, Dubai
6/ In phone photo editing with cheap third party applications, anywhere between free and less than 5 USD!

Apres-Ski bar, Zlllertal Austria
7/ Able to directly upload images to all kind of social media sites like FaceBook, Flickr, Twitter etc... straight from the phone!

BMW R52 motorbike at Pinakothek Museum Munich, Germany
8/ Easy to focus 100% on composition; since there is only one focal length, no choice of aperture, shutter speed. No complicated camera settings to play with... 

Water mosaic
9/ Accessible and relatively cheap when one considers most of us already have a mobile phone anyway.

Color matress
10/ Shooting with the iPhone is FUN! Dragging a heavy DSLR body around, one sometimes forgets why we all started making pictures in the first place...

Probably also the reason why I never take my DSLR on our yearly ski-holiday. A compact camera like my Nikon P7000 does the job of shooting some winterscapes just fine... however this winter the P7000 stayed in its bag and the iPhone was my go to camera for the entire week!  
Icy river at Tuxertal, Tyrol - Austria
Even though the small Nikon probably has better image quality than the iPhone each one of the advantages above made me grab the phone instead! Clearly it is never going to replace a pro (or even consumer) DSLR body. Every camera has its place. Just like a carpenter uses the best tool for a specific job, we should do the same as photographers!

Lifeguard on duty, Al Aqah Beach resort
For me part of the iPhoneography fun is the "in phone" photo editing. Here are my top 5 iPhoneography applications:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug
1/ Without doubt my number one is "Snapseed". Most of you probably know I'm a huge fan of Nik software ColorEfex and SilverEfex for my DSLR photo editing. This universal iPhone and iPad app of the same software developer, is really defining the future of photo editing on small devices like the iPhone. The fact that it received "Apple's iPad app of 2011" award probably says enough!

Al Aqah Beach resort interior
2/ "Camera +" ; this app replaces the native iPhone Camera app to make the images. Its most important feature is the fact that one can separate the focus and exposure points. On the native one they are always at the same spot and every photographer will understand that this is not always a good thing... Even though quite a few new camera replacement apps do similar things, this one has sold over 8 million copies!

Air Traffic Control tower, Dubai International airport
3/"Filterstorm 4", Even though I've only just started using Filterstorm, it looks very promising! It's noise reduction seems like it is definitively worth the 3.99USD price of admission. Also this is one of the only apps that uses layer like photoshop. 

4/ "Photogene2"; interface of this photo editing app almost feels like a native iPhone app. It has some unique features like being able to make collages. See image above.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 6: Greetings from Tirol
5/ "Autostitch" : a great app to shoot and edit panoramas in a matter of seconds! 

I will finish with a few iPhoneography inspirational hangouts. The first one is Instagrama great online community for sharing images accesible on mobile devices like iPhones, iPad and since recently also on Android devices. Two blogs I read regularly are "" and "

Let's end with the following: "The iPhone is not going to replace my Pro Nikon gear anytime soon,  but it sure is a good booster for creativity"!

Don't forget to check out my own iPhoneography gallery here.

Grab your iPhone and explore the world!

Follow me on:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 12: Desert road

Even though I haven't been out enough this season, one of my favorite winter outdoor activities is going for an off-road desert trip in Dubai! 

2012 Pic(k) of the week 12: Desert road

The image above of a road in the middle of the Sharjah desert near Camel rock, shows how the beauty of the UAE desert is slowly being lost my modern infrastructure. About 6 years ago, there wasn't even a desert track at this place. Just plain desert!  

More desert trip images can be found in my "Nature of the UAE" gallery.

Image details:
Nikon D700 with 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO200, f7.1, 185mm, 1/250s
RAW development in Lightroom 4
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for detail enhancement

Go out there and SHOOT!


Follow me on:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 11: Jet-Setting in Abu Dhabi

First of all apologies for the late posting of my Pic(k) of the week! I've encountered some problems with my blogger host, "Blogger". Sit tight for some layout changes on the blog in the near future.

Back to the subject... Earlier this month, I attended the 2012 AbuDhabi Air Expo at the Al Bateen airport.   This event, which was the first ever, is meant to showcase the whole range of "General Aviation", from micro lights through helicopters to business jets! 

Abu Dhabi Air Expo 20122012 Pic(k) of the week 11: Jet-setting in Abu Dhabi
The image above of a brand-new Falcon 7X is one of my favorites of the day. Great slick lines of this long range cooperate aircraft built by French Dassault aviation, make for an excellent photography subject! The 50 million US dollar aircraft had just been delivered to Saudia Private Aviation, a business aircraft division of Saudi Airlines which operates a total of four 7X aircraft.

Please make sure you visit my Business Aviation gallery for more!

Image details:
Nikon D700 with Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR2 lens
ISO 200, 70mm, f 5.6, 1/500s
RAW development in Lightroom 4
Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 for detail enhancement
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion

Don't just take pictures, make pictures,

Follow me on:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Erik Kim made me walk the streets of Nice

Sometimes one only needs to hear or see something to be creatively inspired... This is exactly what happened after I heard famous street photographer Erik Kim's interview on "The Candid Frame" podcast. By the way, make sure to check out the Candid Frame, it is one of my favorite photography podcasts!

36 images from the streets of Nice
The next day I happened to be in Nice, France for 24hrs. A perfect opportunity to work on my Street Photography skills with one single lens; the Nikkor 50mm 1.4.
36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

36 images from the streets of Nice

I decided to convert all images to Black and White. Wanting to do a quick edit, I did not use SilverEfex 2 but developed them within the brand new Lightroom 4! My favorite Black and White tool however, remains the amazing Nik Software plugin.

The images in this post are just a selection of the final 36 images I came home with from the streets of Nice. To see all 36 click here.

Remember, don't just take pictures, make pictures,

Follow me on: