Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 44: Back in time, Cordes-sur-Ciel

Last month I managed to visit the medieval village of Cordes-sur-Ciel near Toulouse, France. This fortified town on top of a small hill was built in 1222 by Raimon VII, the count of Toulouse.

A steep hike rewards one with great views on the surrounding vineyards. Even though it can be quite touristy at times, there are plenty of photo opportunities for the travel photographer.

2012 Pic(k) of the week 44: Back in time, Cordes-sur-Ciel

The image above of two very old doors, takes one back in time and gives a good impression of what the village looks like!

To me this is an image screaming to be converted to Black and White...

Image details:
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70 2.8
ISO400, 38mm, f5.6, 1/80s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.2
SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion

More of images of the region can be found in my new "Toulouse" gallery.

Remember, " The past is never dead, it is not even past" - Gavin Stevens

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 43: Camel driver portrait

As promised in my post April 24, I went back to the Al Marmoom Camel race track just down the road from where I live in Dubai. The camel racing season is now just about to start and it felt like the camel drivers really enjoyed the cooler weather.

Especially just before sunset the place is full of activity with loads of camels being taken on the track for a walk or run. A perfect opportunity to photograph some of the camel drivers.

Camel driver portraits, Dubai

Image details:
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 70-200 VR2 2.8
ISO180, 200mm, f8, 1/400s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.2
ColorEfex Pro for contrast adjustment

More images of the afternoons shoot can be found here here.
Last but not least, "Eid Mubarak" to all Muslims celebrating Eid-al-Adha!

Where ever you are, what ever you do, have a great weekend!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Lost village - Doel, Belgium

It is quite rare for an entire village to disappear, but this is unfortunately what is happening to Doel, close to Antwerp Belgium. 

DOEL, lost village, AUG 2012

The village which dates back to 1267, is nestled on the left bank of the river Scheldt next to one of the main nuclear power plants in Belgium. Somewhere in the 1970's it was decided that the expansion of the Antwerp harbour, would eventually make Doel disappear. 

DOEL, lost village, AUG 2012

It was only at the end of the 90's that the first people started moving out. The population has now gone down from well over 2000 to probably less than 20. 

DOEL, lost village, AUG 2012

In 2008 the government announced that they would start breaking down the houses, but after 4 years almost all of them are still standing, including a 17th century windmill on the dyke of the river. 

DOEL, lost village, AUG 2012

The place has become a mecca for graffiti artists and Urban Exploration (Urbex) photographers. 

DOEL, lost village, AUG 2012

More of the images made at Doel can be found here.

Remember; "The past is a ghost, the future is a dream and all we ever have is now" - Bill Cosby


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 42: French Beetle

It is quite rare that I use an iPhone image in my Pic(k) of the week series.... But as we all know, the best camera is the one you have with you!

2012 Pic(k) of the week 42: French Beetle

As I was coming out of a restaurant in downtown Toulouse last week, this VW Beetle was just begging to be photographed.

The harsh light of the overhead streetlights stood in dark contrast to the overall scene. Even though this image clearly has some flaws like the blown out highlights on the car, it gives me that European wintery feel... Maybe even a sense of loneliness. To be honest, I'm not really sure that the same would be achieved if I had taken it with the D800. I guess that a very clean image would almost be too clinical.

Image details:
iPhone 4S
ISO 800, F2.4, 35mm, 1/15s
Lightroom 4.2 for contrast and noise reduction
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion

Even though the training for my day-job still keeps me very busy, I do hope to go out there more and more as the weather in Dubai is becoming better and better...

Remember, "when people ask me what equipment I use, I tell them my eyes"


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 41: View on the Pink city - Toulouse

It is during periods of little photography, that I clearly feel how important this thing is for me...
As some readers might know, I'm presently in the South of France on a three week A380 pilot training course for my day-job. Even though I brought my Nikon D800 to Toulouse, also called the Pink city, I've had little opportunity to go out and shoot. Yesterday I took a short touristy boat trip on the river Garonne, for the sole purpose of trying to capture some interesting images.

2012 Pic(k) of the week 41: View on Toulouse

The image above of the "Hôpital de La Grave" was made as the boat came out of one of the locks along the river Garonne. I particularly like how the bridge frames the 17th century building with a dramatic sky in the background. Even though I have limited editing tools available on my Macbook, I'm pleased with the resulting image.

Image details:
Nikon D800 with Nikkor 24-70 2.8
ISO 100, f7.1, 45mm, 1/320s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.2
Single HDR development in Photomatix 4
Nik SilverEfex 2 for Black and White conversion

Remember, "There are always two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer" - Ansel Adams

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pic(k) of the week 40: Propeller math

Being in the middle of my Airbus A380 type conversion training as a pilot, I unfortunately have little time to work on new images...

Therefore an image I shot at the Zoersel PhotoFlying days last August.

Crew Chief climbing a P-51 Mustang at the 2012 Zoersel PhotoFlying days

The image above of a World War II P-51D Mustang, highlights the difficulty of shooting prop-aircraft with a running engine. When running the RPM (Rotations Per Minute) of their propellers varies between 500 RPM at IDLE to above 2500 RPM during take-off, climb and cruise. 

If one shoots at relative fast shutter speeds like 1/500s or more, the prop freezes and it looks like the engine just stopped. Obviously not looking natural for an aircraft, especially in flight!

In a perfect world one wants to have a full prop-disk displayed. In order to achieve this, we first need to do a little bit of math;

First of all, we need to know how many prop blades the aircraft has. Some are equipped with 2 bladed propellers while others have 3, 4 or even more. The P-51 above has a 4 bladed prop.

Next lets suppose a low RPM on the ground of 1200 RPM, which equals to 20 rotations per second. A full prop disk will be displayed if the shutter speed is 1/80s (RMS x number of blades) or less. The image was shot at 1/60s and a little bit of the full prop circle is missing. This proofs that the RPM was more than likely lower than 1200RPM. End of maths lesson!

Image details:
Nikon D800 with 70-200 VR2 2.8
ISO 100, 165mm, f11, 1/60s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.1" 
Black and White conversion in SilverEfex Pro 2

Remember; "A photograph is normally looked at, seldom looked into" - Ansel Adams

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