Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 13: Silky waters in Dubai

While in Photography we are often fighting the lack of light, sometimes there can also be too much light...  One of the remedies for the latter one, is using a "neutral density filter" (ND). While these dark filters are used to reduce the amount of light entering the lens, a side effect allows us to make the exposure time longer. Needless to say that a good sturdy tripod is a must under these conditions. 

On some of these filters, one can select a given amount of darkness by turning the front filter element; even though these Vari-ND filters are often more pricey, they allow for much more flexibility. 

2013 Pic(k) of the week 13: Silky waters in Dubai

While setting up for some night photography near Dubai Marina, I wanted to start by photographing some of the rocks on a nearby beach. Even though the sun had just set, normal exposure without the filter, was still giving me less than half a second of exposure time using a small aperture of f16. This would have been not sufficient to blur the water.

Adding a Vari-ND filter, it reduced the light by 5 stops of light (EV) and therefore increased the exposure time to the needed 20s. Perfect for the silky look of the water I was after...

Image details:
FujiFilm Sexy1 (X-E1) with the 18-55 lens
ISO 200, 43mm, f11, 20s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.4. RC
Nik ColorEfex for contrast and colour fine-tuning

To continue on the subject of landscape photography, I'm presently spending a week in Alentejo, Portugal. Expect some more landscape images in the coming weeks.

Till then, 
remember, "Water is the driving force in nature" - Leonardo da Vinci


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 12: Aviation has come a long way...

For this weeks Pic(k) of the week, you get two images for the price of one!

2013 Pic(k) of the week 12: Aviation has come a long way
Both images of the "for its time, state of the art" 4 engine airliners, were shot during the same week. The cockpit of the 1950's BOAC Comet 2 airliner, was photographed at the small but interesting, Al Mahatta Aviation museum in Sharjah, UAE. While the lower image, an A380 flight-deck, was shot during my return flight from Hong Kong to Dubai.

Even though over the last 60 years, the basics of airline flying haven't changed that much , the technology and the number of people behind it surely has. While the Comet carried 40 passengers with a cockpit crew of 4, the 550 passenger A380 normally operates only with a captain and first-officer. 

The British built Comet, was the worlds first Jet airliner and this particular one (G-AMXA),was the first production Comet 2, that made its maiden flight on August 27, 1953. Almost 60 years ago! 

As most of you probably know, the flight-deck of the mighty double deck Airbus A380, is my office for the day (and night) job! Even though I shouldn't complain, in some ways, I regret not having lived half a century earlier, when apparently flying was more fun... I would have missed my digital photo gear however!

Image details:

Top image:
FujiFilm Sexy1 (X-E1) with the 18-55 lens
ISO 3200, 54mm, f3.6, 1/8s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.4.RC
Nik SilverEfex for Black and White conversion

Bottom image:
FujiFilm Sexy1 (X-E1) with the 14 2.8. lens
ISO 3200, 54mm, f2.8, 1/15s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.4.RC

Collage of images was made using the print module in Lightroom 4.4 RC

Remember, when sex was safe and flying was dangerous ?  Now it probably is the other way around...


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shopping Mall photography, the new Street Photography?

Over the years, especially in modern cities like Dubai, "shopping malls" have almost  completely replaced the classic "high street" shopping experience. 

Shopping Mall photography at Mirdiff City Center

As some of you know, this crazy photographer rarely leaves the house without some kind of a camera. When the wife had some stuff to do in one of the many Dubai Shopping malls, I joined her with my FujiFilm X-E1 mirror less camera. I spend an hour or so, looking for some interesting "Street Photography" style opportunities and came home with a few interesting new images... It also made me think how the whole shopping scene has changed so much. 

Shopping Mall photography at Mirdiff City Center

Can we classify "Shopping Mall photography" as "Street Photography"? Personally I believe we can. After all, it documents daily urban life and the interaction of people...

Shopping Mall photography at Mirdiff City Center

One of the complexities of this is the fact that most malls do not officially allow photography. Even though they often do not display the dreaded "Photography not allowed" signs, security guys will often ban you from framing images.

Shopping Mall photography at Mirdiff City Center

This is exactly where using smaller cameras like the FujiFilm X-E1 (Sexy-01) come in handy. After all the photography police do not know that the sensors in these mirrorless cameras, are often identical if not better than their "Pro DSLR" ones!

Shopping Mall photography at Mirdiff City Center

Needless to say that one needs to be careful and respect local traditions...

Not sure where this will end up, I today started a brand new gallery inside my "Personal Projects" gallery, called "Shopping Mall Photography". 

As famous war photographer Robert Capa said; "If your photos are not good enough, you are not close enough"



Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 11: HSBC building Hong Kong

Last week I purchased a new lens for my mirror-less FujiFilm X-E1 (Sexy-1). Being an Architectural photographer, one of the things I was missing was a wider view than what my 18-55 Fuji lens was offering. For my full frame photography (Nikon D800), the Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8 lens is without doubt my workhorse lens. When Fuji last month came out with their own 14mm 2.8 lens, it quickly made it onto my wish-list.

Since I haven't blogged an Architectural image for a few weeks now, it seems like a perfect opportunity to share one made with the new purchase.

2013 Pic(k) of the week 11: HSBC building Hong Kong

The image above is a night shot of the HSBC building in Hong Kong. This building designed by the Norman Forster and partners, is different in more than a few ways. 

Different parts of this modular design 180m building were made all over the world and then assembled in HKG. When it was finished in 1985 it became the worlds most expensive skyscraper. That fact that it could be dismantled and rebuild somewhere else was a requirement because of the uncertainty of the handover of Hong Kong from the British to the Chinese in 1997. Until now, there clearly is no sign that this will ever be needed...

Another interesting fact is that this very eco-friendly building is cooled with seawater from the nearby South China sea. That fact that it directly overlooks the water, is said to have a Feng Shui element; i.e. good wealth in Chinese tradition.

Image details:
FujiFIlm X-E1 (Sexy1) with the Fuji 14mm 2.8 lens
ISO 200, 14mm, f8, 1.3s
RAW development in Lightroom 4.4RC
Nik ColorEfex for contrast adjustment

More Architectural images of Hong Kong can be found here.

The 14mm prime lens, has also proved to be very valuable for my new love of "Street Photography". 

Remember; " As an Architect you design for the present with an awareness for the past, for a future which is essentially unknown" - Norman Foster


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Pic(k) of the week 10: Delhi trio in Dubai

Earlier this week, I was wondering around the Dubai Creek area, looking for interesting people to photograph. This area is probably one of the best places in Dubai for "Street Photography".

2013 Pic(k) of the week 10: Trio from Delhi in Dubai

When passing these three male Sikhs sitting in a park area, I could not resist to ask them whether I could photograph them. The three gentlemen, originally from Delhi, India, happily approved the request!

For those of you interested; Sikhism was formed about 500 years ago in India and presently is with about 25 million worshippers the 8th or so religion in absolute numbers. One of the more intriguing things about Sikhims, is that they do never cut their hair. The males who all wear interesting turbans, make for some very photogenic subjects.

Image details:
FujiFilm X-E1 with 18-55 lens
ISO 1250, 31mm, f3.2, 1/25s
RAW development with Lightroom 4.4 RC
Nik SilverEfex for Black and White conversion

Remember; "You have to taste a culture to understand it"- Deborah Cater