Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 44: DON'T MISS OUT ON THAT WINDOW SEAT - Fujifilm X-T3 and XF18-135 lens

Be it as a pilot up front or as a passenger in the back, even after all the time I've spend being airborne, I remain intrigued by the view outside! Knowing that only about 5% of the worlds population will ever have a chance to fly in their life-time, we should never take this for granted! Don't miss out on that window seat! 

Like most other genres of photography, the best photo opportunities often present themselves during the Golden hour, a short period just after sunrise or before sunset. 

In the image below, the sun is about to set over the Bay of Biscay in Southwestern France when I was particularly attracted to the complementary colours blue and yellow, that play nicely of each other. The different cloud layers give the image extra depth.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF18-135 lens
  • ISO 160, 1/500, f16, 25mm 
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik Color Efex Pro 4 for optimal contrast
More of my Aerial Photography portfolio can be found here

Remember:"You haven't seen a tree, until you have seen its shadow from the sky" - Amelia Earhart

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 43: THE EYE OF ISTANBUL - Ara Güler In Memoriam

Sometimes it is a photography book that inspires me to take a trip to a place that I haven't been to or at least have not been for some time. Such was the case with Istanbul... The book of Magnum photographer Alex Webb "Istanbul, City of a Hundred names", is one of my favorite photography books! So he was the main reason to eventually go back to Istanbul last week, but there was more...

While Alex his work is mainly color work, I've also been fascinated by the black and white work of Turkish-Armenian photographer Ara Güler, who is often nicknamed "The Eye of Istanbul". As a Photojournalist, Ara documented life in the city that was once called Byzantium and Constantinople, from the early 1950's to the 1990's. To celebrate his 90th birthday, an Ara Güler museum opened last August in Istanbul. More than enough reasons to visit the city that is often referred to as the bridge between East and West.

As I visited the museum, I would later that day learn that the great Ara Güler had passed away that same morning. What a loss for Photojournalism and Photography with a capital "P"!

Istanbul is often referred to as one of the best cities to shoot Street Photography in and after having shot there for an intensive 3 days, I have to concur! After Tokio and New York city it is probably my personal number three!

Initially I had planned to shoot colour work in Istanbul, but the whole Ara Güler experience on day 1 together with the fact that the skies were mainly grey and overcast, made me change to Black and White.

The image below was shot from a place under the famous Galata bridge, during the only short period of sun over the three days. I love how the Suleymaniye Mosque gives the image a nice sense of place. It was merely waiting for the perfect couple to complete the image.  

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T3 with the XF23mm f2 lens (my favorite Street Photography lens)
  • ISO 1000, 1/400s, f14 (small aperture used to accentuate the sunburst)
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) Jpeg using Acros Yellow filter
During my Street Photo adventure in Istanbul I almost exclusively shot jpegs. I've talked about the excellent quality Film Simulations and the resulting jpeg files which are often nice that replicating them using the RAW file is close to impossible. It begs the question why we still shoot RAW? Well there is definitively still a place for RAW for some genres of photography, for me jpeg has become the way to go for pretty much all of my Street Photography. I might still be shooting RAW+jpeg but often end up not even importing the RAW files anymore.  

The entire collection shot at Istanbul last week, can be found in its own gallery titled after Ara Güler, "The Eye of Istanbul". 

More than likely, I will be picking another image from Istanbul for next weeks Pic(k) of the week! 

Rather than closing with a quote as usual, I would like to share an additional image made at the Ara Güler Cafe, downtown Istanbul the day after his passing. Still being a regular visitor at his own cafe until just before his passing, people had put some of his books, flowers and candles at the place where he always used to sit down. A touching remembrance for a great man!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


Earlier this year, while testing the new Fujifilm X-H1 (review here), I shot some images at an old abandoned village in the UAE; Check out Pic(k) of the week 11, "When the desert takes over", for more!

When I visited the small village in Al Madam last March, I knew I would come back and I finally managed to do so last week. 

Clearly social media has given this hidden jewel a sudden boost with images appearing on a weekly basis. With the image below however, I've tried to bring a bit more of an artistic image; keeping the mystery alive! 

I personally find that we still see too many images where photographers want to open up the shadows at all cost. Depending on what you want to show the viewer, there is definitively a place to keep the shadows as they are; dark and moody like in the image below.

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with the XF50-140 f2.8 lens
  • ISO 1600, f10, 1/320s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex pro for optimal constrast
The entire collection of images shot at the abandoned village can be now be found in the new "When the desert takes over" gallery. Similar to Kolmanskop in Namibia but on a much smaller scale, it contains images where one can see the power of the desert; therefore the name, "When the desert takes over". 

I'll be sharing new images from Al Madam in my Instagram feed this week; if you don't follow me yet, I do invite you to do so, here

Lastly, I'll be in Istanbul, Turkey on a Street Photography trip on OCT 18, 19 and 20. Any photographers that want to meet up in this great city, feel free to contact me though social media! 

Remember; "It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light" - Aristotle

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 41: SUNSET OVER MOUNT FUJI

Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the main symbols of the country. At 3776m (12389ft) it is a dormant volcano which last erupted in 1708. Although about 100km away from the capital, it often can be seen on a clear day from downtown Tokyo. 

Mount Fuji is one of Japans Holy mountains, with Mount Tatu and Mount Haku being the other ones. 

Below is an aerial image of Mount Fuji, often by the Japanese called "Fuji san", just as the sun had set behind it. I love how it distinct shape dominates the landscape!  

Image details:
  • Fujifilm XT-2 with XF50mm f2 lens
  • ISO 200, f3.6, 1/320s
  • RAW development in Lightroom CC
  • Nik ColorEfex pro 4 for optimal contrast
Being so iconic, I believe the image above deserves a place in my Aerial Photography Portfolio. Click here, to see the remainder of this "select" group of my best aerial images!

Remember: "Those at the top of the mountain, didn't fall there


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pic(k) of the week 40: STEEET HUNT IN TOKYO - Fujifilm XT-2 with XF16 f1.4

During the month of October, I'll be shooting in my favorite three Street Photography cities worldwide! 

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to shoot in my number one, Tokyo! In a few weeks, I'll be off for a 4 day trip to Istanbul followed by New York city at the end of the month. Yes, October is clearly Street Photograph month for me!

Whenever we fly into Tokyo as airline crew, we stay in the smaller city Narita which is about one hour away from the megapolis Tokyo. Tropical storm Trami, which temporary closed Tokyo Narita airport on Sunday night, gave me an extended stay by 20hrs; this meant visiting my favorite Street Photography city was much more practical! 

Because I knew that the public transport would eventually shut down due to the storm, I had limited time available in order to make it back to my Narita hotel in time. It ended up being an intensive 4 hours of shooting downtown Tokyo. 

The image below was shot close to Shibuya station where one finds the worlds most busy pedestrian crossing. I love how the guy looks at the young lady on the right; a very telling expression which gives the "Street Hunt" phrase the extra dimension!

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-T2 with XF16mm f1.4 lens
  • ISO 6400, f9, 1/100s
  • Lightroom CC for RAW development using the Acros Y Camera profile
Tokyo is known for its great light with deep shadows and amazing highlights; perfect for colour work; see my Tokyo Colour gallery

Since the sky was grey with the occasional rain shower, I decided to limit myself to shooting black and white. The entire gallery of the shoot can be found here

Remember: "Street Photography is like fishing. Catching the fish is more important that eating it" - Thomas Leuthard.