Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 50: AT THE CAMEL RACES, DUBAI

When an outsider thinks about the Arabian peninsula, one of the first things that probably comes to mind, are camels often called the ships of the desert. Over my 17 years in Dubai, I've photographed quite a bit at the Al Marmoom Camel race track on the outskirts of Dubai. Hundreds of camel farms can be found around the track, making it perfect for travel/people photography. It is best explored with your own transport (4x4 preferred) as it is a very large area  and not entirely "walkable". 

Camel racing is a national sport and a long time tradition in the UAE. Races are held on different days from October to March and vary from 4km for the young camels to 10km for the larger ones.

Until about 20 years ago, the jockeys were small boys from Pakistan and Bangladesh, which were secured to the saddles with velcro. For obvious reasons human rights stopped this practice and since about two decades remote controlled robots are used instead. 

Last week, while attending one of the morning races, I spend some time at the post-race resting place for the camels. In the frame below I was attracted by a camel head, its shadow and the official Dubai Racing Club symbol on the wall. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-Pro 2 with XF35mm f1.4 lens
  • ISO 160, f5.6, 1/1500s
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) jpeg using:
    • Classic Negative
    • Highlights -1, Shadows +1, Sharpness +2, Noise -1\
More info about upcoming races can be found at Dubai Racing Club website. Unfortunately it is not always kept up to date.

An entire gallery with images shot at the Camel Racing grounds can be found here

Remember: "A camel is a horse designed by a committee" 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Pic(k) of the week 49: OSAKA CASTLE - Fujifilm X-Pro 3 Classic Negative

Over the last few weeks, I've been pretty much exclusively shooting the new Fujifilm X-Pro 3 camera; likely the most controversial released camera of 2019! 

In order to spend some intensive time with the new camera, I elected to last week take it on a 3 day trip to Osaka and Kyoto, Japan; the place where it was born. I intend to blog about my experience with the X-Pro 3 before year end but meanwhile wanted to share a few images of the trip in my Pic(k) of the week section.

The first one is one from Osaka Castle, one of the most touristy and overshot places in Japan. The impressive 5 story building which originally dates back to the 16th century has been rebuilt several times; from several  lightning strikes and resulting fires in the mid 17th century to extensive bombing raids at the end of World War II. 

Rather than shooting the building in a pure Architectural way, I wanted to frame it with in a bit of a different way; after all this piece of architecture has been shot to dead! I used a powerful tree as a main frame for the image to show its majesty and used the new Classic Negative Film simulation to make the image. 

Shooting up from a low perspective, yes I used the tilt screen, allowed me to illuminate the thousands of people present at the site. 

Image details:
  • Fujifilm X-Pro 3 with XF23mm f2
  • ISO 320, 1/680s, f13
  • SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) using the following settings:
    • Classic Negative Film Simulation
    • Highlights -2, Shadows +1, Color 0, Nose reduction -1
    • Color Chrome FX Blue, Strong, Clarity +3 
Using the new Clarity setting in the X-Pro3, does slow down the image processing a bit. I therefore only apply it when I see an image that can benefit from it and do it post-shooting in camera. I pretty much exclusively shot Classic Negative on my Japan trip; love the "film look" of this new Film simulation, especially in a place like Japan where one tends to find some real life pretty strange colors to start with!

Remember: "Tell your customers what they need, well before they realize it themselves" - Steve Jobs