Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 21: Free as a bird!

Most readers probably know that I fly airplanes for a living... Next week I'm off for a different kind of flying! Together with my wife Djamila, who also is a pilot, I'll be attending a 5 day "paragliding" course in the French Pyrenees near Tarbes. Paragliding is one of the most basic forms of flying, using a ram-air airfoil wing also called the canopy. One runs downhill until enough lift is created and then glides down the valley. Like in a standard glider, if the weather is right, one can stay up for hours at a time. However since this is a beginners course, we will initially learn how to launch and control the wing while still on the ground. By the end of the week we hope to do a few longer flights...

2011 Pic(k) of the week 21: Free as a bird!
Earlier this year, we both had a quick shot at paragliding during our "Empty quarter" adventure. 

Living in nature for a week, I will try to get some landscape photography in there as well.

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8 
ISO400, 70mm, f6.3, 1/1600s
RAW processing LR3
Nik ColorEfex pro for contrast adjustment

Being away from the net, it is likely that there will be not blogposts for just over a week. But no panic, I will be back!

Till then,
click that shutter,

BJORN

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 20: The Waterman

Beijing is a great place for photography at the worst of times!  The last time I was there, end of April, the weather was miserable; overcast skies with light drizzle and lots of "smog". A good moment to shoot the Beijing Hutongs; narrow alleyways with traditional courtyard residences. Part of the fun wandering through these neighborhoods is getting lost. Believe me, you will get lost! Some kind of a GPS device, like an iPhone is not a bad idea!

Pic(k) of the week 20: The waterman
Just like any city in China, Beijing is full of bicycles and tricycles. The one above belongs to the waterman! Unfortunately the person in question refused to be in the picture.

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 14-24 2.8
ISO 400, 16mm,  f4.5 , 1/80s
RAW conversion in Lightroom


Next Monday, I'll be leaving on a 3 week trip to Europe; Southern Spain, The French Pyrenees and my home country Belgium... Plenty of opportunities for photography!

Click that shutter,
BJORN

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 19: City of towers

While attending the fifth edition of the Gulf Photo Slidefest last night, it made me think of posting an image I shot last week... 


Before going any further, Slidefest is a photography get together, where Dubai based photographers project a body of work on a large screen and take questions from the audience. One of the image makers was somebody I've been following for a couple of years; Catalin Marin, the guy behind the great photoblog Momentary Awe. We finally managed to meet and agreed to go out and shoot together in the near future! 


Anyway, early 2010 Catalin, made an amazing image called Burj after Burj A shot by dusk of the 2 best known landmarks of Dubai, Burj al Arab and Burj Khalifa. For the few people that don't know, Burj means Tower in Arabic. 


There are not that many places where one has a clear view on both towers together. By pure coincidence I bumped into the place where Catalin took his... at least I think so! 


2011 Pic(k) of the week 19: City of towers
Not wanting to copy each others work, I would to share my own "day" version of the image above. 


Even though I do prefer his version, I wanted to share the story! If you haven't done so, please make sure you check out Catalin's his blog at Momentary Awe!


Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR2
ISO 200, 200mm, f5, shutter-speed between 1/5000s & 1/320s
HDR processing with Nik Software HDR Pro


Click that shutter,
BJORN


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Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting close at Munich!

Last weekend was spent in the German capital of Bavaria, Munich. My camera bag for the trip was very light; one Nikon D7000 body and a single lens, the Nikkor 105 2.8 VR Micro, one of Nikon's best macro lenses. Probably worth mentioning is that Nikon brands all their Macro lenses as Micro's. 

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
Even though I do not call myself a macro photographer, I do enjoy having a close-up look at nature. 

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
A visit to the Munich Botanic Garden would give me plenty of opportunity... 

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
The tulip season is slowly coming to an end, but still make for a nice painterly image.

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
Beside the beautiful gardens outside, there is also a large variety of plants in temperature controlled rooms, like cacti and these fat plants above,

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
or a full selection of palms.

Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
This detailed shot of a leave almost looks like the skin of a reptile...


Botanic garden Munich, Germany May 2011
For more of my Macro and Close-up photography work, click here.

Click that shutter,
BJORN

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pic(k) of the week 18: The Wild East!

Just a two hour drive from Dubai, one finds the UAE "east coast", comprised of the Emirate of Fujeirah and parts of the Emirate of Sharjah. The "Wild East with its rugged coastlines at the foot of the Hajar mountains is the perfect place for a quick escape from busy Dubai. Exactly what we needed last week!

By 4x4 one can bypass part of the highways and drive through one of the many Wadi's, Arabic for dry river. Small palm tree plantations and interesting small villages, make this for one of the most scenic drives in the UAE.

2011 Pic(k) of the week 18: The Wild East!
Just after sunset I photographed some of the Indian Ocean rock formations on the beach close to our hotel, the Meridien Al Aqah beach resort. 
Wanting to smooth out the flowing water, it was a good opportunity to experiment with a recently purchased Fader Neutral density filter. This filters darkens the exposure by up to 8 stops allowing to shoot at much longer shutter speeds than one would normally need under given light conditions. These longer exposures makes for a nice silky look of the waves hitting the rocks. 

Image details:
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24-70 2.8
ISO200, F11, 70mm, 15sec
RAW development using LR3
Nik ColorEfex for adding contrast 


Click that shutter,

BJORN
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