Posts Tagged ‘pic’

Etihad Towers 360

March 3rd, 2012

Serendipity. Sometimes it hits you.

The day I took this shot, I was waiting for a few friends outside their new apartment in the stunning new Etihad Towers buildings in Abu Dhabi. While they showed up, I decided to try ou my new 8mm Sigma fisheye lens.

This is the result. One of the first shots I took with the fisheye.

Needless to say, I’m loving this lens.

More to come soon!

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Florence, a Panorama

January 20th, 2011

This is a panorama of the older part of Florence, Italy, which I find to be the most beautiful city in the world. The panorama was taken last October from the top of the Piazzale Michelangelo.

It is put together from 26 separate photos and the size of this low-resolution version is 5019×500 pixels (the high-res version weighs in at 375 megabytes with a size of 24073×4094 pixels).

Click on the thumbnail to view the full-size image.

For you Assassin’s Creed fans out there, has the old city changed much since the 15th Century?

More coming soon!

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The Road

April 18th, 2010

Some time ago I decided to do Saint James’ Way, also known as Le Chemin de Saint Jacques de Compostelle, Il Camino de Santiago, etc…

I decided to follow the Camino Frances – as in, that part of the Way that starts in France (at the foot of the Pyrenees to end in Santiago. It’s an 800 km trek on foot.

By the time you read this, I’ll have started it some days back and likely well on my way, somewhere down the road.

That means that I won’t be posting anything new for a little while as I’m not taking my laptop with me. But I do intend to come back with a few good pictures (and stories) to share with you.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this picture, which I made in Brussels.

This age-old symbol of the sun, a menhir, was offered by the Xunta de Galicia to the city of Brussels and dedicated to the Anonymous Pilgrim. It was erected at the site of the city’s traditional assembly and departure point for pilgrims embarking on the Way of Saint James.

I propped up my flash on my backpack – which I set on the floor some distance from the menhir to camera left. I then exposed for the sky and snapped away.

Catch you soon!

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The Joker

April 16th, 2010

I was fooling around with light and lighting at a friend’s place some weeks ago, making portraits of both him (and his cat).

At one point I aimed for a rather different look. Something … darker. So I lit him with strong, harsh light from two flash guns, one on either side of his head, and slightly behind him.

This rather sinister portrait is the result.

The funny thing is, this gent is quite possibly the kindest heart I know. And I’ve known him for what, 20 years now, or thereabouts. Who’d have thought he had it in him… ;)

More coming soon!

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The Train Ride

April 12th, 2010

At one point I was on the train to Brussels from Paris. The young man seated across from me wrapped up his jacket to use as a makeshift pillow, leaned against the window and promptly fell asleep. The image of both him and his mirror double propping up the window between their foreheads as the beautiful French countryside zipped by was too much. I had to make the picture.

More pictures coming soon!

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The HDR Debate

April 10th, 2010

Before I disappeared, a debate seemed to be raging online regarding the value of HDR imaging and techniques (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the debate you stand on).

It started with Dave Cross’s post called “The Debate Over HDR” and was soon followed by a response to one of the comments on that post by Scott Kelby (here’s the link to Kelby’s post). The various views and commentary were very interesting to me and led me to re-examine the reasons why I now enjoy HDR imagery.

The debate may have died down since the above-mentioned posts were published, but I thought I would share my two cents with you anyway.

Some time ago I really disliked the idea of HDR. I felt, like some commentators, that HDR was perhaps a way of rendering an otherwise uninteresting image interesting. In some cases I still say it may serve that way. However on the whole, as I’ve come to learn to use the effect and it’s uses and limitations, I’ve come around to changing my views. My friend Dan and his work gave the first push that got me on the way to converting. He was a big proponent of HDR way before I ever was.

I now sometimes do shoot something with the express purpose of creating an HDR image. And I occasionally even feel that some images work better in HDR; Sometimes, there’s no way to light a scene the way I would like to capture the image I have in my mind, and HDR is often of help to me there. In those cases particularly, it may give me a certain flexibility that could only be rivalled by an army of assistants and an inconceivable (for me) collection of speedlights and gels. That last is perhaps not a very practical option. Especially considering I’m mostly a shooter out on his own, with (maybe) one speedlight (and at most two) and no assistants.

That said, HDR and other tools at the disposal of the modern photographer are methods of expressing a certain vision of the world around us. So, is HDR less challenging? Yes, almost certainly. But does that make HDR less worthy? In this photographer’s eye – not always. Scott Kelby put it very nicely “HDR is an effect like any other effect”.

My two cents now spent, I propose to share with you images of two different subjects. Each subject has both an HDR image (created from 7 different exposures) and a “standard” variant. The aim being to showcase the large difference between the two styles as I’ve experienced them (and the different visions of a same subject that can thus be expressed).

The first two images below are of a tower of the Hili Fort in Al Ain. I prefer the subtler tones and shades of the “standard” photograph, but enjoy the striking quality the tone mapping has given the clouds in the HDR image, as well as the detail brought out in the walls of the tower. Those friends of mine I’ve asked have come back fairly equally divided as to their preference on this one.

The second set of images below is of one of the towers at the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace, also in Al Ain.

In the “standard” photograph, to achieve the effect you see here I exposed for the sky and lit the foreground with an SB900 speedlight. Some of the light bounced onto the wall of the palace and its tower, giving it some detail instead of making it some sharp shadow against the twilight sky.

I very much enjoy both images, but my favourite is by far the “standard” image. That’s partly due to the colour of the sky, but it may also be a measure of pride – I used the limited gear I had at my disposal to get precisely the image I was aiming for.

The challenge of it, and the satisfaction of having achieved marks the “standard” image as special to me. By comparison, the HDR variant was not as big a challenge as it’s a significantly more forgiving and much more flexible process.

Your thoughts and comments welcome, as always.

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The Night Drive

April 8th, 2010

It’s been a very long time since my last post.

I’ve been going through some stuff lately and ended up falling off the grid completely. It was remarkably easy to do, strangely enough. The crawling back is proving immeasurably harder to do. It’s not completely over, but I’m working on it. On that note, I’d like to apologise here to all my friends who’ve seen me drop off the map and who tried to raise me unsuccessfully.

The good news is that my lack of posts doesn’t mean that I’ve been idle photography-wise. That said, I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to return to the post-every-other-day routine for a while yet. This is due to a number of factors. The two main ones are: 1) I don’t have a steady internet connection; and 2) God willing, I may soon be embarking on a month-long trip over which I will – for certain – not have any internet access whatsoever. I’ll fill you in on the details of that soon enough.

Meanwhile, to celebrate the return of the not quite prodigal, I’ll leave you with a few pictures.

These were taken one night as I was driving back to Abu Dhabi from Al Ain. I set up my D700 on a tripod in between the front seats of my car and attached a cable release to it: Voila! Simple enough, I thought.

I took a test shot or two to get the settings I wanted (lens set to infinity, Aperture Priority mode, f/8, ISO 400), and off I went. The only problem was that on turns, the setup tended to lean dangerously, Tower of Pisa-style. It occasionally even threaten to topple, regardless how gently I took a turn. Next time I try this, I’m going to look to strapping the tripod legs to something…

I’m currently trying to find my way back … somewhere. So the images have taken on new meaning for me.

I hope you enjoy them.

More pictures soon!

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The Graveyard, a Panorama

February 10th, 2010

As promised earlier, here is the panorama I stitched together from 11 pictures I took on my visit to the dhow graveyard in Mina Zayed.

Click on the thumbnail below to view the larger image.

More pictures coming soon!

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The Graveyard

February 6th, 2010

There’s a clearing in Abu Dhabi’s old Mina Zayed which doubles as a graveyard for derelict dhows.

I recently had the opportunity to explore it. Here are a few of the resulting pictures.

The mina (port) is gradually being torn down to be replaced by highrise hotels, office and residential buildings. The first signs of the changes to come are starting to be visible.

I guess the old must make way for the new.

I did some more experimenting with HDR this round. The HDR images below were created from 7 exposures each.

The light was just perfect. It was late evening and the sun was low on the horizon.

I loved the sunlight through the window.

The hull of one dhow was ripped open, the rusted metal sheeting peeling away from the wood planks beneath.

Most all the propellers of the derelict dhows were rusted black. This was the only one which still retained its original paint – a rusty red.

I’ll be posting a panorama I took of the graveyard soon.

Stay tuned for more pictures!

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The Kfardebian Natural Bridge

February 4th, 2010

On the road between Faqra and Faraya-Mzar in the Lebanon’s Kfardebian district, stands an impressive natural structure: a stone bridge the archway of which measures some 38 meters. I understand that this “Jisr el Hajar” is listed among the top ten natural wonders of Lebanon (at No. 8, if I’m not mistaken), and accordingly is under (much needed and occasionally inadequate) government protection.

Here are a few shots from my visit to the area just before the last snowstorms.

This is an HDR image created from 5 separate exposures. I had to lie down flat on a tiny bit of rock that hung out over the void to take it.

Interestingly, the place was a hive of activity, with several groups of rock climbers arranged along the cliff face to the right of the bridge.

I also enjoyed the peculiar rock formations in the area I stood in, overlooking the bridge.

More pictures coming soon!

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