Jun 29, 2009

Pictures at an exhibition

A good friend and former colleague recently exhibited some of his pictures, together with fellow photography graduates of the Sint-Lucas Academy in Gent. The event took place at the Jan Colle gallery, a building from the 1930s originally used as a wood drying warehouse and now dedicated to showcase all forms of modern art.

As I entered the building (my very first visit there) I immediately felt thrilled by the many scenes, details and textures around me. My mind started bubbling with great picture opportunities! Of course I had my camera nearby, so after a tour of the exhibition proper (and a few beers on a sunny terrace with friends) I made another round, this time looking only for the right setting, the perfect light, the original angle...

I have to confess: I probably spent more time discovering the building than looking at the pictures that were exhibited... But I am confident that these young photographers will already understand that feeling and sympathize with me!

More pictures here.

Gear notes: D700, 17-35/2.8

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version

Jun 26, 2009

Shoot more!

Do you know that nagging feeling of frustration each time you realize you have let an occasion to go out and shoot slip by? Yeah, blame a busy work schedule, family obligations, unfavorable weather conditions... Let's be frank: sometimes we're just simply too lazy!

One way I keep myself more 'active' is to join fellow photo freaks on a 'shooting day' as often as I can. The folks at belgiumdigital.com are great in setting up such group events. Thanks to the efforts and dedication of the organizing volunteers, these trips are always interesting, inspiring and above all... fun!

We love to make fun at each other (the Nikon/Canon/etc. games, you know...). But we also swap lenses, help each other exploring new techniques, challenge each other to come back with unique and creative shots. In the end, it doesn't matter whether you lug around a big DSLR with heavy pro glass or a modest bridge or compact camera. It all comes down to the eye and the mind of the person behind the sensor! So I keep being amazed by the wide variety and often originality of the pictures we share afterwards - even though we all passed by the same spots and sights.

Oh, and did I ever mention before that I sooo like the combination of black&white and urban settings?

Keep shooting, keep sharing, and keep having fun at both!

Gear notes: D700, 28-200G

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version

Jun 22, 2009


I have no experience whatsoever with decent bird photography. I have read about it and enjoyed many great shots by the pros, and I realize how difficult this discipline really is.

So when this weekend, out on a group shooting day at a 'safari park' in the south of the Netherlands, we decided to give it a try during a public show featuring various birds of prey, I had little hope to hit a keeper. I guess I got very very lucky...

This bald eagle youngster came rushing by, only a few meters away, over the heads of the audience. If you (rightfully) doubt about my knowledge of species, know that these eagles don't get their typical white feathers until they reach adulthood.

I stand quite impressed by the focus tracking performance of my camera! As for getting detail into the bird's body against a solid overcast sky: another testimonial to the virtues of shooting RAW.

I brought back more than enough absolute missers to keep my expectations down where they belong. But I do know that I will challenge my (beginner's?) luck again at the next opportunity!

Gear notes: D700, 70-200/2.8VR with TC-14EII

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version

Jun 16, 2009

Holy fish!

Did I ever tell you that I like playing with my fish-eye lens? Not all the time, of course, but once in a while it helps me to look at the world around me in a different, more creative way.

I was lucky to have this lens in my bag when recently I strolled by St. Charles Borromeo’s church in downtown Antwerp. A textbook example of ecclesiastical baroque architecture, this famous Jesuit church hosts a number of paintings by Rubens , who also designed many of the sculptural decorations.

It does take an extreme wide angle lens to convey the overwhelming feeling of space inside this marble temple. The next challenge is to capture the extreme dynamic range of the scene.

Planning from the start to take the HDR route, I shot five consecutive frames from the back of the church at 1EV exposure increments (handheld, as I did not bring a tripod, the "middle" one at 1/30s f/4) and combined them later using Photomatix Pro's exposure blend mode. Another quick 5-frame burst to cover the grandiose main altar, and I got back on my way...

Gear notes: D300, 10.5/2.8 fish-eye

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version

Jun 9, 2009


Sometimes all you need is just keeping your eyes open...

Walking the Brussels streets on a Saturday afternoon, I came by this public transportation shelter, and I saw this couple patiently waiting for their connection.

The soft light played so well with the frosted glass, creating a kind of halo around the people. The seam between the glass panels and a few cobblestones below anchor the picture into the real world.

This picture made itself before my eyes!

Gear notes: D700, AF-S 24-70/2.8

Click on the image(s) to see a larger version