One of my winter pictures of the beguinage of Bruges has made it to the cover of a chocolate box, and although it is small (you can see it between the “Cachet” text and the chocolates) I am still very happy of course. The picture was taken after a snowstorm in 2009, which covered the whole of Belgium (including the coast area which seldom happens) in a beautiful white blanket of snow. A panoramic image of the white houses in the beguinage covered in snow and contrasting with the black trees was already lingering longer in my head, and that day i took my chance. The fact that i had to risk life and limb to get to Bruges that day is another story… More info on the chocolates and where to buy them on www.kimchoc.be. Image data: Fotoman 617 panoramic camera, lens 90mm FujinonSW with center filter, Fuji Provia 100F medium format slide film, exposure unrecorded. Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/frankdeluyck) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FrankDeLuyckPhotography)!
Almost “forgot” to update this blog again (promised myself to do my utmost best in trying to -at least- once in a week post something)- but here it is: some pictures taken a few weeks back on the nice beaches of Cadzand, Holland. The wooden poles placed to slowdown the effects of the eroding sea formed an interesting pattern, as can be seen in below panoramic images, all taken with a Panoramic Fotoman 617 (yes, on film…):
Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm lens, exposure unrecorded, Fuji Velvia 100F
Although it was quite cold (icy wind blowing as always on the Northsea beaches) the elements gave me the nicest sunset, so one could say i was very lucky. A bit further in Belgium the skies turned gray and it started pouring rain…
We were last month for a few days in Fujairah with as main purpose to photograph some of the typical local forts over there. However, we were dissapointed to see that (although they are installed) at none of the locations no artificial lights were in operation (yet?), therefore making it difficult to balance the exposure along the frame : typically during sunset/sunrise conditions the sky reads as much brighter then the subject matter resulting in a blown out sky with proper exposed subject, or proper exposed sky with underexposed subject. Below an image which illustrates this very well : identifying the problem while photographing Fujairah fort we decided to break up early and to re-locate to a nice fountain I saw when driving around Fujairah. Luckily this fountain (like most in the UAE) was lit with artificial lights as such enabling me to expose for the sky and basically wait for the moment (this is typically only for 15mins or so during magic hour) that sky and artificial lit fountain were perefctly balanced resulting in the below shot:
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 3.5 min @ f22 1/2, Fuji Provia 100F, Schneider center filter, tripod
Nowadays we are shifting our attention more and more to Abu Dhabi for the photography of cityscapes. Below our first attempt of a decent photograph of the Grand Mosque. Initially not allowed access inside to the mosque’s premises we were forced to scout the outside perimeter of the site for a good viewpoint. However ongoing construction activities (hence presence of a huge construction crane, bright orange traffic cones and meshings, unfinished pavements etc…) made this job not too easy. I feel however that the below vertical does justice to the grandeur of the mosque, and its unbelievable marble finishings. During the session, we were eventually invited inside the mosque by a very friendly security guard, however due to limited time and fast-fading light levels we could then only take some digital pictures…
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 30 sec @ f22 +1/2, Schneider center filter, Fuji Provia 100F, tripod
In this post i would like to go a bit more into detail about the reciprocity law (who?). Without going to much into the technicalities, the reciprocity law basically defines he inverse linear relationship between the aperture and shutter speed for any given light intensity : For example, a certain exposure may be achieved with an aperture of f2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. The same exposure is achieved by doubling the aperture area to f2 and halving the shutter speed to 1/250 sec or by halving the aperture area to f4.0 and doubling the shutter speed to 1/60 sec. Reason for rambling about something like this, is that for long exposures this law falls apart – the so-called reciprocity failure – and that exposure has to be corrected. And to make things even more complex, each different film “emulsion” has a different response to long exposure. Some films are very susceptible to this reciprocity failure, and others much less so. Some films that are very light sensitive at normal illumination levels and normal exposure times lose much of their sensitivity at long exposure times, becoming effectively “slow” films for long exposures. Conversely some films that are “slow” under normal exposure duration retain their light sensitivity better at long exposures. Since i normally work at small apertures (to ensure maximum depth-of-field) at low light levels, exposure times are mostly from seconds up into minutes… and therefore i have always the below table at hand which gives the exposure corrections which i should apply for the most common films i use :
You will also notice why i most commonly use the Fuji Provia 100F slide film : it holds up very good at long exposures, although it is not really recommended to use at exposure times of beyond 4mins (meaning that the outcome becomes highly unpredictable).
Well, the new year could not have started any better : i can now call myself a “Fotoman Pro”. I am really honored in being featured on the Fotoman Camera site (www.fotomancamera.com) under “Pro Vision” next to famous panoramic photographers such as Rod McLean, Jon Cornforth and Mark Denton. Fotoman cameras are currently my main medium format film cameras and deliver excellent results. The color range, tonal nuances and sharpness of the huge 6×17 slides are just awesome… Currently i am owning a Fotoman 617 camera equipped with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, and a Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 210mm f5.6 L lens – both lenses are classic large format lenses and deliver results which are just mindblowing. Some samples of my panoramic work can be seen on this blog, my website www.frankdeluyck.com and now also on Fotoman Camera’s website www.fotomancamera.com.
A much more recent picture is a panoramic of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab, taken only last week during a magnificent sunset. The colors are unmanipulated, and are actually the result of the use of a super-saturated film (Fuji Velvia) and a 6 minutes long exposure capturing the changing colors of the sunset during this timeframe. The streaks in the sky are formed by the movement of the clouds. These unexpected results are exactly what i like about film : although there are some failures, some results are just magnificent…
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 6min @ f22 1/2, Fuji Velvia, tripod
Below a vertical panoramic shot of The Treasury in Petra, taken early morning before the hordes of tourists arrived. I love the soft light, accentuating the pinkish color of this magnificent ancient site. The figure helps bringing scale and shows what earlier civilisations could do without all of the current modern equipment. Although it is now almost one year ago we went to Petra, I still remember the moment I saw this sight when rounding the last corner of the narrow Siq…
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 15sec @ f32, Fuji Provia100F, tripod
During our last stay in the magnificent mountains of Kyrgyzstan we had the opportunity of witnessing the building-up process of a traditional yurt. Yurts are portable, felt-covered structures which were primarily used by Central Asian nomads, a tradition that sadly is being replaced slowly by using more modern tents. On this particular occasion however we were invited to stay with a herder’s family (themselves still staying in their own yurt) and for our comfort it was proposed to erect a separate yurt. The yurt’s components were transported to the location high up in the mountains (2,500m) by a sturdy Russian jeep (can be seen in the pics), and then mounted in a logical sequence : first wooden lattice-frame and door, followed by the roof poles, then the felt cover, and finally some inside decoration with brightly colored felt carpets – ready! The whole process did not take longer then a few hours, immediately explaining the popularity of these structures in Kyrgyzstan’s nomadic history. It is therefore not surprising that the yurt is a national symbol of Kyrgyzstan, sported in the country’s flag : inside a 40-rayed sun the crown or tunduk of a yurt can be found.
And how better to document the process of the build-up then with pictures, again using the Fotoman 617 which was the only camera brought to Kyrgyzstan (due to weight restrictions which I imposed on myself since i had planned some extensive treks in this beautiful country). Since the Fotoman is a fully manual camera it requires the use of a separate light meter, definitely slowing the photographer down but at the same moment adding to the photographic pleasure… and the joy of seeing the developed slides is still something I look forward to.
Below a picture taken the classical way, i.e. using my trusty Fotoman 617 loaded with slide film. Why not digital ? Since that would require the stitching of several frames (to arrive to a panoramic format), and seen my wish to include moving objects (turning wheel, several firework explosions, and some passing boats) the combination of frames would have been proven very difficult, if not impossible (unless you are a professor in Photoshop techniques). The picture was taken during Dubai’s last Shopping Festival, near the Creek. At the opposite of the Creek the magnificent National Bank can be seen, a real architectural jewel like so many buildings in Dubai.
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm, 30sec @ f16, Fuji Provia 100, tripod.