Just processed – beautiful Fujairah

After a long silence below two of our most recent processed images from a recent trip to Fujairah – they show Fujairah castle (Bithna fort, built 1735) with the magnificent Hajar mountain range in the background.
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Picture data (both pics) : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 0.5 sec@ f32, Schneider center filter plus Lee 0.9 Grad ND, Fuji Provia 100, tripod

More Santorini

Another picture taken during dusk, this time looking the opposite way from the previous picture (note previous picture was actually taken from the hill in the utmost left of this frame, which, as you can see, is not lighted – since all my photographs are mostly taken during and after sunset this meant hiking back in pitch darkness on a very small mountain trail… luckily we always have our headlights handy). Below photograph again taken during the golden hour, just after sunset, long exposure of 2 minutes is causing the Velvia slide film to take on this magnificent pink and purple colour…

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Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 2min @ f45, Fuji Velvia 100, tripod.

Santorini

Some more results from my scanning work : a picture taken last year during a trip to the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. The island is very pittoresque with small houses perched on to the sides of a volcano cliff (in fact the caldera, formed by the collapse of land during the volcanic eruptions) – in this photograph the “main” city of Thira can be seen at dusk. Cruise ships, for which Santorini is a favorite stopping place, can be seen departing to their next destination.

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Picture Data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 15 sec @ f45, Fuji Velvia 100, tripod.

Dubai Creek with Fotoman 617

Finally starting working away my scanning backlog of panoramic pictures, so they can be sent off to the picture libraries. First scan can be seen below, for the interested : scan with Epson Perfection V700 Photo scanner at 3,200 dpi resulting in massive 450Mb files. Hopefully in the coming weeks i keep up the good work (as you can imagine there is quite some waiting involved due to the big filesizes) and will be able to show some more shortly…

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Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, 1/2 sec @ f32, Fuji Velvia 100, no filters, tripod

Dubai New Year’s Eve 2008

For last New Year’s festivities we had made a brilliant plan : photograph the fireworks above Burj Al Arab (what else could one do on such an evening? hmm…). Direct consequences : 1) since in U.A.E. there is a zero tolerance policy towards drink and driving, no alcoholic drinks could be had before the photography stint (i.e. up to midnight) what made for quite a boring dinner. 2) We had to leave for the photography location quite early to make sure we actually would reach the place in time for the fireworks (Dubai is quite famous for its jams during New Year evenings, several friends reported seeing previous firework displays from the cosiness of their cars). So off we went at 10:30pm. Location was reached 11:15pm, so far so good… (we did some driving around to find a good photography spot, but since i didn’t know the magnitude of the fireworks (on the internet the fireworks were marketed as the biggest in the world) i preferred to stay some distance away and try to include the Burj Al Arab together with a local mosque). 11:45pm – i positioned myself on top of our 4×4, and started preparing the Fotoman 617 : Load film, compose, level the camera with the bubble levels, calculate exposure at f16 (i decided not to go for higher apertures since i wanted to limit exposure times –  i otherwise would risk that some firework explosions would start overlapping) resulting in an exposure time of about 30 sec, focus (easy = hyperfocal distance), cock shutter, … and wait. 12:01am Happy new year! no time for kisses, since there it started – a magnificent display of colorfull fireworks. Sadly about 10 minutes later (and only 8 exposures further) it was all over. Pheww… i thought i had some nice pictures (did i? due to the quite unstable rooftop of the car i had to keep extremely still to avoid camera movement during the long exposures (i was literally holding my breath during the exposure) and due to the mosque dimming its lights halfway through the session i had to adjust my exposure to the dreaded longer exposure times to try to keep some detail in the mosque – so the results were not sure, but this is what i like about large format photography) – finally able to relax we took our time wrapping up – bad decision… we ended up in one of the worst traffic jams of Dubai’s history and we took about 3.5 hrs. (!!) to reach back home (only about 20km from our photography location) to the first glass of champagne of the new year. Oh well. I suppose one has to suffer for his art…
Results of the session can be seen below – extreme sharpness of the slides (can really not be appreciated from this low-res internet display) is still blowing me away. 
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Picture Data : Both pictures Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, Fuji Provia 100, f16 @ 30 sec, tripod, no filters.
May i as well use this occasion to wish all readers a new year filled with happiness, good health and of course magnificent photographs.

Magic Hour

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Above an example of the fantastic colours showcased right after sunset at one of Dubai’s beaches – the period 30 mins before and after sunrise or sunset is typically called photography’s “magic hour”,and I think this picture is the perfect illustration of this phenomenon : due to the long exposure times film is reacting in an almost unpredictable manner, resulting in (sometimes) pleasant surprises. 
Picture data : Fotoman 617 with Fujinon 90mm f8 SW lens, Kodak E100VS, f45, exposure time unrecorded, tripod, no filters.

Fotoman 617 Panoramic Camera

Long silence, basically due to several reasons :

1) Major backlog in editing my pictures ;
2) Deadlines of several major international photo competitions ;
3) Acquiring and learning to use a new camera (Fotoman 617) ;
4) And finally a recent trip to Belgium and Greece.

Especially the Fotoman 617 panoramic camera (using medium format 120 roll film) got me excited : I was already some time longing for superior colour, tonality and detail rendition which i feel is still not achieved with the current digital SLR’s. The first results from the Fotoman camera (using a 90mm f8 SW Fujinon large format lens) did not dissapoint : the ability to shoot at f45 (focused at hyperfocal distance, using tripod of course) renders everything pin sharp from 1.5m to infinity – detail and colour rendition are just mind blowing (on Fuji Velvia 100 slide film), looking at these amazing huge slides is a pure rush. The camera arrived 5th September and after our trials in Dubai we were as such confident to bring it along to our Belgium/Greece trip.

As usually Belgium (family, food and beer of course) did not dissapoint – and Greece was as well just fantastic. We choose a visit in October since it is out of the touristic season, while still guaranteeing some nice weather (in fact more bearable then the summer months). The stop-over in Athens (with the obligatory visit to Acropolis (still in scaffolding (since several years – a real shame)), cosy walks in the small streets surrounding it (the Plaka), surprisingly good food on romantic terraces and friendly people was a nice warm-up to the real reason for the Greece visit : the pittoresque island of Santorini. The island with its small villages Fira and Oia are a painter’s and photographer’s dream – not surprisingly we encountered as such groups on photo tours and painters in action everywhere. This laid back island (with its historic background (some claim Atlantis was blown into history here during the volcanic eruption which created current Santorini), small cosy streets, and volcanic (black) beaches) is a definite must-see for anybody planning a visit to Greece. The relaxed atmosphere had only 1 down point : although no sunsets were missed, only 1 sunrise was photographically covered – shame on me!

Hope to post some pictures soon…