Sep 30, 2009

Back from the trenches

It has been awfully quiet on this blog for a while. The reason: I was deeply involved organizing and running BelgiumdigitalLive, a full-day event celebrating the 10th anniversary of, an internet forum on digital photography.

September 27 was THE day! Over 750 enthusiastic photographers gathered in San Marco Village (a well-known event location in Schelle, near Antwerp), fully loaded with gear and glass. 26 workshops, 2 conferences, 9 exhibitors, and a whole range of live events offered plenty of opportunities to learn, practice and have fun with old and new friends.

Whatever your style of photography or your personal interest, the program offered something for you. We had models on the catwalk, presenting various clothing styles. There was a live (cover)band playing four sets through the day. Add a couple of classic cars, some more models in Venetian costumes... Or just have fun watching fellow photo freaks go crazy in the middle of so many shooting opportunities.

There's some more pictures from that day in this gallery. (Beware: we also had a couple of body painters, so some images are NSFW!)

It was a great experience to be a part of the organizing committee. Trying at times for sure, but also very rewarding, looking at the happy smiles on participant's faces. I can't wait to start work on next year's edition!

Gear notes: D700, 17-35/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR

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Sep 17, 2009

Cast in stone

We were - and probably still are - a people of builders. We like a solid piece of stone to make an equally solid statement. That is why our urban landscapes are filled with all kinds of constructions and decorations, long-lasting testimonials of our opinions and convictions. So as a photographer you don't really need much more than a keen eye to see plenty of examples. They sit patiently for you to capture the grandness of their existence and the detail of their grain.

Things in stone are about power and devotion, about noble masters and humble servants, absolute dictate and hesitant submission. In the large, they reflect the importance of their sponsors and the gravity of their message. In the detail, they carry a touch of humanity and reflect the ingenuity of the mind. In either case people have labored long hours to shape what they wanted (or were told) to say to current and future generations.

For that piece of stone was not meant to be a fleeing image, a passing remark... It took time to express what took time to imagine.

How different from the splashes of pixels and strings of characters you are currently looking at...!

Gear notes: D700, 28-200G

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Sep 9, 2009

Life along the street: India

I discovered India on another one of my extended business trips. I must admit that it was a deep and lasting experience. I have become very fond of this complex, disturbing and nevertheless fascinating country - if that notion really applies to such a large subcontinent with so many rich cultures and traditions! The first thing any Western visitor will notice is how people from different beliefs live with and amongst each other, at least seemingly with mutual respect and without aggression. That certainly adds to the colorful and spiritual diversity of the nation.

What no one of us can grasp in just a few visits - if ever at all - is how a society with such a wide range from absolute poverty to relative wealth can stick together and get along reasonably well... Look at the above picture: one would guess that the man reading his newspaper, briefcase on the table before him, and the guys having a friendly conversation on the platform behind him belong to completely different worlds. And yet, they share the same spot in the shade, under an overpass...

Life for most is tough in India, with long working days for those lucky enough to have a job. This bike-cab driver takes a quick nap in between rides at the side of the busy main street, not far from the Red Fort in Delhi.

And yet, this India is so full of hope! The people are friendly, positive, eager to build towards a better life. I shot the picture on a coach ride along the coastline near Chennai. This scene of mothers and children, looking out into the sea, for me summarized that longing for a better future. What were they really dreaming of? I wish they might live to see it!

Gear notes: D300, 18-200VR

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Sep 1, 2009

Summer in the city

September 1st marks the traditional end of the summer. School is on again, and most people are back from holidays. Antwerp celebrated the last days of August with plenty of sun and fun. And everyone ventured out for the last bits of summer laziness...

Scattered throughout the city, there were some festivities to close the vacation and tourist season. On that Sunday, a crane took up a platform some 50 meters above the streets for an unusual view on the Town Hall, the Schelde river and (out of frame) on the Cathedral. Too bad you were not allowed to get closer to the railings or even to move up or around...

This last image summarizes it all: time to grab that final moment of rest before the 'normal' madness resumes!

Gear notes: D700, 85/1.8D, 28-200G, 50/1.8

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