Architecture

Kasematten


Alison and I visited the Kasematten as part of a touristy visit of Luxembourg. I've been there a couple of times, but it's the first time that I've seen a bat hang from the ceiling of one of the tunnels! The little guy didn't seem to be bothered by all the people passing through there (most of whom didn't notice the animal was there), and it didn't even move when we photographed it close-up with flash.


Arcelor-Mittal


This summer, knipser from Photogen invited me and a couple other photographers, mostly members of the Photogen community, to visit the Arcelor-Mittal steel plant in Esch-Belval. It was an impressive mixture of deafening noise, smoldering heat and a thick layer of dust covering every inch inside the plant. Not the kind of place where you want to change lenses all that often.
All photos: 5D MkII and 24-70 2.8L USM.

Update: I've added a bit of video from the trip, also recorded with the 5D MkII.


Mudam

Alison came down to Luxembourg for Alain and Sté's wedding. On the day before the wedding we visited the Musée d'Art Moderne on the Kirchberg before meeting some of my friends at the cinema. (Star Trek was quite good actually. Never liked the series, I'm a Star Wars geek, and the two are somewhat antagonistic.)


London with Ollie


My friend Ollie had to go to the University College London for an interview. Since a) you don't pay £16 (or £24 if like me you leave your railcard at home...) to go to London for half an hour and b) it's no fun to visit London on your own, I went along and we visited the National Gallery and the British Museum. In the National Gallery I had fun reverse engineering the lighting techniques of the masters, and I got told off for taking a picture of the cupula in the entrance hall when we were leaving (I had asked one of the wardens about photography restrictions earlier and what he said sounded like no photography of the paintings was allowed.) In the British Museum photography is fine, but it's also one of those places that's been photographed to death so it's difficult to take something new there.
While Ollie went to his interview I visited Jacobs Digital Photo & Video where they had a pretty good deal on Manfrotto 5001B Nanos (I have no idea what the difference between those and the 001Bs which they replace is, they look the same to me). I had also planned a visit to The Flash Centre but by the time we got there they were closed. So we went to a pub instead.


Über den Wolken


Our flight route

Our flight route

Back in the summer of 2008 I flew in a balloon over part of Luxembourg. I had been given a voucher for a flight by my secondary school, the Lycée Hubert Clement Esch as part of my baccalaureate, and it was sponsored by LuxGSM, so thanks to both of those. Now I actually got my diploma back in 2005, but it took the Cercle Luxembourgeois de l'Aerostation a while to take me along on a flight...
Anyway, we drove to a field near Hivange, asked the farmer for permission and got ready for take-off. I had to help get the balloon ready so there are no pictures of that. We flew over plenty of small towns that I didn't really recognize from up above, one of the places I did recognize fairly easily though was the Aire de Berchem (and in case you were wondering, no, the police car did not stop at the stop sign), the pig farm near the Kuelbicher Haff (the latter is hidden rather well in the woods) and the Mariendaller Haff, near which we landed gently in another field - this time we didn't ask the farmer's permission beforehand though :) And with gently I mean that none of my camera equipment got damaged when the basket tipped over during the landing. That's all that matters, my head has seen its share of bumps.
The title refers to the song Über den Wolken by Reinhard Mey.


180 Megapixel Westgate Panorama


At the end of February I lugged my camera and tripod up to the flagtower of Canterbury's Westgate. The tower isn't accessible to the public and it took a while to get permission to shoot from this wonderful vantage point, which offers one of the best views of the cathedral and the city centre. So I climbed the metal steps past an owl statuette that's meant to scare away the pigeons and got my tripod set up next to the flagpole. It's not hard to tell why Westgate's highest tower isn't open for the average Canterbury tourist: there's only about half a metre of space on any side of the flagpole and the wall surrounding it wasn't very high either.
First off I took the above panorama looking south with the 70-200. It consists of 48 individual photos that were stitched together in PTgui. The resulting panorama had 180 Megapixel - with over 50'000 pixel length it was beyond the limitations of either JPEG or PSD files and I had to save it in Adobe's large file format (PSB). The version above has been resized to just over 27000px wide.
After that I got out my trusted Peleng 8mm Fisheye lens to create a 360/180° QTVR image looking north onto St Dunstan's Road, which you can see below. These panoramas are taken in the same way as other panoramas, except that the camera makes a full 360° rotation looking down, then straight ahead, then up. Unfortunately I don't (yet) have a QTVR panorama head in my camera bag, which is necessary to match the camera's nodal point with the axis of rotation. That's why the panorama below has some rather ugly glitches - have a look at the stairs, for instance.


Dover Society Trip


In autumn I've already visited Dover, this time I went with the Photography and Modelling Society. Most of our trip was spent exploring Dover Castle, which was closed last time I went.


Terres Rouges


In late December I met fellow photographer Shantideva for a shoot in the Terres Rouges industry buildings. The model was my cousin Nickie. We photographed for a few hours despite the blistering cold (something around -4°) and incredible amounts of dust. There was dust everywhere. It took well over an hour to clean all my gear when I got home, but my camera was scheduled for a trip to the Canon headquarters anyway.
If you want to see some behind the scenes footage, watch the video, but keep in mind that I'm not a videographer :)


London, along the river


I couldn't very well live two hours away from London for three years and not go there to take some photographs at night. Alison and I took a ride on the London Eye, then walked along the river waiting for the sun to set. The HDRs have been combined using Photomatix Pro 3. The zoomable hi-res panorama of the Tower Bridge below has been stitched using PTGui and is presented here using PSCS3's Zoomify plugin, integrated into WordPress using the Kimili flash plugin.


DPChallenge London GTG


Once again a bunch of crazy photographers met to walk around London in the rain and take pictures. This time the get-together had a slightly more international feel: Olivier and I represented Luxembourg (we're used to the rain and the cold). Alison and Mikey from the Photography and Modelling Society represented Bermuda and Barbados, respectively (they're not used to temperatures below 15°C). The four of us who are or have been studying in the UK met up with Natalya, Andi, Robert, Dain and Matthew. Some of their photos can be found in the DPChallenge.com forums, here. Apart from taking photos, by walking about three miles we also contributed to the Walk Around the World for Brain Tumours.
Related links: International Brain Tumor Alliance, Rose McGill, Digital Photography Challenge.


A trip to the city


In between revising for my upcoming university exams there remains some time for photography. During my stay in Luxembourg I met up with photographer John Oesch for a shooting with model Kimberley at the Abbaye Neumünster. From there I went on to take the first photograph shown above, which I entered in the Photogen competition 'Luxembourg City'. A bit later I continued for an exploration of the Kirchberg area.