Posts Tagged ‘batroun’

The Balaa Sinkhole

May 26th, 2011

A short while back I had the chance to visit another of the many natural wonders that Lebanon has to offer: the sinkhole known by various names including the Balaa Sinkhole (Ballou Balaa in Arabic), Baatara Sinkhole, and Three Bridges Chasm (Gouffre des Trois Ponts in French), or even the Batara Gorge Waterfall.

What is it? It is a natural sinkhole plunging 255 metres into the mountainside. It features three natural bridges, rising one above the other over a height of one hundred metres and overhanging the enormous mouth of the chasm. I was lucky enough to visit it during the snow melt, when a 100-metre waterfall drops behind the three bridges and into the sinkhole.

It was first discovered in 1952 and explored in 1962. You can find out more here and here.

That’s a couple down there on the middle bridge:

The snaking path of the river before it drops into the chasm below:

Some mini waterfalls, a little way up the river from the sinkhole:

The long drop:

A view of the three bridges:

Two perspectives from the middle bridge:

Below is a long-exposure shot I took as I was heading out. To give you an idea of the size of the chasm, those little red, white and blue dots to the right of the middle bridge are 3 people.

More coming soon!

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Girl by the Window

July 28th, 2010

I came across this picture in my archives. It was taken late last year in Lebanon when I was exploring abandoned houses in Batroun, Lebanon.

I lit my friend with an SB900 set up on the floor to camera right, and a distance away, with a hint of backlighting from the light bouncing off the cieling and wall beyond the window.

The picture would have perhaps benefited from a little softer lighting, but I still very much enjoyed the play of light.

More coming soon!

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Abandoned House in Baabdat

December 6th, 2009

I came across another abandoned house in Lebanon. This time not far from our family house in Baabdat. This one is my mum’s find. She first came across it when on her way to a friend’s house for a visit.

On the day of my departure from Lebanon I felt I needed to get out of the house and do something other than pack, so I took my mum on a short trip to take some shots of the abandoned house.

Here are some of the resulting pictures.

Entry (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/125sec)

The floor in each of the rooms to the left of the main door above had completely collapsed, leaving only a bare husk of a building. More about this below.

Baabdat House-2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

I liked the look and colour of the broken tiles.

Baabdat House-3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/50sec)

I was struck by the rich blue of the door. The fact that the door opened onto a series of floor-less rooms made for an eerie experience.

Baabdat House-4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/320sec + flash SB900)

I wonder how that scarf got there…

Baabdat House-5 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Unlike the abandoned house in Batroun (and see also here), this house had very few possessions left over by the previous inhabitants.

Baabdat House-6 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/250sec + flash SB900)

That’s not to say there weren’t any possessions at all which were left abandoned.

Here we have a rotting sofa:

Baabdat House-7 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Some bottles and containers:

Baabdat House-8 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

And even a few coats left hanging on the wall behind the door:

Baabdat House-9 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Done exploring the inside of the house, I moved again outside to try and find different perspectives.

I liked the different kinds of stone the house was built of. The rich colour of the doors in these old Lebanese houses also called out to me.

Baabdat House-10 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Another aspect of old Lebanese houses that I love is the arches.

Baabdat House-11 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/200sec + flash SB900)

Not only had the floor in the top level of the house collapsed, but it seems the red-tile roof had collapsed as well.

I’m sure whatever could have been salvaged from it was.

Baabdat House-12 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/800sec)

The dead and dried creeping vine only added to the sense of neglect and loss.

Baabdat House-13 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/640sec + flash SB900)

This is a view into the lower level of the house, into which the upper floor had caved. The black of the walls suggest there might have been a fire at some point, which may account for some of the damage.

Baabdat House-14 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5, ISO200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Next up, the Bangalore Wedding pictures you’ve all been waiting for!

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The Farm House

November 30th, 2009

On my last trip to Lebanon, a friend gave me the chance to visit a 400-odd year old farm house which is currently being renovated in the hills above Batroun.

It’s a beautiful little structure that’s completely held together at the moment by wood beams and metal bars.

Take a tour below:

The Forest (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/80sec + flash SB900)

Lights and Metal (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/80sec + flash SB900)

It was like walking through a dark metal forest.

Looking Out From The Forest (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/100sec + flash SB900)

The farmhouse is a single-story structure. The roof was accessible via a rickety ladder.

The Ladder (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 52mm, f4.5, ISO 200, 1/60sec)

This is the old oven:

The Oven (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/100sec + flash SB900)

I had arrived to the farm land in late afternoon, just before sunset. Serendipitous really, as it allowed me to experiment a little with longer exposures and a flash.

Blue Door (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

They’re evidently quite serious about the renovation:

Twilight Construction (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Propping up The Door (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

The Lit Barrel (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Bars in Twilight (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Before I leave you, I’d like to share something with you that completely blew me away: an experimental 360-degree panoramic music video. I could watch 360-degree panorama videos all day.

More pictures coming soon!

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Abandoned House in Batroun – Part II

November 2nd, 2009

Carrying on from my previous post, here are some shots of some of the objects I found lying abandoned in the house.

I love the glimpses it affords into the lives of those who used to live in that beautiful house.

The open book

Forgotten treasures... (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 105mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

A forgotten family history  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Tar, minus the feathers...  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Meds, meds and more meds...  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

I did mention the previous owner seems to have been a pharmacist, yes? Or perhaps an alchemist...  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Parchment  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Eau de Vie  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Richard the Lion Heart, and Damsel of course  (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Next up, some shots from Bangalore, India – assuming I have the time to do so in the next 2 days!

Meanwhile. check out how incredibly empty the Dubai airport was when I was heading to the plane with my friends:

The empty airport...

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Abandoned House in Batroun – Part I

October 31st, 2009

So, as promised – Travel pictures from Lebanon and India!

After much thought I decided to start with shots from Lebanon – those of an abandoned house I came upon while wandering around Batroun.

So here goes. :)

The Entrance

Behind Door No. 1

More of what is behind Door No. 1

The Blue Room

The wall was such a beautiful blue! And the ceiling! It was made of individual square panels of intricately carved wood. Check it out below!

The Ceiling

The Pharmacy

Seems the house’s previous owner was a pharmacist…

Piling Up

The News Umbrella (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Broken Glass (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/5sec)

As you can see, the house contained plenty of beautiful abandoned things. Shots of some of those will be coming up very very soon!

Until then, take care!

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