Posts Tagged ‘Beirut’

Looking Out at the Rain

December 20th, 2009

The night of my arrival in Beirut I was greeted with violent thunderstorms. So violent were they that, on landing, the plane shuddered and shook a bit more than most passengers were comfortable with.

The day after was no different.

I love looking out at the rain from the cosiness of my warm, dry, armchair.

The Rain (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f11, ISO 200, 1/320sec)

The heavy rain slows everything down, and allows you time to rediscover things at home, like books.

A Passion for Books (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f3.2, ISO 200, 1/100sec)

Of course, every so often, the showers would stop for a moment or two, allowing a furtive burst of sunlight to pass through a break in the cloud cover, before the black clouds would regroup and double their efforts at drowning the world.

A Break In the Cloud (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f2.8, ISO 200, 1/200sec)

And yes, the colours  in the picture above above are as is – untreated.

More pictures coming soon.

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All That Jazz

December 10th, 2009

The photo below features six cranes. Can you guess where it was taken?

Cranes! Cranes! Cranes! (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f6.3, ISO 200, 1/400sec)

If you guessed Beirut, you’d be right. It’s sprouting like mushrooms, it is.

Here I’ve put together a mishmash of shots from Beirut’s Downtown district and the new Downtown Souq. All taken on the same day.

Liban Cables (D700, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/80sec)

The Souq was being given the last finishing touches and stores had just started opening when I was there.

Souk! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f10, ISO 200, 1/13sec)

Paint & Scaffolding (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/13sec)

Below you can see the open air seating which was used for this year’s Beirut Jazz Festival. The last concert in the lineup was held the evening after my arrival and I missed it…

All That Jazz (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/500sec)

The facade of the building by the Jazz Festival seating, damage from the war still visible. Eventually, this building too will be restored and modernised.

Face (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/500sec)

I have no idea why there’s a big horrid orange wooden structure in the Souk. Not sure I really want to know.

Orange (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200 - HDR)

At the entrance to the Souk, there is an open space in which stands this age-old cupolla.

Cupolla (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/40sec - HDR)

Here a close-up of the engraving above the entryway:

God & His Prophet (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/40sec)

More pictures coming soon!

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Signs!

November 18th, 2009

One thing that struck me in Bangalore were the adverts and signs.

I mean… Well, I’ll show you what I mean.

Take the following signs, many of which are extremely creative, and some absolutely priceless. Seen on Brigade Street:

Signs-1

Signs-2

Signs-3

Signs-4

Signs-5

Signs-6

Signs-7

I must say, I was also struck by how massive advertising billboards tend to be in Bangalore.

Take for example the billboards in this shot of an intersection on Brigade Street, taken from the rooftop of a building moments before I was chased off it by an angry fortune teller (long story, I’ll explain later):

The Intersection, A Bird's Eye View (HDR) (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f8, ISO 200)

The adverts themselves con be quite interesting (one was discussed previously). Take this one for example, which would fit right in in some parts of Beirut:

Showoff! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm, f4.5, ISO 200, 1/800sec)

More pictures coming soon!

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Road Trip

November 6th, 2009

I took a day road trip on my last stay in Lebanon.

I followed the coastal road from Beirut towards the North and the mountains. I passed through Batroun, then Chekka, a cute town with the unfortunate name of Bziza, past Amioun, on up through Qozhaya (more on that later) and, finally, Ehden.

It was a lengthy, but beautiful drive. Here are a few shots from that trip.

In the hills overlooking Chekka was this little stairway down the sheer cliff face that led down to an ancient hermit monk’s abode which lay in ruins. Beyond it was a tiny and very beautiful chapel.

The Cliffside Chapel

Below is the view that could be seen from the stairway going down.

However hard life must have been for the monks in those little rooms clinging precariously to the cliffside, waking up every morning to a view like this must have made all the difference.

The panorama is made up of 8 overlapping shots taken in rapid succession with my D700 handheld.

Chekka Panorama

I loved how the sea faded into the distance until you almost couldn’t tell where the horizon was, and sea and sky mixed together:

The Thin Blue Line (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/250sec)

On the way up the mountains to Ehden was this little clearing by the side of the road. The clearing featured a beautiful little shrine, and behind it a small waterfall. As I was taking pictures, a friendly old man came over for a chat. Turned out it was his land. He’d built the shrine, and was looking to improve it and expand and preserve the clearing. After a few pictures, and a very pleasant chat with him (turns out his daughter and her husband are also based in Abu Dhabi), the road beckoned again.

The Waterfall (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 48mm, f25, ISO 200, 1sec)

Qozhaya brought many memories to the fore when I got there. The monastery, which housed the very first printing press in the Middle East, was one of the last places I visited with my grandfather before he passed away. It all came back when I was coming up the steps leading to the main buildings, past the grotto. One of the last pictures I have with him and the rest of the family is one taken on those very steps.

This shot here, I took at twilight from the other side of the valley where I’d hiked on a lark.

Monastery of St. Anthony the Great of Qozhaya (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f3/5-5.6 @ 24mm, f10, ISO 200, 13secs)

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Making Faces

September 2nd, 2009

The Mischievous OnePeople are so interesting.

Perhaps that’s why I enjoy taking portraits so much; To try and catch something about them – something we don’t often see.

There’s something about faces that gets me most.

Eyes in particular: They can reveal so much about a person. Contemplation

Expression

Control of light is key. Anything that can help soften the light can help there – especially where the light is very bright (which I wanted it to be). Anything – such as my trusty Ezybox Lastolite softbox.

Unfortunately, it takes up space. Not much space. But any space counts when travelling on a short trip. So…

The Handsome Devil

When I travelled to Beirut, I debated taking only the barest gear. But in a sudden rush of madness I decided to leave my tripod behind and instead take the Ezybox.Cheeky-Haughty

Thankfully, I managed to put the Ezybox to good use. Which is very fortunate, as I really missed the use of my tripod.

For example, I took the Ezybox along to a dinner. I set up the soft box in a few minutes under the puzzled look of my fellow dinner guests. Then I made myself a makeshift modifier with one of the diffusing cloths that came in the kit with the softbox, a clothes hanger and some tape (thank you Strobist!)Gentle

Once that was done, I got people to, one by one, variously stand or sit for portraits.

I placed my SB800 in the softbox behind their heads to light them from behind.

To light them from the front/side, as I was wont, I occasionally managed to get my favourite Voice Activated Lightstand (aka my mum) to hand-hold my SB900 strobe unit behind the makeshift light modifier.Quirky

With everything in place, I just chatted with my subjects, asked them to try on different expressions, and waited until the moment it clicked.

Or at least, until the moment I thought it did. 🙂

So here are some of the results for your viewing pleasure.The Little AngelTwisty

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Kidnapped

August 25th, 2009

Capoeira Boys

Among the most memorable events of my last trip to Beirut took place late one night, as I was making my way to the after-party to a friend’s engagement:

I was kidnapped.

It happened just a few meters away from the entrance to White and the culprit was a blonde and blue-eyed lass named Ieva, who proceeded to speed away in a red Subaru.

Stairs

The purpose?

Her latest assignment: shooting a fast food joint in Beirut’s Hamra district for Aishti’s Gossip Magazine.

Ieva is a freelance photographer and, in her spare time, a budding architect.

What you see here are a few great shots from her very impressive portfolio.Coffee

I accompanied my friend on her shoot – taking over various roles including those of a rather lazy assistant, a questionable bodyguard, general obstruction, subject, and even stand-up comedian.

The people at the fast food joint were super friendly and helpful, and the shoot was tremendous fun.Water Play

The outcome of the shoot should be available for your viewing pleasure in the next issue of Gossip Magazine (I might even be featured in it!).

Until then, check out more of Ieva’s photos here and on Facebook here.

Also, check out her coverage of the Patrouille des Cedres in Lebanon here.

If you can’t open the Facebook link and have a Facebook account, look for the group called “photo IS”.

Bubbles

On another note, look out for some more pictures by me to be posted in the next few days.

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