Posts Tagged ‘fort’

The Outcome of the Auction

October 27th, 2010

I am so very chuffed by the outcome of Green Abu Dhabi‘s Community Art Auction!

Thank you to all those who believed in the movement, came and supported Green Abu Dhabi, mingled and participated in the auction!

The results speak for themselves: pretty much everything – over 50 pictures and paintings (including 20 paintings done by the children from the Future Centre for Special Needs Children) – sold out!

It was a momentous occasion. So many people showed up. The place was buzzing. I certainly had a blast. And the support I got from my family, friends and colleagues was extraordinary. I am so very grateful to them all.

I’m also overjoyed by the response that my work received. And am very very happy to say that my 3 submissions – my first ever prints on show – were sold to for a total of AED 34,000/- (about USD 9,250/-)! Woo-hoo! All proceeds will of course go to the Future Centre. This donation was only made possible thanks to the generosity of spirit of two extraordinary people who believed in my work. I cannot thank them enough.

Some of my readers abroad have asked which were the pictures I finally opted to submit. One, titled “A Slow Dance”, I shared with you in yesterday’s post. Below are the other two pictures:

“Thought and Memory”

“Remains of the Day”

Each was a signed limited edition print of 1.

On another note, check out the following:

More coming soon!

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The Fort & Palace

August 22nd, 2010

Some time back, I offered up my two cents on the HDR debate, featuring shots from the Al Jahili Fort and the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace in Al Ain.

Today, I wish to share with you two more shots from those two places (minus debate, this time).

Above is a shot of the main tower of the fort. Below is one of one of the wings of the Palace.

More coming soon!

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The HDR Debate

April 10th, 2010

Before I disappeared, a debate seemed to be raging online regarding the value of HDR imaging and techniques (or lack thereof, depending on which side of the debate you stand on).

It started with Dave Cross’s post called “The Debate Over HDR” and was soon followed by a response to one of the comments on that post by Scott Kelby (here’s the link to Kelby’s post). The various views and commentary were very interesting to me and led me to re-examine the reasons why I now enjoy HDR imagery.

The debate may have died down since the above-mentioned posts were published, but I thought I would share my two cents with you anyway.

Some time ago I really disliked the idea of HDR. I felt, like some commentators, that HDR was perhaps a way of rendering an otherwise uninteresting image interesting. In some cases I still say it may serve that way. However on the whole, as I’ve come to learn to use the effect and it’s uses and limitations, I’ve come around to changing my views. My friend Dan and his work gave the first push that got me on the way to converting. He was a big proponent of HDR way before I ever was.

I now sometimes do shoot something with the express purpose of creating an HDR image. And I occasionally even feel that some images work better in HDR; Sometimes, there’s no way to light a scene the way I would like to capture the image I have in my mind, and HDR is often of help to me there. In those cases particularly, it may give me a certain flexibility that could only be rivalled by an army of assistants and an inconceivable (for me) collection of speedlights and gels. That last is perhaps not a very practical option. Especially considering I’m mostly a shooter out on his own, with (maybe) one speedlight (and at most two) and no assistants.

That said, HDR and other tools at the disposal of the modern photographer are methods of expressing a certain vision of the world around us. So, is HDR less challenging? Yes, almost certainly. But does that make HDR less worthy? In this photographer’s eye – not always. Scott Kelby put it very nicely “HDR is an effect like any other effect”.

My two cents now spent, I propose to share with you images of two different subjects. Each subject has both an HDR image (created from 7 different exposures) and a “standard” variant. The aim being to showcase the large difference between the two styles as I’ve experienced them (and the different visions of a same subject that can thus be expressed).

The first two images below are of a tower of the Hili Fort in Al Ain. I prefer the subtler tones and shades of the “standard” photograph, but enjoy the striking quality the tone mapping has given the clouds in the HDR image, as well as the detail brought out in the walls of the tower. Those friends of mine I’ve asked have come back fairly equally divided as to their preference on this one.

The second set of images below is of one of the towers at the late Sheikh Zayed’s Palace, also in Al Ain.

In the “standard” photograph, to achieve the effect you see here I exposed for the sky and lit the foreground with an SB900 speedlight. Some of the light bounced onto the wall of the palace and its tower, giving it some detail instead of making it some sharp shadow against the twilight sky.

I very much enjoy both images, but my favourite is by far the “standard” image. That’s partly due to the colour of the sky, but it may also be a measure of pride – I used the limited gear I had at my disposal to get precisely the image I was aiming for.

The challenge of it, and the satisfaction of having achieved marks the “standard” image as special to me. By comparison, the HDR variant was not as big a challenge as it’s a significantly more forgiving and much more flexible process.

Your thoughts and comments welcome, as always.

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The Emir's Palace

August 27th, 2009

The Palace FacadeOver my last trip to Beirut, I attended the 50th wedding anniversary of a very good friend of mine and my family in Chtaura in the Bekaa valley.

It was a fantastic event and a heart-warming reminder of the joy two people can find in, and keep bringing, each other over the course of a lifetime well-lived. Oddly enough, it’s something we as a culture seem to be steadily discarding by the wayside and replacing it with… something else entirely.

The Wedge

Now, getting to the Bekaa valley from Baabdat means taking any number of roads. One involves a very long and oft log-jammed road (via Zahle), and another one or two less well known and rather windy road (via Hammana). You can also find out more on Hammana here.

As you may have guessed, we took one of the windy roads via Hammana. We spent a pleasant hour and half passing through quaint little villages clinging desperately to the mountainside, peppered with hundred-plus-year-old homes built of traditional yellow stone. This was great for me as we travelled through areas of Lebanon that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore before.

At one point on the way out to Chtaura we passed through Salima. It’s a small and very old village dominated by a large abandoned 16th or 17th Century castle. Salima was the seat of power of the Abillama Emirs (hence the castle). Salima is a fantastic little gem, and in a country peppered with beautiful little villages that’s saying something.

Stairs

Many of the houses and other buildings seem to date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries. A disproportionally large number appear to be abandoned today. The sheer number of missing roofs made for an odd sight. Find out more here and here.

Strangely enough, the village seemed to be largely empty. Perhaps this is fallout from the Lebanese Civil War, but I’m not so sure. The village does sit on the road linking some rather key, perhaps strategic, locations. A number of different factions may have driven through it on their way in or out. That said, it bears noting that the war ended in 1990.

I fell in love with the village, with its beautiful old church sitting by the town square, dwarfed by the ruined fortress which sprawls across from it. A quaint school sits by the road above the fortress. I was dying to explore it, to spend a day there and make photos to my heart’s content.

Tunnel Vision

Three problems: 1) I had an event to attend; 2) I was with my parents and couldn’t really abandon them to be bored to death while I ran around in search of a good angle or the light and generally getting lost in the belly of the palace or in the village; and 3) I didn’t have my tripod *sniff*.

So basically, all I got was five precious minutes to take a quick look around the palace on the way BACK from the event. In all fairness, that wasn’t so bad, as the light was a tad softer by the time we’d returned to Salima.

I’ll be making sure to go back there soon to explore it properly.

Bonus points if anyone can spot the glaring *gasp* error I made in one of the shots.

Welcome to the Other Side

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