Posts Tagged ‘horse’

One Year Later

May 20th, 2011

I know it’s been a bit light of late, but well… Today marks the second of two very special first anniversaries this week.

On the 20th of May 2010, along with a small group of friends, I hit Fisterra (or Finisterre). My Camino was over. My 900km trek – spanning 36 days of walking and totaling some 39 days – had come to a close.

On the 16th of May 2010, my 33rd day of walking, I entered Santiago de Compostella.

So this week I’ve been remembering so many of my wonderful experiences on the Camino and thinking of the family I made along the way. Not that a day has gone by without my thinking of the people who made it so magical.

Above, our Camino Family. Or a small part of it, at any rate.

There are many ways to enter Santiago. You can enter it on horseback, shortly after dawn:

You can enter it by bike, like these three matching ladies and their matching bikes here:

Or you could enter it on foot, which is what I did.

However you enter the city, you will be overcome with emotion. You will stop, in awe or shock or both, in the square in front of the cathedral. Perhaps you will stand in silence. Perhaps you will cry, because you can’t believe it’s over and because it is.

However after those first few moments pass, and you start meeting up with people you’ve met on the Camino, they will make way for joy.

On the 18th of May I departed Santiago and began my Camino to Finisterre. I was lucky. I walked with friends. That first night, I came across this entry written by a friend in a diary at an albergue in the town of Negreira. Brought tears to my eyes.

In the distance to the left is Cape Finisterre. The End of the World:

Our little family of pilgrims made their way to our agreed meeting point at the cliffs at the end of the cape, where we prepared for sunset.

After the sun had set, we set fire to the wooden dummy, dressed up as a pilgrim in clothes abandoned by pilgrims. We each tossed something into the fire. A symbol of our lack of attachment to material things, or of a promise to abandon a habit… As many reasons as there were people.

We have all since scattered to the four corners of the globe. And though I am quite bad at staying in touch, I have not forgotten. I miss you all.

Tonight I will be thankful, and I will celebrate.

More coming soon!

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Posted in People, Travel/Urban | Comments (3)

National Day Celebrations

December 4th, 2009

So on December 2nd – UAE National Day – I was invited by a friend to her house for a cosy party with a view. A view on to the madness on the streets below and (eventually) the fireworks.

The party was a giant success. Seen from the outside, as one of my good friends who was there mentioned, it likely would have seemed somewhat odd – It was a party which: was organised by Italian-speaking Lebanese; for Italians; who were served traditional homemade Lebanese food; and all in celebration of the 38th anniversary of the founding of the UAE. Hehe.

Anyway, pictures.

Evidently, I took my camera and gear. Now while my friend’s apartment has a great view onto the Corniche, it has no balcony, and the windows wouldn’t open beyond a 5 degree angle. I tried the roof, but it was entirely walled around, with tiny arches affording limited views onto the street below through metal grating. Not so great for taking pictures.

So at around the time the fireworks were set to start, I grabbed my camera gear (and one of my fellow guests), and hurried down to brave the madness of the crowds.

Everybody and their grandmother seemed to be out on the Corniche. All nationalities, all social circles. Everybody. The streets overflowed with humanity out to celebrate with the Emiratis and have a good time. Entire families were out picnicking  on the grass by the side of the road. Party hats and flags and foam spray cans were all over the place.

Every year, I find myself surprised by how quickly a nation – this nation – was built. How quickly Emiratis built a sense of national identity and pride. And I was proud to be out among them in this country that’s given me everything to celebrate with them.

Right. Pictures.

I was in a rush to get to get to the beach at the Hiltonia before the fireworks started and so didn’t really spend as much time shooting on the streets as I’d otherwise would have liked.

Nevertheless, here are a few shots from the streets:

As always, it was particularly fascinating to see the overdecorated cars making the rounds at snails pace, music blaring.

The Decked-Out Car (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

We even spotted horses and riders!

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

Mad Hatter (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 6400, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

Even bikes were decked out!

Decked Out Bikes (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 640, 1/60sec + flash SB900)

This Jeep just halted in the middle of the road:

Halt I Say! (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f11, ISO 200, 6secs)

The Policeman At The Crossing (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f14, ISO 200, 6secs)

Stalled Party Goers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/4sec)

I managed to get to the beach front and set up just in time to catch the very first of the fireworks.

I was particularly excited as I’d never shot fireworks before and was looking to try my hand and experiment. I’m still sorting through the shots I’ve taken – haven’t seen them all yet – but here is a small selection.

Fireworks 1 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3sec)

Fireworks 4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 5 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 6 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 7 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 8 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 9 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 112mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3secs)

Fireworks 10 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.3secs)

Fireworks 11 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 50mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 12 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 1sec)

Fireworks 13 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 82mm, f8, ISO 200, 2secs)

Fireworks 14 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f8, ISO 200, 1/2sec)

Here’s a shot from a place I’d been meaning to shoot for a long time now and never got around to: the tunnel leading from the Hilton to the Hiltonia beach across the road. This young woman came walking down the tunnel alone and the whole scene came together like a charm.

Girl & Tunnel (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f3.5, ISO 200, 1/13sec)

More pictures coming soon!

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Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (1)

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