Posts Tagged ‘mountain’

The Switcheroo

November 28th, 2012

Earlier this summer, I shot a few behind-the scenes images at a wedding in the mountains of Lebanon.

After the ceremony, and just before the start of the start of the festivities, the bride snuck off to change out of her heels in favour of something she could easily dance in: a pair of (no doubt waaaay more comfy) Chucks.

I couldn’t resist taking the shot. I love the unusual contrast of the casual shoes with the skirts of the wedding dress, and the discarded outrageously high-heeled “my-feet-are-killing-me” platforms in the background.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

Laqlouq Snow Walk

June 15th, 2011

Summer seems to have come upon us quite heavily here in Abu Dhabi. Got me thinking about the cooler times, such as earlier this year in Lebanon, where I had the chance to go on a snow walk for the first time.

The weather was starting to warm up earlier than expected and the mountain snow was turning a little slushy around noon, making skiing an unattractive proposition.

We went to a place known as Laqlouq, in Lebanon. We got there early in the afternoon, parked the car by the side of the road, put on the snowshoes and took off up the slope.

Below are a few pictures from that wonderful day.

The snows were already beginning to melt. And to melt quite fast. Just a few short weeks before, the entire mountain side was covered with snow, but the rocks were starting to reach out to the skies again…

As were some of the thorny wild flowers…

We were aiming to get to the cross at the top of the mountain. Unfortunately, just meters from the top, I dropped my glasses! Had to watch them ski their way down the steeper slope of the  mountainside.

We headed down after them, and I ended up falling and sliding down a good distance myself. Got snow all over my lens… Halfway down we met two dogs, German shepherds, who eneded up following and playing with us all the way back to the car.

The light was fading fast as we headed back down to Beirut. The clouds hung low over the mountains, bringing fog as the air cooled and making for a spectacular sunset.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Animals, People, Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

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!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (4)

Sunset on a Train

October 22nd, 2010

I love train rides. Something inherently romantic about them. They immerse you in the landscape you pass through. And the gentle clack-clack of the rails and smooth ride make for so very relaxing an experience.

I snapped this earlier this year on a train ride back to Paris from Brussels. I was struck by the unusual colours – the soft shades of pink and purple and magenta.

For some awesome photos of a train ride through the Tea Mountains of Sri Lanka, click here.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (1)

First Light

October 10th, 2010

This shot was taken at dawn on a recent camping trip to the Khasab area in the Mussandam peninsula of Oman.

I love the soft pastels that come with first light.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

Mountain Trail

September 6th, 2010

I had the opportunity to go on a half-day’s hiking along the Lebanese Mountain Trail.

The Trail is an extraordinary endeavour which was established in just a two-year period between 2006 and 2008 by ECODIT, with funding from USAID. It starts at Qbaiyat in the North of Lebanon and winds its 440km-way through the mountains to end at Marjaayoun in the South. You can read more on the Trail here.

I only walked a short part of the 18th section of the Trail, between Ain Zhalta and Barouk, namely through a portion of the very beautiful Shouf Cedar Reserve. You can find out more about the reserve here.

Below are a few pictures from that day.

Above, a Lebanon Cedar‘s branches, from which arise a number of immature seed cones. I very much enjoy the unusual way in which the cones rise vertically from the branches, unlike other coniferous trees.

It has only recently been brought to my attention just how beautiful these cedar seed cones (and conifer seed cones in general) are. And a whole new world has opened to me as a result.

Interestingly, it seems Lebanon Cedars produce seed cones generally every second year and those mature in 12 months from pollination. I understand that mature cones typically measure 8 to 12 cm long and 4 to 6 cm wide.

Above, the view onto Mount Lebanon in the late afternoon.

The first section of the hike took us through the cedar forest and then the trail we followed branched out onto the drier mountain top.

Above, sunset over the mountains.

Above, a fir tree at dusk. The reserve is home to some 24 species of trees, including Lebanon Cedar and a number of species of oak, pine and juniper.

More coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (5)

Hatta Rock Pools

June 5th, 2010

The UAE holds quite a few natural wonders for an adventurous spirit to explore. One of them is that of the rock pools in Hatta, an enclave of Dubai.

The remote Hajar mountains make for a lovely setting to enjoy a walk, a picnic and possibly even a swim in the cool waters of the pools.

Here are a few pictures of my last venture out there, early in January of this year.

I was impressed at the number of people out visiting the area despite it being a weekday. Also at the variety of nationalities. French, English, Emirati and other Arab nationals were all out enjoying the day in the sun.

More pictures soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (0)

The Chabrouh Dam

January 25th, 2010

That big massive wall above is the Chabrouh Dam. The yellow stone is supposed to help meld the wall of the dam with the surrounding mountainsides. From where I was standing, it seemed to be ineffective that way. Still, it does look pretty impressive. The 63 meter high dam is the largest in Lebanon and was inaugurated in 2007.

As we got closer to the dam, we passed a sign that proudly proclaimed, in both Arabic and English, that the Chabrouh dam area was home to an eco-friendly reforestation project. It was with no small measure of irony that I noted the pile of rusting iron dumped unceremoniously smack in the middle of the planted saplings, and just a few meters from the sign.

As I reached the foot of the dam, a lone figure walked out to the edge and looked down at the view below. Unfortunately, the figure disappeared before I could take a snap. I was incredibly lucky when the figure again came back to the edge and stood a moment. The clouds behind her parted just as I clicked.

My friends and I decided not to follow the long and windy road to the top of the dam (see the picture after the one here below). Instead, we decided to climb up the almost sheer wall of the dam. All 63 meters of it. Good fun and much-needed exercise (for me).

In the distance towards the top of the scene below you can glimpse the Faraya-Mzar skiing domains, the very top of the mountain snow-covered. We’ve had about 4 or 5 near constant days of rain and thunder and the temperature has dropped rather significantly. I would imagine that enough snow would have fallen by now to warrant the opening of the ski slopes…

Towards the bottom of the picture you can see myriads of saplings peppered across the slopes: the first signs of the reforestation project.

The patches of cloud spread across the sky were just stunning:

The scene below is of the reservoir hidden behind the dam. The reservoir has a capacity of some 8 million cubic meters of water and is about 1300 meters long. The water level seemed relatively low when I was there, but I’m sure with the steady rains we’ve been having as I write this, the water level must have risen somewhat. I would imagine the scene would be somewhat different as well, with the peaks all in white. Perhaps I may take myself back up there to take a look…

The image below is an HDR, created out of 5 different exposures.

More pictures coming soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (2)

Temples of Astarte and Adonis, Afqa

November 26th, 2009

I seem to have broken my post-every-other-day routine. I’ve been so busy lately. Been a very very hectic time. But I’m still here, alive and kicking.

So, anyway: Back to the hunt for the temples of Adonis in Lebanon. New pictures!

After taking a goodly amount of time in Mashnaqa, the race was on to get to Afqa before sunset. I got there with bare minutes to spare before the last of the precious light was gone. I cursed myself for not carrying a proper, full-size tripod with me. (I’d only taken my trusty Gorillapod – which is an amazing piece of gear but unfortunately limiting – occasionally, you might want some shots to be taken from a higher – or a different – perspective than that the Gorillapod can provide.)

Aside from the scenery, Afqa was interesting from a human point of view: The soldiers I met at the checkpoint just outside Afqa, and again in the village when asking for directions, were ever so helpful and friendly. Two shepherd boys who were tending their flock just outside the temple grounds couldn’t be more different.

The boys made such a ruckus when they saw the camera gear. They threw fits every time the camera wasn’t turned completely away – screaming they didn’t want to be photographed (At no point was I tempted to in any event). They called to each other in shrill voices, their screams shattering the peace of the place. To top it off, when my back was to them I was followed by jeers. So much for the innocence of youth.

The Collapse (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/40sec)

The temple in Afqa is an odd sight. Not exactly a disappointment. There is precious little left of it, most having been appropriated over the years by villagers from the nearby towns. All that is now left of what was certainly an imposing structure are piles of stones, rocks and rubble – a hillock overgrown with weeds.

Rocks & Rubble (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/40sec)

The far end of the temple grounds overlook the famous Afqa cave, and a waterfall that falls into the most beautiful crystal-blue pool.

Afqa Cave (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 34mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/40sec)

The Pool (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 45mm, f11, ISO 200, 1sec)

Waterfall (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1.6sec)

When about to call it a day, one of the soldiers who was with a group I’d asked directions from came to join me. Turns out he’d grown up in a neighbouring village but had never known of the ruined temple until then. The soldier, a young and friendly lad named Ahmed, told me of a hidden entrance to the temple from beneath which his friends had spoken to him about. We searched in the failing light and found a tunnel that led into the heart of the hillock.

The Half-Buried Entrance (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f8, ISO 200, 1.6sec + flash SB900)

The tunnel was quite deep, curving leftwards about 15 meters in and carrying on for a bit before the ceiling dropped to less than half a meter.

Below you can see the figures of Ahmad and a friend at the mouth of the tunnel.

Inwards & Outwards (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4.5, ISO 200, 1.6sec + flash SB900)

Torchlight revealed that the partially collapsed tunnel went on at least a further 20 meters or more and it seems there may be open rooms or halls further in. It certainly warrants further exploration. At some point I may return there with torches and clothes I don’t mind ruining…

The Collapsed Tunnel (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4.5, ISO 200, 1.6sec + flash SB900)

On another note, I should have taken Ahmad’s portrait, but the thought only occurred to me after we’d parted ways. Ah well…

More pictures coming soon (promise)!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (5)

Dibba by Night

October 5th, 2009

Last weekend was a great friend of mine’s birthday. To celebrate, the plan was for some 15-odd people to camp for a night by the beach at the foot of a mountain and to make merry until dawn.

So that’s exactly what transpired, and thus Camping Season was reopened after the too-long summer hiatus.

The location, you ask? Dibba!

Dibba is located on the coastal region at the northeastern tip of the UAE/Oman peninsula, on the Indian Ocean. Dibba is odd in that it is a town and region which is divided among three states. One part is ruled by the Emirate of Sharjah (Dibba Al Hosn), the other by the Emirate of Fujeirah (Dibba Al Fujeirah) and the third by Oman’s Governorate of Mussandam (Dibba Al Baya).

The camp was to be set up at the far end of the Omani side of Dibba, in a spot my friends and I know well and love. The last time we were there was at that same friend’s birthday exactly one year ago.

By the time I got there it was just after sunset and the full moon was out and was oh-so bright.

I don’t have many shots to share with you from then as I got engrossed in other things: the company of great people, the delicious food (including camp-fire roasted lamb which was so tender it would just melt in your mouth – did I mention Birthday Boy is a cordon bleu?), the camp-fire guitar-and-drum-accompanied songs, and moonlight snorkelling (yes, moonlight – the water was so clear and the moon so bright it was possible for us to see 7 to 8 meters down, but more on that later).

So here are two of the (pitifully few) pictures I took that night.

Lights of Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 34 seconds)

The arcs of light you see to the right of the picture above are from the light painting I did with my torch. I have another shot where the light painting spreads across the whole middle of the frame, but I prefer this one for some reason.

Moon Over Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 56mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 24 seconds)

I wanted to show how bright the moon was – so bright you didn’t need a fire to light your way around. Here you have the little lonely tree at the top of the mountain, with the bright flame of a camp fire midway up its flank, and the sloping sand of the beach before it.

More pictures coming very soon!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Travel/Urban | Comments (4)

Creative Commons License
Ziad Salloum Photography & The Desert Jerboa by Ziad Salloum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.ziadsalloumphotography.com.