Posts Tagged ‘ruin’

The Cowherds

June 10th, 2011

Hyderabad is a fantastic and interesting place.

We were lucky enough to have a great driver who doubled as a tour guide on my trip there. As we were driving on a highway, I spotted the ruin of a mosque rising up from the small buildings to the right of us.

I asked the driver to stop, and we entered the narrow streets and headed towards it. And there it was, around the bend. Absolutely beautiful. Overgrown with green. Small plants and flowers growing out of cracks. Hundreds of years old, by the looks of it. Neglected. Crumbling. Seeming forgotten despite the bustle of life around it.

The mosque turned out to be inaccessible. Walled off from all sides. The driver, a man in his sixties, told us that he used to come often to that neighbourhood as a child. But as sectarian troubles began to increase between Hindus and Muslims, gradually the Muslims left the neighbourhood.

Round the back of the mosque, we came across a herd of cows and goats, tied up and docile.

Turned out the Hindu family nearby were raising them. Also turned out that the family elder was our driver’s wrestling instructor when he was a child. They hadn’t seen each other in some fifty years. It was an extraordinary moment.

We got to spend a little time with the family, and eventually I was allowed to take pictures.

The elder:

The son:

Father & son:

I feel privileged to have gotten a glimpse at a different side of life in India. One not many people get to see.

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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Temple of Adonis, Faqra

January 27th, 2010

A while back, I began a mini-project to visit and explore the three surviving temples of Adonis in Lebanon. On the same day, I managed to visit the temple at Mashnaqa, and that at Afqa.

The temple at Faqra I had to reluctantly leave for another day. I finally managed to visit the site of these beautiful ruins just recently.

It was a heavily overcast day which softened the light and chased away strong shadows. And allowed for more than just an exploration of the temple itself.

One of the most striking features of the temple at Faqra is that it was partially cut and built into the living rock. The peculiar rock formations feature in clusters at the entry to Faqra and are commonly called the “Houses of Ghosts”.  Time constraints meant that I couldn’t explore them for photo opportunities. But I guess that just means I’ll have to pay the region another visit. ;)

Here is a tonemapped shot of the entrance to the temple proper. The tiny figure of my friend standing inside the temple should give you an idea of how impressive the structure is.

On the other side of the temple of Adonis lie what I understand are the remains of the smaller temple of Atargatis.

In front of the temple of Adonis sat an empty cube a few meters across. The cube had windows cut into it. I wonder what it was meant to be.

I had my gorillapod with me, which helped me to shoot multiple exposures for creation of HDR images. Unfortunately, it proved rather unwieldy to use here given the open spaces which limited my choice of positions and angles. It also meant that the camera often ended up being at less than 20cm from ground level. That led to a lot of uncomfortable crouching to look through the viewfinder…

And finally, my favourite image from the set. I’m particularly proud of this one as it proved particularly difficult to set up and shoot (thanks to the size limitations of the gorillapod – still MUCH better than with no tripod, so no complaints). I particularly like the backlight provided by the sun gently shining through the modest cloud cover.

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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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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)!

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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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The Jerboa Has Landed!

October 27th, 2009

Right! I’ve returned from my trips to Lebanon and Bangalore, India with a sizeable wad of pictures.

I still have to sort through them all, but hopefully I will have lots and lots of great pictures to share with you in the coming weeks – including pictures of: abandoned hundred-plus-year-old Lebanese houses; ruins of age-old temples; the last day of the harvest and vintaging at a vineyard; a traditional Indian wedding (which totally blew my mind – probably the single most colorful and extraordinary wedding celebrations I have yet had the privilege to attend); and my other (non-wedding-related) impressions of the very beautiful, chaotic and noisy Bangalore.

With luck, I will have something substantial to share in the coming day or two. Meanwhile, I will leave you with a shot of the very first snake I have yet seen in Lebanon. In the wee hours one night I found this beautiful and colourful specimen lying in the middle of the road by my family house in Baabdat.

It was quite dead and being munched upon by a cute tar-black kitty, which unfortunately made a break for it as I approached. Oddly enough, try as I might, I couldn’t roll the snake over to take a better look at (and maybe picture of) it… Whatever I did, it invariably flopped back onto its back… It wasn’t too long, about 50cm in length, give or take, and 2cm or so at its widest point.

And no, no clue what type of snake it is.

Floppy

While you’re waiting for the coming posts, check out the first instalment of the awesome bullet-time-esque results of a very cool experiment undertaken by the one and only Trey Ratcliff.

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