Posts Tagged ‘sea’

The Norman Coast in Winter

October 12th, 2010

Earlier this year I spent a day in the seaside resort town of Deauville, in France. I got the chance to visit the place a little, and spent a short time on Deauville’s famous beach – which, owing to the time of year and the weather, was largely deserted.

It was cold, with a biting wind that threatened to sweep my little cousins off their feet. Dark clouds roiled above, constantly threatening to unleash a torrential downpour. And, in point of fact, the heavens did open up hard a number of times during the course of the day, for periods ranging anywhere from a few minutes to a good few hours.

My cousins, about to be carried away by the wind.

The deserted public changing rooms.

The view onto the English Channel (aka “La Manche”).

More coming soon!

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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!

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An Island Sunset

September 14th, 2010

Last weekend an escape to one of the beautiful untouched island beaches was organised by some friends and I.

We spent the best part of the afternoon and evening relaxing on the beach and swimming in the clear emerald waters. And chatted away as the sun set a few degrees off the main island of Abu Dhabi some distance away.

We’ve been blessed here over the past few weeks. We’ve had some truly amazing sunsets. I had the chance to enjoy a few over the holy month of Ramadan as most every day at that time I was driving up or down the Corniche heading to some iftar or other.

But this time I had the chance to sit back, relax and give my attention to the sky. The typically cloudless Abu Dhabi sky was filled with a mix of wide streaks and thin wisps of clouds that shifted and changed during the period from sunset to twilight to dusk. And the dying sun’s rays hit them in such a way as to throw the dome of the sky into a riot of ever-changing vibrant oranges and deep reds.

Naturally, I ended up snapping off a few frames.

Here are a few of the results.

To camera left you can see the Abu Dhabi city skyline in the distance. I loved the gradual change of colour from deep orange to an arc of magenta to deep blue as you look away from the sun towards the top of the frame.

I waded waist-deep in the water to make this frame.

What’s a beach without beach sports? Supersportsman Alex catches a frisbee with the tips of his fingers.

That little speck in the water left of the center of the frame is not a dust spot. It’s one of my friends enjoying the water.

The new moon graced us with its company and its Cheshire Cat smile.

There’s nothing quite like being in the water as it changes colour to reflect the sky at dusk.

This is one of my favourite pictures from that series. It says it all, really. And yep, I was waist-deep in water for this one too.

More coming soon!

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Nice in the Sun

August 9th, 2010

Back in early April, I had the opportunity to walk around Nice, France for a few hours.

It was my first visit there since I was a child. I was lucky with the weather. The heavy rain of the previous days had made way for a day of sun. Although the sun did little to warm up the cold air, a goodly number of people were out by the beach enjoying the sun’s rays.

Here is a selection of shots from my walk along the beach.

More coming soon!

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Dibba Underwater

October 29th, 2009

Before get on to the pictures from my Lebanon and India trips, I suppose I need to finish what I started.

As I’d previously mentioned, the water was so very crystal clear – and just the perfect temperature. The night we arrived, the moon was full and shining so very brightly. So brightly in fact, that you could see unaided 8 meters below the surface of the water.

Who could resist? So I grabbed my snorkelling gear and my diving torch and led my friends in two different snorkelling trips around the rocky point near to which we were camped.

Those night snorkelling sessions were among the most extraordinary snorkelling/diving sessions of my life. This was thanks in great part to the strong “fluorescence” which wasn’t overpowered by the moonlight. I understand this bioluminescence is due to microorganisms – plankton and such – which react to movement (of the water), such as when a human swims along, by lighting up.

This basically means that you end up swimming in a sea of stars. It’s an absolutely beautiful effect.

The fluorescence was so strong that you could spot someone swimming a fair distance away from the light his movement was giving off. We could also spot fish underwater in the same way.

That first night, we found the sea bed littered with crabs. They were out en masse, it seems, to find mates. We’re talking fairly large crabs, by the way. The majority measured some 30cms in diameter, at least. And a fair few were even bigger. Beautiful blues and yellows and other colours (as revealed by torchlight). I saw most at about some 6-9 meters below the surface, although there were a few in the shallows.

The Makeout Session

Crabs have very very distinct personalities, I discovered. Each crab I approached displayed a very different reaction. Some danced in circles around me, pincers raised, trying to run away but semi ready to fight if they had no choice. A small number stood their ground, and aggressively raised their pincers, opening and shutting them in warning. One even actively chased me away. I tested their reactions in other ways, too. For example, I placed the blade of my diving knife in the open pincer of a few, to see what they’d do. Most just got annoyed and moved away. One did absolutely nothing. Just stood there. Even after I tapped him on the nose with it. One snapped his pincer shut on the blade so very tightly I had to fight with it a fair bit to get him off. He only released my blade after I’d shaken him dizzyingly and dragged him along for a goodly number of minutes.

There must have been some crab-fights too, along the way, or some crab predator had himself a feast, for the next morning there were crab carcasses littering the sea floor, and crab limbs floating haphazardly about.

A carcass...

When I woke in the morning I was itching to get into the water. So I quickly snapped me a few shots and then got in the water. Some of my pals had woken by then and I took one of them with me.

We saw 5 sea turtles, 2 giant sting rays (one as long as me, and the other a bit smaller), loads of cuttlefish and squid and small and big fish.

It was an absolutely beautiful session lasting over 3 and a half hours. And the bonus was that I’d made it completely across the point I’d been wanting to for more than a year now.

Eagle Rock

After crossing what we dubbed Eagle Rock (just above) we broke past the point and into a wide open stretch of sea which many kilometers away led to the beautiful fjords of the Mussandam. The moment we turned the point we were assaulted by an incredibly strong current taking us out to sea, and we had to fight so very hard for every inch to go back the way we’d come until we crossed the point again.
View Larger Map

We started in that little bay at the bottom left, and made our way to the tip at the right corner of the satellite picture above.

The view beyond the point...

The sight we were greeted with on crossing the point was simply breath-taking. Unfortunately, it didn’t translate as well as I’d hoped in picture.

Ray the ray

A ray, about 9 meters down.

Squid!

Squid!

A turtle

A turtle. One of the ones we saw proved very playful and swum around with me a few turns until I ran out of air. The rest made a break for it when they spotted us. All were juveniles, no bigger than 50-60cm in diameter.

Fishies!

Itty bitty fish just below the surface.

Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming...

My friend, Luca, seen from 6 meters down, and being chased by a wall of tiny fishies. Now he’s a very tough cookie. A real-life He-Man. He swam over three and a half hours without fins (flippers) and wearing only those tiny swimming pool goggles, as opposed to a full mask and snorkel like me. And he fought the super-strong current like that. And won.

Puffy

A pufferfish. Seen about 9 meters down.

We even had the unique experience of witnessing two local snorkellers, a father and son, while they were spearfishing and trident fishing for their food.

The Catch

This was their catch when we’d caught up with them.

The squid they’d hunted would release blotches of ink every time they banged against the snorkeller trailing them, or against the other catches. The way back was peppered with strips of ink.

Inky

Some of the ink they left behind.

All pictures above taken with my old FinePix Z100 in its underwater housing. The Z100 is an ok point and shoot, but unfortunately its batteries are a nightmare – they run out of juice far too quickly.

More pictures coming very soon!

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Dibba in the Morning

October 7th, 2009

So, going on from my previous post, I mentioned that the plan was to make merry on the beach until dawn.

That mostly held true. Particularly for the others. For my part, I collapsed in my chair in the wee (and I mean wee) hours, shortly before dawn, while serenaded by 5 brilliant singing musicians (including Birthday Boy – and you should hear him play the piano). On the plus side, I awoke shortly thereafter in the middle of that magical hour – dawn – to find that everybody else (except for Birthday Boy) had collapsed and was snoring happily away.

So: Dawn + Awake + Amazing Place = Picture Time!

I hurriedly got up, grabbed my camera from the other end of the camp after fighting my way through the giant wasps that always seem to invade a camp-site in the morning, and the results are here for you to see.

Dhow at Dawn (Moon Over Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/640 seconds)

I’ve realised that lately I’ve become much more partial to soft pastels, whereas before I had a strong penchant for strikingly vivid colours…

Take this picture for example:

Dhow with Fujeirah Mountiains Behind (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 seconds)

Or this one (in which you can see just how crystal-clear the water was):

Fujeirah at Dawn, seen from Dibba (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/100 seconds)

Ok, so this one is rather vivid, but still:

Sun Rising Over Dibba

I shot the picture below from some old ruined huts which are peppered along the foot of the mountain. When I went towards the huts, my aim was to make some good pictures in the soft light of morning. Unfortunately, nothing I saw really spoke to me, so instead I turned my attention to more interesting stuff – like our camp.

Below you can see Birthday Boy about to ready breakfast, tiptoeing over and around the party animals that lay sprawled all over the place, while in the background the mountains of Fujeirah rise up through the mist in the fragile light of dawn.

The Camp, seen from Ruins (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f5.6, ISO 200, 1/125 seconds)

I probably could have gone off in search of different angles to shoot from, and different things to see, but to be honest – all I wanted to do was get in the water and snorkel (more on that in comping posts).

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Aldar HQ

October 3rd, 2009

From Out to Sea (Nikon D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ f10, 135mm, ISO 200, 1/400sec)

On a recent boat trip, I took a few shots of Aldar‘s new headquarters, a beautiful building currently under construction in the Al Raha Beach area just off Abu Dhabi island.

Mostly, we see it from the highway on the way to, or back from, Dubai. So I figured the perspective from (a speeding speedboat on) the sea may be interesting.

So here you go. :)

Closer We Go (Nikon D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ f10, 135mm, ISO 200, 1/320sec)

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Island Chilling

September 21st, 2009

Sunset Island

Eid Mubarak to one and all!

Well, Ramadan is over. And it’s back to a normal train of life. But meanwhile, there’s nothing like a boat trip to start off the Eid holiday on a good footing. I went out to one of the islands around Abu Dhabi (featured up top) with some friends. We snorkelled, walked among the mangroves, enjoyed the chattering of birds, the company of baby rays, went sea-shell hunting and stayed out rather late into the night, chatting by the fire, taking night swims and enjoying the fluorescence.

I took my camera with me, hoping to be able to capture something interesting.

Shooting from the speedboat while moving was difficult at best – too much shaking, and trying to zoom in/out through the ziplock bag I’d DIYed into a protective cover for the camera was an annoyance. To top it off, later when taking pictures of star trails I even managed to run out of juice, mid-picture. Dead battery. Should have checked it before hand. First time it happens to me – Nikon’s awesome batteries have tended to last and last and last… My bad.

Overall, fantastic day (and night) out in great company, but not a great picture-taking day.

That said, the two shots below made lugging the camera with me worthwhile.

The Mermaid

Sunset Olympics

All shots above were with a Nikon D700 with a Tamron 24mm-135mm F3.5-5.6 lens.

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Pylons and Mangroves

September 13th, 2009

A while back, I took a walk among the mangroves along the Abu Dhabi corniche just prior to sunset. The mangroves were beautiful – as ever – but what struck me most were other things; the colour of the sky, the pylons and the two men out fishing beneath an outline of the city.

Pylons

Fishermen

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Out To Sea

September 11th, 2009

I had a free day on my last trip to Lebanon and spent it with some friends at the excellent and oh-so-relaxing Lazy B beach.

They have a little creek with a freshwater spring and a gentle current from out to sea running through it. I took this from inside the creek, in chest-deep water at *cough* great risk to my camera. :)

Where o where can my baby be?

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