Posts Tagged ‘tree’

The Nobility of Time

November 2nd, 2010

Dali. The mad genius.

Regardless whether you love or hate his works, it cannot leave you unmoved. For my part, the effortless grace and simplicity in his madness speaks to me. And I enjoy how the meaning of his works to me has changed as I have grown older and the way I view the world has evolved.

I recently had the chance to shoot a sculpture by Dali  titled “The Nobility of Time” (yep, the real thing). Here are two pictures from that shoot.

For the above shot I added a quarter CTB (color temperature blue) gel to the background flash. It gave a slightly blue tint to the back of the sculpture, as well as to the white surface upon which it rested.

The second shot was made without the CTB gel.

I lit both shots with a studio flash firing through a softbox high to camera left, and another firing through my HiLite Background (I love that thing).

The Nobility of Time was described follows (I don’t remember where I got the text from, sorry):

Dali’s melted and crowned watch is both draped against and supported by the remains of a tree – the trunk sprouts new life and its roots entwine a stone. The terminology, “the crown of a watch” is assumed to mean a mechanical device that allows us to set the hands and wind the timepiece. Time, however, according to a Dalinian watch, has no internal power or motion. Given this watch’s lack of movement, the crown is interpreted as a royal crown adorning the watch, clearly identifying time’s mastery over human beings, rather than being an object of utility. His majesty is attended by two reoccurring, mystic Dalinian symbols: a pensive angel and a nude female figure elegantly draping herself in a long piece of cloth.

As the watch melts over the tree, it transforms into a human profile, underlining the interminable relationship between human beings and time. The unexpected softness of the watch also represents the psychological aspect whereby time, whilst considered to be a precise and fixed concept, can in fact vary significantly in human perception. The flow of time and its unusually irrational nature developed into an obsession for Dali; the image and symbolism of the melted watch thus reoccurred in many of his works.

On another note:

More coming soon!

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The Lone Oak

September 18th, 2010

Not far from my uncle’s farm in Normandy, France, lies a wide open field, at the far end of which lies a splendid forest, dark and deep. I would occasionally go for a walk in the forest – and on one occasion a mushroom hunt with the family.

On the way there and back I would pass a lone oak, standing resilient, proud and strong in the middle of the field.

I was inexorably and inexplicably drawn to that oak. So one rainy, overcast day I grabbed my gear and squelched my muddy way to the field to snap a frame or two.

Here is one of the results.

This is likely to be the last post for a week or so as I’ll be travelling and with limited access to the ‘net.

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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!

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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!

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Playing with Knives

July 28th, 2009

This past weekend, I decided to fool around with some random stuff at home and see what comes out…

I took this beautiful knife I bought from a gem of a store called We Be Knives that I unexpectedly came across in Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. I mean, who’d have thought it? A great, quality knife shop on Pier 39 – Tourist Central?

The knife’s a joy to behold and handle – it’s a beautiful, handcrafted Sakura KB-202 field knife made by Kanetsune in Seki City, Japan. The handle (and sheath) are wrapped in cherry tree skin, hence the name – Sakura, which I understand means Cherry Tree. The damascus blade is made of 15 layers of blue steel. Stunning stuff.

I used the knife to cut up a large carboard box to make a makeshift lightbox, lit it through a large napkin, brought along a mirror for the party and introduced the victims, an orange and a pepper, to the knife. Here are some of the results:

CachunkReady, set, slice!SlicedChop-Chopped

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