Posts Tagged ‘wedding’

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!

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Seychelles Wedding

October 10th, 2012

I seem to be shooting a fair few weddings of late. :)

One such wedding took place on the beautiful island of La Digue, Seychelles. A place that is as close to paradise as there can be.

It was the wedding of a dear friend and wonderfully talented photographer Diane Aftimos (check out her work here). The wedding was a small and intimate (we were no more than 20 people attending) fairy tale affair. I was very privileged to have attended, and doubly so to have been asked to photograph it.

Here are a few shots from this extraordinary heart-warming wedding:

Confetti were flying everywhere when I took this shot.

The massive granitic boulders which are scattered along the beaches make for some extraordinary settings, especially with the warm light of the setting sun and the dramatic crashing of the waves on the rocks.

More coming soon!

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Posted in Animals, Friends, Travel/Urban | Comments (7)

Qasr Sunset

June 5th, 2011

Sunset over the beautiful Qasr Al Sarab resort deep in the desert of Liwa, home of the rolling, flowing hundred-meter dunes and situated in the Southern UAE at the of the Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter).

I spent the weekend there earlier this year to attend a wedding.

It’s an absolutely fantastic place. The setting is one of those few places which are larger than life, reminiscent of the old Hollywood master epics from the sixties. Like something you could have found in Lawrence of Arabia, or Cleopatra, or something…

More coming soon!

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The Tea Cup

September 1st, 2010

This is a shot from my archives, taken on the plane on the way to Bangalore, India for a wedding in October of last year.

I was setting up to make the portrait of an elderly gentleman and realised that I had packed my speedlights in my suitcase, which was *cough* conveniently in the plane’s hold.

So, I had to work with available light. Must say, not much light on a plane. I ended up switching on every reading light I could find and directing it, so far as possible, in the direction of my subject (which is why there are so many spots of light reflecting in the kind old man’s eyes).

I made a number of test shots, with the kind assistance of my frs. This was one of them. I loved how it turned out.

More coming soon!

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Posted in People, Portraits | Comments (0)

A South-Indian Wedding

December 8th, 2009

Entrance to Bangalore Palace (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/800sec)

Quite a few of you have been waiting for the Bangalore Wedding pictures.

So here they are!

As one of my fellow guests said: “Our eyes were full of colour”. I think the pictures speak for themselves so I’ll be keeping comments to a minimum.

I may just give some context - shamelessly lifted from a card we were given at one of the events which explained the festivities, rituals and their significance in brief.

The wedding ceremony starts with the bride being escorted in a procession to the Mantapam (the decorated stage on which the ceremony is to take place). Friends and family take part. The procession is led by bridesmaids carrying brass pots filled with rice and coconut on the left and bridesmen carrying ceremonial umbrellas on the right. I understand that generally, they are dressed in all manner of colours, but this time was different – the bridesmaids were in beautiful green saris, and the men in white silk robes. For the most part, that is. If I’m not mistaken there was one bridemaid alone who hadn’t been issued with her green sari – and wore a beautiful white one instead. The men also had one stand-out: Me. On my arrival, one of the bride’s uncles pulled me aside and handed me a ceremonial umbrella. When I objected, pointing out the red kurtha I wore, he said: “nevermind that, we want you here”. I couldn’t begin to express how touched I was by that gesture – at being asked to participate in, and not simply attend, my friend’s wedding.

Once the bride is settled on the Mantapam, and the groom arrives, he too is escorted along with his friends and family to the Mantapam in a procession led by the same bridesmaids and men. That complete, we were all led onto the Mantapam as well, and sat to the right of the stage to watch the ceremony. The wedding hall was massive, with seating perhaps for thousands in front of the stage, but I felt that it was a cosy ceremony in which there was just us, we few on the Mantapam.

Evidently, I took no pictures of the processions and the initial part of the ceremony as my camera wasn’t with me, and I couldn’t anyway. Ali – am so grateful to him – the fine gent to whom I’d handed the camera for safekeeping – came up to the stage and handed me the camera early on. Thanks to him, I got the chance to take these pictures you see here. And from a different angle to that of the photographers clustered stage front.

I was struck by how similar some of the rituals and concepts evident in this beautiful South Indian wedding are to those in other cultures. For instance – the raining of Akshatha (rice) on the happy couple – common to Christian and Muslim weddings. Also, the three rounds the couple effected around the holy fire during the wedding ceremony proper, which echoes the three rounds around the altar in some Christian (notably Orthodox and Greek Catholic) wedding ceremonies (called the Dance of Isaiah). I understand that this is a ritual that predates Christianity. The various explanations given for the three rounds in each culture and religion may vary, but the symbolism remains the same – the newlyweds taking their firsts steps together as one.

Anyway. Enough talk. Picture time!

Above, the entrance to Bangalore Palace on the morning of the wedding. Below, one of the line of drummers who greeted us at the entrance to the palace.

Drummer Man (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 95mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/160sec)

Welcome Drummers (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 90mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/200sec)

This lady’s long hair was bedecked in jasmine. A lovely sight.

Dressed up in Jasmine (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/30sec)

One of the trumpeteers who preceded the bride.

The Trumpetter Cometh (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 24mm, f4, ISO1000, 1/160sec)

The lovely bride, looking regal.

The Regal Bride (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/160sec)

The Blessing (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Here, the bride and groom after holy water was poured on their hands during the Dhare. The Dhare is the prayer ritual which follows the wedding ceremony proper. Prayers are offered to Agni, the Lord of Fire, who dispels darkness and leads the way to the light of wisdom and knowledge.

Holy Water (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 85mm, f5.3, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 1 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 2 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Colour and Smiles (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 3 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 60mm, f4.8, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Offering to Agni 4 (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 100mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

Garlanding the Brother of the Bride (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 105mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

This is one of a series of saffron mounds, seen between the groom and bride. These were crushed by the bride during the ceremony.

Saffron Cone (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

The Groom (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/320sec)

An ecstatic bride and groom during the one of the rounds of the saptapadi (the seven rounds around the holy fire).

A Round Around The Fire (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/320sec)

I loved that although the wedding was such a detail-rich series of rituals and symbolism, steeped in the traditions of a millenia-rich culture, there so much room for joy in it:

Heaping up the Offerings (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 135mm, f5.6, ISO1000, 1/250sec)

I can easily say it was the most beautiful and moving weddings I have yet attended.

In closing, here’s another picture from the Bangalore Palace grounds. Now, this isn’t strictly speaking wedding related – but the cannon was just sitting there outside the Palace gates, looking all cannon-y. Couldn’t resist. Hehe.

The Cannon (D700, Tamron 24-135mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 55mm, f5.6, ISO200, 1/500sec)

More pictures coming soon! Including pictures of my favourite wedding-related event – the giving away ceremony!

P.S. Any errors in the descriptions of the ceremony and rituals are mine own alone. Please do feel free to clarify if you like.

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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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The Emir's Palace

August 27th, 2009

The Palace FacadeOver my last trip to Beirut, I attended the 50th wedding anniversary of a very good friend of mine and my family in Chtaura in the Bekaa valley.

It was a fantastic event and a heart-warming reminder of the joy two people can find in, and keep bringing, each other over the course of a lifetime well-lived. Oddly enough, it’s something we as a culture seem to be steadily discarding by the wayside and replacing it with… something else entirely.

The Wedge

Now, getting to the Bekaa valley from Baabdat means taking any number of roads. One involves a very long and oft log-jammed road (via Zahle), and another one or two less well known and rather windy road (via Hammana). You can also find out more on Hammana here.

As you may have guessed, we took one of the windy roads via Hammana. We spent a pleasant hour and half passing through quaint little villages clinging desperately to the mountainside, peppered with hundred-plus-year-old homes built of traditional yellow stone. This was great for me as we travelled through areas of Lebanon that I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore before.

At one point on the way out to Chtaura we passed through Salima. It’s a small and very old village dominated by a large abandoned 16th or 17th Century castle. Salima was the seat of power of the Abillama Emirs (hence the castle). Salima is a fantastic little gem, and in a country peppered with beautiful little villages that’s saying something.

Stairs

Many of the houses and other buildings seem to date back to the 17th and 18th Centuries. A disproportionally large number appear to be abandoned today. The sheer number of missing roofs made for an odd sight. Find out more here and here.

Strangely enough, the village seemed to be largely empty. Perhaps this is fallout from the Lebanese Civil War, but I’m not so sure. The village does sit on the road linking some rather key, perhaps strategic, locations. A number of different factions may have driven through it on their way in or out. That said, it bears noting that the war ended in 1990.

I fell in love with the village, with its beautiful old church sitting by the town square, dwarfed by the ruined fortress which sprawls across from it. A quaint school sits by the road above the fortress. I was dying to explore it, to spend a day there and make photos to my heart’s content.

Tunnel Vision

Three problems: 1) I had an event to attend; 2) I was with my parents and couldn’t really abandon them to be bored to death while I ran around in search of a good angle or the light and generally getting lost in the belly of the palace or in the village; and 3) I didn’t have my tripod *sniff*.

So basically, all I got was five precious minutes to take a quick look around the palace on the way BACK from the event. In all fairness, that wasn’t so bad, as the light was a tad softer by the time we’d returned to Salima.

I’ll be making sure to go back there soon to explore it properly.

Bonus points if anyone can spot the glaring *gasp* error I made in one of the shots.

Welcome to the Other Side

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