Sunday, April 26, 2009

Search for a picture Postcard

Time Freezes... The Sun is setting ... A plane about to land.. while a boat lazing around

They say Industrial revolution has brought in the concept of mass education where large number of pupils were taught in the classrooms as opposed to one is to one teacher student relationship. The result have been amazing and the world started to mass produce all the produce all categories of professionals. A large number of individuals who could do the same work with same level of expertise and one could replace the other so very easily. I think one of the few profession which was relatively untouched by this sweeping wave has been the photography. Primarily because of the high initial cost and operation expense.
Today we live in a world where everyone is a photographer and a digital camera is one of the most common possession of a person on the street. The first question you will face when some one spots a new camera is "how many mega pixels is your camera?" the notion is that the higher the value the superior the camera. He does not care to know about the lens and other good stuffs.

Birds.... remember the movie by that name!

I am not a professional photographer either, though deep inside I aspire to be one someday. Here is my quest for a picture postcard but failed single out any one in particular...

Everyday and the same magic is recreated but one can never get bored of it

Too lazy to get off the car

The Most expensive Hotel, Burj Al Arab as a backdrop

Madinat Jumeirah

Amphitheatre on occassion but a restaurant otherwise


Monday, April 20, 2009

Traffic Signal Photography

What do you do when you stop at the traffic light? One has to be very attentive in this part of the world. A delay of a split second to move at the light turning green could start a live orchestra with people trying their hands on the car horns. I have noticed some motorist, (actually more than some motorist) devoting this spare time of theirs in keeping their nose clean. In other words downloading stuff from inside their nose into their car with the help of the index fingers.
Some people like to spend this time by getting prepared for the meeting he is going to attend on his arrival or being creative by developing ideas or trying to solve mathematical mind benders or maybe analyzing the days activities at work, the usual what went wrong or what could be dealt in a better way..... while the car fm provide the background score.
Have you ever tried to try your hand at photography. These are some result of my humble attempt at what I call "Traffic signal photography".
Let me know what you all do at the traffic stops ......

The Rising Sun

A new day dawning

The setting Sun

A piece of Sky between the cars

Wanted to avoid those two cars but they just drove in

A few rain drops on the windsheild and the night sky beyond

All set to start pouring from the sky

This time I managed to get the mosque without the cars

Water logged Sharjah street

What a pair!

A nice Dubai Street

Going to work on a rainy day

Just before the hard rain

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Irresistible Oman

There is something mystical about Muscat that I did not feel in any other places I had lived. The people of Oman are very friendly and so are the administration. I will never forget the way the Royal Oman Police (ROP) helped us when our car wheels got stuck in the loose gravels off-road. That is another story to tell. If we believe that nice people are gifted with nice surrounding then there can be no better example than Oman. I have lived in Oman and later on went back periodically on business trips.

Watercolor on a canvas

The city of Muscat nicely situated with a mountain range on one side and the open ocean on the other. First time I saw these mountains it appeared to me like barren hills with no character or appeal. But a closer look put me in trance, those mountains were standing as if they have just come out of water after having a bath.The mountains quite literally show distinct signs that those have been under water forever, even if it was a few million years ago. We could still see the shells of various sea organism deposited all over their body and the most most dominant signs are the water marks. The constant flow of water have left their permanent marks on the sides and the shape of those marks gives a reasonable idea of the alignment and gradient of the waterscape. Driving on the roads between these mountains took me dreaming and having goose bumps with the realization that today I am driving in the place where huge sea creatures had been swimming not many years back.

The watermarks on the mountain

That might be too many years back in time but the sign of recent civilization and history of that place is abundant and equally interesting. Last time I visited Oman, I had my wife travelling along as we clubbed the weekend to my business trip. It was an opportunity for me to visit places where I have not been before. We went up Jabal Akhdhar the green mountain, where only a 4x4 vehicle is allowed. It took us about 30 minutes to reach there but it is amazing that human being used to live there long before cars were invented. They used to do step terracing for cultivation and had an intrinsic network of water channels (aqua ducts) to maximize the utilization of whatever little quantity of water was available. Even today exotic fruits are cultivated on top of this mountain. On our way up we crossed a few old settlements, which have been now abandoned but this was the first time I have witness civilization in form of entire settlement on top of a mountain. The most intriguing of all was a house carved out on the mountain side and hidden so well that it would have given all the protection that the owner of this house had desired. We could only view it at a distance while we were on the other side of a huge gorge but could not reach it.

The other interesting thing we did was driving on the Wadi (river/ stream) which is popularly known as "wadi bashing". It was a stream between the mountains which has a very quiet and harmless look to it. We have been told that when it rains in the mountains, these streams turns devastating, taking away everything that comes on their way. We got down of the car to pick some pebbles from the wadi bed we had scores of local kids joining us in search for nice collectibles. On our way up we met with other children having bath and some trying to make some money selling locally woven handicrafts. Somehow "made in China" products have not penetrated the handicraft of this region.
The town of Nizwa had a fort which is also a museum. It has a very nice souk (market) where one can pick up antiques of the region. Coins , swords, Guns, postage stamps and other accessories of yesteryears.
We could not enter the Al Hooty cave this time as it flooded due to flash rains in the mountains the night before.
There are footprints of old civilization scattered through out this country. But one of the grandest symbol of modern architecture and construction technology in my opinion is the "Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque". A monument of strong character and respect for minutest of minutest details.

There are hundreds of other places that we could have visited only if we had more time to spend there. We shall probably shall go back soon to the mystical call of Oman.