The last time I made the mistake of coming at 7PM. The action I spoke about starts after the last prayer. So this is the crowd milling about at midnight. This is a one-way thoroughfare. Are you kidding? Nope, it’s one way. I got caught about half way along and had to walk to the end twice. Pain! No one sleeps during Ramadan. They stay up until 4AM, then try to sleep all day to minimize the time of fasting and hunger. I’m saying that families and young kids are all up and active at this hour. If the routine change has affected me so, it must be hell on little kids. Once a year for 30 days…..
My guide told me that this is typical food served at Ramadan. It is liver she said. Diced liver and mixed vegetables are added to a hot grill. The savory smell beckons. It seems this is the specialty of the house and at every table multiple orders were being eagerly shared. No one seemed to mind me taking images, so I did.
This is a pocket food. It starts as a small ball of dough that like pizza is stretched to paper thinness. And then a filling is added. The package is folder and thrown on an oiled hot grill. Make it golden brown. It looked good. The picture says it far better than a description.
Street photography – you shoot an image hoping to preserve spontaneity. It is an unguarded moment. I guess I’m better than I realize. I shot this. It is on my memory card. No one else used this camera other than me. The problem is that I don’t remember taking the image. It is in the middle of my Balad night series during Ramadan. So I am as surprised by the shot as anyone else. Does it still count if I don’t remember pressing the shutter release?
I was swimming along the reef with Farid. He wears glasses and has custom lenses in his dive mask. Maybe I should get some too. He always spots the good stuff first. He caught my attention and off I went in pursuit. I don’t know quite what is under the ray. A remora? We are deep. The floor here is about 120 feet. My gauge says we were as deep as 123 feet on this dive. So the colors are muted and the image is grainy. Fine. I was there, got an image, and we saw it.
Time to trot out a 4th of July shot. I got some good ones. And I learned that you need a long exposure on a tripod. This year Macy’s didn’t plan to set the fireworks off along the Hudson. The New Jersey residents howled. No matter, Macy’s moves things around from time to time and someone is unhappy. I’m just glad I was there when the wheel came around for me that time. Once you master the long exposure you tend to want to get some more. I have a collection of the skyline to my east. Either way it’s a great view.
I got this one in digital with the Canon G3. It sure helps when the image can be checked immediately instead of guessing without feedback. Yes, you must use a tripod. And there are all sorts of technical details about night shooting. But the easiest part is in knowing you’ve got something for your efforts. And, no, I did not delete all the other shots. Did I mention that all my digital files are in a hard drive the size of a brick? And did I tell you that I currently have about twelve bricks with redundant backups of my image files…and there was only one drive that had my G3 images… these images that I have posted today. Things can sure get confusing sometimes. Susan swears by Carbonite and ‘the cloud.’ I say, what happens if they go away. Companies can fold and your stuff is lost. Of course it also helps if your stuff is stored in multiple sites, which mine isn’t. Back to my topic, mounting your camera to a tripod also allows you to do night shots. Bright lights will actually let you get a decent shot handheld. And I do his all the time when I don’t have a tripod handy. Still…
I don’t know about you but anytime I fly I try to get a window seat. With online booking this is now an artful guessing game. The last step when booking is to pick a seat. I’ve flown in and out of many airports and especially NYC . I know the landing and takeoff patterns so I try to sit looking right or left to get a last view of the Manhattan skyline. Sometimes you are in the right spot. How anyone flies and barely looks out the window is a mystery to me. Coming into JFK at midnight I was disoriented but then I caught the lights of Manhattan. Right below the engine is midtown and the Empire State Building. Okay so it’s too dark to really catch anything in focus. Who cares? I’m not getting paid for the image. And the visual cortex can process things so much better than a digital camera. Nonetheless I can make out the Queensborough, Manhattan, Williamsburg, and the Brooklyn bridges. The pattern of street lights is pretty stunning in its own right. Yup, there I was nose pressed to the plexi-glass and loving it.
The color of blood is red, but it can hardly be likened to ketchup. While I actively suspend my belief in realism while watching, it has occurred to me that there are some viewers who actually believe what they see in the movies to be true-life depiction. When you next watch a movie consider the following thoughts on medical injuries. Blood is bright red because of oxygenation. As it dries it becomes a dull red. Old blood is almost brown. Moviemakers would do well to cut themselves and see the transformation of blood through its stages. Knowing the timing, I am constantly laughing at how unrealistic blood looks in many movies. Red yes, realistic no.
Have you ever had a bruise? Number one on my list of complaints is the lack of swelling depicted. That awful bruise is depicted in a purple kind of blotch on the actor’s face. But there’s no swelling. We wouldn’t want to deform the actor’s good looks would we? And later the bruise becomes green and yellow. Oh well the movie is only two hours, so there’s never enough time to evolve in the healing process. But hey, watch a boxing match and see how horrible it looks to have taken a beating that is severe enough to swell your eye shut.
Instant knockout drug?! Here’s a good thought to hold. What in the world is in that dart or what is that knockout drug? Or what is it that they place over the victim’s mouth and nose that knocks the person unconscious in about an instant? After many years of watching and then asking my anesthesia colleagues…? I realize that I became aware of the technique while I was watching the original Mission Impossible TV series when I was young. Well, to be honest, there is nothing … repeat nothing!… no drug, nada!…that works instantly. I am aware of few anesthetic drugs that work pretty fast when administered intravenously. Nothing that comes in a dart is accurate enough or in enough quantity to do what the movies suggest. Yes, there are poisons from exotic arrow tips, which will kill you, but even that takes more time than we could take to watch in a movie.
Blood dripping or gushing from the nose and mouth is pretty gruesome and common to see in movie injuries. Unless you were traumatized in the face and mouth, the poor victim usually doesn’t have blood vomiting from their mouth or dripping from their nose. A gunshot to the chest may cause you to cough blood. But when I think of all the trauma patients I have seen in the ER, the sight of blood is limited mainly to head injured patients. Yes most gunshots don’t leave you gushing with blood.
Entry exit wounds from gunshots and knives tend to be less bloody as well. A gunshot to the head of which I at least have some experience, has an entry wound that is usually not too much to see on the outside. It’s inside the skull where the damage is done. But there’s nothing gory to see if everything is happening on the inside. I will readily admit to having no particular knowledge of wartime injuries in the field.
Shot or cut, you pick, it hurts. If you’ve ever slammed a door on your hand or finger, then you know the pain is enough to stop you – at least for a moment. I watched Arnold Schwarznegger take a nail through his hand and all he did was lift his hand up and out, then continued on his merry way. Have you noticed the good guys never die after one shot? And certainly it takes more than one bullet to slow them down. The bad guys all fall down on one shot and sometimes even if the bullet is only in their vicinity. Luckily I have never been shot, but I would figure that there is pain involved. No matter if it is a “clean wound that passed right through,” it’s got to hurt. That at least has to make you stop and pay notice.
With all the attention to sports concussion in the news these days, I am fascinated with the blows to the head that actors can trade without being incapacitated. I mean if you “have your bell rung” wouldn’t your reflexes be just a bit slower. And for heaven’s sake wouldn’t a solid kick to the head be enough to make you pause.
At the other end of business a good swift kick to the testicles, yeah “balls,” is going to make the average male double over and not get up instantly with fists blazing.
Where did anyone get the idea that you can actually aim a gun well? How is it that the cops fire so many shots and only hit the criminal with about 10% of their shots? This is a fact where several celebrated NYC police shooting cases illustrated the lack of handgun accuracy. Multiple shots from multiple police handguns and only a few bullets actually struck the criminal. When I was an intern in general surgery I took care of a man was shot while sitting on his stoop in the South Bronx. The two gunmen with four guns shot him from close range. He was alive and kicking. Unfortunately because of the angle his worst complaint was that he had several scrotal wounds. No brain damage there and certainly no blood dripping from the mouth, nose, or ears. I grant you that one bullet can kill, but then again I have no military experience.
We live in a video reset culture. You die, the game restarts, and you play again. You get to die until your skill is good enough to pass you through to the next level… where you die again until you learn. I will readily admit that I avoided medical TV shows like ER – George Clooney – because the medical inaccuracies were too painful to watch. Nothing is more realistic than the real life and times in front line neurosurgery. The truth might be too scary to watch.
I think I ate there once. That’s not too good. It usually means that the restaurant will not survive. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a crowd inside. The restaurant sits on a corner on 11th Avenue where there’s very little foot traffic. It has survived here for more than thirty years that I’ve been in the neighborhood. Well, their time has finally come. The neighborhood is finally improving. Soon foot traffic will increase and it will be crowded. I hope they don’t get bought out.
I am not a fan of tripods. I have one and use it very infrequently. I suppose I should use it more. However, it does have its moments and uses especially on long night shots. I used a slow tele and long exposure (seconds). Times Square is well lit and colorful. But it is still a challenge to get a properly exposed image. Still, there is a certain charm to a well exposed night shot of the city.
Got this shot? We rode the dinner cruise on World Yacht. One buys tickets and signs on for dinner. The route takes you down the Hudson River past the “Lady.” The challenge is that the boat is moving and the shutter speeds are slow. But you can do it. Just shoot a few extra shots to be sure one comes out sharp. Alternatively you can take the Staten Island ferry for free. Yup, free. And you pass close enough to the Statue of Liberty to get the shot also. You could even bring a sandwich.
The bridges of the lower East River provide the backdrop for some pretty quintessential shots of New York City at night. Digital cameras make this a pretty easy task. I don’t do much more than point and shoot. Of course a little compositional planning helps.
Yup! It’s a big giant mosaic octopus off the beaten path in the middle of a traffic circle behind the Corniche (beach road) that you would have to actively seek out. And what do you do after dinner in Ajii…. I guess we were in a pretty good mood after a satisfying meal. The only thing was risking life and limb to cross the circle and get to said octopus. And then J wouldn’t standby for any fooling around in plain view of all the passing cars. David had fewer qualms so he shot his dad embarrassing his kids.
I have a bunch of non sequiturs. Actually I uploaded some shots from the Balud and they appear to be orphans at the moment. There always seem to be a few men bundling sticks cut precisely the same length. The bundles sell and I must remember to ask why they sell?Digital is a lot smarter than me. I shoot and the camera makes me look good. Mixed lighting and high contrast scene… no problem. It’s dates.This is as close as we came to actually buying anything. It was an old jewelry store, which is to say that the jewelry looked old. Nope, made in Pakistan, recently. Neither J nor David bought. Dave could have used something for his girlfriend….Shadows are a great subject. We’ve done some strange shapes. But the kids would have none of it as we walked at night. Patterns, I like patterns and especially when you have willing/unwilling subjects at hand.
There aren’t too many attractions in Jeddah. One, is the King Fahd fountain. The challenge, get a picture at night with the fountain and the kids. The real challenge is to get the kids together. Sometimes I’m surprised. The fill flash and the fountain balance one another. So you get everything you hoped for as long as you don’t set the bar too high.Then there’s the added trick… all three of us and the fountain … without Photoshop.
This trip we made several excursions to the Balad. We just wandered the narrow winding streets. The kids didn’t buy a thing. We just looked at the street life and commerce. J didn’t like me just shooting the camera from the hip. David inadvertently distracted her with his patter so I got to trail and shoot. We passed a lot of interesting merchants. One thing I found is that it helps to ask about strange products. We found that gum is sold in blocks. Silva told me it’s to flavor certain dishes in cooking. David and I just chewed the gum and found it to be enough to make you stop chewing gum. It had the consistency but the taste…ugh!
It constantly amazes me how well the camera processor/sensor can analyze a scene and get a decent exposure. Basically I’m lazy. I don’t want to be twirling a lot of dials and adjusting shutter, ISO, and aperture. So the camera does the work and I compose and try to crop in camera as the image is taken. You could never do this with film. And you never had a chance to make instant corrections. Immediate feedback has made things so much easier. I will also admit that I am not shooting raw.
I have been taking multiple images and stitching them together. It’s never quite perfect and it’s time consuming. So I cheated here. I took a single wideangle shot and cropped it down. You lose lots of information and I won’t get to blow it up to mega size. Since I mainly planned to post the image to the internet, this has not presented a major problem. The camera had a setting for sunset but this scene option was dropped from the G11 to G12. Secret: just run up the saturation and voila. It’s what the camera’s processor does to ‘pop’ the sunset.
I have to say that the little point and shoot outdoes my big DSLR in low light. You really can see the fast lens make a difference. The Canon S1000 has an f2.0 lens. And that darned lens is sharp. I took out the Canon G12 and did a comparison shoot. The evening sunset night shoot got me some nice shots of the mosque. I was going for a sunset image with the blazing sun setting just behind the mosque. My only problem is that the setting sun has moved on the horizon with the change of seasons. I’m taking my shot now and not waiting until next year. I got a very decent handheld night shot. There’s image stabilization. After all my problems with underwater exposure and white balance, it was a pleasure to let the camera decide for itself this time.
This coffee urn is the style here in Jeddah. It is old style and still in use. They served me with this type on the plane from JFK. I purchased an old one in an antique store. I was passing a traffic circle and stuck in traffic. I happened to see this sculpture. And the extra bonus was the full moon and clouds. These point and shoot cameras are so darned smart. It’s a more interesting sculpture than a stacked set of microwaves. But still….
In a ‘roundabout way I will meander and recall the Kennedy assassination of 1963. It will be soon fifty years ago. When did I get so old?
I was just about to get separated from my dive buddies. They were up ahead and leaving me behind. You can’t really ‘call’ to slow down. In the open swimming along the sand were a moray eel … and a puffer. I have not seen a moray in the open. And I have not seen one with blue striations. It’s possible that this is not a moray. Whatever, it was not happy to be in the glare of my dive light. But I had the ability to shoot some images. I just couldn’t get low enough for a sea bed shot.
‘Never leave you wingman,’ Tom Cruise, Top Gun… yes, I did get separated. At night this could be an issue! Visibility is poor in the pitch black. So I turned off my own light and watched for the glow of the other divers. It worked and I caught up to everybody. Worst case scenario, I surface on my own, but I wanted to continue the dive. I was happy to be reunited.
On our night dive I swam across this school. They were clustered on the bottom and swam away from my light. The squirming mass was a bit spooky, creepy if you must know. There was something about this closely pack of squirming fish that made me think of eels. They stuck close to the bottom. I would have to say that I don’t recognize them from my daylight dives. Until now I have not seen fish so closely packed like this.