We were on a five borough bike tour of New York City. There were thousands of riders strung out all over. As we rode along a road near La Guardia airport… I snapped this shot from the rear while riding… and was immediately admonished by my spouse (it’s not her!!). Well, if you wear worn out clothes in public, it’s fair game. No names, just places. It’s not a nice thing. It is in the category of street photography. There was no intent to offend. But a word to the wise, watch what you wear and where you wear it.
Here’s a party view I don’t often get to see. I was descending on the escalator overlooking Starbucks. A birthday party? Yes, I think so. Cellphone’s the recording device. I was to far away to hear any singing. Happy…happy.
I’m not famous. I’m not a celebrity. Really! But it always seems that I run into people who know me in the places that I visit. Jeddah has 3 million people give or take. And when the kids were here, we were cooling our heels waiting for a table at the Palm Garden. Just as a table opened up, I had my camera up and taking a picture. As you can see, a fellow diver greeted me with open arms as he recognized me behind the camera. Coincidence, yes, but not isolated because in this same 10 day period David saw me greeted by a patient I had operated upon in another restaurant far away from this site. This woman graciously invited him to her daughter’s engagement party so he could taste a different aspect of Jeddah. It certainly remains interesting who you meet and who knows you while you try to remain anonymous.
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.
I was wandering behind my kids as we walked through the Balad. It doesn’t embarrass them so much when I take photos from the hip. The kid with the hat carrying dried flowers was a natural subject. Before I could position myself for a shot, he stopped, posed, and nodded for me to take his picture. His companion stood shyly to the right. I beckoned him to join and took this image. Ordinarily I am aware of the background distractions. The guy standing behind was actually trying to position himself into the picture as well. The moment passed and the background fellow introduced himself and told me he was from Yemen. I smiled and hurried to catch my kids.
My daughter is self conscious when I do ‘street photography.’ I just shoot from the hip and get the street scene without posing any subjects. Here, the kids feel that if I should encounter any objections, it could go badly for me. Perhaps?
But on the same walk through Al Balad, I had three different sets of experiences to the opposite. People saw that I had a camera and just posed for me. The kids still think I shouldn’t invite trouble.
Parenthetically and off topic, I misspelled … as Balud. Because of this the Google search engine lists my misspelled posts in the top few finds on the first page. Wow! Who’d have thunk that a mistake would get yo to the toop of a search page?
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!
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….
There’s a formula that they seem to follow. There is usually a super grocery store. There’s a food court. There is entertainment consisting of amusement rides and video games. What I don’t get is that they are so large it really is ideal to exercise in a climate controlled environment. Instead people visit the food court and gain weight.
There’s a lot to learn here. First it is against the rules to show faces. So it is routine to have missing faces in advertisements. This is all well and good until a patient arrives in the clinic with a completely veiled face or at most the eyes showing. Then they ask me if I remember them. It would not be polite to laugh. But seriously…..!
Behind closed doors, high walls, and covered windows someone is pretty racy. Ah? Remember Victorian England? One more comment – no one is as thin as the display models. When the average BMI is way over 30….
And men were this style like a suit. If you look there are choices in color. But 95% or more are all wearing white. So it is unusual for me to notice there’s any color choice.
While Farid and his wife were away, their kids were with Grandma. As an act of good will I took the kids to the amusement park. They have a setup in many of the big malls here. This mall actually had an ice skating rink. Nicholas was excited to skate until we got on line and then he claimed he didn’t want to do it. No amount of cajoling could get him to put on a pair of skates. He’d been skating before but I think he just got a little nervous and scared. Ok. But which rides did the kids want to do. Kelly is younger by about two years. The rides she liked (merry go round) were too young for Nicholas and he told me so. I got Kelly on some rides too young for her but she was fine. Kelly made me ride on one with her that left me queasy and dizzy. Oh great! Then I made Nicholas go on a ride with Kelly that tilted, swayed and swung. He didn’t like it but he put up with it. Ah! It’s so touching to see kids grow up and outgrow things in such a hurry.This ride is a bit childish, but it was no problem.
I was driving Farid’s car for a few days while he was away. My nurses have been pretty wonderful in making life a bit easier. So I took them on a field trip as a way of thanking them. Jen runs my clinic. The other Jen is my OR nurse. They are both left handed like me. Anna joined Jen and is not left handed. We went over to the Corniche (beach) and caught the sunset – not too spectacular this particular night. Then we ate in a Chinese restaurant. Hey! I gave them a choice and this is where we ended up. Finally there was a late night shuffle through the Balud – the old city. We ended in a Body Shop – just like the USA – where I stood outside (family only- female). What I did not know was that it is illegal to be out with a woman not your relative. Come to think of it I have been single with other families. But anyway, I read somewhere that it is forbidden to be out with single women, morality and all that. So here I was with three (women) and in trouble again without realizing it.
This reminds me of another way to get into trouble around here. English is really a second language for everyone else. Most of the MD’s are Arabic speaking. Our nurses are mostly Filipino except for batch of new Chinese nurses recruited by the last nursing administrator. One day it was dim in the OR. One of the spotlights we use had a missing bulb. I asked for a candle. (It’s a joke!) Usually the nurses ignore me. Once in a while they pause and actually look to see if I’m serious. I never get a candle. (To be honest I’m old and I need more light to see. – Another joke.) On this particular day the new Chinese nurse took exception to my request for a candle. What did I say? She just stopped talking to me. No, I don’t speak Chinese. What?! Well she told Jen, my regular nurse, I had just insulted/embarrassed her asking for a condom. Huh!?!? It doesn’t sound the same and in the context of the OR I suppose a condom or a candle were both strange requests. I don’t know what to do. They did not fix the lights in any case. Honest! I didn’t make this up and I certainly didn’t intend to insult anyone. At the end of the evening out, the ladies bought bananas – 3kg for 10 SAR about $2.50 – that’s cheap.
Motion blur and tilted shot, this was an iconic image for me. I shot, tilting the camera to make the cable car horizontal. But the perspective says that we’re on the uphill side. And the motion blur makes you feel like you’re moving right along. I’ve done this shot since. But this was the first. And tilting the camera is a technique that I use frequently now. After all the years I spent telling Lisa to keep her horizon straight, I feel guilty breaking the rule so much these days. But since the advent of cell phone photography, it’s pretty common to see tilted horizons. The trick is in making it work for the image. Lately I especially like the technique for food photography.
It’s Soho. And obviously, it’s near to Christmas. We were down shopping in a furniture store as I recall. The wet snow was covering the trees. I like this impressionist take on what would have been a wet dreary day. I don’t know the settings – film. But it works for me and it evokes a memory each time I look at this image. I am reminded of Maggie Sherwood, whose image totally blurred in the rain from a cab inspires me to this day.
I’m starting a series of iconic images in my life and will continue for a few weeks in my posts. This blonde headed kid is one of my first street photography images. It was taken back in the ‘70’s. I’m kind of shy, really! So it’s not my first inclination to put my camera into someone’s face and shoot. We were at a street fair and this kid just presented himself, isolated in the crowd, just him and me. He’s got to be in his forties now. I wonder what he’s doing. This was one of the earliest street images for me. The other great source of images was New York City’s street fairs, which were just beginning in the ‘70’s. Nowadays there’s a street fair every weekend and most times in multiple locations. Back then, it was a local merchants fair. But, London was among my earliest experiences.
You don’t get many opportunities to shoot the local people. At this tourist stop it’s part of the deal. So I took the shot. It gets tricky as the light gets low. But on a gut level, you know when you like a shot. I could post process and crop and … but I just like it as is.
They aren’t too photogenic. So the color helps. I apologize for the tree sticking out of his head. We had stopped momentarily. You know. …when everyone is running in four directions and the driver will say, “Get back on the bus,” at any moment. So I was standing and just doing a 360 degree click around with my camera. Later we parked again and I had a longer moment to get another shot of another camel. Anyway the color is for the tourists.
Not to be derogatory, this man was offering camel rides to the passersby. And on this busload of eager nurses I heard one exclaim, “It’s been my dream to ride a camel before I’m thirty.” So I guess this was her lucky day. What can I say? When the light is right shoot away. I could have used some fill flash and maybe composed a bit more off center. But this was a constantly changing target rich photo shoot and I was clicking away as fast as I could go.
I was busy with the camels at this roadside stop. So it was a non-sequitur to have this car stop me and ask that I photograph them. Not one to be impolite, I did it. It’s just that at that very moment, I was having camera panic. The settings had changed and I couldn’t figure out why every image was not focusing. In the meantime, I’ve got a prime time moment and tried to manual focus on the run. It’s not quite right, but close enough to get the point. It turned out that the manual focus button had been pushed. But to go through the check on the run, it’s always hard.
This is a whole lot of potatoes…ok maybe some onions. Either way, I don’t really recall that the average Saudi diet is so full of potatoes or of onions. French fries, yes…but I think McD’s brings theirs in from outside. Anyway it got me to thinking about the weight (obesity) problem. The again, I thought who needs so many 50 pound bags of potatoes. I’m telling you that this was a big warehouse and all the bags were stacked with potatoes… lots of potatoes.
And the road signs warn drivers about… something you don’t see in the USA. I have to say that I have braked for moose after I saw the sign in Maine. I never saw a moose on the road in Maine. But there was a moment when I realized that hitting a moose would be like hitting a truck. I got the wise notion while driving in the fog in Maine, that the GPS device gave you good forward idea of the road and its curves ahead. The rub is that if you happen upon a moose at high speed, you will hurt yourself. I slowed down and got cautious. So far no sign of any stray camels. I tend to doubt there are any wild ones about. And like moose, for me, any sighting is worth a photograph.
When I say there were a lot of cars, let’s see… eight lanes, bumper to bumper, at least two miles… that’s a lot of cars and a lot of heat. The police were out with flashing lights, but what could a few cops do? There were roving bands of young teens, who made me a bit nervous. Mostly they were friendly enough. There is a median separating the eight lanes and folks were gathered on it, standing around or walking up and down. For some reason, the police chased everyone away from the median.
And they chased down this group. One was apparently impersonating the king and giving an interview… a spoof. The police made it clear that this was not within the ‘rules.’
There’s one thing in Jeddah that I may note. Everyone drives, no one walks. That’s why the sidewalks are in such poor shape. So on a night of celebration, it’s everyone to their car. They don’t walk, they don’t parade. They drive. So the eight lane boulevard was completely clogged in both directions by cars…just crusin’ …. There were a few people on the street, but not many.
There were many people who appeared to disapprove of me taking their picture. It seems that parents were more sensitive about their kids. So I tried to be discreet. It was my first time in this situation and I was merely playing it safe. If you’ve seen my Halloween shots in NY, anything goes. There, you just stick your camera up into the faces in the crowd and fire away. Even so, there were plenty of people who wanted their picture taken. No one asked that I send them a copy. They just wanted to be digitally recorded. And I couldn’t but help feel the pride and joy.