Another characteristic of street photography is that there are no rules. So shoot and to hell with the horizon being straight. In fact things look edgy when they are all crooked. It makes life seem more real. What is the blue liquid? Who knows? It’s all in a day on the Corniche.
Want horizontal, I can do that too.
Sometimes a simple detail strikes you. I wish I could say this was intentional. Maybe? Street photography is tricky. You keep your camera in ready mode and just shoot from the hip. Farid swears I will be shot someday. Maybe? But meanwhile the technique works pretty well. And I am not shot but have shot lots. Traditional dress, wedding ring, smart phone, evening light, hands – somehow it all works. And I can claim that I planned this image too. Maybe?
This is said to be a palace and has been under construction for the past three years since I have been here. The larger building is said to be an exclusive guest hotel. How exclusive? Well one of the engineers, my patient, says that you nor I can ever see the inside. Meanwhile it borders the Corniche so people walk by and play within its shadow and evening light.
At the Corniche there are sculptures which I see and am unaware of their significance. Then I am reminded that magazines and newspapers show a single image to go along with the story. So here is my close up out of context to the whole sculpture and showing a neat graphic and color. For fun, sometimes you just take a shot for the sheer fun of it.
Ok, ok the full magilla.
This is the modern area newly renovated for the public along the sea. There are few public spaces. Mostly the sea real estate has private estates. Sculpture and art are there. Across the way is a former king’s palace replete with a staff of a thousand or so and no one to serve. I like the splash of color among the black. It’s a pleasant walk.
It was a weekend from hell. It started well. I met a group of divers whom I knew and was welcomed to dive with them. After the second dive I came out of the water to find my dive bag gone. My work card, driver’s license, car keys, batteries, cell phones including my iPhone, and underwater flashlights were all gone with the bag. Another diver in our group lost a bag with his clothes. The disaster was the work card and car keys. We had set up our gear next to another dive group. They overlapped our dives and when we came out this group was long gone. No one had paid particular attention to them and we did not know any of their group’s names.
An intense hour of investigation got us the name of the dive instructor and the name of one of the group. We began to make calls. Of course we called my cellphone to see who might answer. And no, I did not have my iPhone finder app and location was off to preserve the battery. We got hold of the instructor. His phone was initially off. He did not find any bags. We urged him to call his group of students. He did so but it sounded reluctant. About five hours later and with three handoffs and plausible deniability I finally received my bag. I was told no one had opened it. But it was obvious that the zippers had all been resealed inside. And my bag with all the salt stains was now clean again.
All my stuff was present and accounted. Horray! We simply made lemonade out of the lemons and went ahead and did a night dive. In another post you will see a cuttlefish from that dive.
My woe was not over. My camera immediately malfunctioned at the start of the night dive. The flash would not fire. In the dark ocean water this is a serious handicap. I switched over to ambient light of the flashlights we were using. White balanced and my camera was not too bad although exposure and shutter speed bedeviled me. I got some decent shots. When I got home I discovered the cause was related to a water leak in the camera housing. The next morning the flash functioned flawlessly.
That day I took the camera into the water again and it is still leaking. It leaked only a few tiny drops but it is definitely not watertight. I have resealed the O rings with the hope that this will work.
Having been thoroughly rattled about losing my bag and ID, I was not quite right in my head when I packed to leave after the night dive. I was packing up next to a couple of instructors – husband and wife – whom I knew. In the confusion I did not pack my regulator. That would be the yellow hose equipment in the picture. It was either in the dive shop or with this couple. The next day the dive shop did not have my regulator set aside. They had about 200 regulators hanging up and each one looks pretty much the same as the other. No dice, not there, and then I figured my friends had it.
But if it was with other rental gear then I worried they would return their students’ stuff without noticing my gear. I did not have a phone number. The instructor was a friend to one of my patient’s father, another diver. It’s a small world. Unfortunately the father was in Jordan. More calls went back and forth and I was about to give up seeing my gear again. Then, out of the blue, I received a call from my clinic nurse. Bless her, she was protecting me from being bothered. She told me someone had arrived to speak to me. It was Khalid, my friend, who inquired whether I would like to have my regulator back. Oh joy! He had found it among his gear and deduced we had mixed our stuff. He kindly brought it to the hospital and I am reunited with my gear again.
Now to find out if my camera housing is repaired and will not leak. Cross fingers and keep thinking positive thoughts. So far so good. As bad as it all went, I am essentially back where I began. It was as I would say making some easy dives the hard way. Oh! I did see some pretty nice fish when I was able to dive.
Why? I smile and ask myself why. After months and months, the traffic circle has the world’s tallest flag pole. This is added to the world’s tallest fountain which is only minutes away. Yup, the internet proclaims King Fahd fountain as the tallest. Now I suppose this is the world’s tallest flag pole. There is access hatch at the base and guards are present 24/7 to be sure no one climbs to the top and jumps to set some other sort of record. I wondered about the flag too. It needs to be light enough so the breeze will catch it, in case anyone would make crude remarks about how limply it hung. And on the day the flag was raised, Saudi National Day, I was absent from the country. A friend told me that it produced a record traffic jam as people simply stopped their cars to see it. This traffic circle is in the middle of some major crossing highways. Even on a good day traffic slows around it. You can be sure this traffic circle will not be changed ever again to allow for better traffic flow. Yes, it all works. Every time I pass it now, I wonder.
Someone has told me the pole is 271 meters tall and the flag is 500kg and half the size of a football field in area. Yup. Big deal.
By agreement I refer to Jules by the nickname her friends use. Too many of her students stalked her name searching the web. She thought it was weird. I guess I agree. But here we are again, another birthday. She always had a celebration that began at the end of the school year with her classmates. This was well before August. Then, the excuse was everyone would be on summer vacation. Then, we were on vacation, the Tyler Place. This called for a second celebration, cake, party, the whole works. And then there was the extended family of cousins, and grandparents at home. And on her actual birthday we had a family celebration. So it became a summer long party. For a kid who seemed deprived because of her August birthday, Jules would be about 100 by now if each party counted. And for the birthday wish, I wish her happiness. I think she is. Happy birthday kid.
Ghosts, gliding majestically along blithely oblivious to a couple of divers, Farid figured that if we were deep we might see them again. Typically he pointed too late for me to get an image of the first one that practically swam into my face. You can’t speak underwater so his strategy was lost as I followed him to 140 feet. We had just completed our rescue diver certification I was idly wondering if his brain was addled from the depth. Nitrogen narcosis is insidious. He pointed and even with max effort I was not going to get close to this trio. So the silhouette had to suffice until I get a better opportunity. Majestic.
Rain or shine – well it never rains…but the men’s dominos game goes on whether or not there’s a crowd. The guys are tolerant. People were crowded all about them snapping pictures. I mean the crowd was in their space! The game was on and no matter the crowd, it was proceeding. Just one table and one game…. The last time I saw this group, it was on an evening tour of the Balad. The tourists crowded and shot images. The men ignored them and played on.