Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Ferry Crossing

The CrossingCrossing a river or a small bay by boat/ferry in India is something that we always look forward to because it involves a lot of factors. Firstly, you have to wait in line with several other passengers, all dressed in brightly coloured clothes, carrying different kinds of packages and bags. Then there are the boats themselves which are crammed to capacity.  Needless to say, once the boat arrives at the jetty it is total pandemonium…there are passengers trying to disembark, while the others attempt to board. A lot of shouting, noise and confusion takes place in these 3-4 minutes, and then suddenly you find yourself in the ferry, sailing smoothly across the calm bay to the opposite shore.

Its at times like this that you envy the luckier ones who have their own colourful rowing boats to take them across. No chaos for them.

Overall, its an experience not to be missed, and it helps if you have a camera, because there is a lot of colour and the crossing itself presents many instances for photography.

 

 

Rowing for Glory

Rowing

 

Very often while making pictures we are undecided as to whether we should use a wider angle and capture all of the action at the same time, or if we should chose one subject and zoom in close to get maximum detail out of it. A difficult choice to make, but we don’t generally get a second chance especially with the action shots, so plan in advance what you would like to focus on before you take the shot.

This was taken at the Dragon boat Festival held at the Festival City in Dubai earlier this year. It was a warm day, but not very bright; slightly hazy, and very humid. Taking pictures was a little challenging, because the sweat kept pouring down our faces, and burning our eyes. The atmosphere though was great. There were many teams participating, and they all had their own set of supporters to cheer them on. Good music added to the fun.

As the day wore on, and the better teams prevailed, it was easy to see how the determination and teamwork came together to help them achieve their success. I found this picture interesting because in spite of all the noise and confusion around them, this set of athletes had only one goal in mind….to row their way to glory! To me it tells a story, remain focused, look ahead, work hard, and you will achieve your goal.

If your pictures are able to tell a tell a story, they capture the imagination of those who look at them, and create a thought process in the viewers mind. Look for situations where you are able to “tell a story” through your pictures; it will make you a better photographer.

 

A splash of Colour

Just Boats

Making a trip back home to Cochin in South India always gives us a lot of inspiration because there are so many oppportunities to do some good photography. There is so much of colour all around you, the place in itself is quite beautiful, will loads of tall trees, so may areas with backwaters, and blue skies filled with puffy white clouds.

We  had gone out the previous day and did some good photography, but it was extremely hot and humid, and we had ended our outing earlier than we expected to, mainly because of the climate. So this morning we were not too sure as to what to do. Finally, we decided to brave the heat once again, so armed with our camera’s, off we went. We soon came to the waterfront, and decided to look around a bit.

We saw a few colourful fishing boats in the distance, but they were too far away to get a decent picture, so we went looking for a way to get closer to them. The road led us away from the sea, but we came across a small winding alley, with a lot of garbage, a couple of cats, and lots of crows, (the latter two being rather surprised at seeing us there). As we had hoped, this alley led us out back to the backwaters, and there the boats were !

We spent the next half hour or so clicking away to our hearts content, and we did get some really good pictures of these boats. The lesson learnt ? Keep exploring your options, dont settle for the standard shots…if we had not looked for a better angle/viewpoint, we could never have got this picture.

Abandoned Truck

Abandoned

How often have we gone out with the camera only to come back home dissappointed, saying that it was “not a good day” because we could not find a good subject? Or maybe the lighting was not right? Or there was nothing scenic in the vicinity?

This is when we have to make a little more effort, and try to look at things from a different point of view, because the opportunity to make a picture is all round us. We have to be able to see the beauty that is around us, and be able to capture this beauty in a manner that makes it asthetically pleasing.

This old abandoned truck looked its worst, but there was something about the way it stood there in the grass that caught my attention.  It seemed to be giving the plants on the ground a support to climb on and spread even further, almost as if it were trying to support  life after it had passed the best years of its own life, and the bright colours of the bonnet and parts of the cabin worked in total contrast to the rich green colour of the grass.

Overall, a simple, yet interesting picture, and this is the what photography is all about. We all have our own views and opinions as to what is and is’nt a good photograph; but it is the ability to go out there, form a picture in your mind of what is around you, and then capture and share that idea/thought process with the rest of the world, that makes photography an art.

 

The Dubai Creek

Sunset Cruise

Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek) is the local name for the saltwater creek that separates Dubai into two main sections – Bur Dubai and Deira Dubai.  It is of great significance to the UAE, because it was here that trading first started between Dubai and traders from India and Africa, – as early as the beginning of the 20th Century. Although not deep enough for large vessels to enter, this creek became the first harbour that Dubai had. Dubai’s “Pearl Industry”  which formed a major section of the country’s economy was based on the trading that happened here.

Since then, this creek has had several changes, it has been dredged to accomodate larger vessel, and is today a major hub for the Dhow traffic that carries almost all forms of cargo, and Personal Effects from Dubai to the neighbouring countries. With the introduction of major ports like Port Rashid, Port Saeed and Jebel Ali, the significance of this route has diminished, but it still remains an important port for the Dhow traffic.

Today the Dubai side of the creek hosts the bustling Textile market and the Museum, while the Deira side has the traditional Spice market, the Gold Souq, the Dhow harbour, several impressive buildings, and a busy trading centre slightly inland.

The easiest, and probably the most enjoyable way, to cross the creek is by the “Abra”, – a traditional wooden craft, powered by an engine. It has a sunshade to protect you from the heat of the day, but thats about it !  You have to sit on a small raised platform in the middle of the Abra, as it makes it way across the creek. There are two points on either side of the creek that are connected via the Abra’s, and this mode of transportation is used by thousands of commuters daily.

The best time however to visit the creek is in the evening. Just as the sun is about to go down, take a stroll along the quay, and you see a flurry of activity as people hurry to get back home, and prepare for the next day. If you are patient enough, you get the whole creek turning a deep blue, reflecting the colours of the sky, as the day slowly turns into night, marking the end of another day.

 

 

 

 

 

The Spice Market

Simply Spices

 

A visit to the traditional spice market (or “Souq”, as it is called in Arabic, meaning “Market”) in Dubai is sure to leave you with a few memories that you will long remember.

Situated beside the Dubai Creek, this market has been here for a very long time. The market itself comprises of several narrow alleys paved with cobblestones. The pillars that hold the roof of the market are made of wood and have traditional lanterns suspended on them. There are several restored wind towers in this market which helps circulate the air, – the scents from the spices can at times be a little strong! The area is generally crowded and is a bustle of activity. There are local traders vying for the best bargains, while on the other hand there are scores of eager tourists/visitors trying to get the best experiences out of their visit to this market. There are several “free lance” porters with their traditional trolleys/handcarts,  transporting the goods from the stores to the trucks, or the nearby launches, for onward transportation.

The stores in the Spice Souq sell a large variety of fragrances and spices, Frankinsence, dried lemons, rose petals, chillies, and many herbs used in Arabic and South Asian food. Whilst the main attraction in this market is the large variety of spices that are available,  this is not the only commodity sold here. Walk past the first alley, and you will find utensils, glassware, foodstuff, textiles, tableware, rugs and plastic goods. There is also a huge variety of incense burners, henna kits, saffron and shisha pipes that you can choose from.

The market is not too large, but it gives you a fair idea as to how business is conducted here in the traditional manner. While shopping here in the summer months can be quite uncomfortable, its a nice market to visit in the cooler months. It is also in very sharp contrast to the posh markets and shopping areas that modern Dubai has to offer.

If you do visit Dubai, this is one of the places you must go to.