A TALE OF PHOTOS – PART 3

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When I started photography, I actually didn’t know any technical things……it was just a hit and miss sort of thing, actually back then I was using my film camera so I didn’t even know what I had done till I actually developed the film!
One thing that I didn’t know, was that I was mostly doing macro shots! I didn’t know how or why, but I got my close up filter and looked for flowers and insects to shoot! Actually, I blogged about my first shoot and one of my favorite shots here.

My love for macro photography is still a big part of my love of photography, but now I ended up exploring a few different aspects…..water drops!

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DSC_1843 andy warholeThis was one of the first times that I ever took photos of water, I was going around the family farm after my return from Antarctica, and I was absolutely re-inspired by nature… I saw many things that I would have typically took photos of but a man made waterfall had a beautiful effect to it caught my eye. I saw the waterfall differently, I saw a black background and colorful water. The initial shot looked nothing like this but 18 hours on photoshop I got the photo I wanted! (I didn’t have the skills I do now).
I then decided to change up the colors in the Andy Warhol style! of giving multiple shades to the same person, and I loved the result! Actually if you go through my photography website you will see a nice little effect that I did that combines the four images 🙂

A Water Drop Universe

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Sometimes as a photographer I see things that I feel are unique…I see the world in ways that only photographers do, and while on a trip to Salalah, I walked around with my colleague from work to a gorgeous spot, I was busy taking photos of the centipedes and the mist filled mountains when I noticed a spider running away from the mist….that spider laid its web between two leafs and with that mist, I saw something resembling a universe. This shot is one that I am deeply proud of, and every time I look at it, I think of how amazing our universe is!

Well that’s it for this tale of photos, but writing this really got me to see that I should definitely try to get some more water drop shots!

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For the love of food!

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The first time I went to Love at First Bite (L@FB), I remember my reaction…….This is not Oman! The creative concept i was surprised by is unique and I was very surprised that it was created by a passionate Omani entrepreneur! everything from the menu to the furnaiture was his brainchild.

The name just puts you onto the owners mindset! The satirical names of the dishes alone should make you try this place out……can you picture going on a first date and ordering “Marry Me”?

When you see themed restaurants, usually the experience isinteresting but the actual food isn’t the highlight……….that is certainly not the case with L@FB……the restaurant owner (Khalid) oversees the creation of the dishes himself and has his own inputs, so you feel that individual touch to each dish…how do I know?

Well……I was at the OpenMinds forum a while back, and someone recognized me from the Freezing Omanis, as I was talking to him and updating him on what iv been upto, Khalid walked by……he walked by at the same time that I was getting to talk about my food photography.

Khalid talked to me about doing some shots with his restaurant but these weren’t average food shots………..he wants the personality of his restaurant to come out in the themes…..and in doing that I saw how immersed he is in the love of his restaurants……….nothing less than perfect came out and I didn’t have to step into the kitchen once!

This was the nicest yet most difficult shoot I have done so far……….I spent a week just thinking of the concepts for each dish and a lot of will power to not eat everything I saw! and it got harder after I tried the food!!!

So lets dive into my favorite foods and images!

“I can’t make you love me” ……except if I offered you this heavenly sandwich……..the cheese and chicken are just a perfect match!

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“Deception” I tell you! ……this devilishly fresh asparagus soup tricks you into thinking its an ordinary soup but shows its true flavors at the first sip.

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“She Loves Me”…….you don’t have to take a gamble on whether you love this dish or not……the prawns are nicely battered and crispy while the sauce just adds that zing to it!

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“Lies”……This is definitely my favorite sandwich! the sauce mixes so well with the cheese and meat…..ok this is making me so hungry that im gonna go off to eat something now….

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WARNING…….the next photos aren’t for the faint hearted or anyone with a sweet tooth “Addiction”

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If you want something to share, “its complicated” will take the complication out of the equation!

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Or you can end the night with an “Affair”

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Well……….these are my top picks but its difficult to say as there are many more noteworthy dishes! the choices will just drive you “Bananas”

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All puns aside, this place has my attention……….and serving till 12 midnight makes this a perfect classy place to go to if you are out till late!

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Photogra-foodie

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Iv been taking photos for a while now, I actually started my love of photography with Macro / floral photography and its still something I love doing.
In the past while however…..iv been investing into a new kind of passion, Food Photography!

(photo cred: Anna Chesalina)

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Iv written here before that it wont take you long from the time you meet me till you get to realize that im a foodie….I love trying out new places and I dont mean just the fancy ones, I really enjoy finding the ‘hole in the wall’
So as a photographer, when the opportunity of doing a professional shoot for a restaurant came, I jumped at it!

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Many of you have seen YouTube clips of how photographers stage shots by making plastic versions of their food or doing insane things to take photos of them in a way they wouldn’t look naturally. Well ill tell you a thing or two about that…..
1. Sometimes its unavoidable….We shoot using lights that get quite warm, taking photos of ice cream can prove to be difficult (not impossible, just very difficult)
2. Restaurants and businesses here in Oman generally can’t afford that.

So now that’s out of the way, I absolutely hate faking shots……My idea of food photography is that it should show the food in its best way, not its unnaturally perfect form! so until now I haven’t had the need to hire a food stylist, rather…I work with the chef’s to bring the dishes out in the best way they should look. (here is a shot of me during the shoot and of the shot I took, photo cred: Anna Chesalina)
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One of the fun things that I love about food photography is that you have to be precise….and hungry.
Im not kidding! you end up looking at food in a really different way when you are hungry so I try to skip a meal before my shoots.
Downside….you starve while being confronted with great smells and beautifully plated food
Upside……you get to eat it when you are done!!

Yes….. that’s the question I mostly get when I say that I do food photography…..although I must confess, I usually shoot up-to 15 dishes a shoot so I do bring along friends for ‘support’.

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Here is one thing that iv noticed though…..restaurateurs don’t really understand the business of new media, they don’t get that a good photo can make a customer come to you no matter where you are.
Most restaurants say that they can’t afford a food photographer or that they are fine with their phone-camera photos for social media.
To those who could identify with the above, do this….check the instagram account of a café called ‘passion café’…..these guys have brilliant photos and have create a buzz well before they opened just because of those photos!! (and no I didn’t take those beautiful shots).
Similarly….check out restaurants that have one dish highlighted with a professional photo in a menu, ull notice that particular dish selling more (The people who told me that wish to remain anonymous).

My last bit to add about that just happened last week.
We were at a restaurant that I had done the photography for (Anar at the Wave Muscat) and I had the photos on my phone. When my friends were looking at the menu and were confused, I pulled out my phone…that was the last time I saw the phone before all orders were done. Actually, the waiters noticed this so when new people joined our party (it was a birthday,so it was a whole bunch of people) the waiters just referred them to my phone! (which was just being passed around)

Food plays not only with your taste buds, but with your sight…..there are many studies done in the field of psychology that showed the huge difference in opinions in the perceived taste when the same dish was presented differently (don’t worry, I wont get all nerdy on you).

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So next time you see a great photo of a dish in a menu, take a moment to appreciate that you, and particularly the way you like to look at beautiful food made someone’s job possible 🙂

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A TALE OF PHOTOS – PART 2

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I wanted to revisit some old photos for this post but for some reason, only one place has been on my mind….. The 7th continent,

Its been 492 days since I stepped onto Antarctica the day that I wrote this post, my journey was a year before that and it was long and difficult. I faced issues with funding, training, acceptance and failed friendships…..kinda shows you who your real friends are. And it shaped my life, in more ways than the obvious.

One of the unexpected ways is that before Antarctica, I was stuck in a dead end job that I hated and I lost my eye for photography….when I was doing my research for getting myself there, something happened….. I started to grab my camera after it having collected dust on my shelf, I started buying books and reading things, I was becoming a photographer again!

I practiced so that I could get it right in Antarctica…and when I got there, it paid off!! It started with Argentina! My camera was always an arms length (photo cred, Ameer Abdulhussein, my edit)

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A Chair With a View

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This was a beautiful day, the first day meeting our teams! I had just met a group of people who would be my life long Antarctic companions. The amazing thing was, during my time in Oman I thought I was an alien with this hard mission ahead…..but when I met Alice, Swati, Oli, Arriane, Subash, Omar, Millie and everyone else…..it felt like we knew each other for years, and we all knew what it took to get there. we instantly bonded and became a family in the strangest most natural way…all in a few minutes.

We all hung around the hotel lobby looking at the gorgeous beagle channel in awe….you know, places like this are so beautiful that you really get blown away and that’s what happened to me! I just had to capture that view! That lobby was a perfect excuse for me…..I sat in that chair sending my photos to the media in Oman and updating my blog, but it was much more than that…..the lobby was the place where everyone came out of their hiding spots rooms and was the perfect place to get to know the people who had to really work hard to get here.

First Sight

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Now, this isn’t a particularly impressive photo on its own right….but by far one of my all time favorites!

After a year of preparations and difficulties, it didn’t seem real….not even when I got on to the Sea Spirit. actually…..I talked to many people, and the feeling was the same, Antarctica still seemed like it was a world away but when ‘Jumper‘s’ voice popped on the PA telling us all that there is an iceberg ahead, it really hit me……Im really there….

So I took my big lens out and rushed with the others to see my first iceberg, it was amazing…..seeing a block of ice float on water may not sound that magical but when you see it….you feel an immense passion and your mind starts thinking….is this real?

That feeling lasted my whole time there and this photo, whenever I look at it, reminds me of the first time in my life that I felt that shock and awe…..

The grandness beyond your mind’s comprehension that a floating block of ice could inspire so much beauty ……

A Tale of Photos – Part 1

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For those who know me, you would know that photography is something that I really love to do! I started taking photos when I was really young, around 7 actually…..my dad bought me a ninja turtles film camera when I was 7, it use to imprint one of the characters of the show on each photo, so I use to take photos just so that I could get Michael Angelo in different places!

When I was about 14 my dad got me my first film SLR on the condition that I would have to work to buy the lens! and that’s why I got my first job….putting lids on yogurt tubs! at the end of that summer, I had my Nikon F60 film camera and I kept clicking away!

It wasn’t until I went to Australia that I actually started doing photography….before I was just taking photos!

 

Any photographer will tell you that the photos that you see aren’t the whole story, photos are a moment of a story!

That’s why I thought, every once in a while, ill explore some of my journeys through the photos that I took!

The Lonely Flower

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This would be the most appropriate photo to start with, since its the photo that started so much in my life as a photographer!

I lived in Australia for a long time and during my time there, I met an aspiring photographer like myself, Michelle. Mish and I met randomly at uni and one day, while looking at the camera she brought to uni, I suggested that we should go a trek and do some photography together so we learn each other’s techniques!

We left that day to the botanical gardens just outside Perth and we had so many interesting conversations on our trek…..at the end of the day however, as we were turning back, I saw a single flower facing the other way. When I turned around to face it, I saw a beautiful view of the flower standing with the backdrop of a waterfall!! I knew that this would be my best photo of the day!

Back then, we used film and I was a student on a budget! so I couldn’t waste photos like you would today….you can’t just delete a film photo and you can’t see how it will turn out until you got home and developed the photos….if you didn’t get the shot right the first time, you missed it.

so I waited for that flower to line up but it was windy and cold…..so my hand was a little shaky and the flower moved because of the wind…..I waited for the wind to die down but it didn’t for a while, so I waited some more…I must have waited for 30 minutes or so for that shot…. when I took it, I was as nervous as ever! I didn’t know how it would turn out and I really didn’t want all that effort to go to waste…but I had my rule, get it right from the first shot!

I got back home and I had a few shots in the film so I looked for things to take photos of! it took me another week to finish that film as I didn’t want to waste a single shot on something that I wasn’t going to frame or keep in my photography album!

When I finally got it, I was so happy!!! I went around all my friends showing them….I even created a DevientArt page and scanned the photo because I was that happy!

Whats even more, I donated that photo for a charity auction and it sold for 400$ (160 OMR)

This was the photo that made me love photography and specifically the love of macro photography, its always going to be that thing that started me off 🙂