A Day of All Weathers – On the Road To Ras Al Khaimah

Reflections of rain, recollections of haze,
Endless desert that never will seize to amaze,
Now it’s sun,
Now it’s storm,
Now it’s rain,
Now it’s warm,
Now it’s a camel that got wrecked by the careless

On the side of the road,

Rest in peace, jamal, God

Will take care of you, 

Now and Forever.

Passing by

I will nod

say goodbye, thanks a lot…

But that’s life and that’s one and the only we’ve got.

Take my palms for a ride,

Nissan “Batrol” on it’s side,

Roundabout occupied

By the people with whom you don’t wish to collide –

No use hurting their pride,

Which they have in their pockets aplenty

Though they barely reached the age twenty.

Now your car’s full of sand

Proper fit for this land,

Please enjoy short-lived status of freedom.

And forget all your plans, 

Take this rare-case of chance

And embrace nature-made cloudseeing.

Much love,

Anna

No excuses.

Clouds are running wrapping
Around Burj Khalifa today,
Minutes away from the rain,
Making reflections again
With the million of lights,
Seize the night,
And let’s go for a ride,
Wait for the green light
Getting close to perfection,
Catch the right intersection
And let go of your fears,
Change that gear,
Now it’s you and the road –
Happiness mode,
Heart about to explode,
So be bold.
Only memories matter
The day we grow old.
So it’s now or it’s never,
And it better be now.
Cause today’s gone forever.
Simple and clever.
That’s how it is,
It’s a hit or a miss.
Just please,
Don’t be making excuses,
Cause when you do,
Everyone loses.

Crossing the Bridge to Tolerance.

2019 is a year of Tolerance in the UAE.

It is a wonderful initiative started by our government in order to bring us closer together, in the end we are more than 200 nationalities living in this country.

Today I happened to pass by the Tolerance bridge, a beautiful construction that holds Dubai together because a few years back a new canal appeared within the city… so I sat under the bridge waiting for the sunset, and wrote a few lines thinking about tolerance, UAE, and all of us.


Tolerance bridge, what are you tolerating?
Fisherman sneakily stands by your side, 
Cranes move around new construction creating,
Labourer sleeps in the shade you provide.

Me, I’m just waiting for sunset to happen,
So that I have a new picture to post.
Why does canal feel like a gap in the planning? 
Dubai, are you winning with it or at loss? 

Tolerance bridge, please be kind and don’t judge us
For racism, profiling, for snobbing and lust. 
Hug all the residents that live in Dubai,
And make us all equal – be fair and be just.

Much love,

Anna

Taking It To The Next Level with Level 43 Dubai.

Good evening, my good friend and thank you for tuning in.

Today I had an amazing opportunity to go do what I love to (shoot cityscapes, sunsets and blue hours) with a bunch of like-minded individuals. Thanks goes to mr. Mohammad Azizi aka Alphaspotting for organizing, and to Nikon ME who were kind enough to lend gear to people who wanted to try different things to shoot.

Yes, I’ve been to this location before. I’ve seen shots from this location before. Many, many, many times. But I still love the glitter of the big city lights and the unbeatable futuristic vistas this terrace provides.

While in the beginning the weather looked promising for the sunset and there were even a few clouds there was not good enough material for long exposure shots that I love so much. And the sunset was dead, it was so dead, that I had to colour it all myself and I wish it was looking like it does in my shot, but in reality it didn’t. But hey, I am a visual artist and that’s how I see the world.

What I loved most about this meet-up was the unity of like-minded photo geeks. Some are old friends, always pleasure meeting someone new. Some of us are more geeks than the others, we all have different cameras and different techniques, but we all love fiddling with those buttons, pointing our lenses in different directions and most importantly sharing our love of photography with the world.

Thanks for the inspirational evening!

Also, big thanks goes to Four Points Sheraton and Level 43 for the yummy sushis and warm welcome from their team.

One love,

Anna

 

What You Should Consider Before Going on a Photo Mission to the Desert.

Hello dear curious friend, tell me, are you fascinated by the desert?

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It is a place full of wonders, and obviously sand. But people who think that there is nothing in the desert couldn’t be more wrong. Recently my wonderful relationship with Gulf Photo Plus brought me to an opportunity to teach a class in landscape photography to someone who is not from here and haven’t ever really been to the desert. Of course I was super excited to be able to share my knowledge with someone who is genuinely interested in the subject, plus making a bit of money on the side is always a great idea.

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My student, Brian, was visitng his brother in Abu Dhabi, and was given a gift voucher for anything in GPP, so he decided to exchange it to a private class in landscape photography. Thank you for giving me a chance, Brian, you are a very talented photographer and I am sure you didn’t need half of my directions, but it was fun shooting together with you.

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However, when I woke up the day of the class, there was a bad sand storm even in the city. Bad to the point that when I went out of my building, I had troubles keeping my eyes open, and the outside temperature was at least 8 degrees hotter than it was the day before. Well, that’s gonna be fun, I thought to myself, but you never know how the weather would change in a few hours. I packed flip flops, a cap, water bottle and took a camera that I didn’t care so much to be sanded because that would happen no matter what you do.

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GPP booked us a proper 4×4 desert safari driver, who was very much insisting on selling us any kind of tourist entertainment (camel riding, dune bashing and so on) and couldn’t believe that all we wanted was to take beautiful pictures of the desert. But I have to give him credit, once I asked him to stop the car next to a tree or a bush, he figured that it was indeed what we had interest in and started proposing to take us to other landmarks (rocks).

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When we stepped out of the car first time, the desert was amazingly calm. It was quiet and no piece of sand was moving, but those of you who have been to the desert before can imagine how fast this situation can change. And indeed, in just 10 minutes we saw a big dark cloud coming out of the dunes, and the never-ending shower of sand started pouring on our heads. One other thing is, when you are out there, you don’t notice how hot it is (especially with a bit of wind), and all that sand ends up covering you completely in a thin layer that blends you in with desert even more.

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In terms of photography, desert is a tricky place to shoot. Being an ultra-wide angle shooter, it is especially tricky for me since one needs to find some point of interest in both the foreground and the background to make it work. If you manage to find cool patterned dunes, plus the mountains in the background and the clouds as a bonus – then you are in the money. But… in the UAE you have to be incredibly lucky to have all those elements lining up in front of you. So, if you are shooting the local desert, I would advise to go for mid-range lens, or even try a telephoto and really look for those patterns and geometric alignments. Most of the time you are in the desert, there will be sun (so don’t forget your hat), but in our case the light was actually quite flat because of that cloud. And though it added some interest in the skies that we didn’t even hope for, the sunset was completely non-existent.

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If you are out shooting the sunset in the desert, here is one piece of advice for you – find your angle, set up the tripod and wait for the moment when it is about 20 minutes before the sunset. Take 3 shots focusing on:

  1. front (foreground),
  2. half-way (middleground),
  3. and infinity or close (background).

then wait for the sunset to happen.

I will tell you why you should do it this way: when the sun is still high, the sand looks nice and textured, but it is quite washed out in colour because of the bright sun (that it reflects).  When the sun is not far from setting down, the sky starts turning red and orange, and these colours reflect in the sand making it the most colourful you ever going to have. However, when the sun is setting already, it is now too low to cast any light on the dunes and they turn grayish already (and stay like that throughout the blue hour). So be wise, and plan to blend your image if that’s what you would normally do.

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Being in the desert with Brian, I felt like a scout – running up and down the dunes, hunting for angles for him, telling him to shoot lower, to isolate, to follow the lines… and it was a challenge for myself too. I have never been to this particular location, and the weather was bad, the light was not amazing… but I think we nailed it. I am happy of the fact that I was able to shift my focus and look for patterns and textures instead of endless wide-angled compositions.

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What wasn’t so much fun though, trying to get that sand out of my bag, my hair and my zoom lens… but hey, you can’t have it all!

Thank you for reading and see you soon.

Much love,
Anna

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I See Beauty Where Others See Ugliness.

Hello everyone,

today I wanted to tell you a story of fishermen picture that I took last weekend and it seems to have caused a lot of controversial feelings among my followers.

Three girls, two friends of mine and I, decided to go on a Saturday morning photowalk with a challenge to shoot with our film cameras. I had black and white film loaded in mine, so I was looking for punchy contrasts and interesting scenes that would look good devoid of colour. For my choice of film, the weather wasn’t great cause it was overcast, but we didn’t get completely cooked thanks to the cloud coverage.

We saw a few interesting scenes, but nothing really exciting until one point, we were passing by a shack where the fishermen just returned from their fishing trip of the day, and they were cleaning the nets and listening to some cool music.

I asked them if it was okay for us to take a few shots of them, and they seemed to be cool with that, so we started shooting them with our three film cameras.

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The guys seemed to be quite happy to have a company of 3 girls (and some taxi drivers also stopped on the way to salute them and us). I took a few iPhone pictures among which was this image:

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I took my last shot on the roll of film, rewinded it and I already packed my camera when this guy in the “adidas” pants stood up to hug his friend as that one was quite shy for posing in front of us. It felt like it was quite a cute moment, and when you live in the Middle East for long enough, you always see these guys hugging or holding hands, so it is completely a normal thing in their culture. But as I posted this image on my Instagram story I received a few replies from guys saying that it’s wrong, it’s weird and it even looks like rape…

The story that I saw with my own eyes looked like something else in the eyes of my followers… and I am not going to judge anyone, and say that they were wrong to perceive it the way they saw it… but it made me stop and think for a second, how many times people saw something on my social media and they didn’t say a word, but this time it actually made them stop and write something? In the end, even this kind of reaction is better than silence, right?

Is it wrong for man to hug another man from behind? Is it wrong to take pictures of that? Is it cute or is it disgusting? Everyone sees it differently and nobody is right or wrong, I suppose.

I’d rather have more love than hate in my life, so I am sharing a story of brotherhood, friendship, support and love. And you are free to see it any way you prefer.

 

380 words in verses on Emirates.

Hey people,
In 2016 I took a part in Emirates Airlines Literature competition for which I had to write a poem in 380 words about Emirates and the notion of “time”… The prize was 4 economy tickets anywhere in the world, and I was shortlisted to go to the Award Ceremony, just I was in Iceland, so I couldn’t make it. So I never won, or lost in fact, because I couldn’t come to the event. But I thought, why not share it here. At least it can live in its own space over here.

Silent night, no wind, no whisper,
Stop and look up in the sky.
Notice stars are getting crisper,
That’s not often in Dubai.

Take a picture, freeze the moment,
Show the world what you have seen.
While the rest of us are dormant,
Pull the break in time-machine.

Time in here has different meaning,
Here it stops and lets you pause.
No phone calls from your dry-cleaning,
Desert likes you with these clothes.

Supervastness – arms of desert
Pick you up and make you fly.
You are now as light as a feather,
Gliding smoothly in the sky.

Constellations shine with wisdom
Since the times of Ancient Greeks.
Guiding auto-pilot systems
With a bunch of cool techniques.

Emirates brings you the future,
Cheating time with airbus wings.
Building bridge to foreign cultures
Always treating you like kings.

Bigger cities, crazy traffic,
Will you ever find your peace?
When will life stop being epic?
Can you ever have release?

Think about Einstein explaining
That the reason why time runs
Is so that all things on planet
Won’t be happening at once.

Wait a second, friend, and ponder,
Never-ending sky of stars…
Isn’t this the biggest wonder
To have planet all to us?

Grains of sand forever captured
In the shape of hourglass
Will keep track of time elapsing
And your life with sand does pass.

Try to be appreciative
Of the moment you live in.
Look around, be creative –
World’s your canvas to begin.

Paint with light, but do it softly
Share the love and take the chance.
You will notice difference shortly,
Don’t be shy –  get up and dance.

Truth is that the only treasure
Is your memories to keep,
Food is not a lasting pleasure,
TV shows will make you sleep.

Life is short, won’t last forever,
Go explore, don’t be afraid.
Keep in mind – it’s now or never,
Get your ticket and upgrade.

Destinations, expectations,
Stations, nations, visas, lands,
Here, my friend, congratulations.
You begin to understand.

Be the frequent flyer going
From Mauritius to Taiwan.
Travel all around the planet
And come back to land of sand.

Endless dunes will hug you softly,
Singing tender lullaby.
Wind of night that’s almost salty
Brings you to promptly to Dubai.



Anna