Goal: To capture a photo worthy of the top 1000 of all time
055. 21 June 2009 - Cheetah
This is a one year old cheetah, in an enclosure in the animal orphanage of Nairobi. Now, what is special about this photo, is that I am actually inside the enclosure with these supremely beautiful animals. I was one of the lucky few allowed in with the cheetahs, and got to spend 10 minutes spoiling them with a good scratch under the chin and behind the ears. It really is remarkable how similar they behave to a domestic cat - purring the whole time you give them attention - eyes blinking as if about to fall asleep. They do make an additional unique chirping sound when they get excited, but this is hard to explain and needs to be experienced.
054. 20 June 2009 - Long Drop
A colorful out-house at the top of Rift Valley. This is about as close as I was going to get to it, because, "long drop" is a serious understatement. That lovely makeshift wooden fence is all that stops you from falling several hundred feet straight down.
052. 18 June 2009 - Marcelle 1
This guy reminds me of the monkey Ross has for a while in Friends. Hence the name, Marcelle. This bugger was so cute, and came right up to us to eat sunflower seeds from our hands.
I loved this shot, cause I managed to rouse his curiosity long enough to stop eating, and had him staring at his reflection in the lens.
051. 17 June 2009 - Pumba
This is Pumba, the African warthog. They love the mud, and it is quite apparent. He is living at an animal orphanage outisde of Nairobi, along with many other wild animals that have ended up here for various reasons. Doesn't he just look like Pumba from The Lion King?
As you can tell, I am a bit behind in days. Struggling to keep up as we have very unreliable internet in Kenya at the moment, making it fairly difficult to upload photos.
050. 16 June 2009 - Perched
My ornithological knowledge is non-existent (I can identify a duck, a swan... you get where I am going with this), and love to catch them on digital film. Maybe it is just the pure freedom being able to soar high above the world, but I still find birds a most fascinating species, in total control. I wonder if they get an adrenaline rush when they are happily minding their own business, and a jet comes screaming by, or when they enter into a steep dive and "pull up" at the last minute?
049. 15 June 2009 - Soar
Managed to catch this eagle soaring above us, while we were having lunch at a crocodile farm. It's a lot harder to catch a decent shot of an eagle in flight than you would think. Also, zoomed at 300mm, the aperature was not that great. And try convince an eagle to fly into the sun, and not infront of or under, so the lighting is ok.
048. 14 June 2009 - Snooze
This semi-domestic kitty was spotted perched above a make-shift doorway/arch into a giraffe sanctuary. She's sitting some 2.5 meters above ground, snoozing on a thin ledge. It really was an entertaining sight, and this kitty was totally ignorant of all the patrons passing through the arch. It must have taken some seriously acrobatic skills to get up there in the first place!
047. 13 June 2009 - Friends
Again, something different. I decided to choose this one, because, well, I really love it. My colleague and friend, Paul - with the self-inflicted chrome dome - and myself, drinking a local beer called Tusker. We are all really found of Tusker, it really is a special beer.
We're actually sitting near Lake Naivasha, at a bed and breakfast called the "Holiday Inn", but I seriously doubt this one is affiliated with the well known Holiday Inn. Lovely having breakfast, under the trees, birds chirping all around and the call of the fish eagle in the not to distant area.
Update: My other colleague and good friend, Gerhard was playing with my camera, and snapped this one... it is a bit of a cheat for the dailies, I know... but I really did like this one and wanted to share :)
046. 12 June 2009 - The Pelican
It really is refreshing spending some time in Kenya. The landscape and nature is totally different from Dubai, and with that the unique photo opportunities are very abundant.
The is a pelican in mid flight, maybe 10 feet above the water. I had a whole sequence of this one coming in for landing, but unfortunately, most were out of focus.
044. 10 June 2009 - The Kiss
For a change, a bit of fun, and something of me.
As you may have gathered, I am currently in Kenya. The weekends here are amazing... no lack of adventure.
Meet "Daisy". Now this is a unique experience, simply amazing. This is me, "feeding" Daisy the giraffe at a giraffe sanctuary. Now this may seem gross, but here is an interesting fact. The saliva of a giraffe is actually anti-septic. Nevermind that the tongue is like sand-paper. Still, I enjoyed the experience, it is really thrilling getting so close to nature.
042. 8 June 2009 - The Return
Hello fellow smuggers, it has been a very long time since I have posted a daily. Life has a funny way of changing ones priorities. Well, I'm back for now :)
This is a family of hippos in Lake Naivasha in Kenya. On the trip around this lake we encountered several families of hippos. At times we got a little too close for comfort, as the hippo is the most dangerous animal on the planet, responsible for more human deaths than any other animal.
Will try to post regularly, but internet bandwidth is not that great in Kenya.
041. 21 January 2008 - Texture
Today, I want to submit something very different from what I normally do. A texture. A macro of the desert sand, with the subtle ripples formed by the winds. It's really hard to explain this to someone who hasn't been here, but the desert is everywhere. Dubai was built in a desert. Any green you see is artificial, yet there is a lot of it!
I really like the detailed macro shots of the desert sands, the colors of the grains of sand are just amazing! The shadows on the ripples just make it so much more interesting!
039. 19 January 2008 - Perspective
Boy, it's been a busy couple of days. Haven't been home and awake long enough to even pick a candidate!
In the desert, chilling, the girls reading magazines, the boys out on their bikes, and me... the designated photographer and cooler box guardian.
I really liked the comp of this picture, with the jeep in the background, think it worked out really well. Share your thoughts.
038. 16 January 2008 - Hang Time
My mate Shaun catching some big air, crisscrossing the dunes in the Dubai desert. It's a major family past time, and all members participate in various forms of off-road biking.
It was a difficult day to shoot being overcast, I dislike the contrast between the desert sand and the grey sky. It just makes everything look dull. Had a small bit of luck as the shine was peeking through the clouds at the time I took this one.
The action was good though, and managed to catch many shots of Shaun in the air - and his son - Brandon taking on the dunes on a quad.
Good day was had all round!
037. 15 January 2009 - The Profile of a Serial Camel
Well, living in camel country... and noticing that my dailies are missing the presence of the ever abundant camel, here is my contribution and I call him 'George'.
Camels are obviously very important in local culture, with several camel racing tracks dotted throughout the country - and this really is a spectacle to behold. More on that another time.
One of my favorite past-times is spending the weekends in the desert (especially while we can - before it heats up), partying with friends and just having a good time... and of course, you will encounter countless wild camels roaming around the deserts. 'George' was not very cooperative as I was trying to get some close-ups, but eventually I settled on this profile, which ended up filling the frame perfectly.
Hope you enjoy!
036. 13 January 2008 - Perfect Time Of Day
Not the most creative picture in the world, but I really loved the colors, taking this picture at the magic hour - where light is just perfect.
This picture does however contain bits and pieces of several major landmarks in Dubai. Framing the picture on the right is the worlds tallest building, the Burj Dubai. Running along the bottom is the new metro rail due to be completed and become operational in September this year. The construction of this metro rail system has caused no small amount of disruption to traffic over the last couple of years, but it is a mammoth project, basically making the whole of Dubai accessible by metro.
The other buildings, most of them under construction along Sheikh Zayed Road (the main road through Dubai), serve various purposes from residential to commercial. Again, it is just not possible to take a picture of the Dubai skyline without getting hundreds of cranes in the frame. See how many you can count in this picture :)
035. 12 January 2008 - King of the Jungle
Time warp time for a couple of days. Honestly, I am finding it more and more difficult to take pictures every day, with the work schedule, but at the very least I will submit a pic a day :)
This was actually taken on Christmas day, at the Tunisia court entrance of Ibn Battuta mall. Its a large mall, extending about a kilometer end to end, but then they all are. Dubai now officially is home to the worlds' largest mall, the Dubai Mall, but I haven't had the courage to venture there yet (opened a month ago).
This lioness, with a beam of water streaming from her mouth, is part of a water fountain display at this entrance. I always liked this fountain, the wild cats being my favorite animals.
034. 11 January 2009 - Happy New Year
Phew! Like to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year for 2009! Wish you all a fine a prosperous New Year in these trying times.
Ok, I have returned from my sabbatical, of many parties and many hang overs! I have recovered sufficiently to take up the challenge once again!
We celebrated the New Year in style camping in the deserts of Dubai. At first we had a panic as the ruler decided to cancel all New Years celebrations in the Emirate the night before, in solidarity with the people in Gaza. Later the next day (midday) we were informed that this only affected public celebrations, so we could go ahead, leaving us little time to organize for the many people attending.
The great thing about this event is that we all pitch tents around the general camp, have BBQs going all night, a massive fire in the middle and a great sound system powered by generators all around the camp. We can then party all night and stumble into our tents when we are ready to retire - so no one drinks and drives.
This was taken just before midnight, and on this night we also experienced a heavy fog setting in as the pivotal hour approached. It resulted in a remarked effect all round, just revealing the silhouettes of the many revelers.
033. 23 December 2008 - Fluid Flame
Fairly simple, but I am always amazed at the fluidity of flames. This is a little fire in the desert, keeping us warm as temperatures plummet at night. It's really amazing how extreme the temperature drops as the sun sets... high 70s (F) during the day, low 30s (F) at night.
I also thought this would warm the souls of all the smugmuggers in the US and Europe, with heavy snowfall and extreme cold; I am sure a nice fire would go down well.
Seasons Greeting everyone! Merry Christmas!
032. 21 December 2008 - Skinny
Ok, it's actually taken me hours to upload this one. A couple of times a year we get to suffer severely degraded internet capabilities, because some genius drops anchor in the Mediterranean. So we suffer till approx. the 27th this time round when they promise that services will be restored. So in light of this, my apologies if I miss a day.
This is "Skinny"! So named, because he is just that! Insanely skinny! He is a member of the extended Meyer family, and equally photogenic. I really liked the comp and detail on this one... hope you do to.
I am wondering if this one could have used a little post-processing, but I really think "Skinny" makes for a wonderful subject.
Please do share your comments on my last three contributions, as I am still not comfortable sharing photos of people, especially my friends. I always want to show them in the best possible light - they are such good people - and I don't believe I do them justice.
031. 20 December 2008 - Cause you can!
Mrs. Meyer, another wonderful person and a uniquely photogenic person. Like Shaun, she avoids the camera, though she is very photogenic (I on the other hand, am not). After catching her, on many an occasion without consent, she struck a pose for me and I liked how it worked out!
We were out in the desert when I captured this one.
Hope you all like it... as I now wonder down the road of portrait photography! Please do share your comments!
Some minor PP in Lightroom to even the colors, and focus on the subject.
UPDATE: Original replaced with the updated version, some desaturation seemed to really enhance this one.
030. 19 December 2008 - No more!
Time is short these days, and I am trying to make the most of it. I will be posting multiples every now and then, to keep up to date, so please check the others as well.
This is Shaun. He's a really good man, looking after all the strays in Dubai (I am one of them). He was getting a little tired of being photographed, he thinks he isn't a good subject. The whole Meyer family make for wonderful subjects, and I noticed that my dailies were lacking a bit of personality.
Hence this contribution! Shaun... and the focus was perfect, although I can't really imagine what he was thinking... :)
Color this photo with you comments - what was he thinking?
029. 18 December 2008 - Merry Christmas
As I am so very busy at the moment, isn't it amazing how life can get so crazy at times, I thought I would get in an early Merry Christmas to all you good folks here at SmugMug!
So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! Hope you all have a brilliant one and many blessings upon you and yours!
028. 17 December 2008 - Flourescent India
Exhausted! Two days in a row working over 16 hours a day... still making time to post a daily! Work is getting hectic with so much to do and so very little time to do it in.
Anyway, sorry I haven't had much of a chance to look at everyone's contributions, but I will make up for it in due course... Thankfully the weekend is almost upon us, out in this part of the world the weekend is Fri/Sat.
This is another one from Global Village, this time at the India pavilion. The flag does give it away, but I would normally have associated all the neon flashing lights with, say, China.
I wasn't really overwhelmed with joy at capturing this one, but I did really like all the lights and the context in which it was taken - with the flag at top. Also, I was a bit jealous of all the wonderful Christmas lighting photos that have been making their seasonal appearance by all, and need to put in my two cents. :)
Might be a bit slow over the next two days, as I am again really busy, so apologies in advance.
027. 16 December 2008 - River of Light
Back to Global Village, and this scene set on a bridge looking down river. Global Village is open for 3 months of the year (winter), and features pavilions from countries around the world. In these pavilions you can buy various goods generally produced in those countries... though I suspect most of it is still "Made in China".
You will notice the Chinese lights featured in one of my previous dailies running all along this artificial river. What I really liked about this shot is how all the colors seem to blend reflecting off the water.
Hope you enjoy it too.
026. 15 December 2008 - Bears
I actually took this while waiting for a Venti Cappuccino at the local Starbucks, but was annoyed by the fact that the first bear, the intended subject was not the core focus, rather the handle of the coffee can was.
Inspired by Verbeasts' recent escapade into selective colors, I thought I would give it a try... with a twist. To bring the focus back to the intended subject.
Don't know how well it worked out, not entirely displeased myself, but you be the judge. Remember, I am learning a ton of stuff doing the dailies and any suggestions and comments are welcomed.
UPDATE: I didn't consider that there were others searching for the knowledge to achieve this. I've add the link below that I found, but did my own thing half way through. I'm using Photoshop CS4 now, but if memory serves, the older versions also had the different types of adjustment layers. Instead of using the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, I went with the Black and White adjustment layer and also used 80% opacity. Other than that, I was amazed at how easy it really is to achieve such fancy post processing.
Hope you find it helpful.
025. 14 December 2008 - Baywatch
Boy did I struggle taking photos here, because of the incredibly bright flood lights all around this lake, obviously to illuminate the jet skiers. You can see the light flaring in on both sides of the photo, and there was sadly not much I could do about it (unless I still need to learn that trick - please do share).
Still the scene was reminiscent from the good old Baywatch days, and with the smooth water reflecting so nicely, I just had to try and capture this one.
This is the second of two that I posted, as I missed yesterday.
024. 13 December 2008 - Chinese Lamps
A day late... Sorry about that. I will post two today to make for the one I missed.
This is a Chinese lamp in the China section of the Global Village. These lamps decorate a bride crossing over an artificial river.
Hope you enjoy it.
023. 12 December 2008 - Human Torch
Well, you just don't see that everyday! I was stunned to see this! This guy, riding on a jetski, actually sets himself on fire and does a large lap around a lake, and then does a ramp/jump/dive underwater to extinguish the fire. And you could so feel the heat when he came past!
I actually had another daily lined up, until I captured this, and felt that it needed sharing!
Taken with my shiny new Carl Zeiss lens.
022. 11 December 2008 - Sunset Over The Burj
Can you guess the times of day I have free to take some pictures during the week? Yip, sunrise and sunset are no stranger to me.
This one is of the Burj Dubai, the world's tallest building and man-made structure (currently at 688m). In context, you see many of the buildings around the Burj are also under construction, which is a bit of epidemic in Dubai - the whole city is under construction.
021. 10 December 2008 - Rising Moon
I missed a day having some issues with my internet line. I went for a walk around my complex with my new macro lens to see what I could find to capture. I noticed the light falling on these trees in an otherwise unsightly parking lot, and then noticed the moon right behind it.
I struggled a bit figuring out how to get everything in focus, as the auto mode would either focus on the moon or on the trees, with everything else blurred (brokeh). Eventually I took a step out of my comfort zone, and went with aperature priority and cranked up the aperature, and kind of achieved my goal.
Still have tons to learn about this, but the dailies have already taught me so much.
020. 8 December 2008 - In The Wind
No idea what this plant/flower is called, we have a bunch of them in the gardens around our apartment. The real challenge capturing this one is that the wind was blowing, and so the flowers were swaying from side to side. Needless to say, it does make macro photography a tad challenging.
018. 6 December 2008 - Joy
Guess who got some new lenses today!!! I must say, it took me about 30 seconds to fall in love with my new macro lens (Sigma 105mm F2.8) - also bought the Carl Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8, but more on that later. My goodness, how does one manage without. Worth every penny!
My partner collects fridge magnets from all the places she has been. Focused on the torch of the Statue of Liberty, and just out of focus is a bottle opener from the Hard Rock Cafe Dubai, a sign from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and of course, my hero... the Boss, Bruce Springsteen - bought at the concert in Amsterdam in June.
I really love macro view of the world, so you should see a ton more in coming dailies, as well, as taking the new Zeiss for a spin.
017. 5 December 2008 - "Wilson"
Our friend "Wilson", keeping us company on this tropical land. I bet Tom Hanks is jealous that his "Wilson" doesn't look as cool as ours!
Something completely different, and just for fun, because I can... hope you enjoy it and have a good chuckle!
016. 4 December 2008 - Lifeguard Station
Day out at the beach in Fujeirah, in the infinitely more pleasant day time temperatures, its almost bearable. This is a beach near a resort that has its own natural island, nicknamed "Snoopy Island" - because from a distance it looks like Snoopy lying on his back. The island is host to many many different tropical fish and has its own resident gray sharks patrolling the corals. Snorkeling here is a must when visiting this part of the world.
The ocean in the background here is the Indian Ocean.
015. 3 December 2008 - Flight
Day out at the beach, caught this falcon flying away. I liked the feeling of this shot, almost got the "V"...
It's the first picture I have "altered" before publishing, enhancing the blues. I can imagine that one could get carried away editing pictures. For now, I will stick to the simple stuff.
014. 2 December 2008 - The other hobby
Something different today. My other hobby... Sadly, I don't have the time to dedicate to music as much as I would like.
Been experimenting with my new flash. I have to say that I really dislike flash photography. I hate the highlights and the bright white that envelops the subjects. I tried many different things, and discovered that a diffuser is my new best friend.
Please do share your flash knowledge, cause I am struggling a bit on this front.
Hope you enjoy this one of my guitar!
013. 1 December 2008 - Blossom
Ok, I missed a day. Was really busy at work yesterday, dark when I left for work and dark when I got home. Today I made up for it, and took a whole bunch of extra photos, in between meetings. I so appreciate how difficult it actually is to take a picture a day...
This is my first properly focused macro shot of a flower. And what a painful subject! The wind was blowing quite hard... so the flowers were swaying to and fro, and wouldn't sit still for the ever so patient photographer. I finally managed to get one!
Don't have any idea on what type of flower this is, mind you the only flower I do know is a rose :)
012. 29 November 2008 - Minaret
On my way home the other day, getting gas, I spotted a nice photograph opportunity. This is the minaret of a mosque, of which there are many in this part of the world, Islam being the state religion and all.
An interesting little factoid is that the Arabic word for a minaret is manāra, which literally translated means "lighthouse" (what would we do without Wikipedia). Seems oddly appropriate here...
010. 27 November 2008 - Jacob's Ladder
I finally got lucky! Firstly, there was a cloud in the sky! Secondly, the cloud was in the right place! I have been itching to capture my own "Stairway to Heaven". I've seen several others here, all have been impressive, and this time I was in the right place at the right time. Minutes later the clouds dispersed, and the opportunity was gone.
Hope you all enjoy it!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!!
009. 26 November 2008 - King of beers
Well, they think so... I really enjoy a great cold beer, my preference tends towards the Dutch beers, Grolsch and Heinekin. Out for dinner with some friends at a German restaurant, enjoying some lovely German dishes. Of course the meal comes with a slew of German beers to "cleanse" the palette. Well, any excuse really, to enjoy a beer.
Tried taking a variety of pictures with my new flash, but most didn't turn out very well. This one worked out fairly ok. Did I mention how much I am struggling with night/low light photography yet?
I have a sudden thirst!
008. 25 November 2008 - Decay
Yet another victim of the onslaught that is summer in the UAE. With temperatures well into the 50 degrees Celsius (122+ Fahrenheit) during the summer, it's amazing anything grows at all. Even more amazing is how green some parts of Dubai are (obviously heavily watered multiple times a day). Thankfully, we are heading into winter with far more pleasant day-time temperatures of around 30 degrees Celcius (86 F).
This was actually a plant just outside my apartment that was not getting the much need elixir of life.