Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Another shot of Alkmaar in the Netherlands. I liked this little town for its quietness, nice streets and laid back lifestyle. The building you see at the end is not a church, but a Cheese museum!
It was also a special day as it's quite rare to have a nice blue sky in a country where it rains all the time!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
One of the icons of the Netherlands are windmills (along with tulips, cows, canals and red light district).
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
While traveling, people tend to fall out of their routine, and experience the NOW, enjoy the present moment.
The mind stops the endless and useless chattering that blocks us and nothing matters anymore. The only plans made are the daily plans.
This is when, after a long period of time the mind fog starts to clear up and you actually start enjoying and LIVING instead of planning the future or remembering the past.
This shot was taken in Barcelona, along the beach. It’s a long exposure (25 seconds) and makes the sea look like a creamy foggy substance.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Usually, most pilgrims end the Camino de Santiago in the town of Santiago de Compostella, in front of the Cathedral where supposedly lie the remains of St. James.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Finisterra (or Fisterra in Galician) is the furthest western tip of Spain, before the Atlantic Ocean. It comes from Fin (end) and Terra (Earth) and was actually thought to be the end of the world (the world used to be flat, remember?).
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We finally ended up camping not far away instead of reaching the next town. The stormy sky granted us a beautiful sunset over the ice-capped mountains.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It is like being reborn after the mental challenge of crossing the "Meseta". They say that here begins the Spiritual part of the Camino.
Personally, this part of the Camino is one of my favorites, walking up to O'Cebreiro and looking back to see all the road you have walked for the past 3 weeks is simply amazing.
Monday, August 24, 2009
"Education must remove hatred between the pilgrims on the various roads to God. There is only one God, one Goal, one Law, one Truth, one Religion and one Reason"
~ Sri Sathya Sai Baba ~
The most amazing experience on the Camino de Santiago is encountering pilgrims. Many people from various nationalities, horizons, religions and color walk this long dirt road.
All carry a personal reason, nobody walks 800km just for fun... But all are here because they seek something in common: They all seek a Truth.
The pilgrim walks on this long road with many others. Although surrounded, he is still walking alone with himself. It is a journey of self-discovery, listening to his own soul, away from the hectic and chaotic life outside the Camino.
He walks towards the same city, the same Goal. He could take a different path, a different road, a different means of transport. And no matter his color or religion, he will still reach the same destination as all others.
The pilgrim is not judged by his social status. He may be a CEO or a farmer, he still walks on the same level as anyone else, sleeps in the same bed as all other pilgrims before him have slept and shares the same food.
The Camino reminds us we are humans after all, stripped naked from our status. We all have the same doubts, fears and all seek the same Goal.
It also reminds us we are all beings of Love. That even the most expensive gadget can not compete with the pleasure of sharing a simple "bocadillo" with another hungry pilgrim, or a comforting smile that gives strength to a tired person, or just the tears of joy when hugging a complete stranger in front of the gates of the Cathedral of Santiago.
The Camino pulls you back on Earth, with everyone else. And teaches you that we all have the same path, same destination, same goal, walking under the comforting shadow of one God/Universe.
Buen Camino peregrino!
"For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in a stream of stars - pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across the eternal seas of space and time".
~ Henry Beston ~
Saturday, August 22, 2009
This picture was taken on the first day of my Camino. It's located on the french side, before the spanish border, near St Jean Pied-de-Port.
It's quite a big change for me to travel from the UAE's chaotic skyscrapers and desert landscapes to the green mountains of the Pyrenees. I just feel connected to the mountains: I am a mountain person I guess.
We started walking late on the first day, not knowing that most pilgrims stop walking around 4~5pm. I guess that's why we were most of the time walking alone.
Reaching the top of the mountain (from 200m to 1400m high in 5hours), we had to stop and camp in the freezing cold, misty and windy weather. The first night was rough but we had such a splendid view from the top in the morning, with an ocean of clouds at our feet. It was worth it!
For those interested, here's a wallpaper version of the same photo uncropped for you to enjoy: 1024x664 , 1280x830 resolutions (click on the "Download button on the top).
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Alto del Perdon ... The Mount of Forgiveness.
As the pilgrim walks out of Pamplona (Spain), a hill stands on his way, defying him/her, with many giant windmills crowding its peak.
It is a very windy place, and a long winding climb. The path is not very steep but feels tiring.. Maybe the weight of unforgiven sins on our shoulders?
Once the top of the hill is reached, he is welcomed by these statues representing pilgrims, braving the wind to continue their chosen path. It gives him hope and strength to carry on. Many have passed here before him and many will in the future. As he looks west towards his goal, a splendid view of the hilly region of Navarra stretches to the horizon.
Before he continues his journey towards the small town of Puente la Reina, his next stop for the night, he takes a moment to connect with the spirit of the place and reads the engraved words:
El Camino del Viento
Con el de las Estrellas
The Path of the Wind
With the Path of the Stars
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
A simple yet beautiful Irish landscape. No wonder they call it the "Emerald Isle"!
I met once a half-drunk Irish guy in a bar in Galway. He smiled at me and said: "Feckin weather ay? Sorry for you tourists". I smiled back and said: "Well, on the contrary! Beautiful weather! That's why your island is so green and amazing!". I guess he loved it :D
This was taken from O'Connor's pass, on the way to Dingle on the west coast.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I like to take long walks along a river on a calm Sunday morning, while everyone else is asleep.
This shot was taken in Perigueux - France, while having a walk with my brother.
Oddly enough, it does look like it was taken in autumn but it actually is winter (it was in January).
The foreground leaves were a bit more orange but I changed the hue to red to make them pop out.
It's a Bridge to Summer, the foreground looks like autumn but in the background, you can see it's sunny and the grass is green. It's a magic bridge I tell ya!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This was taken in the city of Killarney - Ireland, near the castle Ross in the Killarney National Park.
It was a beautiful place to visit, long walks and not many tourists. I spotted these boats just sitting idle there as if stranded for a long while. There was an algae bloom on the lake and nobody wished to ride the boats for a little tour.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I love to take frontal wide-angle shots of imposing buildings!
This was taken last May while doing the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path in Spain. It's the Cathedral of Burgos, a Gothic-style construction that began in 1221 and dedicated to the Virgin mary. It was declared a "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO in 1984.
It is quite an imposing and magnificent cathedral, in the old part of the city of Burgos. I did not have the chance to visit the inside of it (they were closing).
Definitely I will be visiting again on my next Camino!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Classic but always good to have in your collection!
This was taken in a friend's building in the UAE. The ramp around the stairway is kind of low so I had to be extra careful not to lean over to much and reach Hell faster than I should... Tone mapped and changed the color to give it a spooky atmosphere!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
While driving along the West coast of Ireland, near Doolin and the Cliffs of Moher, I stumbled upon this sign in the middle of NOWHERE! That was really odd. There was nothing on the horizon on either side of the road.
I actually was hungry and thinking of having a meal.. Is that what they call visualization?
Irish people really have a great sense of humor!
In case you are very curious, the sign was actually followed by another one "Need Rest?" a few kilometers further which pointed to a hostel near the cliffs.
I'm gonna go grab a bite now...
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This shot was taken in France, about 5 kilometers right before the Spanish border, while walking on the Camino de Santiago.
It was foggy, cold and windy. I captured this shot and wanted to give it a spooky "Sleepy Hollow" mood. Can you hear the headless horseman behind you? Run!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
A big stone formation on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. We had to trespass on private land to be able to go see the cliffs away from the touristic spots. It was so windy but such an amazing view!
My friend seems so tiny next to this rock.. You'll get crushed buddy!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Furniture found in the Emirates Palace, an extravagant 5-star palace in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Everything inside is golden, light is dim.. You actually think you are in a pharaonic burial chamber instead of a hotel. It was supposed to be a "Conferance Palace" but it ended up being unused and became a hotel.
I personally find it a huge waste of money.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
A conceptual shot I did a while back. I like to use the concept of Time in my shots.
I think the title explains it all. Don't even try, Time always wins!
[Edit]: On a side note, I will be going on a short one-week holiday tomorrow so I won't be able to update the blog. I will however return with many more shots to share! Have a great week everyone!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Such a beautiful lively and artistic city! This is Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It was taken from the top of a church on a hill, Hallgrímskirkja. I fell in love with that city, friendly people, many art galleries. I sure hope they will rise again from the economic downturn!
Takk fyrir Island!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Yep, that's Ducktor Jeckyll again! This time he has lost his bathtub and finds himself in the middle of the desert! Poor Duckie..
In other news, I chose this photo for one reason: I do NOT want to end up like him.
In 2 months, I am leaving my current job and Life and going on a World adventure, trying to make my way as a freelance photographer.
I you are interested in learning more about my travel, and follow me during my adventures, please visit my other blog: The World Trail. I'd be glad to have some people interested in what I'll do hehe.
And finally, I have also updated my website and the gallery looks a bit better and more "pro". What do you think?
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
The Sun Voyager (1971).
A sculpture by Jon Gunnar Arnason representing a viking ship in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. I find it rather interesting and stylish! I also got the chance to see it at night, with northern lights dancing above it. Such a magical view!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Photographing puddles are fun!
I wonder.. Are those puddles a temporary mirror to another parallel dimension of our world? Are those people on the other side wondering the same thing?
In case people aren't able to figure out this photo. It's a puddle reflecting the buildings behind, and turned upside down!
Sometimes the simplest effect can play tricks and illusions on our minds.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The Camino had a huge variety of landscapes. From mountains, to valleys, rivers, forests, and flat land with fields..
This picture was taken (if I remember well) after Hospital del Orbego. Following a nice little river with so many varieties of birds singing a beautiful symphony!
I was working on it in color, but when, out of curiosity, I tested in monochrome.. I felt it had much more emotions and impact. I loved working on that sky. It almost looked like a painting!
I guess it's always a good idea to test different settings while working on photos, see how they look with different "White balances" and in monochrome.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Ah... Ireland ! Such a beautiful country..
This was taken in Carrowmore, Europe's oldest megalithic burial ground found till today if I remember well. They say Queen Maeve is buried here.
I wish I had used my tripod to get a much longer exposure with those dramatic clouds. Guess I'll have to go visit again on a rainy day!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How can anyone visit Paris and not take a shot of the Tour Eiffel?
I was in Paris to visit some friends last winter, I wanted to take a shot of it of course but was bored of the usual angle everyone takes from. Fortunately for me, it was cloudy, getting dark and the tower had just been lit up so I had this nice dramatic shot of it. The shot was hardly processed (sharpness, curves and frame), so the colors are natural.
Monday, June 22, 2009
As I have mentionned in my last post a while ago, I went to walk on the Camino de Santiago (St. James path) in Spain for a full month. It was an amazing, thrilling and enlightening adventure and an incredible human experience. I could only advice anyone to do it, even small stretches as it is really a fantastic experience.
I will probably talk about it later, for now, I am still split with my body back "home" and my spirit still on the Camino.
Walking a full month made me realize also many things about myself and the direction I would like to have in my Life. I have taken a few "life-changing" decisions since my return and new goals are awaiting me on my new chosen path. This too I will talk about a bit later as soon as it all clears up in my head.
As for this blog, It has been inactive for quite some time and I apologize. Between my travels, and my unmotivated state (pre-Camino), I did not have the full strenght to post updates and talk about photography.
So after thinking a bit, I guess I will be changing the way I post in here:
From now on, I will be posting much more regularely (at least 4 times a week) new photos but I will not be writing long lenghty posts about the way I took the photo and how I worked on it.
Instead, I will just be posting short descriptions concerning the photo with useful information if any.
This will help me save some time and focus a bit more on my other projects which will be interesting to follow too!
But no worries, any question about the technique or technical details will be answered. I will still gladly share my knowledge with anyone who is willing to ask!
I am sorry for this sudden change but at least I would be updating more frequently.
Thank you all for following!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I guess I'll gain it back very fast now!
So in 2 days, I've decided to go with a friend of mine to do the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage in Spain, starting from France.
A month long walk of ~800km.
I've always dreamt of doing that. Walking is essential for me, a part of me. I'm a Walker!
And walking during a month is a great way to actually get reconnected with your inner-self, which I definitely need... That will be my "theme" for the road actually: "Forgive all my past mistakes, befriend myself and carry on with Life".
Hope this will be a beautiful and enlightening challenge.
Also, if anyone wants to send me a wish/prayer/thought, I would be glad to carry it with me for you on this road. I have all the space in the world for your beautiful dreams, wishes, prayers..
See you all in a month with a new Peace of Mind and many many photos of the path!
Peace and Buen Camino!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
"To the desert go prophets and hermits, through the desert go pilgrims and exiles.
Here, the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality"
I have always found the desert to be a mystical place. It is serene, quiet and relaxing. Silence reigns like a void enabling us to hear those important voices inside ourselves.
Almost every weekend during "winter" time when I still lived in the UAE, I escaped the chaos of big cities with a few friends to find peace and refuge in the surrounding deserts.
Either camping or just desert crossing, it's always relaxing for the soul... and Fun!
I also love photographing the desert. There is something about all those forms, dunes and harsh shadows that make it very pleasing to the eye. Call me crazy but I also find all the curves kind of.. sensual and feminine.
Shooting in the desert is quite tricky. The sand here is made of very fine grains. With a slight wind blowing all the time, it's not an easy task to keep your camera clean, not to mention your eyes, ears and mouth... And the best moments to take pictures are at dawn or evening because of the light, sun angle and temperature!
Since I started traveling, it is probably one of the rare things I miss from the UAE. From desert to jungle... what a change!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
While in France, I had the occasion to visit a few towns around Paris. One of the cities I actually enjoyed (despite what my friend says about it *wink* ) is Reims, located North-East of Paris and hometown of the Champagne!
I had a lot of time to just walk around and snap some pictures. Apart from the famous Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral, particularly impressive, I was attracted by the beauty of this catholic church next to my friend's house: Eglise St-André.
This church was built in 1859 (ended in 1865). It was heavily damaged by bombs during the first World War and was later rebuilt. Parts of the damaged building and bell can still be seen next to the entrance though.
One unusual aspect of this church is that it faces South, unlike most catholic churches facing East to symbolize the resurrection of the Christ. I have not found out why South.
I was really happy with this shot. I got a nice, dramatic, haunting shot with a lot of details despite the annoying light rain (and the cars on the front).
~~ Paul Tillich ~~
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
This is one of my latest shots. I got the idea while looking for inspiration on the net and wanted to try my own shot.
Valentine is approaching and everything is starting to turn red and all romantic. Although I don't like that holiday, I thought it would be a good idea to get a shot with hearts and lots of love for the occasion. This is a gift to everyone :)
We all go through difficult times in our Life. It's all a cycle, ups and downs.
In these difficult moments, it's hard to keep the courage to continue and not just give up to the problems. I personally have found that the unique and best way to keep on fighting is simply to be full of Love.
It is such a simple word yet so powerful and full of meaning. Often misunderstood too: It has become kind of a taboo word. Love is not just "to love your partner", it is found everywhere, in everything. My Life's Quest is to seek pure Love and become one with it.
After running all around my house to find a deck of cards, I used this setup to give it a feel of "gambling". The cards were of course carefully chose, the coins and bill carefully placed. I used available lighting with no flash to shoot this with my 50mm macro lens.
I shot it at 1/8 sec, f/3.5 and ISO 100. I chose a small aperture to throw the background out of focus. The RAW file was then processed in Lightroom and PS to convert it into Mono and leave only the hearts in color. I chose to do this to emphasize and draw the viewer on the hearts and upside down numbers.
In case you did not notice (as a friend asked me), the cards were not randomly chosen. It is supposed to spell "LOVE". (no photoshopping required).
The title I gave to it is "Love wins", because no matter what, no matter how tough the problems, no matter what cards you have in your hand, it is Love that always wins.
Cheesy maybe, but so true :)
May every day be a valentine's day for all!
(This photo is dedicated to a good friend of mine, Serena.. Big hugs to you!).
Monday, January 19, 2009
In summer 2008, I offered myself a trip to Ireland in order to celebrate my 30th birthday. A few friends joined me and we decided to visit the west coast of the island from Killorglin (attending the Puck Fair) to Sligo.
On one of the chilly days, with a storm lurking behind the mountains, we decided to stop and have a swim in the ocean.
We found a little path down to an empty beach north of Dingle before reaching O'Connor Pass.
The beach was empty, apart from a few solitary joggers. There was a very light rain and the huge clouds were rolling fast to strike us.
I walked around trying to find a nice spot for a shot. I found this fence surrounding a section of the beach. I just had time to test a few shots before the rain drops became bigger. I had to put my camera away.
I guess we had no choice but to get wet! Either swim or get caught in the storm.
Well, at least I got a cool shot!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Have you ever been told some things that ended up hurting you?
I came up with the idea of this conceptual shot while remembering the harsh words I have been told by someone close to me. Those words really hurt me deeply from inside and left scars that took many years to heal.
We often forget the power of words. Blows can leave physical marks that could take a few days to disappear but words strike you from inside and might take years to heal.
We all have hears stories of teenagers being bullied in schools, parents being harsj with their children, upset friends unleashing their anger over those close to them.. Ugly, useless, Fat, Stupid... those words can really change a person.
To convey this feeling, I wanted to show the violence of the words by using what characterizes violence the most: Blood.
I used a fountain pen and some fake blood and carefully composed the shot. I actually tried many versions before choosing this one. Originally I wanted to add some words on the paper but ended up removing them. The sharpness and blood dripping from the pen shows that words can be used as weapons.
I took this indoor, on a white sheet of paper with an external flash bouncing on the wall.
I shot this at 1/15s, ISO 200 and f/5.6 (I don't know why I chose to shoot at such slow shutterspeed! Have to be more careful).
I then processed the photo a bit in Photoshop to adjust the levels/curves and add the frame/title.
I was glad to see that this photo reached many people as it was a daily feature on DeviantArt.
Be careful people, words are weapons sharper than steel.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Happy belated New Year and best wishes for a 2009 full of Love, Health, Laughter, Joy, Abundance and Dreams.
Sorry for the long absence and lack of update. I have been kept busy during December and went on holiday to France.
I am back on track now and ready to post new photos very soon.
Thank you for following and have a great time!