Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Find Reality


"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"

~ Paul Shepard ~

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

Eglise St André


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).

"Faith is an act of a finite being who is grasped by, and turned to, the infinite."

~~ Paul Tillich ~~

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Love wins


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!).
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