Wednesday, June 30, 2010



When I walked for the second time on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, I decided to take my time and  enjoy every step. I had all the time in the world.
One of my pleasures was to slow down in the forests and take macro B&W shots as I loved the strong shadows and the diffused light through the leaves. I had a lot of fun capturing macros of ferns. For this particular photo, I was so concentrated on trying to get a nice focused shot (I focus manually on macros) that I didn't realize I was stepping in poison ivy. Oh the rash!
I noticed that, when I decided to take specific kind of shots for the day (landscape, macro, B&W, portraits, etc..) the mind shifts and the eye filters only what I had wanted to see. If I needed to take landscapes, I would walk with my head high, eyes seeking far ahead. If I wanted to take B&W macro shots, I'd tend to walk slower, with my eyes focusing on the ground around me, trying to seek strong contrasts.

What are your thoughts? Do you sometimes plan "themed shots" per day? Do you see the same way when you do?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dubai Creek


Dubai is often associated with tall skyscrapers, modern architecture, crazy surreal projects and of course.. the Real Estate Crisis and bankruptcy.
But a lot of people who have never visited the UAE have never heard of the "old Dubai", the area around the creek, with low old buildings, a population of Asians (Pakistanis and Indians mostly), old taxi boats and huge souks (markets).
It's a part of Dubai I like, a part that reminds me of what the UAE used to be before the leaders went crazy with the petro-dollars.
I love walking in the old markets and actually being able to bargain with a merchant while he offers you a tchai (tea with milk) all in good humor, creating a connection that is missing in the gigantic modern malls scattered around the newest part of the city.
And once shopping is done, take a ride on a taxi boat while watching the sunset away from the abandoned half-started projects and all the superficial crazy hype of Dubai's "New Vision".

Monday, June 28, 2010

Galician Chalet


Galicia is one of my favorite regions in Spain, located on the North-Western part, right above Portugal. Although it's the most rainy region, I find it extremely beautiful with its mountains, forests and Celtic culture.
I took this shot while on the Camino de Santiago, around the last week before arriving to Santiago de Compostella. There is a steep climb on mount Cebreiro with magnificent landscapes.
Who wouldn't want to live in a chalet like this with this beautiful view every morning?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Buddha Statue


Thailand has a prevalence of Buddhism that ranks among the highest in the world. 94.6% of the population are Buddhists. The Thai calendar is also based on the Eastern version of the Buddhist Era which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian calendar.
Each city has many old magnificently decorated temples that I love visiting. Each temple hosts also a few Buddha statues.
Some temple "etiquette" to follow when visiting temples:
  • Wear modest clothes. No shorts, tank tops, mini-skirts, flashy jewelry.
  • Take off your shoes before entering a temple.
  • Keep your head lower than the Buddha statues.
  • DO NOT touch the head of a Buddha statue, climb over it, take a photo with it.
  • Do not point your feet at Buddha images or anyone else.
In other words, be respectful and don't do anything you wouldn't do in worship place of your own confession.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

General Prim - Parc de la Ciutadella


I had the occasion to visit Barcelona a few times during my travels. It's a city I really like for its atmosphere, architecture and culture. It is difficult to get bored taking photos while wandering around the old streets and huge parks.
This shot was taken while visiting the Parc the la Ciutadella with a few friends. Opened in the mid-19th century, it's the most central park in Barcelona and for a long time the only green area inside the city. It hosts a zoo (that hosted the famous albino gorilla Snowflake), a lake, museums, a parliament and a fountain designed by Gaudi.
The statue on the photo is of General Juan Prim, a famous Catalan general and statesman assassinated in 1870. I liked the silhouette against the evening sky.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pere Lachaise - City of the Dead


Pere Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and probably the most famous and visited cemetery in the world. Originally established by Napoleon I in 1804, it is "home" to some of the most famous French and foreign personalities.
I visited the cemetery in winter walking along the cold alleys swept by a chilling wind. The light was really beautiful, and the place was deserted.
It felt like wandering in a huge city of the dead with all those famous names staring up at me from the crumbling and forgotten stones.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tuk-Tuk line


Yes, it is completely impossible for anyone to avoid the tuk-tuk calls when walking in Thailand. No matter the hour, place or weather. They are everywhere and will take you on a temple tour for 10 baht / 0.3$ (and many shops on the way to get a commission).

So when you see a line of tuk-tuks on Khao San road in Bangkok, all waiting to jump on you with the "tempting" offers, either run for your life... or simply mention them that you are deaf!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sidewalk Kitchen


This restaurant (The Green House) is one of my favorite on Rambuttri Rd, parallel to Khao San Rd. in Bangkok, Thailand.
As most restaurants in the area, it is open on the street and half the tables are actually on the sidewalk. In Thailand, sidewalks aren't used for walking. They are overtaken by street vendors and restaurants while pedestrians share the street with tuk-tuks, bikes and cars.
This mini kitchen is where the "Thai food" is prepared as it is less complicated to prepare than western food. I suppose they also have another one back inside where all the pasta/pizza/burgers/sandwiches and juices are prepared.
I was sitting not far from the cook and I couldn't resist taking a photo with the beautiful light from the setting sun.

And I ate well!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Phet's leftovers


On the 4th of June, a class-5 cyclone from the Indian Ocean called Phet hit the shores of Oman before changing path and heading towards Pakistan and India.
This powerful cyclone did some damage to Oman, although much less then what Gonu did a few year ago.

The cyclone did not reach the UAE and changed path before going inland. Although it was far from Abu Dhabi, I realized, while sitting in my favorite cafe, that it was a little windy and cloudy (which is rare at this time of year). Probably the cyclone's peripheral clouds.
We did nevertheless enjoy a beautiful sunset due to the particular weather.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Moroccan Tea


I came in mid-April to the UAE to spend around 10 days with my family and head back to Thailand. My stay was unexpectedly extended due to the tense situation in Bangkok and I have now been here for about 2 months (I am heading back to Thailand in 3 days though).

One of my favorite pass-times while in Abu Dhabi was hanging around in an Arabic cafe called Zyara, which means "Visit" in arabic. And what's better than enjoying some Hummus with a Saj Halloum (an arabic cheese wrapped in thin flat bread) while drinking the refreshing Moroccan Tea in a comfortable bright colored sofas with friends and free wifi?

Probably one of the rare places I'll miss in the UAE (I said place.. not people!)
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