Weekly Photo Challenge: Ambience

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Light and colors – these two make or break the ambience for me.

This photo was taken today at Dubai Mall’s “The Village” and converted into HDR using Photomatic for a surreal effect.

I’m adding a few more for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Photowalk @ Dubai Design District’s #meetd3 Event

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Dubai design district recently hosted their open-to-public meetd3 event a couple of weeks back, and I had the privilege of (ab)using my camera to my heart’s content. With interactive installations by extraordinary artists and plenty of activities for adults and kids alike, it was a must-attend event; I blew my first ever glass globe thingy and it was amazing.

Here’s a glimpse of meetd3 and the Dubai Design District through my lens. Enjoy!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

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For girls, it’s all about accessories. Their love for color and sense of style start to develop at a very tender age; for my daughter, it was at about one-and-a-half years. Her shoe collection is ten times the size of mine (which consists of 4 pairs of shoes, a couple of sandals and a pair of slippers) and she loves her accessories as much as she loves her parents. I try spoiling her and I cannot resist the urge to buy stuff that I think she’ll enjoy wearing/using; at least 70% of my impulse buying results in a purchase for my lovely daughter.

A few days back, we happened to visit a local bazaar, a heaven for my now almost three-year-old Fatima. We came across these really neat bracelets made out of old telephone wires and I couldn’t help myself from buying them for her. Pink’s her favorite color and purple’s mine, and since most of her clothes belong to one of these two color-groups, this purchase was a no-brainer.

Hope these photos can inspire all of us to recycle and possibly ignite a spark of creativity.

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Desi Girl

Sketch

Besides the occasional doodle, the last time I diligently drew something was a human heart for my high-school biology class (or was that a map of Pakistan for Pakistan Studies?). Honestly, I have never given sketching a second thought, until a few days back, when sitting idle with a pencil and a sketch pad, I had this weird itch to draw something. The first thing that came to mind was a version of a simple Pakistani girl, her hair tightly braided into a traditional pigtail, looking out towards the horizon at endless possibilities, wondering what the future may hold for her.

I know it’s amateurish and lacks any finesse, but I am proud of it nonetheless. Enjoy!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Photography is all about light and capturing its interaction with objects around us. So essentially when we take a photo, we try merging light with the object of our fascination. For this week’s theme, I tried doing something different, mixing elements of light with some everyday decoration pieces and an empty bottle of maple syrup. What came out was dramatic and mesmerizing, almost what you’d see while hallucinating. Hope you guys enjoy it.

Hallucinations

Light Painting Basics

Over the years, especially with the advancement in digital imaging, I have seen some amazing photographs using lights as paintbrushes on very high shutter speeds. This was my first formal trial (with a DSLR) and I thought the results could have been better, had my daughter not been chasing me around while I was ‘painting’ with light. Anyways, the photos below shows how easily one can coordinate his/her movements to make interesting effects. If you own a DSLR camera, you can have fun with these techniques too in just a few simple steps:

  1. Get a hold of some LED or Laser lights; these seem to work best as the light emitted from these is relatively focused on one point. Having said that, I suggest you try using some other light sources, like toys, to get some really interesting outputs.
  2. Set your DSLR camera to Shutter Priority mode (S mode), and choose a shutter speed; you may need to experiment a little with the speeds depending on what you are trying to paint, but generally, anything between 10″ and 30″ should do the trick. Remember: the higher the shutter speed, the more time you get to paint on one exposure.
  3. Set up your camera right in front of a dark wall, and take a test shot with the room lights open to gauge the ‘canvas’ area that you’ll be getting to do the painting.
  4. Turn off all the lights in your room; stand in front of a relatively dark wall, if possible, so as to eliminate any light bouncing back from it.
  5. Press the shutter release button, run and take position in front of the camera.
  6. Paint your heart out till you hear the shutter close again, signified by a barely audible click.

It was about 12 am when I started and I went through with it even though I could see my wife’s angry gaze piercing through me. So naturally, I wanted to write ‘I love you’ for this test to show my wife that I loved her more than I loved my camera. Then midway through the shoot, I decided it was more interesting to draw a heart and write the word ‘love’ in the center. I took these four photos in sequence at shutter speeds between 10 and 15 seconds, and the end-result was not bad at all, given that it was my first time (kind of). Enjoy!

First Attempt

Second Attempt

Third Attempt

Fourth Attempt

Here are a few other images I have done using my Nikon D7000 DSLR as well as my trusty old Cybershot DSC-W130, and they were creating using some of my daughter’s toys.

Outta Control

One of my daughter’s favorite toys – may it rest in peace (or should I say ‘pieces’?)

Cacophony

Fun With Lightroom’s HSL and Split Toning Features

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I have been using Adobe Lightroom for over a year now and the software never ceases to amaze me. At times, I just find myself opening random images to see how tweaking various settings affects my photo. HSL (short for Hue, Saturation and Luminosity) and Split Toning are perhaps my two most favorite tools and you will shortly see why.

In layman’s terms, think of HSL and Split Toning as something you do to recolor your images, increase the strength of some colors, and desaturate others. All I can say is that these features are a lot of fun. I don’t want to bore you with all the technical mumbo-jumbo, so even if you are an amateur wishing to digitally enhance your photos, Adobe Lightroom is the software to have. The learning curve is pretty steep (please take the literal meaning of this phrase i.e. easy to learn) so you should be up and running as soon as you install it.

Without further ado, here are a few examples. Hope they please your eyes. Enjoy!

Decreased saturation on yellow-green-orange components

Split-toning for a more dramatic effect

Desaturating everything but Aqua

Note: The image was taken at Wafi Mall, Dubai, UAE using a mere Sony Cybershot DSC-W130, which, by the way, is a great camera for beginners.