Skywatch Friday…

4/2/18, Sunrise across the gravel plains, Al Wusta governorate, Oman…

Linking with Skywatch Friday

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Weekly Photo Challenge, Silence…

The Daily Post photo challenge this week asks us what Silence looks like in a photo.

This was the one for me.

A January trip up to the Troodos mountains in Cyprus, choosing a little used road, we came across a view point high up in the mountains with a perfectly placed bench looking across this view.

No sounds, remote from anyone else, this is my take on Silence.

The view from my seat was totally silent……

Silence

Weekly Photo Challenge, Weathered…

Well, for this challenge I could spend days in my photo archives of Oman creating a whole gallery of the weathered look, be it homes, people, geology, windows, doors, beached timbers, fossils and, so much more.

Oman is a weathered country.

From geology to every day living, the harsh climate of intense heat and along the coast, the pervading sea-salt in the winds leads to intense weathering.

I have so much to choose from, but for today, just a beautiful, traditional, weathered door from Mirbat, South Oman.

Weathered

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge, Growth…

This week we are asked to portray “Growth”. Hard in nature, clever time-lapse shots would be perfect for portrayal, but I don’t have any! So I had to think practically, what had I seen during 2017 that showed growth….

Well, Dubai is a prime example. It’s growing daily, but I really don’t think WordPress readers want to see the developments of motorways, roundabouts or building sites.

However the view from my little window in Dubai, to the left, through the small gap is quite impressive ( 35 floors up, this is not a window that allows you to even consider wriggling out much and who would want to at that height…not me! )

But it’s enough to poke a zoom lens through and my view to the left is of Dubai Marina, where the Al Ain Wheel is under construction, forecast to be the World’s biggest wheel ( of course, this is Dubai) and I have had an excellent opportunity for an eye on it’s development during 2017.

This is my take on growth…

December 2016, the base in situ…

December 2017, the wheel minus one section, plus a whole load of development behind…

It’s running a little overdue, but hopefully on my return late January I will see the completed version. Watch this space…

Growth

 

Weekly Photo Challenge, 2017 favourites…

I’m running a day late on this challenge, blaming the holiday period for a break away from the computer.

The challenge asked us to consider this …

“Instead of a specific theme or topic, we invite you to share your most meaningful photo from 2017. This isn’t necessarily the “best” photo you’ve taken this year — feel free to post your most technically accomplished photo of the year if you’d like, but we equally encourage you to think about other parameters.

From the photo that generated the most reactions on your blog to the one that has the deepest emotional pull on you, define “favorite” in whatever way works best for you.” 

I take thousands of photographs, my 2017 files are hardly touched for filing and editing, but I know in my mind what is pertinent and where to find what I need and when I saw this challenge I moved back in my head to my India trip last February. My images from the Pune visit are still not fully edited, but I knew which photograph, out of all of them, sang out to me. I will never forget that car shot and the pride I caught amidst such poverty.

We were taking a car tour around Pune’s historical sights with a wonderful guide. We were tired, having arrived at 7.30am and hit the tour at 9am, no time to waste on a three day visit. Between sights we turned a corner and there was a whole living environment in a field on the road side with virtually nothing. I was shocked, but politically dismissed by our guide at first as it being normal, but then on questioning, understanding that the gypsy families come into the city to work in charcoal, nowhere to live, the outcasts. The caste system, whilst banned, still exists…. They had no possessions, but what you see here. Nothing more, they lived in the field, with so little.What you see here is what they had…

I caught the shot from the car as we turned the corner and headed off to the privileged and safe comfort of our hotel.

I haven’t forgotten, her pride and stature amidst the squalor made a mark on me, brought home the divide and it’s the one shot from 2017 I will never forget…car shot, on the road…

2017 Favorites

Thursday Doors, 7/12/17. One shot from the road…

I’ve been on the road again, not much time to blog, too much coastline to cover and random wifi opportunities.

I’m sea-shell collecting around the Oman coastline, observing and enjoying the opportunities my camera finds.

This is one of them.

Just one door, all that is needed today, I’m off out for my birthday meal !

Linking with Thursday Doors…

Thursday doors, 23/11/17. Al Lou’aluo’ayyah…

Al Lou’aluo’ayyah is a small town and beach on the East coast of the UAE. It’s on our stop-off list on an East coast day out, as the tidal zone on the beach frequently throws up interesting and unusual shells.

The beach is long and rather beautiful…

Jelly-fish, my first Mitra mitra shell ( I was so pleased) and brittle starfish…

In the small streets behind the beach we had a little poke around and I discovered a whole load of new and slightly different doors. All from older built properties, I hesitiate to guess the era, my gut feel is early 90’s. Metal-work with embellishment, all in need of a good maintenance work-over, but I really like them. Especially the falcon designs, one of the six national symbols of the UAE.

This one is my favorite…

Linking with Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over, hit the blue frog link and check out some more doors today…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental…

Once I have a camera in my hand, I move into an experimental mode. Finally I’m experimenting with my Fujifilm XT20.

Moving from Nikon manual to Fuji manual mode has been a step in understanding a different camera ( No M choice on the dial). I’m still grinding my way through it and “Oh, ok, I get it”  bulbs have satisfactorily been flashing in my head, but I keep heading out to experiment in different scenarios, as you do, when you have a love of the lens.

At the sunset end of a sandstorm the other night, sunset wasn’t anything special. Time to experiment with natural props. Fennel plants dry out in Cyprus during the winter, virtually whole. Roadsides are full of it. It wasn’t to difficult to find an attractive one to shoot the fading sun through.

Then I saw the challenge and thought ok, lets go and be experimental with processing. I often visit some of the online photo editing sites for a bit of fun, this time I went to iPiccy and after embossing, x-raying , choosing a bit of starry bokeh and several other masks produced this little experiment. Whether you like it or not, it’s amazing what you can produce by virtue of a few clicks and dragging sliders.

It whiled away my morning tea moment and I realised I have used the word or variation of Experiment 6 times in 237 words…over-use probably, but all a bit of fun!

Experimental

 

 

 

Thursday Doors, 16/11/17. A door memory….

In 1990 I purchased my first house in Cyprus in a village outside of Paphos. It was an old village house, virtually a ruin. But my dream was to renovate a village house and this was it.

In 1993 we finally moved in. I had, by virtue of lack of funds, chosen the cheapest builder and the promised 8 month renovation time dragged out for 2 years. Close to completion we realised he was spending all our payments for work completed on brandy and after a few incidents we had to find another builder to complete.

The entry to the house was via the street, and through a courtyard. My desire for the street entrance was to find some old Cypriot doors and after searching for a long time, I finally came across a pair strapped to a tree at the back of the local junk dealers courtyard. Price negiotated, we delivered them to the carpenter who renovated them beautifully. Varnished and with brass handles gifted by my father, they were my pride and joy.

But, as the children grew and the village was just a tad too far from our business, we decided to sell. My one lasting regret is that I left the doors.

This morning, having an appointment close by, I decided to go and see whether they still existed.

Yes, they are there, now a funky blue, but still gorgeous. Regrets? Yes…

The street view, just an interesting blue door glimpse on the right…

Aren’t they gorgeous…

And they were mine once! Ah, well, they look cared for and I like the blue…

Linking with Thursday Doors hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over and see some of the other doors featured this week…

Thursday Doors, 8/11/17, Small town Oman, doors and herons…

I think that most of you who read my blog, probably know now that I travel a lot in Oman and I also love what I find there. It’s a vast country and on every trip, although, often travelling over previous ground, I find something new.

We cover unthinkable distances on the round trip from Dubai to Salalah to Dubai. If you return up the coast road, a round journey of around 3,000 kms, you don’t get much time to spend poking around as there is always a ticking clock to get back to Dubai for commitments.

But, on occasions, I put my brakes on and insist on time out. Otherwise, we are just burning the same tarmac every time and not seeing “IT” …”IT” being life in the places we flash through. Seeing life, you also see doors!

In October 2017, we had a little overnight break at Al Saqla resort ( this time I’ve inserted a map so you know where I am on this post, blue line A to B, the post features that route)

We were heading to Muscat from Shannah port (A), a 6 hour trip along the coast, which is only serviced by one road through the coastal Ash Sharqiyah governorate. Heading north from Point A ( Shannah), the impenetrable dunes of the Al Wahiba sands are on the left, the Indian ocean to the right, it’s a 4 hour trip to Sur up the coast road, where the motorway to Muscat starts and the driving is easier.

The coast road takes you through towns that are far removed from the larger cities of Oman because of the vast distances. Agricultural ( basic) and fishing life ( main economy) are the lifeblood in this region. It’s run down, poor and traditional, but the life you flash past on the road through is totally fascinating to my eye.

This time I wanted to re-visit some very old doors on the coast road. I took a lovely door shot last year, so we tried to find the doors again. They are gone now, razed to the ground, but back-tracking through the town streets trying to place them, I came across a plethora of Omani doors.

I hope you enjoy my discoveries as much as I did.

The sunset from Al Saqla…

No connection with doors, but the camel upholstery on the room sofa is too interesting to leave out…

The morning view….Yeah, a good day ahead…

Heading into town it was obvious we were in the uptown area for small-town Oman…

But then we found the Gold one, possibly the Arab equivalent of the Jones’s…

Winding through the small streets of town trying to find my old doors, this is what I found, car shots of doors, narrow streets, just all fascinating to my eye…

This one is my favourite…

Heading out of town via the harbour, herons, a couple of feet away from my window, not bothered by my presence, dhows in the harbour, locals taking time out and of course, the mosque…

Time to move on, out of town, heading up the coast again, past the house surrounded by it’s own little forest, you can’t see any doors here!

 

Linking with Thursday Doors, a weekly event hosted by Norm Frampton. Pop on over, click the blue frog link and check out some world-wide doors this week…