TRON : Legacy

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , ,

A wafer thin storyline with glitzy special effects constructed over a brilliant concept. It was Avatar all over again without the love story.

Kevin Flynn's (played by Jeff Bridges) mysterious disappearance leaves his son Sam Flynn (played by Garret Hedlund) a little lost in life. For 20 years, he lives in the shadow of a question; why did his father not come back. After a pager from his dads old arcade, he stumbles onto a secret room and manages to get himself into the digital world of ‘The Grid’ where he finds his trapped father. Throw in an evil clone nemesis with a killer instinct(rogue) side kick, a beautiful but deadly ally (Played by Olivia Wilde), visually stunning action scenes and an army of reprogrammed programs to destroy the real world and we have all the ingredients for a cliché plot with plenty of cliché subplots.

This may seem to be yet another 3D movie but this is the one that does it right. A perfect blend of 2D and 3D worlds created nicely by Joseph Kosinski. It’s a visual feast and an acoustic delight keeping you absorbed throughout the movie that you even ignore the rather weak storyline.

Garret Hedlund and Jeff Bridges as the main characters were always riding in the back seat with these visuals to boot. Jeff Bridges manages to hold his own though some dialogues like 'Radical, man' coming out of an old man were a little odd while the younger graphical him seemed too cartoonish sometimes, bit of a distraction. Garret Hedlund does a decent job to play a convincing Sam Flynn while Olivia Wilde’s puzzled/innocent curiosity was engaging. Michael Sheen as Castor/Zuse was wacky in a good way while James Frain as Jarvis had a meager role.

This is not an all out action movie nor an in your face 3D effects bonanza. It’s just a brilliant doorway to a world many of us haven’t seen before. I’m looking forward to a third movie (if it ever happens) with a better storyline and an extraordinary visual ride.

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Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Location number one from my gruesome trip. These are mangroves somewhere near Madinat Zayed in the western region of Abu Dhabi. Now I have two shots of the same mangrove and I can't decide which one I like best so would appreciate some feedback. FYI both shots are HDRs.

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Fruit shop on Greams road

Posted: Monday, December 27, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , ,

About a year ago, Kaz introduced a few of us to ‘Fruit shop on Greams road’ near Lamcy Plaza in Oud Mehta. After a wonderful first experience, I never got around going there again. Then SJ walked into my life and being a juicaholic, it seemed coherent to pass on this knowledge. Since then (i.e. the past 3 months), we’ve tried around 60% of the juice variety they offer and even though it usually may seem like it, that isn’t a small number. They have the widest assortment of juices (check their online menu) I’ve ever seen in the UAE and our inquisitiveness to try them all has led us to order small size juice glasses instead of large ones just to be able to try more. Till now, apart from maybe two, we’ve loved all the concoctions we’ve ordered. To add to the fun, they have 'Dr Wood' puzzles that usually blend our brains into frustration and puzzlement, of the cheerful kind obviously. They even have a loyalty card which gives you a free juice for every AED105 you spend i.e. seven stamps which is great for addicts like us. This place demands a visit from anyone and everyone because it just makes unconditional sense, of the fruity kind obviously.

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Fallen date...

Posted: Saturday, December 25, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

I don't know how long I'll manage to keep my blood shot eyes open. I've spent 17 hours covering over 800 kilometers today with SJ taking around 1,200 pictures in total; from panoramas to 9 shot HDRs. I am beyond tired but I'm stone cold high (read: freaking excited) over the pictures we took and the places we went. This has been by far the most gruesome outing I've had with SJ. We literally sleep-drove ourselves back home.....Teaser -  below - see - elaborate - later!! ZZZzzzzzzzzzz.......

Camera Model : Canon 5D MKII
Shooting Date/Time : 12/25/2010 12:29:46 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/1600
Av(Aperture Value) : f2.8
Metering Mode : Center weighted average
ISO Speed : 100
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 34mm

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Say it out loud...

Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

As ranted earlier; according to the bill my camera is out of warranty. But surprisingly (and unquestionably) according to the Canon online records, it is still under warranty. So the service centre has to fix or replace my camera for no extra charges. It’s going to take them 8-10 days to get back to me on this and I suppose another few weeks for them to hand mine back or a new camera over to me. This is me being optimistic because last time I had something fixed from them; it had taken them 3 months to give the item back and I’m not the only one who’s had such an experience. The evident incompetence on the service centre’s part is highly unprofessional and harmful to brand Canon. Unfortunately even with consumer rights, we have no rights so like every other person who is at their mercy, I shall wait for the buffoons to work out what’s wrong with the camera and then take some more time to figure out how to fix or replace it. Sigh!!

Anyway till then, I’ll be shooting with the ancient 5D that belongs to SJ as she recently bought a new camera i.e. the 5D MKII; being the full frame snob she is and therefore doesn’t need this camera. I’ve always been part of the ‘full frame is over rated’ crowd because of the hype that surrounds it though unlike wannabe experts my reasoning is totally in line to what the facts are being the photography geek I am (Oh the modesty!!). That doesn’t mean I’m a full frame hater because to me, it does have its advantages like for example the shallow dept of field. Love the bokeh you’re able to achieve with such a sensor and being the bokeh addict I am, I’m loving it!!

Camera Model : Canon 5D
Shooting Date/Time : 12/22/2010 15:08:51 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/50
Av(Aperture Value) : f2.8
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 1600
Lens : EF 16-35mm f2.8 L
Focal Length : 35mm

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It's still us...

Posted: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , ,

Beautiful song. #nuffsaid (via Neel the DarkRanger)

Suns out, but it feels like rain
So I will, illuminate your day
I'm afraid I'm losing it, what's it gonna take for me to get
Throught this?
We'll get through this
Even the brave may depend on someone
The moon only shines with the help of the sun
And it's not as safe when your walking alone

I'll walk you home

I'll walk you home

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Life as I know it...

Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2010 by Stained in Labels: ,

8,851 is the number of days I've lived in the United Arab Emirates; the country I was born in, possibly one-third of my life according to some statisticians *points at World Bank*. Today, if I plan to carry on living in this country and chase my dream, I have to spend roughly AED19,000 per annum. This may not seem like a large amount to many, but that's the amount of money I've earned since my last birthday. The next 30days will shatter, relocate or give the dream one last life line. The stress is so awesome that I’ve aged a few years over the past few weeks.

Talking about aging, my 1 year and 20 days old camera has conveniently bailed on me and I’m looking forward to a hefty bill from the rip-off of a service centre which shall obliterate whatever photography budget I had left after I managed to lose (more like left it at an event and someone decided to borrow it, permanently) my costliest/favorite lens. On the other hand, my car (more like the car my sister bought that I maintain) is dying on me as well and it’s just 10 months old (should have bought a Camry.. *yawn*). The electronics are going round the bend while the brakes are a squeak and the incompetent service centre is well useless. I should ask for a replacement since I do have consumer rights. *coughmiragecough*

At least all is not gloomy (I think), the mobile that I managed to buy with the help of my brother and some vouchers is perfect for my needs though it does seem a little pricy now with the other costs sprouting like a bean stalk.

Talking about stalk-ers, there is a specific gentleman (read: pervert) who needs to be introduced to my hand though the angry face keeps telling me to control my emoticons. Listen I shall…

Oh and for the record, I’ve been alive for 8948days. I feel old… *grabs anti ageing cream*

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Dinner at Shahishta

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , ,

Situated in Garhoud, Shahista is perhaps the only Afghani restaurant I've seen that aims to serve the upscale crowd with an opulent décor and a pricy menu. Being yet another restaurant SJ had shot in; it was in our ‘Must try’ list.

1 Tabbouleh                : AED20
1 Loqma Kebab            : AED50
1 Zarishk Pallaw            : AED40
1 Orange Juice             : AED20
1 Steam Milk                : AED10
1 Ice cream scoop        : AED20
Total                            AED160

We were welcomed by a door man who suspiciously looked like a pathan from Pakistan in an elaborate Afghani Shalwar kameez with a huge Keffiyeh. The interior seemed a little over the top in some sections i.e. trying too hard to look expensive but failing miserably. As usual, the authentic feel is murdered by having waitresses of a different nationality who have no idea about the traditional cuisine nor have the ability to make recommendations. This left us picking main dishes with names we’d never heard of.

To start off, we ordered a Tabbouleh salad (pictured right) with an orange juice (pictured top right) for me and steam milk (pictured left) for SJ. We instead got served a Tandoori Naan (picture top left) topped with sesame seeds and nigella seeds with a yogurt based sauce as a starter followed by our original starter order. The naan was hot, soft and delicious. It had a slight sweet flavor to it which combined with the sauce tasted divine. The Tabbouleh was disappointing with the lack of that sharp taste to it. The orange juice was perfect while the steam milk was well just hot milk, you can’t go wrong with that.

For the main course we ordered the Zarishk Pallaw (pictured top left) because the name sounded unusual though later on I found out that it’s an Iranian dish. Anyway it’s a basmati or long grain saffron colored rice mixed with barberries served with chicken (pictured top right). The Pallaw with the sweet taste of barberries tasted nice on its own as the chicken was slightly on the dry side.

We also ordered a plate of Loqma Kebab (picture right) served with French fries for the same reason given above. Loqma or Luqma literally means morsel in Urdu. The chicken was tender and well done though I couldn’t figure out the flavors as such. The taste was nice and SJ loved it.

For dessert, we ordered ice cream (pictured left) made by the restaurant itself which was nice but a little too sweet for our taste buds.

An average experience with further room for improvement (read: experimenting) that is possibly worth a second visit…

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Posted: Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , ,

Heard this song yesterday on Campus Radio Middle East, liked the lyrics and so posting it here.

And I wonder if you know
How it feels to let you go?

Say goodbye in the pouring rain
And I break down as you walk away.
Stay, stay.
'Cause all my life I felt this way
But I could never find the words to say
Stay, stay.

Stay with me, stay with me,
Stay with me, stay with me,
Stay, stay, stay, stay with me.

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Lexus IS-F

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Even though I don't like the way this car looks, it sounds like a beast which put a huge grin on my face. This might possibly be the only Lexus model I like even though I still dislike the normal IS.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 12/21/2010 17:31:22 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/200
Av(Aperture Value) : f4
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 400
Lens : EF 50mm f1.8 II
Focal Length : 50mm

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Cadillac CTS-V coupe

Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

After a very long time, I spent over 2 hours editing a single car shot. Could have spent more time fine tuning it but couldn't be bothered cause it isn't a very exciting car for me at least even though I ended up with a 600MB photoshop file which is huge.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/21/2010 17:32:13 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/20
Av(Aperture Value) : f4
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 200
Lens : EF 24-105mm f4 L
Focal Length : 58mm

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Downtown Classic Car show 2010

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shot these with a 70-200mm @ f2.8 with a mono-pod at sunset/night with ISO ranging from 800-1600 to give myself a bit of a challenge. Spent 5 hours taking 112 pictures of 90 or so cars in an effort to be different from the rest of the shooters. It was a hard job as I clearly was struggling in the end(read: loss of ideas) though the results I ended up with are surely something I am proud of.

Any feedback or critique for these pictures or my style of shooting is welcome.

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Empty pockets

Posted: Thursday, December 09, 2010 by Stained in Labels:

You can't make dreams come true with empty pockets.... *looks forward to an uncertain future*

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Posted: Sunday, December 05, 2010 by Stained in Labels:


A different character;
A comedian or a liar...
Visionary procedure
Interpreting the past.
The cessation move...
Mainstream warfare;
Just hidden bones.
Do you see what I see in you...?
Always the smile
Always the disguise.
I look for her behind the scenes
The curtains fold for you
Once again...
Hats thrown in the air
Empty hands...
Close a door somewhere
Brick walls
And exits
Contrasting elements
What do you see
All black again
Waving stature
They're all the same
Take a bow
You're out again...

- Stained

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Cold and Alone...

Posted: Wednesday, December 01, 2010 by Stained in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Spotted this little critter at the 'Mamzar Cultural And Scientific Association'. There were three of them along with their mother but I managed to get a picture of only one of them so technically it wasn't alone though they were feeling quite cold. They were adorable and very soft to hold, wish I could have taken them home. Anyway talking about cold, winter is here at last. Time to find time to head to the beach with some friends.

Camera Model : Canon 7D
Shooting Date/Time : 11/22/2010 20:05:52 PM
Tv(Shutter Speed) : 1/50
Av(Aperture Value) : f1.8
Metering Mode : Pattern
ISO Speed : 1600
Lens : EF 50mm f1.8 II
Focal Length : 50mm

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